2020 IAMNCC Presidents’ Award Winners

Each president or chancellor from an Iowa or Minnesota Campus Compact member campus may select one recipient (individual or group) in each of the following three categories. See below for this year’s awardees, organized by campus.

– Presidents’ Student Leadership Award: This award is for an individual student or a student organization that models a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership, evidenced by initiative, innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing public issues, effective community building, and integration of civic engagement into the college experience.

– Presidents’ Civic Engagement Leadership Award: This award is for a member of the faculty, administration, or staff or for a group (e.g., advisory committee, task force, project team) that has significantly advanced their campus’ distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnerships, supporting others’ civic and community engagement, and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement.

– Presidents’ Community Partner Award: This award is for a community-based individual or organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways and has engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with the college or university, thus enriching educational as well as community outcomes.

Student Leadership Award: Alana Goodson

Since 2017, Alana has been a fierce, committed Campus Kitchen leader, bringing other students into all aspects of the program, from building meaningful relationships with senior apartment residents during Friday night dinners to recovering, distributing, and cooking with gleaned produce. The energy Alana brings to this work is contagious.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Jill Dawe

Professor Jill Dawe of Augsburg’s Music Department has been dedicated to the Cedar-Riverside Community for more than 25 years through connections with the Cedar-Riverside Community School, as co-chair of the Cedar Cultural Center’s Board of Directors, and making an album with her students and Somali musicians.

Community Partner Award: Soup for You Cafe

Soup for You Cafe at Bethany Lutheran Church has fed hungry community members for the last five years. To date, more than ninety thousand bowls of vegetarian and organic soups have been cooked and served by faculty, staff, and student volunteers five days a week, free of charge.

Student Leadership Award: Gracie Grussing

Gracie is currently a member of the Frogtown Urban Living Experience. Through this living learning community, she has been mentored by community leaders and is a member of the leadership team for the community peace celebration. As part of this team, she is building a movement of peace.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dr. Leo Gabriel

Dr. Leo Gabriel, professor of business and economics, is a leader at Bethel in developing community-engaged learning opportunities. Since 1999, through Prepare + Prosper Leo has organized students to provide access to quality tax and financial services. Through Leo’s classes over 4,000 hours of free tax preparation have been provided.

Community Partner Award: Irreducible Grace Foundation

Bethel social work students work alongside young leaders at Irreducible Grace Foundation to foster trust and community between youth who have faced disparities and the institutions that have failed them. Through this partnership, Bethel interns learn about empowerment and how young people shape the work helping others heal from trauma.

Student Leadership Award: Wava Jarr

Wava Jarr is an active student leader on campus who is committed to social justice. During her time at BVU, she has applied her Education skills learned in the classroom to meet community needs. Wava developed service projects to engage her peers and found ways to build community partnerships.


Community Partner: CommUnity Education

CommUnity Education is a vital community partner to BVU and many others within Storm Lake. They host hundreds of BVU students annually through internships, service projects and educational experiences. They are always willing to provide opportunities that allow students to learn and grow through letting them lead and create programs.

Student Leadership Award: Hibo Abdi

Hibo Abdi is a dynamic and passionate leader. She is the current Carleton Student Association Vice President and chairs their budget committee. Hibo has participated in SEED (Students Engaging in Essential Dialogue), African and Caribbean Students Association, and Muslim Students Association. She works in Carleton’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement office on health and wellbeing programming.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a program coordinator in Carleton’s Sustainability Office. Alex is a leader both on and off campus. On campus she manages the students dedicated to advancing sustainability at Carleton and supports ACE classes. Off campus Alex served on the City of Northfield’s Environmental Quality Commission and Co-chaired its Climate Action Planning Board. She is currently serving on the Northfield Community Action Center Board of Directors.

Community Partner Award: Joe Sage

Assistant Principal Joe Sage has worked in diligent collaboration with Carleton College and four teams of community researchers on a Participatory Action Research project about educational equity for Somali and Latinx families in Faribault, MN, funded by a CNCS Community Conversations grant. He has been an invaluable resource providing context about the school and supporting on-the-ground logistics that allowed this project to happen. He is a dedicated educator who is deeply committed to self-reflection.

Student Leadership Award: Michael Escobedo

Michael Escobedo is the president of the Organization of Latinx-American Students (OLAS). OLAS represents Latinx students at Central College. The group seeks to create strong bonds and a sense of community among Latinx and non-Latinx students alike on campus, in addition to hosting activities that improve society, culture, and academic life.

