Emily Torchiana ’17 won the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service at the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s national ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night.
Torchiana was nominated for her work in suicide prevention through her nonprofit organization, The Invisible Illnesses, which hosts workshops to educate students and parents on mental health and suicide prevention. Torchiana herself attempted suicide after being cyberbullied in high school. Torchiana has since battled post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and social anxiety, and now travels the country sharing her story.
“To say I’m in awe does not even begin to describe the feelings I have,” Torchiana said at the awards ceremony in. “I have been given an honor that previously was presented to such names as Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs. I’m so incredibly thankful for those who have supported and believed in me this past year.”
The Jefferson Awards Foundation, founded in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service, empowers others to have a maximum impact on the things and people that they care about the most. They provide Jerfferson Awards for Public Service at both the national and local levels to ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things without asking for recognition.