2019 College Utah Young Humanitarian -$5,000 Winner
Matthew Spurrier, Junior at the University of Utah
Matthew founded Maji to create change within the youth of our local community and to help some of Utah’s most vulnerable populations. His goal is to be a part of change wherever his career and life take him. Matthew enjoys the small moments service brings like seeing someone smile, getting someone the aid they need, or simply knowing he was able to make a difference in the life of someone else. Currently, Matthew is conducting research at the Moran Eye Center in hopes of one day restoring vision to the visually impaired. Matthew has learned that in every aspect of his life losing himself in service helps him to remain hopeful and gives purpose during difficult times. Whatever life brings, Matthew will always be a lifetime Humanitarian, looking for ways to lift the hands which hang low around him.
$3,000 Runner Up
Madison Sudweeks, Junior at the University of Utah
There is nothing Madi is more passionate about than sharing her love for service with others. Madi first became involved with Real Life in 2015, and has continued to increase her involvement in this program each year. She incorporates service into every aspect of her life: from raising service dogs to supporting friends and family, tutoring immigrants in English, to advocating on social justice issues. Service is such an integral part of her life that she volunteered weekly during her study abroad semester in Spain. Madi’s service has taught her that “she will work for the rest of her life to fight for the rights of others. She will fight to empower disadvantaged people to voice their concerns, share the value of their experience, and fight for their human rights.”
Paige Remington, Junior at the University of Utah
Paige first became actively involved in her community in high school as the Director of Skyline’s Community of Caring club and has continued to be actively engaged in the University of Utah community over the past three years through the Bennion Center. In addition to her work at the Bennion Center, she tutors adult immigrants at the Guadalupe school and worked with Engineers without Borders. Paige is truly concerned with the welfare of humanity and feels a social responsibility to support and accept others. She has made it her mission to dedicate her future to fight for basic human rights and strive to give everyone equal opportunities to succeed. She plans to utilize the power she has to make societal change in a positive way.
Tiffany Taghvaiee, Sophomore at Westminster College
Tiffany is the Secretary of the Student Honors Council and the National Liaison of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. Tiffany is passionate about giving back to the community that helped to shape her. She cofounded Generation Project, a mentoring program that enlists the help of students at her alma mater as mentors for 6th grade students at the elementary school she attended as a child. As an impassioned first generation college student, she demonstrates incredible leadership, communication skills, and empathy while mentoring other first generation high school students through the college application process. Tiffany has learned that being a mentor to others is an unforgettable, life changing experience.
Jessica Ivie, Junior at Utah State University
Jessica is a traveler, a teacher, and most importantly a learner. She began her love of service in middle school teaching electronics in an afterschool club and has enjoyed serving people from all walks of life. She has worked extensively with Utah 4-H and is currently USU’s collegiate 4-H Service Vice President completing over 600 service hours while attending Utah State. She has enjoyed mentoring entrepreneurial youth, establishing a micro lending non-profit, and making service learning more accessible. For Jessica, “service is made meaningful through shy smiles, the windows that are opened when all the doors seem locked. These smiles give her a sense of higher purpose, and push her along her path to growth.”
2019 High School Utah Young Humanitarian -$5,000 Winner
Mishka Banuri, Senior at West High School
Mishka is the co-founder of the Utah Youth Environmental Solutions, an organization that engages young people in the environmental movement and focuses on connecting environmental and social justice issues. She is the Ambassador Director of the Emerald Project, an organization that fights the misrepresentation of Islam. She works to build spaces for young Muslims in Utah where they feel safe from islamophobia. Mishka is also a Teen Council member with Planned Parenthood and teaches a variety of topics to her peers. She believes there is no better feeling than seeing change happen in front of her eyes.
$3,000 Runner Up
Kimberly Gammara, Senior at Innovations Early College High School
Kimberly is currently the Youth Coordinator for Generation of Latinos where she works to bring the promise of education, integration and empowerment to underrepresented students. She has worked extensively with SLCC’s Amigos Mentores Peer Mentoring program mentoring over 150 students of ethnic minority and indigenous backgrounds. At the age of 17, she will graduate from Innovations Early College High school with an associate’s degree and plans to attend the University of Utah to pursue a career in pediatric medicine. She is a firm believer that service can positively influence the life trajectory of a person and at large, a community.
Jeremy Whitaker, Senior at Davis High School
Jeremy learned the value of his unique skill set during his first big service project “Coins for Kenya” in 6th This sparked a strong interest in service that has continued to grow, leading him to become involved in the Kaysville Youth Court for the past 3 ½ years as a judge, peer counselor, peer tutor, bailiff and most recently, President. In addition to his work in the Youth Court, Jeremy has been actively involved in Kaysville City Youth Community Council, and the Davis High Interact club. Jeremy’s love of children lead him to volunteer at Real Life, start the Kaysville City Youth Pickleball program, and return to Peru with Youthlinc this July.
Emily Langie, Senior at Hillcrest High School
Emily is the founder and president of her school’s chapter of Backyard Broadcast, an organization aimed at preventing and combating child trafficking. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, and is heavily involved in Assisteens, the teen run auxiliary group of the Salt Lake Assistance League. Her experiences with these organizations and the Youthlinc service year has changed the way she views service. Instead of trying to put aside time to serve the community, she puts service first and shapes her life around it. She believes the most meaningful service can be found in our very own neighborhoods.
Emily Curtis, Senior at Woods Cross High School
Emily loves to be involved in everything she can. Emily is currently the National Honor Society president, a member of the Hope Squad, competitive athlete, and honor student. Her love of service is evident in the way that she makes service a priority in her life. The service she does, isn’t just about the major projects or blood drives she organizes, but believes it’s how she treats others around her. After graduation, Emily plans on attending the University of Utah to pursue a medical career so that she can continue to help others throughout her life. She looks forward to serving others, saving lives, and making a difference.