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Community-Engaged Learning, Service Work Honored during Annual Ceremony

April 28, 2021

The annual Community Engagement Celebration, held on Friday, April 23, acknowledged and celebrated the contributions of more than 200 students who participated in community-engaged learning and service projects at more than 35 organizations in Rochester during the past academic year.

Awards honored students, faculty, and community partners, as well as students in the First-Generation and Service Scholars programs.

As with many of the activities and initiative Fisher students engaged in over the last year, COVID had its own unique impacts on community engagement. In her remarks during the ceremony, Erin Barry, director of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, noted that technology glitches, personal losses, and crises created unforeseen challenges for students and community partners. However, through immense effort, Fisher students were able to overcome those challenges, growing and developing in the process.

“In community, our students were able to identify the depths of their talents, their areas for improvement, and it is how they continue to uniquely grow through community engaged scholarship,” she said. “Rochester truly is the best learning environment one could hope for. The generosity of spirit from the community-based organizations we partner with is endless and ever present. I am certain that through this adversity and awful pandemic our students grew closer to the people in organizations that we serve, despite all odds. And as the relationships deepened, so many of us were able to see not only the great and mounting needs in our community, but the magic of the people in this great city and county.”

Two Fisher students, Roblyn Powley and Mary Ellen Capineri, were given the Student Community-Engaged Learning Award. Ally Wichtowksi was given the Outstanding Service Scholar Award and Morgan Bajish was given the Outstanding First-Generation Scholar Award. Emily Trotman was given the Leadership on Campus and in the Community Award.

Dr. Jane Snyder, experiential learning coordinator and visiting instructor in the political science, legal studies, and philosophy departments, received the Faculty Award for Civic Engagement, which recognizes faculty who have demonstrated outstanding teaching or collaboration in a service-learning context. Since 2018, Snyder has woven community-engaged learning into her Philosophy of Education course, connecting students with four or five organizations, including CP Rochester, Nativity Preparatory Academy, and Junior Achievement, among others. This year, students engaged in dialogues about COVID with residents of the Episcopal Senior Living Family Manor residents.

The National Coalition Building Institute was given the Community Partner Civic Engagement Award, recognizing their outstanding leadership and collaboration with service-learning projects. NCBI representatives Anne McAndrew and Steve Jarose accepted the award on behalf of the community organization. Students working with NCBI helped develop brochures, grant research, and materials while learning from NCBI facilitators about race, identity, and equity.

Buddy Readers and Marcy DeJesus-Rueff were given the Scholarship Community Partner ‘Above and Beyond’ Award. This program connects adults at Spiritus Christi and Fisher students with “little buddies” or students in the World of Inquiry, School No. 52, and the Eugenio Maria De Hostos Charter School in the Rochester City School District to create foundational reading skills and foster a love of reading among the students.