Recognition: J-Stars

J-Stars for Outstanding Performance
The J-Stars award acknowledges the extraordinary efforts made by our staff worldwide who work toward fulfilling the mission of J-PAL. These recipients demonstrate values such as hard work, innovation, teamwork, collegiality, and exceptional technical skills. We have 3 award categories.

Innovative Solutions Award

This award is for teams and/or individuals who:

  • Creates new and sometimes unexpected solutions in a face of a specific challenge and/or that are in the best interests of J-PAL, e.g. developed solutions to effectively work together during the pandemic 
  • Embraces change as an opportunity for growth and innovation
  • Takes a future-oriented approach to short and long-term challenges
  • Participates in collaborative problem-solving, breaking down boundaries and/or creating new relationships to improve the way work gets done

2023 Winners

Louis-Maël Jean (Europe)

Louis-Maël Jean is recognized for his work for the Morocco Employment Lab and the National School of Statistics and the spirit of initiative and adaptability he has demonstrated throughout. His innovative solutions, such as implementing an AI tool to subtitle Micromasters courses have proved not only effective but foundational.

Namitha Sadanand (South Asia)

Namitha Sadanand is recognized for her consistent pursuit of efficient solutions to challenges, including creating doodle polls and trackers and coordinating with the offices of bureaucrats. Her initiative to resolve issues amongst the team and to be a consistent helping hand ensures the success of everyone around her. 


Maria Sedhom (Middle East and North Africa)

Maria Sedhom is recognized for her work introducing smart and automated solutions for both the research vertical and the recruitment team, such as exploring solutions for automating string cleaning, developing a Python code using Stata, and designing a google form for candidate selection. 


Social Champion Award

This award is for teams and/or individuals who: 

  • Displays behavior and takes actions that help teams step out of work silos
  • Initiates forums/activities/gatherings that help J-PAL socialize beyond work
  • Promotes an inclusive workplace, e.g. welcomes and integrates new staff members and/or helps us connect with one another
  • Appreciates, encourages, and motivates others to be their best at J-PAL

2023 Winners

Ignatius Sebastian (Southeast Asia)

Ignatius Sebastian is recognized for his consistent efforts to unite staff amongst different verticals and positions and promote social engagement and inclusivity by organizing various activities and coordinating logistics for anyone who has an activity in mind. His unparalleled enthusiasm and dedication to fostering a vibrant social atmosphere at the J-PAL SEA office is very appreciated.



Shrddha Rajesh (South Asia)

Shrddha Rajesh is recognized for instrumental work in creating an active culture in the J-PAL Chennai Office. Her efforts have made the office a more welcoming and inclusive space. 


Outstanding Contributor: Working Behind the Scenes Award  

This award is for teams and/or individuals who:

  • Provides consistent excellence; goes above and beyond without fanfare
  • Fills in when and wherever needed and always performs at a high level
  • Takes initiative to solve problems and improve work situations without being prompted
  • Demonstrates reliability, perseverance and a focus on results
  • Helps others by sharing knowledge

2023 Winners

Primrose Adjepong (Africa)

Primrose Adjepong is recognized for her work on the Girls Education and Empowerment portfolio and the exceptional high quality of her work in addition to her spirited creativity. She has performed foundational work in evidence to scale scoping and served as a great asset to the J-PAL Africa policy team. 


Valentina Andrade (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Valentina Andrade is recognized for the incredible support she provides to her colleagues both personally and professionally. She consistently inspires others on the topics of affirmative action and gender inequality and her passion brings unity to the office. 


Sabahat Ali Khan (South Asia)

Sabahat Ali Khan is recognized for his work overseeing a large number of field activities and the exceptional expertise and management skills he has demonstrated throughout.


Cordelia Kwon (North America)

Cordelia Kwon is recognized for her work identifying issues and gaps on the several teams he supports and applying creative resolutions, including developing a systematic way for initiative and sector staff to track publications before they’re released, reviewing website and RFP materials for clarity and designing plans to improve engagement. 


Omnia Nabil (Middle East and North Africa)

Omnia Nabil is recognized for her exceptional work ethic, outstanding performance, and unwavering commitment to supporting J-PAL’s mission.He consistently demonstrates an ability to effectively manage complex administrative tasks such as navigating AUC’s systems and ensuring seamless operations.


Mary Pietrusko (Global)

Mary Pietrusko is recognized for the dedication, positivity and enthusiasm she contributes to all she does, from event planning, to supporting Faculty Directors, to making improvements to J-PAL systems and processes along the way. 


Richard SSempagama (Global)

Richard SSempagama is recognized for his work on the Finance and Operations vertical tackling a large breadth of challenges including working tirelessly to ensure all payments under all Global initiatives are processed in a timely manner and providing high-level support to J-PAL.

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