PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea recognized three individuals
and two institutions with the 2017 NASS Medallion Award at a ceremony held this
afternoon at the State House. State Senator Erin Lynch Prata of Warwick; Aram
Garabedian of Cranston; Shanna Wells of West Warwick; the Providence Student Union;
and the Rhode Island Foundation all received the NASS Medallion Award from Secretary
Gorbea.

“Rhode Island is fortunate to have such an incredible selection of community
leaders,” Secretary Gorbea said. “Leaders who inspire Rhode Islanders from all walks
of life into taking an active role in their community.”

As chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, State Senator Erin Lynch Prata was
recognized for her leadership in sponsoring legislation that makes it easier for
Rhode Islanders to be engaged such as Early In-Person Voting, Lobby Reform, and the
National Popular Vote. Aram Garabedian was recognized for his longstanding civic
leadership, having served the community both as an elected official and as a board
member of several Rhode Island nonprofit organizations. Shanna Wells is the
organizer of the Rhode Island Women’s Solidarity Rally held in support of the
Women’s March on Washington. She was recognized for her leadership as a community
organizer. The Providence Student Union was honored for their commitment to civic
education and engagement and the pivotal role they played in helping to pass
Automatic Voter Registration in our state. Finally, the Rhode Island Foundation was
honored for their leadership in creating public private partnerships that are
empowering Rhode Islanders while strengthening our state.

“Today’s honorees remind us that civic participation is critical to our success as a
state,” Secretary Gorbea added. “As leaders, we must create the opportunities for
all Rhode Islanders to be a part of the conversations that affect them.”

The NASS Medallion award was created by the National Association of Secretaries of
State to recognize outstanding public service and civic engagement. Secretaries of
State are given the opportunity to award up to five NASS Medallions each year to
individuals and organizations who have demonstrated remarkable civic leadership in
their state. Founded in 1904, the National Association of Secretaries of State
(NASS) is the oldest nonpartisan, professional association of public officials in
the United States.