1 July 2024 • AlumsFacultyService Recognizing Service and Community Commitment By Sandeep Tissaaratchy '26

This year’s Community Engaged Scholarship Forum celebrated the passionate work of civically engaged HWS community members.

The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) recently hosted the 16th annual Community Engaged Scholarship Forum, an event organized to honor the contributions of civically engaged students, staff, faculty and community members and present awards to recognize their dedicated service.

“Our team in CCESL often has the privilege to witness the impact our community members have on our students, through site visits of service-learning classes, through relationships forged between local elementary school readers and their HWS tutors, through interns supporting Geneva 2030 Action Teams,” explains CCESL Director Katie Flowers, who reflected on the legacy of community partnership and its role in shaping the lives of HWS students. Flowers was joined by President Mark D. Gearan and Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk in presenting the awards.

The Compass Award for Outstanding Engaged Student was presented to Emily Rourke ’24 in recognition of her work with youth in the community through the First 1,000 Days Program and at the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva.

“Emily Rourke is a magnet for children," says Flowers. "Every time staff walked into the room, she was on the floor connecting with children at eye-level, engaging them creatively in ways that align with the vision of the initiative to impact children during those critical early years.”

The HWS Civically Engaged Faculty Award was awarded to Associate Professor of Physics Leslie Hebb in recognition of her scholarship and leadership in initiating and coordinating educational experiences leading up to the solar eclipse and hosting the broader community inclusive campus event on April 8.

“Her dedication to advancing students' civic learning and fostering community engagement through her work on the 2024 Solar Eclipse project exemplifies the very spirit of this award,” says Flowers. CCESL Assistant Director Peter Budmen noted in her nomination, that Hebb’s “thoughtful newsletters exploring various aspects of the Solar Eclipse have not only informed but also inspired community members to actively participate and engage with this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The Community Partner of the Year Award was given to BluePrint Geneva for its “unwavering commitment to environmental justice and urban agriculture, economic justice and opportunity, and food justice systems reform which has shaped the campus community and the broader region.”

“Led by the indefatigable Jackie Augustine ’99, HWS students have learned about civic engagement from someone who embodies those ideals” says Flowers. “Blueprint Geneva serves as an inspiring model of civic leadership, providing students with opportunities to develop their leadership skills, cultivate empathy, and become active agents of social change, and this collaborative approach not only amplifies the impact of their work but also fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among all involved.” 

In concluding the event, Flowers noted the CCESL staff’s commitment to maintaining rich educational opportunities for members of HWS and the extended community. CCESL is nationally recognized for fostering student involvement in community service, civic engagement, leadership, and citizenship, facilitating more than 80,000 hours of involvement and raising over $110,000 for local, national, and international non-profit organizations.

Top: Emily Rourke '24, Executive Director of BluePrint Geneva Jackie Augustine ’99 and Associate Professor of Physics Leslie Hebb were recognized during the 16th annual Community Engaged Scholarship Forum.