Palmer Award Finalist: Logan Robinson

We received so many wonderful applications for this year’s Palmer Award that not only did we want to announce this year’s recipient, Mitchell Tijerina – we also wanted to share the work of those who were among our finalists. Today we learn about Logan Robinson, Institute graduate from the University of Texas-Austin.


“The Institute challenged my way of thinking and the purpose of my thinking. As I contemplated what my vision would be, passions and areas of my heart were exposed. With a sensitive heart towards orphaned and fostered boys, my vision from the Institute was to eventually lead a ranch that would be a home for many of them.” – Logan Robinson

Given the focus of his vision, Logan is committed to learn as much as he can about working with children. He has spent much of his time serving and volunteering with young children, such as through his church and with refugees in Berlin, Germany.

From these experiences, Logan has learned that compassion, love, and acceptance are vital to understanding and supporting children. Sharing time, affection, and a game of soccer can also do a lot of good! All of this breaks down the barriers that are created from past hurts.

Throughout Logan’s award application we noted a common theme. Whether he was writing about what he dreams his ranch would be like or about an interaction with a child, his experiences have lead him to the importance of offering love. Unconditional love.

Palmer Award Finalist: Maureen Hudson

We received so many wonderful applications for this year’s Palmer Award that not only did we want to announce this year’s recipient, Mitchell Tijerina – we also wanted to share the work of those who were among our finalists. Today we learn about Maureen Hudson, Institute graduate from The College of New Jersey.

“My vision has been to create a mindful, compassionate and peaceful environment in classroom settings across schools internationally that supports growth from the inside-out through mindfulness, meditation and reflection. My hope is to promote empowerment of all students through authentic acceptance of the self and others. This stems from my own lived experience of recovery from an eating disorder through mindfulness and self-acceptance.” – Maureen Hudson

Maureen’s first goal was to connect with like-minded people and organizations. Beyond that, she wanted to develop her own leadership and personal practice so she could then promote a mindful and compassionate campus culture. Some of the things Maureen has accomplished while working toward her vision include: • Worked as an undergraduate researcher at TCNJ focusing on anti-bullying and peace education• Implemented a mindfulness-based curriculum (which she created) in two classrooms in Trenton, NJ• Oversaw the implementation of a culturally modified version of the curriculum in an inclusive Kindergarten classroom at an international school in Indonesia• Served as President of Circle of Compassion, a student-driven organization devoted to spreading mindfulness and compassion in the community• Inducted into the Blue and Gold Hall of Fame at TCNJ in recognition for the positive impact of my leadership on campus• In November, Maureen will present “Mindfulness in ECTE: Literature Review & Preschool & Primary Case Studies” at the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.


Her mindfulness teaching experiences have spanned all ages including preschool, elementary, college students and faculty, and adults with learning disabilities. When Maureen looks to the future, she hopes “to continue to support the growing international movement of mindfulness in education by offering my unique guidance on its role in creating compassionate and inclusive classrooms. I see the future of the world in the hands of mindful teachers and children who are accepting, loving, attentive and resilient.”


2017 Palmer Award Recipient

We are excited to present to you our most recent recipient of the Palmer Award, Mitchell Tijerina (Denison University). The vision Mitchell created at the Institute centered around developing an interest in the affects of climate change and environmental issues by providing opportunities for people to experience nature first-hand. Through this exposure, he believes people will develop a sense of love and respect for the environment. Mitchell shares that “…a vague passionate idea at the Institute helped me bring into a sharp well-focused vision.”

Mitchell sees that without a personal experience, people are unlikely to cultivate a love for the outdoors or come to truly care about the well-being of it. To combat this barrier and bring exposure to the importance of Earth, Mitchell is creating a documentary film called La Gente de la Tierra.

La Gente de la Tierra focuses on the influence that the natural world has on the art, culture, and spirituality of five indigenous groups across Perú. Through this film, Mitchell hopes that people will discover how our day-to-day lives are intricately connected to the earth.

In preparation for the documentary, Mitchell applied for scholarships, developed a Kickstarter campaign, and assembled a team. He then spent four months living in Lima, Perú. During his time in Lima, Mitchell spent time studying as well as connecting with NGOs and indigenous communities across the country. He then spent two months traveling, filming, conducting interviews, and living with the amazing people in the area.

Through all of this, Mitchell tell us he “mastered the Spanish language, different editing programs, and film equipment through taking classes at La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.” He also invited two other filmmakers from Denison University and Saint Olaf College respectively to join the effort and employed the help of a number of local translators to help with the 6 different languages they worked with.


Beyond an awareness of and care for the environment that the documentary hopes to create, Mitchell’s work has also directly contributed to some communities in Perú. He and his team have created a promotional video for Porvenir Perú, an organization that provides greenhouse building supplies to communities that often lack in nutrition due to vegetables being unable to grow at the extremely high altitude. They are also working on promotional videos for the Ayahuasca Foundation, which focuses on medicinal plant knowledge, and Threads of Perú, an organization that promotes and sells artisanal work of indigenous women in the Andes.

While we wait for the documentary to be completed, the trailer and update videos are being shown by science high school teachers in New York. Mitchell is hopeful that they will soon be shown in high schools in Columbus. The final product will be aired this spring at Denison University and at a local community theater in Columbus.

Mitchell shares that, although long and difficult, the journey has been worth it. We have to agree and can’t wait to see the documentary in its totality. Congratulations Mitchell!