Joseph Fink Award: Nathan Spielberg
The Joseph Fink Award, which includes a college scholarship, traditionally goes to an outstanding graduating senior each year who has done quite a bit of community service. This year the award goes to Sarah Ensign, now a senior at Ballard High School.
[by Phyllis Shaikun]
Nathan Spielberg is a young man with many talents and a wide variety of interests. A June graduate of the Honors Program at Kentucky Country Day, he will be heading to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the fall to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. He is this year’s recipient of the Joseph Fink Award, traditionally presented to an outstanding senior who has done quite a bit of community service work – and Spielberg certainly fills that bill.
As a 12-year-old, he designed and has now sold more than 20,000 plastic bracelets bearing the words “Love Life” to support research on Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews including his younger brother, Jacob. To date, he helped raise thousands of dollars nationally, and last summer, in recognition of his efforts, Spielberg spent a month in Boston working with a Harvard University lab doing Dystonia research.
He has taken part in community service projects at home as well and is an active member of Drew Corson AZA. He has served as chapter president and vice president of programming and is gratified to note that during his years of membership, the chapter has grown from just three members to 18, many of whom have been motivated to attend various regional conventions.
Spielberg served as regional shaliach (vice president) of community service and Judaism, helped his chapter win the regional basketball tournament (a feat he calls “pretty sweet”) and came in second place for the regional spirit award. The recipient of last year’s Ellen and Milton Cantor Israel Scholarship and the 2009 Ellen Faye Garmon Award, he participated in BBYO’s ILSI (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization’s International Leadership Seminar in Israel) this past December.
His interest in guitars (he has been playing for seven years) led him to build custom electric guitars and his love of cars prompted him to work alongside his father, Gregg, on cars like a 1969 Alfa Romeo they are currently restoring.
Spielberg, the son of Linda and Gregg and brother of Jacob, is grateful to the Jewish community for making the Fink Award possible and for being so supportive of Jewish youth in Louisville. He and his family are members of The Temple.
Following his death in 1996, family and friends chose to honor Joseph Fink’s memory and his commitment to the Louisville’s Jewish youth by establishing an endowment that funds the Joseph Fink BBYO Community Service Scholarship and provides a partial-tuition college scholarship for four years to a BBYO member who is involved in community service work.