New York, NY, June 25, 2008 -- John Jay College of Criminal Justice today announced that Shea Donato is the 2008-2009 recipient of the Imette St. Guillen Scholarship. Ms. Donato is a graduate student with a diverse background in activism and volunteerism, particularly in the area of intimate partner violence.
John Jay College President Jeremy Travis said, “Shea Donato exemplifies the very best of what the St. Guillen Scholarship is intended to recognize: a promising graduate student with a dedication to service in the criminal justice field and a desire to have a positive impact on society..”
“Apart from the shock of learning that I was chosen for this award,” said Donato, “I feel very honored to receive it. This entire experience has reaffirmed everything I’ve believed about what I want to do with my life and what kind of impact I want to have on the people around me — perhaps the same kind of impact Imette herself may have wanted to have on the world around her.”
Established in May 2006, the scholarship honors the memory of Imette St. Guillen, the 24-year-old John Jay student who was brutally slain in February 2006. It provides full tuition, a book allowance and a modest stipend for a student in John Jay’s master’s degree program in criminal justice. The first recipient Joanna Vespe is now working for the Center for Employment Opportunities. The second Kevin Barnes-Ceeney has been accepted into the CUNY doctoral program in criminal justice.
Donato, the latest recipient, is a self-professed “newcomer to New York” who grew up in a law enforcement family — her mother was a long-time police officer and homicide detective. She earned her undergraduate degree at Carroll College in Helena, MT and then spent a year with AmeriCorps, the national service program. Serving as a project coordinator for the Helena Relationship Violence Council, she researched and wrote a manual, “Coordinated Community Response to Intimate Partner Violence,” for the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and trained the coalition’s statewide membership in methods of setting up a coordinated community response effort in their local communities.
“As a result of the positive influence that my experiences have had on me, I can look at a world where the horrendous abuse of women can happen, and happens every day, and I know that it is possible to change it,” said Donato, who aspires to a career in criminal investigation. “Maybe not for every survivor in this world, but it is certainly possible to change it for someone. That is a value I grew up with and one that I will always believe in. In winning this scholarship, I am confident that I will respect the most important gift of Imette St. Guillen: a long-lasting positive impact on society and the people in it.”
About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.