James Leonard, Stony Brook University
James Leonard, a junior at Stony Brook University, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree, concentrating in Neuroscience and anticipates graduating in May 2015. The combination of his willingness to help others and a strong work ethic is truly unique. One of his recent accomplishments is the establishment of a Stony Brook University Chapter of Camp Kesem, a national organization that supports children with a parent who has been afflicted with cancer. Besides his undergraduate research studying cancers caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and screening patients in the emergency department, he has been involved in multiple mentoring programs providing guidance, advocacy, and compassion to first-year students. As a community advocate, Jamie and three of his peers initiated a campaign focusing on the issue of the inequality men who have sex with men face when donating blood. The movement that they started, titled Blood Donor Equality, will culminate in submitting a one hundred thousand-signature petition to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services imploring the department to overturn the FDA ban that prevents men who have sex with other men from donating blood. Jamie’s leadership roles, community engagement and outstanding research makes him one of the most devoted members of the Stony Brook community and a true leader among his peers.