President Noelle Cockett announced the recipients of the Utah State University Presidential Awards for Community Engagement in April. Each year, USU recognizes the work of outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners that exemplifies collaboration between USU and the greater community for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The awards will be presented by the USU Center for Community Engagement at the Community Engagement Celebration & Poster Session rescheduled for Fall 2020.
Kristin Searle, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, received the Community-Engaged Faculty award. She was nominated for her extraordinary statewide efforts to engage underrepresented and marginalized youth in STEM through camps, Makerspaces and community-based research.
Dave Anderson, Dave Evans, and Jake Powell, Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Extension faculty, received the Community-Engaged Faculty award. The trio was nominated for their extraordinary efforts to serve communities across the Intermountain West through a unique blending of landscape architecture and planning studio projects that are built upon partnerships with mayors, city planners, non-profits and individual citizens.
Jake Hogan, a junior in theatre education and English, received the Community-Engaged Student award. They were nominated for their leadership and engagement both within the USU and the greater community. Their groundbreaking work within the LGBTQ+ community has served to amplify and share the lived experience of LGBTQ+ community members and challenge common stereotypes.
Emily Ezola, director of the USU Youth Conservatory, received the Community-Engaged Staff award. The Youth Conservatory exemplifies the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources by simultaneously serving as a teaching lab for piano majors and an opportunity for over 100 community members to take weekly piano instruction and musicianship classes. In addition, she serves as the executive director of the Fry Street Chamber Music Festival and the program committee chair for the Chamber Music Society of Logan.
Samuel Rivera, USU Biology academic advisor coordinator, received the Community-Engaged Alumnus award. He was nominated for his efforts to introduce local Latinx youth to STEM fields and raise scholarship funds for first generation students and DACA recipients. Having earned his doctorate from USU, he hopes to give students the same opportunities to access higher education that he was given. Rivera has also worked with multiple organizations throughout Latin America to increase water sustainability for indigenous communities in rural areas.
Athletics United, a Logan-based nonprofit, received the Committed Community Partner award. The organization was nominated for its extraordinary use of running and sports to provide support to the local refugee community. In addition, USU student volunteers are made to feel welcome and included and are given opportunities to engage in meaningful ways.
More information on USU Center for Community Engagement can be found at https://www.usu.edu/communityengagement/..