Service Learning Initiative Awards Faculty and Students for Outstanding Achievement

Honorees and guests pose with Lisa Bowers, director of the Service Learning Initiative, at the 2023-24 Outstanding Contributions to Service Learning Award Ceremony.
Chloe Regelean

Honorees and guests pose with Lisa Bowers, director of the Service Learning Initiative, at the 2023-24 Outstanding Contributions to Service Learning Award Ceremony.

The Service Learning Initiative highlighted the success of faculty and students at the 2023-24 Outstanding Contributions to Service Learning Award Ceremony on March 11 at the Cordia Harrington Center for Excellence.

During this year's ceremony, Noah Billig of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design was awarded the Outstanding Contributions to Service Learning Teaching Award for his exemplary work with local schools, non-profits, cities and underrepresented groups. In his courses, he leads his students in experiential learning practices through designing and planning places of ecological literacy and environmental justice. Billig's LARC 3356 Landscape Architecture and Design V course has been designated as service learning since 2018. 

Billig spoke with great modesty as he accepted the award, saying, "I wanted to thank our students and colleagues in Landscape Architecture. ... Many colleagues in the Department of Landscape Architecture engaged in service learning work consistently over the years could have gotten this award." Dean Peter MacKeith was in attendance with over a dozen faculty, students and staff to offer gratitude and support to all honorees at the ceremony. 

Additional nominees who went above and beyond the expectations of a service learning instructor were Anne Velliquette, teaching professor and faculty director of Walton Honors Program, Walton College of Business; and Amelia McGowan, assistant professor and director of the Immigration Clinic, U of A School of Law.  

This year's ceremony also brought about new additions to the Service Learning Award program as the initiative presented three awards to students who personified the high-impact practice of service learning in their community. These awards recognized outstanding undergraduate, graduate and honors thesis students. 

Nominated by Alessandro Brogi, the Outstanding Undergraduate Service Learning Student Award winner, Liley Bozard, wowed with her multiple areas of contribution to the Museum of Native American History. Through creating education programs for the museum, curating displays of new and existing artifacts, and providing educational outreach, Bozard has helped history come to life in HIST 300V. "In the spring of 2023, I interned at the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville, Arkansas," Bozard said. "During my time there, I learned how to engage with the public about Native American history and cultural pathways. I also garnered new skills in creating educational outreach materials and curatorial procedures." 

Morgan Little was honored as the Outstanding Graduate Service Learning Student Award winner for her work with local Head Starts programs and the U of A Speech and Hearing Clinic. Lisa Bowers submitted the nomination listing Little's direct work with the public as she administered screenings to children who attended Head Start centers in Washington County via the CDIS 5273 course. Little also assisted in a dyslexia simulation offered in the fall of 2023 to families, professionals and other interested community members wanting to learn more about dyslexia. "As a student, I have the opportunity to impact my community with the resources provided to me in the classroom," Little said. "However, the community also has invaluable experiences to offer. With each experience, I have grown as an individual and as a clinician. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve the NWA community through the College of Education and Health Professions." 

The Outstanding Honors Thesis Service Learning Student Award was presented to DASC 4993H student Nicole Rogers through Karl Schubert's glowing nomination. With the honors thesis title, "A Spatiotemporal Analysis of Violent Crime in Little Rock, AR, from 1999-2022," Rogers' research analyzes decades of data using newer spatial and data analysis techniques. Rogers is additionally working on a research project associated with DASC 4993H with the working title, "Investigating the progression and impact of diabetes on both individuals and their family members." "Being part of service learning courses has been a highlight of my academic journey at the university," Rogers said. "I have always been passionate about public interest technology, and as a data science major involved in service learning, I have been able to take my skills and work with community partners to help solve problems faced by real people." 

Exemplary nominees of students across multiple majors and courses included:

  • Laura Hansen and Charlotte McCormick (Arkansas Children's Hospital, state of Arkansas, and SIDS programs; professor Laura Gray),
  • Amanda Baker (Washington County Court House; Angela Mensah),
  • Erika Arellano and Lily Hobbs (Sin Límites; Dr. Raquel Castro Salas) and
  • The entire fall 2023 Strategic Philanthropy class, which distributed over $30,000 in grants to various community organizations (Seeds that Feed, NWA Women's Shelter, NWA Children's Center, NWA Single Parent Scholarship Fund, SOAR After School Programs, Apple Seeds, NWA Hub of Hope, NWA Center for Sexual Assault and professors Daniel Levine and Rogelio Garcia Contreras).  

Since 2014 the Service Learning Initiative has been facilitating experiential learning opportunities that bring students together with community partners to not only learn skills related to their coursework, but also to enhance the community. Visit the Service Learning Initiative website to learn more.


Article written by Noelle Kingsbauer, service learning coordinator (svclrn01@uark.edu).

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