Student Leadership Award: Mia Resa

Mia is a senior majoring in psychology. She served through AmeriCorps at local WIC clinics and in Cedar Rapids schools where she mentored and tutored students, conducted graduate-level research at Purdue University, and worked with the elderly to fight social isolation and build community. She is an Executive Member of “I’m First,” Coe’s organization for first-generation students. She received a scholarship for Excellence in the Hispanic Community and is a member of the American Association of University Women.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award:Dr. Renee Penalver, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Fellow for Community Engaged Pedagogy

Dr. Renee Penalver’s work as the Faculty Fellow for Community Engagement at Coe College is largely focused on empowering the Coe and Cedar Rapids communities through increasing access to information and resources for all, and connecting people and organizations. Evidence of this has spanned her teaching, scholarship, service, and fellowship. Dr. Penalver has played a major role in touting the benefits of faculty and community partnerships while serving as a valuable resource to Coe’s faculty.

Community Partner Award: Willis Dady Homeless Services

The Willis Dady Homeless Shelter partnered with students from the Ethnographic Methods course at Coe College to gain new insights into the impact of homelessness on the Cedar Rapids community. By creating a questionnaire to examine factors related to homelessness, conducting focus groups to evaluate results, and interviewing landlords to understand their perspectives on homelessness prevention, Willis Dady gained vital information as they continued to find ways to empower participants.

Student Leadership Award: Samantha Givens

Samantha Givens is a senior at the College of Saint Benedict studying political science. She has modeled a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership through the Bonner Leadership Program, as a volunteer at the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy & Civic Engagement, as an intern at The Advocacy Project in Washington, DC, and as a summer research fellow in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She was a delegate to the Model UN Conference and the West Point Foreign Affairs Conference.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Becoming Community

The Becoming Community Initiative aims to create transformative inclusion among faculty, staff, monastics, students, alumni, and community partners at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s|University. At the heart of this work is the idea that inclusion requires a transformative process wherein our community is necessarily reformed and enriched through deep engagement among all members. Thus, true inclusion is not an end goal, but an ongoing and active process.

Community Partner Award: Homework Helpers

Homework Helpers was developed by Saint Joseph’s Cultural Bridges and is supported by the College of Saint Benedict and the CSB/SJU Education Department. College students, many of whom are prospective teachers, join volunteers from the larger community to support the work of classroom teachers by helping children enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade understand and complete their homework assignments.

Student Leadership Award: Abigayle Reese

Abigayle Reese is a leader on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability at Concordia College. Abigayle served as the President of Black Student Union, founded the Minorities and Comrades for Change student organization, served of faculty senate, organized the 2019 MLK Day, and currently serves as Vice President in the Student Government Association. Abigaye has also been selected to participate in the Friends of the Earth Fellowship and has won many awards in Forensics.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dr. Joan Kopperud

Dr. Joan Kopperud has led two major community engagement initiatives at Concordia College. First, she has overseen a campus-wide curricular revision to bolster student engagement with integrative learning. Through this program, PEAK (Pivotal Experiences in Applied Knowledge), all Concordia students are required to have two high impact experiences in order to graduate. Second, Joan has helped lead the “Taste Not Waste” campaign, a campus-wide initiative to reduce plate waste by 50%.

Community Partner Award: Concordia Science Academy

For ten years, Concordia Science Academy has provided positive science experiences for thousands of students of all ages in the Fargo-Moorhead area and beyond. Their ongoing mission is to involve faculty and students of Concordia College and provide hands-on science activities and positive science role-models to students K-12 in the region.

Student Leadership Award: Hannah Gustafson

A standout student leader, Hannah has been involved in service throughout her college care. Most recently, she has been instrumental in educating the student body about mental health issues and led a campaign called the Green Bandana. It included a pledge for taking care of yourself and listening to others, information about mental health services on campus and in the community and tying a green bandana on your backpack to signal that you took the pledge to understand mental health issues.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dr. Cheryl Chatman

Dr. Chatman is often described as the “heart” of Concordia University – reflected in the many students and faculty who visit her office frequently to receive a welcoming smile or word of encouragement. She serves a similar role in the community spending long hours supporting community efforts such as Arts Us, EveryBody In and the NAACP. Her influence both on campus and in the community is far-reaching, and to honor her CSP has named our Diversity Center after her to honor her legacy of service.

Community Partner Award: Union Park District Council

Union Park District Council creates a welcoming space for diverse residents from new immigrants to renters, property owners, and students and has helped create a fund to build community capacity. UPDC works to ensure college students are welcome in the community and higher educational institutions and students are represented on its board and activities.

