We, the students of the Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG) at the University of Pennsylvania, believe that doctoral training in neuroscience is enhanced through extracurricular opportunities including but not limited to teaching, volunteering, engaging in community outreach, and presenting independent research. We believe that these activities foster an enriched community in which to develop the skills necessary for a broad array of professional pursuits. The Award for Persistent Involvement in Community and Leadership (APICAL) was established in this vein to honor the graduating (or recently graduated) student who has shown commitment to these tenets through consistent dedication to and broad participation in these extracurricular opportunities during his/her training tenure. Each year, this student is selected by a committee of his/her peers for outstanding service to the Neuroscience graduate student body, and cultivating a community in which Neuroscience students can succeed.

Kate Christison-Lagay, 2015

Since matriculating at Penn, Kate has been overwhelmingly involved in developing and executing activities for NGG students, such as serving on the Student Retreat Committee for 6 years, developing the inaugural Workshop for Equality in the Sciences held in 2014, and serving as a founding member of GLIA and the GLIA Co-Director for 2013-2014.

Kate has also expanded the way that NGG interacts with the Philadelphia community, including starting Brains in Briefs, the scientific blog that showcases publications by NGG students in language accessible to the public; developing and building Knowyourmind.org, the public outreach website for GLIA; teaching in the Upward Bound Neuroscience summer course for 6 years; and designing all the logos for Penn NGG with which you are probably familiar, including NGG t-shirts, the public lecture series logo, the Brains in Briefs logo and website, and the knowyourmind.org website.

As a member of NGG, Kate has truly exemplified the spirit of persistent community involvement that this award embodies. As a token of our appreciation Kate will receive $1000, generously provided by The Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences

Tanya Weerakkody, 2014

In its inaugural year, the award goes to Tanya Weerakkody for her remarkable dedication to mentorship and outreach efforts to students both within and without the graduate group. Among her numerous contributions across various NGG programs, we would like to highlight her sustained and dedicated involvement with the Upward Bound partnership with NGG throughout her graduate training years, as well as her leadership in organizing teaching-focused workshops for NGG students as a fellow of the Center of Teaching and Learning. As a token of our appreciation, Tanya will receive a $1000 cash award, generously provided by the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences.