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Westfield State’s Jessie Cardin to be honored among Massachusetts “29 Who Shine” recipients

Westfield State University senior Jessie Cardin of Sutton, Mass., has been named the University’s recipient of the 29 Who Shine award by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. These awards are presented to 29 graduates throughout the Commonwealth who excel in community service and academic excellence. Each recipient is from either a Massachusetts community college, state university, or University of Massachusetts campus and is nominated by a faculty or staff member. This year’s ceremony will take place on Friday, May 4 at 2 p.m. at the Massachusetts State House and will be hosted by Governor Charlie Baker.

An elementary education major, Cardin is a two-time NCAA All-American cross country runner and competed at several NCAA Championship meets for indoor track and track & field during her Westfield State career. During her career, she became the first runner in the 46-year history of Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference history to win the league’s championship race and earn Runner of the Year honors for the fourth consecutive year.

Cardin served as cross country team captain for two years and played a pivotal role in the community as a student-athlete. She participated in the Think Pink Breast Cancer Awareness events, as well as Secret Santa and Special Olympics events for the Student Athletic Advisory Council. For Secret Santa, Cardin helped with fundraising to purchase gifts for children. In 2017, Westfield State raised $1,300 to purchase gifts for 29 disadvantaged children.

Cardin also works closely with English Language Learner students, using leadership skills she gained as a team captain and incorporating them into her classroom. She values making connections with students. “Seeing students interacting with one another, developing social skills and a curiosity about the world is more important to me than teaching the material,” she explained. “I enjoy getting to know my students and creating lasting relationships with them. Part of my educational philosophy is based upon application. I believe everything taught in school should relate to the students’ lives and experiences.”  

After graduation, Cardin hopes to become an elementary school teacher while pursuing her graduate degree. Since running has played an instrumental role in her life, she plans to continue her involvement by joining a competitive running club.

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