Student Leadership: Brittany Freeman

Brittany is a motivated student leader whose enthusiasm for social change is exemplified through her many activities at Drake and in the community. She has served as an AmeriCorps member at Anawim Housing through the Engaged Citizen Corps Program, participated in a Social Justice Living Learning Community her sophomore year, served as President of Next Course Food Recovery, and most recently, was elected to serve on the board of Community Youth Concepts, a local nonprofit.


Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Drake University Political Visitors Team: Rachel Paine Caufield, Scott Law, Matt Miller, Jarad Bernstein, Dani Peters, and Tony Tyler

Drake University serves as the place where politics come alive! Throughout the 2020 caucus season Drake hosted dozens of town halls, rallies, and forums, a nationally televised Democratic presidential debate, a campaign event for President Trump, three Democratic caucus precincts, and was mentioned in the media 8,500 times. Hosting events requires a substantial amount of time, efforts, and planning and our Political Visitors Team provided strong leadership in managing all of our caucus events.


Community Partner: Gregory & Susie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club

Drake University and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa opened the Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Club on August 23, 2019. This is only the second Boys & Girls Club in the nation located on a private college or university campus. The Burt Club serves more than 200 youth, providing kids and teens in our community with a safe, supportive place to be after school and during the summer, and numerous educational and service opportunities for Drake students.

Community Partner: Grinnell Education Partnership AmeriCorps Host Sites

The Grinnell Education Partnership unites nonprofits, employers, the school district, and volunteers to improve opportunities for all kids and families in Grinnell. The effort is supported by a team of AmeriCorps members embedded in community organizations and the Partnership’s host sites are the bedrock of the initiative. Embracing AmeriCorps teams, host sites have made significant contributions to members’ personal and professional development, student success, and the power of the network. 2019-20 host sites include: Drake Community Library, Grinnell Community Early Learning Center, Grinnell College Museum of Art, Grinnell-Newburg School District, LINK Grinnell, Mid-Iowa Community Action, and UnityPoint Health/Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

Student Leadership Award: Monali Bhakta

Monali Bhakta, a senior political science and English major, currently serves as the Gustavus Student Senate co-president. At the Gustavus Day at the Capitol she met with legislators to share her support of the State Grant Program and was selected to testify in front of the Minnesota Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee. In summer 2019, she interned for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. In addition to Student Senate she is involved in diversity and voter engagement initiatives.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Pamela Conners

Pam Conners embeds community-based projects that allow students to gain practical experience doing research, facilitating community discussions, and evaluating the deliberative process of an organization into many of her courses. The community partnerships that she and her students forge-with entities such as the Nicollet County Historical Society, St. Peter Public Schools, and local refugee aid groups- become co-creators of the course content, shaping and guiding the class.

Student Leadership Award: Emily Hilderbrand

Emily Hilderbrand has a deep commitment to inclusivity and social justice at Hamline and within the United Methodist Church. She is the student leader of our “”Love Boldly”” initiative, advocating for an inclusive future for the UMC. Emily put into place a step-by-step plan for Hamline to become a Reconciling University.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Jane Turk

Jane Turk is a diligent and staunch supporter of civic and community engagement. Her expertise in service learning and her commitment to faculty development and student success, makes Hamline strong in its civic mission. She’s a supportive colleague, a committed student mentor, and a valuable member of the Hamline community.

Community Partner Award: The Food Group

Hamline University and The Food Group have been partners for nearly three years addressing student food insecurity. They work most closely with students in the Feed Your Brain student organization and our current Campus Food Access AmeriCorps Volunteer, which has distributed over 20,000 pounds of health food to Hamline students.

Student Leadership Award: Dereje Lajebo

DJ formed a new Student Senate committee to combat student housing and food insecurity, and has effectively engaged students, faculty and campus committees in its work. He has served as an example of community building on a community college campus through his involvement, networking and bringing other students into the work.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Inver Hills Learning Communities

For the past 15 years, Inver Hills’ Learning Community program has fostered partnerships with community. In the past 18 months, approximately one-third of LCOMs have participated in Community-Based Learning, partnering with organizations such as the IHCC Community Garden, Ampersand Families, Irreducible Grace Foundation, and more. Other LCOMs introduce students to community resources. The vast majority of students report feeling more connected to community as a result.

