LEAH Project Alumni Awards 2015

November 04, 2015

Award Overview

The Leaders through Education, Action & Hope (LEAH) Project seeks to continually honor the paths in life, education, and career of alumni of the program, and connect them with current mentors as inspiration for what their future can hold. At our 10 year anniversary, we endeavor to publicly recognize two past LEAH Mentors who exemplify the project's mission in hoping to transform youth and their communities through STEM education and service.

Criteria for Selection

With almost all LEAH alumni enrolled in or finished with undergraduate studies and all following their passions, and in the spirit of what the youth over the years have adopted as “Fami-LEAH,” this award attempts to recognize one as a symbol of many. All LEAH Alumni who were nominated exemplify the project’s mission and values in their choices after high school. The 2 awards specifically recognize an alum who participated in LEAH for at least 2 school years during high school and have gone on to study and/or work significantly in either of the two focuses of LEAH: Education and Service or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.



Quaanzale Thompson - LEAH Alumni Education and Service Pathways Award

Quaanzale Thompson was a LEAH mentor from 2009-2011. After graduating from Brookfarm Academy, he went on to attend Denison University as a posse scholar. In May 2015, he graduated with a dual BA in Creative Writing and Dance, after completing two research projects that consisted of creating a full length choreographic work as well as a written novella on topics of his choosing. During summers home from school, he worked at a non-profit called Crossroads for Kids, an organization and summer camp that aimed to provide opportunities for at-risk youth in the greater Boston area. After four long summers, he joined the Crossroads for Kids full-time team as a Leadership Development Fellow, helping youth to hone in on their leadership skills and to fully understand the importance of stepping up and finding their voice.               

Jennifer Charles - LEAH Alumni STEM Pathways Award

My name is Jenn I am currently a final semester senior at Bridgewater State University. I grew up in Roslindale and attended Fenway High school, graduated in 2011. I studied Biology at Bridgewater State. Before I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to be an Emergency Room Physician. My sophomore year I was hired Boston as an Ambulatory Associate at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Room which later turned into the job I currently hold now as an Emergency Room Coordinator. I’ve been working in the ER for closed to three years now and I enjoy it very much. Working in the ER was one of the major reasons why I didn’t want to become a physician because the lifestyle wasn’t for me. I decided to go into Nursing for my masters or a second bachelor’s degree. Although I am interested in nursing I am also applying to two Pharmacy Doctorate programs and two physician assistant programs this winter and upcoming year.



Cinique Weekes

After LEAH I went to Boston college where I was part of the Black student forum for four years as president and also on the executive board of BC Soars which catered to mentorships in elementary and middle school, I was social coordinator. My senior year I worked at Jumpstart Boston where I worked in an after school program helping pre school students in math, literacy and science and then I joined Teach for America. I am currently in my second year of teaching 5th grade literacy at Roxbury prep. And in my spare time I am a volunteer at Minds Matter Boston as a mentor to two sophomores who are on the path to college. (Cinique attended Boston Latin School during his LEAH year in 2010).

Crystal Pantoja

I recently received my certificate as a Certified Veterinary Assistant from Animal Behavior College (online vocational school) and I am currently a full-time Veterinary Assistant at Parkway Veterinary Hospital in West Roxbury. I plan on getting a part time job at another veterinary practice to get more hands on experience in the veterinary field. In the next year or two, I also plan on going back to school to major in Veterinary Technology in order to become a board certified Veterinary Technician. (Crystal attended Brighton High School during her LEAH years 2009-2010).

Valentine Emebo

Valentine graduated from Lesley University with a BA in Psychology in 2013. During his undergraduate studies at Lesley, he was an intern in 2013 at Area 4 Community Center Cambridge, MA and led Transitions Boys Groups at Boston Latin Academy. Valentine was subsequently was hired at his LEAH summer site, the  Lila G Frederick K-8 Pilot School, as a Community Educator during the 2014-15 School Year. He is currently in Lesley University’s 5th-12th grade Guidance Graduate Student with his Masters and Licensure expected May of 2016, and interning in guidance department at New Mission High School in Boston. (Valentine attended O’Bryant School of Math and Science during his LEAH years 2006-2010).

Nishaila Porter

Nishaila Porter is a recent graduate residing in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science and extended her education to Northfield Mount Hermon, where she did a post graduate year, before attending Wesleyan University to major in earth and environmental science. Since attending Wesleyan University Nishaila has become a Hughes fellow, USIO intern through the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, and Ronald E. McNair Fellow. Nishaila aspires to contribute to the improvement of our Earth's sustainability in addition to helping inner city environmental living standards. Nishaila first realized her passion to make science more tangible for others through participating in the LEAH mentor program where she taught science museum kit lessons to elementary students. (Nishaila was a LEAH Mentor in 2007 and 2009).