The Gem Project Fellow 2021 Award: 4 Honorees, including an Honorable Mention

Newark, New Jersey – September  2021 – The Gem Project has announced its 2021 award recipients for their annual cash award given to young changemakers The Gem Project Fellow Award. For the past four years, it has been an award that has focused entirely on service and one’s lived experiences to improve their local communities. The Gem Project Fellow Award allows youth and young adults from high school, college, and graduate school to help support personal initiatives/projects, offer relief, and/or advance their education.

It garnered the attention of applicants from over 15 schools. At time of application, these schools included:

Bard High School Early College- Newark, Barringer High School, Bayonne High School, Brooklyn College, Central High School, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, Hillsborough Community College, Morgan State University, Newark Tech High School, North Star Academy Lincoln Park High School, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University-Newark, Science Park High School, Wardlaw-Hartridge School, and Weequahic High School.

The total cash prize for awards were $1000.00 each, including a $250 honorable mention totaling: $3250.00.

About Recipients & Submissions:

Fellow Award Honorees:

  • Mekhi Addison – Louisiana State University ‘25   | Essay/Profile
  • Kynise Dixon     – Delaware State University ‘25   | Essay/Profile
  • Daniela Palacios – Science Park High School ‘22 | Video/Profile

Honorable Mention:

  • Renée Onque – Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY ‘21 | Audio/Profile


The judges spanned industries from nonprofit, consulting, research,  education services, law, and public relations. 

  • Sierra Cole  is a communications and public relations professional. She works at BCD ( Business Capacity Development) Alliance where she is a Program Coordinator. In 2021 she joined The Gem Project as an inaugural Story Corps Fellow, capturing the stories and work of our youth organizers.
  • Brittany S. Hale, Esq. is an attorney, elected official, and founder of BND Consulting Group. When not working with The Gem Project, she provides organizations with the tools to develop authentic, values-led identities within their industries.
  • Dr. Quintus Jett (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a management scholar and educational consultant. His faculty experience includes Rice University, Dartmouth College, and Rutgers University.
  • Asif Khan is a development and tech professional focused on the intersection of technology and social impact, with a special focus on education, LGBTQ+ rights, & gender equality. He most recently led the Campaigns team at and is an adjunct professor at the St. John’s University Graduate School. 

About The Gem Project, Inc.

Founded in 2006, The Gem Project serves to boost high school to college student engagement through youth organizing, employment, peer-mentoring, and service-learning initiatives that take on a social justice approach. The Gem Project has been featured in Forbes Magazine,, Black Enterprise, and highlighted by the Barack Obama Administration on the White House Blog, for youth-run initiatives.

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