Community Partner Award: Saint Therese of Woodbury Senior Community

Every semester, Saint Therese hosts IHCC nursing students as part of their required Nursing Leadership class. Saint Therese welcomes students and supports them through their project of researching the organizational structure, analyzing available data, interviewing nurses, and making and presenting recommendations. Saint Therese is a valued co-educator!

Say congratulations!

Student Leadership: Beta Lambda Tau Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa

The Beta Lambda Tau chapter of Phi Theta Kappa led an electronic waste project and participated in voter education and registration efforts, including Mock Caucus training sessions. The chapter leaders are Souad (Susu) Ahmed and Raina Hogberg.

Civic Engagement Leadership: Kirkwood Civic Engagement Team

The Civic Engagement team is responsible for voter education and registration efforts, including the Mock Caucus. They planned and celebrated Democracy Days and worked to institutionalize civic engagement during Assessment Day. They are also working on Kirkwood’s Civic Action Plan. Members are Scott Samuelson, Shelby Myers, Finn Kolsrud, John Dawson, David McMahon, Kristie Leeman, and Seth Vander Tuig.

Student Leadership Award: Amelia Gerrard

Amelia Gerrard ’20 is a dynamic leader who has engaged the Macalester community in issues of immigration and LGBTQ+ justice by designing and implementing campus-wide policy, volunteering and reflection experiences. She started conversation circles with Karen refugees and has recruited and coordinated over 50 students volunteering in local nonprofits.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Nancy Bostrom

Macalester’s Civic Engagement Center partners with Nancy Bostrom, Associate Director of Assessment, to conduct surveys of graduating seniors and recent alums to assess progress towards the college-wide learning goal of community engagement. This data and Nancy’s thoughtful, collaborative approach is vital to our deepening institutional commitments of learning and engagement.

Community Partner Award: Arbor Otalora-Fadner for CommonBond Communities

Numerous Macalester students work with children and youth at multiple CommonBond Communities and many stay engaged for years. Staff provide meaningful training and support for tutors and mentors, deepening their commitment. The outstanding contributions and leadership of volunteer manager Arbor Otalora-Fadner has brought consistency and depth to this long-term partnership.

Student Leadership Award: Hamisha Alkamooneh

Hamisha Alkamooneh has introduced the first student-run community garden to Metropolitan State that will provide healthy food to low-income and food insecure students. She has also initiated a “Nanny” program to provide childcare to student parents, so they can fully participate in campus activities and leadership.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dr. August Hoffman

For the past 10 years, Dr. Hoffman has developed deep community partnerships through green space activities. He has combined psychological theories of growth, empowerment, and resilience with community gardens to reduce conflict and improve community well-being. The work brings together community and students in a transformational teaching and learning process.

Community Partner Award: Parents In Community Action, Inc. – Head Start

PICA has partnered with Metro to enroll its education staff, many of whom are current or former Head Start parents, to Metro’s BA program in early childhood development and earn college credits. This innovative program increases teachers of color and addresses the critical need for a high-quality early childhood workforce.

Student Leadership Award: Collin Neely

Collin Neely works with the college social worker to address student needs; he is also a leader within the Black Cultural Student Association. Collin brings enthusiasm and curiosity to his work and relationships. He is a model student who contributes to a campus climate that is welcoming and supportive.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Moorhead Spartan Center Staff

The Moorhead Spartan Center Team (April Olson, Dilvin Habib, Jennifer Aranda) for infusing the MHD Spartan Center with cultural elements that support belonging, learning, and identity representation. Their intentional efforts to support, and nurture, all students is valuable and appreciated.

Community Partner Award: Fergus Falls Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Community of Practice

Fergus Falls community members met monthly to explore difference, and the impact certain differences have on outcomes. Participants shared responsibility to act and develop a more equitable community that appreciates and respects the potential of all its people. We strove to build tolerance for capacity to engage despite discomfort.

Student Leadership: Jump Start Coaches

Jump Start is in the second year of existence at Mount Mercy University supporting our community. The Jump Start mission is to inspire children of Cedar Rapids to reach their educational potential by teaching vital lessons in leadership and academics through the support of mentors and role models at Mount Mercy University. In the first year, the program served 27 students in the summer and one year later, served 107 students in the summer and an additional 25 students in the school year.



Civic Engagement Leadership: Jason Pershing, Jump Start Director/Assistant Athletic Director

Jason Pershing joined Mount Mercy in 2019, immediately increasing the positive impact our Jump Start program had on students and our community. He met with countless community partners and nonprofits that served students in need, and our own Mount Mercy students to build upon the first year of the program, elevating it to new heights. He quadrupled the number of students impacted by the program, tripled the number of schools served, and even doubled the number of Mount Mercy students serving as coaches.

