Pace University Professor Kimberly Collica-Cox, PhD, a resident of New City, was honored on June 28 at the National Ceremony of the Jefferson Awards Foundationin Washington, D.C., in the category of Greatest Public Service by an Employee. The Jefferson Awards Foundation is the nation’s most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to inspiring and celebrating public service.
“Recognizing individuals who are making a positive difference in their communities – and encouraging people to follow their lead – has never been more important,” said Hillary Schafer, Jefferson Awards Foundation CEO. “The Jefferson Awards Foundation is proud to continue its long tradition of honoring those who have dedicated their lives to serving others.”
Collica-Cox has spent nearly 19 years working with incarcerated populations and implementing programs to support them. Collica-Cox is a certified Prison Rape Elimination Act and American Correctional Association auditor and serves as a professional trainer in the cross-section between HIV and incarceration. Since 1997, she has worked with inmates, correctional staff, and community-based service providers. At Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, she serves as the adviser to the Criminal Justice Society and Alpha Phi Sigma student organizations. She developed a civic engagement course, which resulted in the creation and implementation of the Parenting, Prison and Pups (PPP) program, volunteering her time as the program’s director and lead trainer. In partnership with the Good Dog Foundation, PPP is an animal assisted therapy-integrated parenting program offered to female inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla, NY.
“Professor Collica-Cox truly epitomizes the goals of the Jefferson Award: not only is she fully engaged in supporting an often-forgotten community of incarcerated women, but she has also engaged Pace University students in life-changing experiences with this community,” said Nira Herrmann, PhD, dean of the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace. “Her personal commitment is expanding outward through her mentoring of students, to touch more and more lives in positive and uplifting ways. She is truly an influential role model and we are very excited to see her excellent work acknowledged with this prestigious award.”
“One major learning objective for our Pace University students is to grasp the complexity of the criminal justice system,” said Joseph Ryan, PhD, head of the criminal justice program at Pace. “It important to understand what happens to those who confined to our jails and prisons. The correction component of the system could be considered an oxymoron. Inmates receive little to no guidance on how to resume a better life upon entry back to society. My colleague, Dr. Kimberly Collica-Cox, is at the forefront of not only helping incarcerated mothers become better parents, but to learn how best to maintain a relationship with their children during their incarceration. I have rarely encountered a person with her level of enthusiasm. Kimberly brings light into the lives of those who need guidance. She is truly multiplying goodness.”
The National Ceremony, now in its 46th year, took place June 28 at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. For more information on the Jefferson Awards Foundation visit www.JeffersonAwards.org.