LAWRENCE — The Center for Service Learning (CSL) at the University of Kansas has announced the 2022 Excellence in Service Learning award recipients and selected the winners of this year’s Service Showcase presentation competition. The CSL recognized these award recipients and others at the annual Service Showcase + Celebration.
The CSL’s Excellence in Service Learning Awards recognize exemplary contributors to the KU community culture of service and civic action. Nominations are continuously accepted on the CSL’s awards webpage.
Award for Excellence in Service Learning
Kathleen Dahl-Nuckolls, environmental studies lecturer
Dahl-Nuckolls is an active and engaged champion of service learning and committed collaborator with the Center for Service Learning. She instructs service-learning designated courses in the Environmental Studies Program and promotes the Certificate in Service Learning with her students. Through her courses, she integrates hands-on, community-engaged experiences for her students, including working with the Community Gardens to do soil sampling at current and proposed garden sites.
Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
Mercedes Bounthapanya, project manager for CLAS associate deans
Bounthapanya provides their service-based expertise in ongoing collaborations with community organizations such as the Black Economic Union (BEU) of Kansas City, Lawrence Sexual Trauma and Abuse CARE Center, Haus of McCoy, Lawrence Queer/Trans Youth Alliance and Food Not Bombs, among others. Bounthapanya's involvement both on- and off-campus is critical for providing a welcoming community at KU and more broadly.
Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community-Engaged Research + Learning
Alyssa Francis, master’s in higher education administration student
Francis, from Elkhorn, Nebraska, has taken an active role in a partnership with CSL to involve students in civic engagement education by partnering on a variety of programming initiatives and the Civic Engagement Ambassador program. In her position as graduate assistant in the Student Involvement & Leadership Center, she also works with students to find ways for them to take part in the service opportunities on campus.
Community Partner Award for Excellence in Campus Collaboration
Young Women on the Move, Youth Empowerment Organization
Young Women on the Move (YWOM) is a youth-serving organization in Kansas City, Kansas. For years now, YWOM has collaborated with the Department of Applied Behavioral Science and schools of Journalism and Social Welfare to partner as a service-learning host site. Projects students have assisted with include curriculum development in subjects such as healthy eating, exercise and art; youth program facilitation in the schools and the development of a volunteer management system.
Undergraduate Student Award for Excellence in Service Learning
Cori Brungardt, senior in marketing
This year, Brungardt, from Lee's Summit, Missouri, has helped connect Pi Beta Phi members to volunteer opportunities with the Ballard Center, including kindergarten readiness tutoring initiatives and community supply drives. Ballard Center staff noted the incredible impact Brungardt has had on the children served by the organization, as well as the organization itself.
Undergraduate Student Award for Excellence in Service Learning
Yasmin Edrees, senior in behavioral neuroscience
As the communications director for the KU Center for Community Outreach, Edrees, from Overland Park, has supported a group of around 40 student leaders in promoting both in-person and virtual service opportunities through various channels. As a co-president of HEAL KU, Edrees has facilitated a wide variety of service, advocacy and education opportunities while building a strong leadership team to carry on the organization’s valuable work.
In addition to the recipients of the CSL’s Excellence in Service Learning Awards, two student recipients of national awards were also recognized at this event:
2022-2023 Newman Civic Fellow
Abeer Iqbal, junior in behavioral neuroscience
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers at Campus Compact member institutions. Iqbal, from Urbandale, Iowa, has served with a variety of organizations including Phi Delta Epsilon, Sigma Kappa, Dance Marathon, LEAD UP, and Jayhawk Health Initiative. She is currently interning with the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Presidential Volunteer Service Award
Riya Patel, senior in molecular, cellular & developmental biology
This year, Patel, from Leavenworth, has earned the bronze Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing 100 hours of service in a year. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities. Patel currently serves as the co-president of HEAL KU and has volunteered with numerous local efforts.
At the Service Showcase + Celebration, exemplary student presenters for the annual Service Showcase poster competition were recognized. Faculty, staff and community partner judges evaluated each presentation based on several criteria, including evidence of meaningful community partnerships, intentional reflection and sense of civic identity and social responsibility.
Senior in psychology and applied behavioral science
Strothkamp's presentation detailed her spring 2022 work with Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. Strothkamp is from St. Louis. KSPHQ is the comprehensive suicide prevention leader in Kansas, providing education, support and crisis services for all.
Senior in applied behavioral science
Walker, from Lenexa, had a presentation that detailed her fall 2021 and spring 2022 work with Heartland 180. Heartland 180 works to empower youth to improve their lives by accepting personal accountability and to strive toward the goal of achieving their full potential, “one degree” at a time.
“Our annual Service Showcase and Celebration recognizes a year of community-engaged work at KU with community partners and across our campuses,” said Jomella Watson-Thompson, director of the Center for Service Learning. “It’s a great way, as we think about concluding our academic year, to really celebrate, recognize, acknowledge and showcase the hard work and dedication of our students, staff, faculty and our community partners.”
The event recording for the Service Showcase + Celebration, hosted by the Center for Service Learning on April 21, can be viewed on the CSL’s YouTube channel.