Student Leadership Award: Student Senate and Phi Theta Kappa

Normandale’s student organizations have committed themselves in the 2019-2020 school year to improving student access to basic needs. They have achieved basic needs access through collaboration, new initiatives, and by empowering their members to be engaged in this effort.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Chris Peterson

Normandale’s Bookstore Manager has shown significant enthusiasm for helping meet student basic needs. He has looked for opportunities to donate to our on-campus food shelf and has partnered with our Student Resource Center for a pop-up clothing closet.

Community Partner Award: Oasis for Youth

Nonprofit Oasis for Youth has a long-standing partnership with Normandale to help support our students at-risk of homelessness. They regularly come to our campus to assist students and expertly help our students when we refer people to them.

Student Leadership Award: Joseph Ramlet

Joe serves as a Senator at Large at North Hennepin Community College representing the needs of the diverse student body. As a PSEO student, he has demonstrated his civic responsibility through his work in the community and by being an active and dedicated member of Student Senate at NHCC, his high school- where he serves on student council and in his community attending town hall meetings and providing feedback to create change. Joe is always willing educating his peers on important matters.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: The Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth

The Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth is an intermediary that was created by the cities of Brooklyn |Center and Brooklyn Park and supports organizations that provide out-of-school-time programming for youth. The purpose of the Alliance is to cooperatively support positive youth development in out-of-school-time opportunities for all youth in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park.

Community Partner Award: Disability: IN Minnesota

Disability:IN Minnesota is an employer-led endeavor made up of over 40 of the largest employers and community providers in the state. Disability:IN Minnesota promotes best practices that enhance employment and career opportunities for skilled individuals who have a disability. In the past four years, Disability:IN Minnesota has provided numerous professional mentoring experiences for NHCC students with disabilities through its Career Connections Mentoring Program.

Student Leadership Award: Alex Modeas

Alex is senior Political Science/Peace Studies major, a student senator and serves on the Cultural Affairs Board. After May graduation Alex seeks to focus on social transformation. His intern experiences at Alafia Foundation and the Center for Indian Country Development in Mpls provided opportunities to work with staff, volunteers, and community partners on anti-gun violence, racial/gender equity, and community development. On campus he promotes mental health & co-leads conversations on race.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Ted Gordon

Ted developed a partnership with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Nay-Ah-Shing school to reduce the Native student achievement gap; also partnered with Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to share materials from campus archives. A Bonner Foundation Faculty Fellow, he led faculty in developing community partner courses. He also serves on the Board of the Central MN Community Empowerment Org which tutors Somali-American Students.

Community Partner Award: Discovery Kidstop

Discovery Kidstop, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central MN, is a childcare enrichment facility providing quality afterschool programs. Discovery Kidstop integrates College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University students in mentoring, tutoring, and active role modeling for youth. Students experience diverse communities and learning opportunities and build strong leadership and communication skills. Together, Discovery Kidstop, Bennies and Johnnies help young people realize their full potential.

Student Leadership Award: Emma Mockler

Emma Mockler is a visible leader at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is a role model for service to others as evidenced by her work as a Student Orientation Leader, her engagement with countless mission trips, and her participation in service clubs on campus. She honed her leadership skills at a two-week conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in collaboration with students from other Lasallian colleges and universities worldwide. Emma is a bright light at Saint Mary’s.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dean Beckman

Dean Beckman constantly works to connect students with alumni in his work at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, benefiting both students and alumni. He also serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative and is the voice of Cardinal Athletics. He advances the university’s mission through the civic work he does in Winona as evidenced by his role as Harbormaster for the 2109 Winona Steamboat Days. The university appreciates Dean’s commitment to leadership at the university and in Winona.

Community Partner Award: Habitat for Humanity Winona-Fillmore Counties

Habitat for Humanity Winona-Fillmore Counties is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes. Habitat and Saint Mary’s University have had a long relationship with students at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Our students have participated in builds throughout the years. Habitat teaches our students about building community and building hope – incredibly valuable lessons for them as they grow and mature.

Student Leadership: Amanda Stadtlander

Amanda Stadtlander embodies all of the characteristics of a servant leader through her deep and ongoing commitment to community engagement at Simpson College. Amanda is the Rotaract President and focuses on growing the on-campus service club and evaluating service projects to ensure they are mutually beneficial for all involved. Additionally, Amanda has served in a leadership role for the Wesley Service Scholar program, growing program participation to 120 students in Spring 2020.


