Community Recognition and Award Breakfast

Community Recognition & Award Breakfast


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Join us on April 19, 2024 as we celebrate successfully expanding the local community's access to education and student civic engagement at our inaugural Public Service Celebration & Award Breakfast.

Community Impact harnesses the passion and talent of 1,000 students from across the University who address critically important needs across Upper Manhattan. These needs include closing the achievement gap in our schools, promoting housing equity in our neighborhood, enhancing food security, and advancing adult education and workforce development through our GED and ESOL programs. Demand for CI's programs has skyrocketed over the past year, and our student volunteers have embraced the challenges to deliver impactful programs for the community.

At our inaugural Public Service Celebration and Award Breakfast we will honor Education Champions and Volunteer Champions who address the lack of access to educational opportunities, and we will celebrate CI's own Education Innovator, Sandy Helling, as she retires after over 35 years of distinguished service.

The first class of honorees will include:

Evelyn Fernandez-Ketchum - Vice President of Continuing Education & Workforce Development at CUNY Hostos Community College

Past community partner, Dr. Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham, LCSW has spent nearly over 20 years contributing to community workforce and economic development efforts through higher education, currently holding the position of Vice President at CUNY Hostos Community College. She is also a graduate alumna of Columbia University’s School of Social Work. 

Dr. Evelyn Fernández-Ketcham works first-hand as an executive administrator to assist numerous organizations and professional individuals advance and develop their growth potentiality.

Lastly, she earned her Ph.D in Social Welfare from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York, NY and a MS from Columbia University’s School of Social Work. She holds BA in Psychology from Marymount College at Fordham University in New York, NY.

Danika Rux, Ed. D. - NYC Deputy Chancellor of School Leadership

As Deputy Chancellor of School Leadership, Dr. Danika Rux oversees the work of Community District Superintendents and High School Superintendents, which in turn provide schools with coordinated strategic support, resources, and guidance. She also oversees the Department’s student wellness and school climate work.

Danika Rux is an instructional leader with over 27 years of experience in the areas of speech pathology, literacy instruction, special education, school leadership, district leadership, and systems level educational administration. Most recently, Danika served as Chief of School Support. Prior, Danika served as Executive Superintendent, Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Field Support Liaison and Principal.

Danika holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Sage College, Albany, NY. She earned her M.S. Ed. and B.S. from Long Island University and Advanced Certificates from Baruch College, Mercer University, Georgia State University.

Mary Rocco - Director of Engaged Scholarship at Barnard's Office of Community Engagement and Inclusion (CEI)

As director, Dr. Mary Rocco plays an implemental role working as a leading executive facilitating office operations. The Office of Community Engagement & Inclusion at Barnard College provides their students with numerous opportunities to get involved in the local NYC community that, in turn, result in many sustained collaborative volunteer efforts.

Mary is an academic leader with nearly 20 years of experience in program leadership and community development practices, such as planning and involvement, working in educational administration. Mary has held positions as an adjunct professor and previously served as the Director of Programming and Communications at Hunter College. She was also a Doctoral fellow of City and Regional Planning, as well as Project Manager of the Mellon Humanities Urbanism and Design Initiative at UPenn.

Mary earned her Ph.D. in City & Urban Community and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and an MUP from Hunter College in New York City.

Adina Berrios Brooks - Interim Chief of Staff, Office of the Provost & Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusive Pathways

Adina, who joined the Office of the Provost in October 2015, now serves as the Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusive Pathways. She oversees the expansion of Columbia's pathways programs and the enhancement of support for trainees, building upon her prior role in developing faculty diversity and advancement initiatives.

Adina has nearly two decades of administrative experience in admissions and student affairs at Columbia University, including roles at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has also worked in politics and advocacy with organizations such as the Children’s Defense Fund New York office and New York’s Working Families Party. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle.

Adina holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Columbia College and a master’s degree in politics and education from Teachers College, where she is pursuing a doctoral degree in education policy. Her research focuses on gender and racial/ethnic diversity within elite post-secondary institutions.

Sandy Helling - Senior Associate Director, Community Impact

As Senior Associate Director, Sandy Helling has key responsibilities in the overall operation of Community Impact including fundraising, program development and management, and community partnerships. She has directed Emergency Service and Adult Education programs at Community Impact since 1989 and she was the very first GED teacher.  Before Community Impact, Sandy was Director of the Welfare Grant Increase Coalition. She holds a BA from New College and a MA and MEd in Philosophy and Social Sciences from Teachers College. Her favorite spot on campus is the walk between Earl Hall and the Annex where she has a few minutes to ruminate every day.

Breakfast Honorees