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2013 Recipients of John H. Chafee Award for Public Service

From left, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo; Gov. Lincoln Chafee; award winners Hillary Costa and Gary Pascoa; and Thomas Schmeling, associate professor of political science.

From left, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo; Gov. Lincoln Chafee; award winners Hillary Costa and Gary Pascoa; and Thomas Schmeling, associate professor of political science.

 

Gov. Lincoln Chafee presented Rhode Island College seniors Hillary Costa and Gary Pascoa with the John H. Chafee Award in a ceremony at Rhode Island College. Named after Chafee’s father who was the 66th governor of Rhode Island, secretary of the Navy and a U.S. senator, the award is presented to political science majors who have demonstrated academic achievement and a strong record of public and community service.

The ceremony opened with remarks by RIC President Nancy Carriuolo who recounted the highlights of Sen. John Chafee’s “very rich life of public service.” She also noted that the Chafee award is “near and dear” to the heart of the college because of the college’s long history of preparing students for public service in the state. This is no better exemplified than in the accomplishments of this year’s Chafee award recipients.

Costa is president of RIC’s Student Community Government, Inc., and is double majoring in political science and communication. She has interned at the State House and assisted in political campaigns. She was also an associate producer for NBC 10’s 2012 election coverage and has hosted her own political talk show on RIC’s WXIN radio station. Costa is a member of Lambda Pi Eta (the communication department honor society) and a member of Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities.

Pascoa is a political science major concentrating in public administration. He has interned for U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and state Rep. Larry Valencia. During the 2012 election, Pascoa was campaign manager for East Providence City Council Rep. Helder Cunha. In February 2013 Pascoa was appointed by East Providence Mayor James Briden to serve on the East Providence Zoning Board.

Both Costa and Pascoa are members of Pi Sigma Alpha, the RIC political science department honor society.

“Receiving the John H. Chafee Award is extremely gratifying and validating,” Costa said. “I owe a great deal to the faculty, staff and fellow students here at Rhode Island College who served as support systems for all of my initiatives, dreams and goals. This award serves as a reminder as to why I put the time and effort into serving my community.”

Award recipient Pascoa emphasized the importance of public service. He said, “Public service affects all of us. It’s a call to action aimed at improving not just our individual lives but the lives of others as well. It’s an honor to have been chosen as one of this year's award recipients.”

Joining the ceremony to honor the students were Costa and Pascoa’s family; Ron Pitt, vice president for academic affairs; Gary Penfield, vice president for student affairs; Earl Simson, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences; and Thomas Schmeling, associate professor of political science.

“The political science faculty want our students to excel academically but also hope that they will recognize and embrace the importance of service to the public,” Schmeling said. “Hillary Costa and Gary Pascoa exemplify both of these ideals.”