Civic Engagement Leadership: Dr. Heidi Levine, Vice President of Student Development

Heidi Levine brings more than 30 years of experience as a student affairs professional and educator to her leadership of Simpson’s student life programs and services. Heidi is passionate about student engagement and inclusion, as well as her belief in the transformative power of the out-of-class learning which happens from diving deeply into campus life. Most recently, Heidi has led a team to launch the Simpson Dialogue program on campus with the goal of teaching dialogue across difference.

Community Partner: Sue Wilson, The Helping Hand of Warren County

The purpose of Helping Hand is to assist people in Warren County who need food, clothing, or household furnishings at no cost. The benefit of the program is to operate the Food Pantry for Warren County residents. Simpson College and The Helping Hand have worked together to develop a robust, mutually beneficial partnership to benefit residents of Warren County. Not only are Simpson students eligible to use their services, many are serving regularly, providing IT and food recovery support.

Student Leadership Award: Vicky Coronado

Vicky Coronado is a Student who came to South Central College (SCC) seeking a career in helping others. She’s entrenched herself as a central leader of the SCC-Faribault community and a role model for other leaders on both campuses. Through her role, she has been integral in SCC initiatives to become a Student-Ready campus. She’s worked with our staff to create a Community Resource Center/Food Pantry on each campus, participated in recruitment events, and continues to better SCC for her peers.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Student Senate
(North Mankato & Faribault)

South Central College students assemble a Student Senate on each campus, North Mankato and Faribault. This group consists of student leaders nominated by their peers to represent their best interests to the campus. This group acts as a voice of the Student Body, hears general concerns from students, and advocated for student involvement and civic engagement.

Student Leadership Award: Mae Wrase

Mae created and serves as President of the Exercise is Medicine (a worldwide American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) health initiative) Club on her campus. Mae serves on the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) for the regional Northland Chapter of ACSM (NACSM), and as NACSM’s sole student representative for ACSM (national).

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Crystal Watts

Crystal’s ability to form relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships with the community is a gift, which has been a primary strength of SMSU’s new resource, Mustang Market. Her work as an AmeriCorps Health VISTA has advanced the civic mission of SMSU in a short period of time.

Community Partner Award: United Community Action Partnership – The Kitchen Table

Margaret and Lori from United Community Action Partnership’s The Kitchen Table have been instrumental campus partners with the implementation of Mustang Market at SMSU. There have been many involved with the organization of this resource, but their support, input, and guidance has been invaluable.

Student Leadership Award: Addison Cross

Addison is a senior International Relations major at St. Kate’s. Through St. Kate’s, she has been working as a Refugee and Immigrant Program intern and interpreter with The Advocates for Human Rights since 2017. Through this work she gained a passion for immigrant justice and hopes to conduct research on Central American migration after graduation. Addison is also a contributor to St. Kate’s newspaper, The Wheel. She has exemplified a St. Kate’s leader in her many roles on and off campus.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: St. Kate’s Food Shelf in partnership with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

This collaborative effort to respond to food insecurity that exists within our St. Kate’s community is co-led by faculty, staff, students and Sisters staff to provide food access. Responding to and building on learning about our campus’ food insecurity realities, this group has worked creatively and thoughtfully to provide ongoing support that serves a most basic need.

Community Partner Award: G.I.R.L.S.

G.I.R.L.S. has been a collaborator with St. Kate’s for many years. This effort, led by Salma and Fatimah Hussein, has had a huge impact on the lives of Muslim girls and on our St. Kate’s community. G.I.R.L.S. programming provides exercise opportunities with a focus on basketball. Community Leaders students have worked there each semester; St. Kate’s basketball team has led drills and hosted G.I.R.L.S. at games; and many service-learning groups have participated.

Student Leadership Award: Brittney Topliff

In fall 2018, Brittney noticed that students were hungry while working as a peer Learning Assistant for a chemistry class. She wanted to help her fellow students, so she started the Husky Food Pantry in the College of Science and Engineering. Eighteen months and many hundreds of hours and contacts later, her efforts have lead to the creation of on and off-campus partnerships and a new campus-wide food pantry opening by March 2020 in the Miller Center Library for all students to access.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dr. Michael Dando

Dr. Dando’s work is centered on community-driven, democratically engaged learning. He is involved with organizations locally and nationally that support education, creative arts, leadership development and technology innovation in rural and urban settings, and teacher development. These include: Hip Hop Association of Advancement and Education, Hip Hop Youth Research Association, National Science Foundation, National Council of Teachers of English & American Educational Research Association.

