March 20, 2020
The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) is pleased to announce four recipients of the 2020 Board of Trustees Alumni Awards who are leaders and innovators in medicine, economics and science. The recipients are scheduled to be honored at a May 22 all school assembly unless the COVID-19 global health crisis warrants a change of plan.
Alumni Titan Award
The Alumni Titan Award, an annual award, honors alumni, who through outstanding service to IMSA advance the institution’s mission and work. The honorees are enthusiastic and energetic IMSA champions who dedicate significant time, talent and/or treasure to endeavors that help the Academy fulfill its role in developing talent and leadership in mathematics, science and technology for our state, nation and world.
Tamora Kimmitt ‘91
Tamora has volunteered her time to IMSA for over 15 years serving on the Admissions Review Committee, as a Computer Science Career Forum panelist, Alumni women in STEM panelist, IMSA Alumni Association cabinet member and at-large member, reunion organizer, Alumni regional event planner & host, advocate/ambassador for IMSA and Alumni connections. Tamora serves willingly and is a model for Alumni giving back their time and/or resources.
Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award
The Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award, an annual award, goes to alumni who have made distinguished achievements or leadership contributions in their professional fields of endeavor consistent with IMSA’s mission. The awardees also may be recognized for significant civic or community contributions or for extraordinary courage and selflessness under challenging circumstances.
Michael Peil ‘90
Michael Peil is the founding Vice Dean of Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, a law school that trains future lawyers in Bhutan. As Bhutan’s first democratic generation comes of age, there is the challenge of defining law in a nation that has been governed for much of its history in semi-theocracy and by monarchs. And there is the difficulty of designing a curriculum that strikes a balance between educating students in handling disputes in a formal court system and through a village elder — a long-held custom stemming from a belief that justice based on conciliation maintains social harmony.
In a culture where the adversarial nature of Western legal practice is seen by some as opposed to Buddhism, which most here follow, the stakes have been high for training lawyers who could defend Bhutanese values as the demands of modernity came rushing in.
Michael previously served as Associate Dean for International Programs at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis (USA) and as Executive Director of the International Law Students Association (ILSA). He received his Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University (USA) and his Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School (USA).
Amy Meek ’98
Amy Meek works to protect and promote access to education by addressing the individual and systemic barriers that disproportionately impact historically disadvantaged communities, using an explicit racial justice lens.
Amy previously worked as a senior attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, leading the organization’s strategy and advocacy for advancing women’s rights and gender equity in Illinois. She engaged in litigation and policy advocacy efforts on civil rights issues including reproductive rights, pregnancy discrimination, domestic violence, voting rights, and freedom of speech.
Before joining the ACLU, Amy taught at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law as the Civitas ChildLaw Center’s Policy and Legislation Clinical Teaching Fellow. She has also served as Reentry Coordinator and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Office of the City of New Haven, Connecticut.
Amy earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Swarthmore College.
Rhiana Gunn-Wright ‘07
Rhiana Gunn-Wright is the Policy Director at New Consensus. She has worked with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the creation of the Green New Deal. She has called for Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) to be as generously funded as DARPA, and the creation of a green bank that will offer financing to communities that do not have access to clean water or transportation. The Green New Deal includes a plan for 100% renewable energy, net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable jobs and high-quality healthcare. She has since been involved with the Ocasio-Cortez town halls and the CNN climate town hall.
Rhiana attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree, majored in African-American studies and graduated with honors in 2011. She was inspired by the New Haven Promise initiative as a way to break the cycle of disadvantage. After graduating, she joined the Institute for Women’s Policy Research as a research fellow. Here she worked alongside Heidi Hartmann on paid maternity leave. In 2013, Rhiana was selected as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford where she studied social policy. After graduating, she served as an intern to Michelle Obama.