Ceremony Honors Students, Faculty, Partners Involved in Community-Engaged Learning, Service Work

April 28, 2022

The ninth annual Community Engagement Awards Ceremony and Celebration, held on Wednesday, April 27, acknowledged the contributions of more than 200 students who participated in community-engaged learning and service projects at more than 50 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.

Smirti Jacob, Lynn Donahue, and Ginny Maier at the CEL Celebration.

During the ceremony, alumna LaShunda Leslie-Smith, executive director of Connected Communities, delivered a keynote speech.

Fisher student McKenna Atkinson-Snow was given the Student Community-Engaged Learning Award for her work creating a pilot workshop on privilege, bias, and inclusive language in partnership with Showing Up for Racial Justice Rochester.

Dr. Virginia Borden Maier, 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 2015, Maier has served on the CEL Advisory Board, and she has incorporated CEL in courses including Science for Life; Science, Race, and Gender; and Studying Nature.

Smirti Jacob, managing editor of The Rochester Beacon, was given the Community Partner Civic Engagement Award for a collaboration with Dr. Jill Swiencicki that created opportunities for students to research and write stories for the news site.

Dr. Jim Bowman, associate professor in the English Department, and Chris Widmaier, executive director of Rochester Ecology Partners, received the CEL Reciprocity Award, recognizing the mutual benefits that both students and the nonprofit yield. Bowman’s students engaged in a landscape analysis of environmental social justice and sustainability work in Rochester, a report that Rochester Ecology Partners can share with funders and potential partners.

Several awards were also given to students and community partners involved in the First Generation and Service Scholars programs.

Abdulhady Homed ’22 was given the Outstanding First Generation Scholar Award, recognizing his passion for the community. Homed is a nursing major and served as president of the Muslim Student Alliance and as a member of the First Generation Scholar Executive Board. Most recently, he spent time volunteering with Refugees Helping Refugees.

Madison Dunn ’22 received the Outstanding Service Scholar Award. A nursing major, she established a Service Scholar Mentoring Program and was a member of the Service Scholar Executive Board throughout her time at Fisher. She volunteered at a number of Rochester organizations, most recently InterVol.

Jenna Vinoya ’24 was given the Exceptional Leadership in Community Award for her work fostering relationships between the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and the campus through the development of a newsletter, The Scholar Scoop. She is a member of the Student Government Association and worked closely on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including the organization of Cardinal Conversations.

TRU-Impact, Inc. was given the Scholar Community Partner Award. As a partner site for student volunteers, TRU has held dedicated training sessions at Fisher and provided ongoing mentor support to ensure students are confident in their roles as mentors.