Community Partner Award: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota

Since 2016, BBBS has partnered with SCSU, ISD 742, and Spanier Bus Co. to create an innovative professional mentoring opportunity for SCSU staff, faculty, alumni, emeriti, and business leaders. These BIGS are matched with local junior high students (LITTLES) in the AVID program. Matches meet twice a month on the SCSU campus over the lunch hour. This popular program has nearly doubled in size each year to date. The setting and structure allows Littles to see the potential for higher education.

Student Leadership Award: Andrew Bailey

Phillips Scholar and Student Government Association (SGA) president Andrew Bailey, designed a training program for rising 7th and 8th grade students to promote leadership development among youth scholars by empowering them to become leaders in their schools and communities. Attendees participated in leadership sessions, set goals, and heard from motivational speakers. In his SGA leadership role, Andrew advocates tirelessly for students on topics such as equity, affordability and mental health.

Civic Engagement Award: Dr. Thomas Morgan

Dr. Morgan, Professor in the Global, Culture and Language department, directs The College of St. Scholastica Peace and Justice Institute and leads the Alworth Peace and Justice Series. For many years, this annual Series has brought nationally known speakers together with community members, students, faculty and staff, to address and dialogue about some of the most compelling issues in modern society. This year’s focus is Criminal Justice in the United States.

Community Partner Award: CHUM – Churches United in Ministry

CHUM is people of faith working together to organize for a just and compassionate community. CHUM serves 8,000 low-income, homeless, hungry or otherwise marginalized community members each year by providing emergency shelter, food and street outreach throughout Duluth. The College of St Scholastica partners with CHUM by putting Catholic Social Teaching into action. Campus Ministry student leaders working as CHUM Delegates organize efforts through education, advocacy, and service.

Student Leadership Award: Amanda Hansmann

Amanda Hansmann is an outstanding community member and leader who is passionate about
community engagement. Amanda created her own minor in community engagement to learn more about the theories and promising practices in the field. She engaged in multiple community-engaged learning and volunteer opportunities, nearly all of which were designed by her in partnership with faculty, staff, and community partners. These include interviewing all healthcare providers in the region and documenting volunteer opportunities for her peers in pre-health majors, ongoing volunteer work with the local medical center, creating a volunteer program for families impacted by Alzheimer’s, and organizing a dialogue series about Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Kari Adams

For nearly 10 years, Kari Adams has volunteered in the ESL Tutoring, Reading, and Empowering Children program as the only non-student volunteer. Parents and children have come to trust her, and she’s played a role in the social, emotional, and academic growth of dozens of children over the years. Kari has supported student leaders by providing input and encouragement, but always empowering them to plan lessons and take the lead. She has done this work without drawing attention to herself, putting in more than 800 hours of volunteer time.

Community Partner Award: Willie’s Supervalu

The Willie’s Supervalu team has supported community engagement in meaningful ways over several years. While small town grocery stores often struggle to keep their doors open and could easily choose a different way of engaging in the community, Willie’s has chosen generosity. Willie’s has hosted multiple community engagement projects with the UMN Morris, from food drives to informational campaigns about public issues to hosting an art show to benefit the local backpack project. Willie’s has also provided free milk for Morris Community Meal since its beginning more than 10 years ago, and special orders and provides discounted food to ensure that community meal is successful. Without a local grocery store with friendly, flexible, and generous managers and staff, community engagement efforts in the Morris area would not be possible.

Student Leadership Award: Mason Schlief

Mason has been a leader at the University of MN Rochester since she started in Fall 2016. She has brought new ideas from outside organizations that have translated to real life interventions for students around Mental Health. She has always represented UMR in a professional manner which has helped her foster community relationships. From her peers sharing how they have benefited from her leadership to the patients she has interacted with, she has changed others and will continue to do so.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Teresa Henderson-Vazquez and Emiko Walker – The Village Community Garden UMR Collaborative Leadership Team

University of MN Rochester Senior Teaching specialist Teresa Henderson-Vazquez and Student Success Coach Emiko Walker are members of the collaborative leadership team for The Village Community Garden. Both have contributed their labor to this community-based agricultural initiative. Teresa serves as the faculty adviser and summer instructor for the Community Collaboratory course; Emiko, as the coordinator of the student food pantry who distributes donated produced by the Village to students.

