Celebrating the Impact of Partners, Universities & Civic Engagement in 2013

Celebrating the Impact of Partners, Universities & Civic Engagement in 2013

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Maha Neouchy and Sara Clement
October 17, 2013

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) hosted its Academic Affairs Awards Luncheon on October 7 at the National Press Club. In attendance were college and university presidents, provosts, faculty and administrators, as well as Washington Center staff, students, alumni and other supporters. The awards luncheon recognizes individuals and institutions for their partnerships with TWC and—for the past five years—recipients of the Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards.

Academic Affairs Awards
Each year, several individuals and institutions are recognized for the strength of their partnerships with TWC and their overall work in advancing experiential learning. This year, awardees included:

  • Susan Page-Civic Education Leadership Award
  • Joe Patton-Liaison of the Year, Monmouth University
  • University of Cincinnati-Public Institution of the Year
  • Lubbock Christian University-Private Institution of the Year

Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief at USA Today, has been actively engaged with TWC students during past Inside Washington academic seminars. As Chief Academic Officer Kelly Eaton noted while presenting the award, Page is “always a favorite in the responses we get back from our students. They appreciate her honest take on politics and the media, find her refreshing and really like her willingness to engage with them on a personal level.”

Dr. Joe Patten has been Monmouth University’s liaison since 2003 and also served in the role at Buena Vista University earlier in his career. Dr. Patten is a spring 1987 TWC alumnus, and he interned on Capitol Hill while he was an undergraduate student at Kean University. As a liaison and professor, Dr. Patten is personally invested in his students’ successes. Miriam Peguero Medrana, who was encouraged by Dr. Patten to participate in the program, shared that, “Dr. Patten is not just my campus liaison. He is my debate coach, my guidance counselor, my mentor, and above all, my hero.”    

The University of Cincinnati (UC), which has worked with TWC for many years, is recognized today as a leader in experiential learning and was a pioneer in providing cooperative and internship opportunities to its students. In 2013, the university’s enrollment in TWC programs has nearly doubled, and that momentum is expected to continue. Zach Osborne, UC’s campus liaison, accepted the award on behalf of the institution.

Lubbock Christian University (LCU) has dramatically increased participation in Washington Center programs and has advanced “LCU in Washington” as an institutional priority. The university has been committed to offering opportunities in D.C. to students in a wide range of majors—from biology to youth and family ministry. LCU has also taken full advantage of TWC’s annual gala to raise financial support to make the experience possible for students from all backgrounds.

Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards
The luncheon also celebrated the fifth annual distribution of the Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards. Through the generous support of the New York Life Foundation, recipient institutions will be offered $20,000 in scholarship funding to help them send students to TWC’s academic internship programs during 2014. Awardees were selected from among a pool of over 120 nominees and were recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments in advancing civic engagement on campus and through their innovative community partnerships. Recipients will also be featured on a panel at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in January. It was announced on October 7th that the New York Life Foundation has committed to a 2-year renewal of their sponsorship of these awards.

The five institutions honored this year include:

  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • The Citadel
  • Portland State University
  • Southern University at New Orleans
  • Syracuse University

Julio Blanco, Interim Provost, and Seth Pollack, Director of the Service Learning Institute at California State University, Monterey Bay, accepted the award on behalf of their institution. Despite the university’s youth (it was founded in 1995), CSUMB offers over 100 service learning courses and a minor in service learning leadership. The institution has also helped to launch the Salinas Downtown Community Board to facilitate multi-faceted collaboration across the public and private sectors.

Lieutenant General John Rosa, President of The Citadel, was present to receive his institution’s award. The Citadel’s partnership with the Charleston County School District Innovation Zone illustrates the institution’s commitment to their community.  From single-day service events to long-term efforts to pilot and document the impact of literacy programs, The Citadel is working to make a lasting difference in the lives of at-risk students in neighboring schools. It has also embedded service in the curriculum through a course that is required in the sophomore year for all students.

Provost Sona Andrews represented Portland State University during the luncheon. This particular institution was selected for its efforts to enhance the quality of urban life through education. Today, the university boasts a network of over 500 partnerships and facilitates service-learning courses as a part of its capstone program, which requires all undergraduates to complete a problem-solving project to help the community before graduation.

Josephine Okoronkwo, Director of the Student Development Center, accepted the award on behalf of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO). SUNO was recognized for its responsiveness to the educational and cultural needs of the city of New Orleans. In particular, the institution has partnered with law enforcement and community organizations to promote violence awareness, redoubling its efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Chancellor Nancy Cantor represented Syracuse University, which received the award for its efforts launch the Near Westside Initiative, a nonprofit partnership of the public, private and nonprofit sectors working to revitalize the Near Westside neighborhood economically and socially. This partnership has allowed the community to leverage the intellectual and cultural resources of Syracuse University to make a transformative collective impact in the broader community.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!

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