Student Leadership Award: Helene Zheng

Helene is a peer adviser in the Center for Community-Engaged Learning where she helps students find volunteer opportunities. As a volunteer herself, she is a tax preparer with Prepare+Prosper. As an international students, Helene’s commitment to community involvement has remained strong even with limitations imposed by the U.S’s travel ban.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Rebecca Ropers and Ole Gram

Vice Provost Ropers and Associate Vice Provost Gram are strong advocates for community-engaged scholarship. Offering specialized P&T trainings for engaged scholars, co-sponsoring a University-wide engaged scholar awards program, and co-organizing the Review Committee on Community-Engaged Scholarship, Ropers and Gram are addressing historical gaps in higher education for engaged scholars.

Community Partner Award: Brian Coyle Community Center

Students from the University work at the Brian Coyle Center to support the Center’s programs and partner on community events, such as the Cedar Riverside Multicultural Dinner. As a result of this partnership, Coyle and the University are able to respond to urgent community issues, such as the recent fire.

Student Leadership Award: Mariah Nelson

Mariah Nelson serves as Executive Director of Global and Local Engagement. She is dedicated to educating students and providing opportunities to engage regionally and globally. Mariah led initiatives for Global Awareness Week, Domestic Assault Awareness Month, Native American History Month, and Hunger and Homelessness Week. A variety of experiential events engaged students and encouraged conversations. Mariah takes time to invest in people – ensuring their voices and stories are heard.

Student Leadership: Emma Slagle

Emma is involved in the UNI Entrepreneurs Student Organization & the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Along with her family and friends, she has started a nonprofit organization to build awareness of mental health needs and suicide among first responders. The organization built a clothing line, “Honor and Respect,” that gives 100% of its profits to charities in line with its mission.


Civic Engagement Leadership: Higher Learning Commission, Quality Initiative Project (QIP) Development and Implementation Team

UNI’s HPC Quality Initiative Project (QIP), titled “Enhancing Service Learning at UNI,” was developed and implemented with strong leadership and through the dedication of many over the past several years. The HPC report concluded: “This UNI initiative has created a blueprint that other institutions could follow to establish or bolster service learning.”

Community Partner: Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley

The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley is integral to UNI’s advancement in community engagement and service learning. The VCCV’s partnership with UNI’s Office of Community Engagement has been instrumental in the success of strengthening and expanding UNI’s public engagement and advancing major initiatives on campus.

Student Leadership Award: Special Olympics Club

More than 170 students participate in the collaboration between UST’s Special Olympics Club and Highland Friendship, a group of individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities in Highland Park. By hosting events like bowling or kickball, the Club utilizes available campus resources to promote inclusive, accessible environments for students and community members to connect.

Student Leadership Award: Sociology Community Engaged Faculty Partnership

Jennifer Trost and Patricia Maddox, faculty members teaching sociology, partner with Catholic Charities’ Family Services Center to provide children living in the FSC with Saturday activities, and to provide parents with a morning of respite. Students in Maddox’ and Trost’s classes come together to create activities and reflect on their experiences.

Community Partner Award: Michael Rios-Keating

Mike Rios-Keating is the Social Justice Education Manager at Catholic Charities and is an invaluable resource for UST. He emcees the annual Hunger Banquet, participates in Freshman Community Engagement Days, and leads reflection activities with the Awakenings Program, which is an initiative that addresses our national challenge of immigration.

Student Leadership Award: Sarah Stjelles

Sarah has immersed herself in advocacy and leadership through her work with the Student Association of Social Work (SASW), hosting community events for people with disabilities, and volunteering with the Winona Community Warming Center. She also parlayed her passion for advocacy to her work on behalf of people with disabilities, and older adults, all of which demonstrate her deep commitment to the responsibility we all have to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable community members.

Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Bridges Health Faculty Leadership Team

Bridges Health provides innovative clinical education and training to a wide variety of students|to effectively prepare for entry into practice in today’s complex healthcare environment. Bridges collaborates with community organizations to form partnerships that serve students and the local community. Through this approach, academic faculty and students are mobilized into these community organizations in form of Bridges Health, an interprofessional student-led, faculty-guided clinic.

Community Partner Award: Engage Winona – Community Changemaker Lab

The Community Changemaker Lab is a partnership between the Winona State social work department and Engage Winona that began in 2018 and connects social work students with opportunities to address community issues, serve nonprofits and organizations, and work with marginalized populations. Students are supervised in the classroom and community as they conduct primary research, assess community needs, hold listening sessions, and work collaboratively to create interventions for community change.