Story posted May 12, 2011
In supporting the public engagement activities of students, faculty and staff, the McKeen Center for the Common Good recognized the service and engagement efforts of several members of the Bowdoin and local community in an awards ceremony with President Mills on May 6th. The recipients represent the range of ways in which students, faculty and staff (as well as community partners) today work to apply their talents, passions and academic interests "for the benefit of society" as a manifestation of President Joseph McKeen's call in his inaugural address at the opening of the College over two hundred years ago.
Jamilah Banu Gregory '11, Guoyou 'Benny' Chen '11, and Elizabeth S. McGhee '89 of Spindleworks received The Bowdoin Spirit of Service Award which is presented annually to a Bowdoin senior and a community member who embrace a genuine commitment to improving the lives of others through service, their actions speaking strongly while they remain humbly quiet.
Throughout her four years at Bowdoin Jamilah Gregory (Latin American Studies & Spanish/Teaching) has shown a sincere and consistent commitment local youth by creating the Harpswell Island Mentoring Program and serving as an America Reads and Counts tutor. In addition, she led an Alternative Spring Break trip to Ecuador as a sophomore and then returned to the country a year later with a Global Citizens Grant to volunteer with the Camp Hope Foundation, an organization that works with children who are economically, physically, and/or mentally challenged to attain goals of independence. As a senior Jamilah has served as a McKeen Fellow for the Bowdoin Volunteer Corps, advising 28 student-run service groups through which over 400 Bowdoin students volunteer each year. Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Jamilah has chosen The Root Cellar.
Benny Chen (Neuroscience/Mathematics) has demonstrated his commitment to service through his numerous connections to the local community. During his four years at Bowdoin, Benny has been a tutor in local schools, a mentor to a local elementary student, an active volunteer for Aspirations in Maine, a participant, leader and organizer of the Community Immersion Pre-O trips, a member of the Common Good Grant Committee, and a McKeen Fellow for the America Reads and Counts Tutoring Program. In each endeavor Benny not only embraces the service, but also strives to learn about the issues surrounding his work. This connection to his academics and future goals enriches the work he does on a daily basis. Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Benny has chosen ArtVan.
Liz McGhee '89 graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in Art and went on to earn an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from the University of the Arts. She discovered that a career “just” in art-related work was not satisfying enough for her and soon found career fulfillment as the program manager of Spindelworks, a nonprofit art center for adults with disabilities and a program of Independence Association that focuses on abilities, strengths, and each individual’s unique qualities and creations. Liz describes her work at Spindleworks as the “perfect marriage of creative work and work that gives back and helps grow and heal a community.” Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Liz has chosen Independence Association.
Rosemary Elizabeth Laflam '11 received the General R. H. Dunlap Prize. This prize was established by Katherine Wood Dunlap in memory of her husband, Brigadier General Robert H. Dunlap, USMC and is awarded to the student who composes the best essay on the subject of service in addition to having demonstrated a personal contribution to service.
In her essay Rosie Laflam (Anthropology/Government & Legal Studies) reflected on her own service experiences with the Portland Housing Authority and with Tedford Housing to understand the ways in which we construct and establish difference between ourselves and the people we serve, and how we conceive of and respond to needs in our communities. While Rosie spoke of two specific experiences, she has many service experiences to draw on during her time at Bowdoin. In addition to her work with PHA and Tedford Housing, Rosie participated in the Common Good Grant Program as a committee member and program leader; learning about philanthropy and grant writing in the process. She also led two Community Immersion Pre-O trips to North Haven Island; introducing first-years to Island life in Maine.
Morgan Taggart-Hampton '11 received the Henni Friedlander Student Prize. This prize was established in memory of Henni Friedlander who survived Nazi Germany to immigrate to the United States, where she was an inspiring example of how joy of life can lift the human spirit and enable us as a society to promote the common good and is awarded to a Bowdoin undergraduate who has similarly overcome adversity in his or her own life and gone on to contribute to the common good.
Morgan Taggart-Hampton (Africana Studies & Sociology) receives this award in recognition of her tireless and selfless dedication to raising awareness of and advocating for the needs of others through her work with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and College Guild, as a campus leader of V-Day, and in her academic research carried out in collaboration with Volunteers of America and Brunswick Housing Authority. Both in her role as McKeen Fellow for Community-based Courses and Research her senior year, and in her independent research on the impact of mediation for incarcerated parents, Morgan has been a powerful voice for the importance of engaging students in academic work in the community to guide them to lifelong commitment to the common good.
Maina Charlotte Handmaker '11 received the Lydia Bell Award for Initiative in Public Service. This award is presented annually to a Bowdoin senior who exhibits the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment necessary to initiate and lead opportunities for others to effect change, influencing the Bowdoin culture in the process.
By embracing fully the opportunities to contribute to the local community throughout her college career, Maina Handmaker (Visual Arts & Environmental Studies) has had a tremendous impact on the Bowdoin campus while truly finding her home in Mid Coast Maine. By her example in abundant and dramatic public service efforts on behalf of sustainability and food security-- in Environmental Studies courses, as a Community Matters in Maine summer fellow, as a volunteer leader at Tedford Housing, as coordinator of the Human Food Chain that brought a Ton of Food to the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, and in her campaign to bring a year-round farmers’ market to Brunswick—Maina inspires others with her keen appreciation of the importance of place in fostering true community. Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Maina has chosen The Chewonki Foundation.
Samantha Lynn Collins '11 received the MCC Heart and Soul Award. This award is given annually to six undergraduate students across the state who have been actively involved in turning their campuses and communities into places of democracy by raising their voices on issues of local and global importance through civic engagement efforts.
Sam Collins (Romance Languages & Eurasian and East European Studies) has been deeply engaged in serving the community in diverse ways throughout her time at Bowdoin. As a first-year student, she joined the Common Good Grant Committee to learn about community needs and help allocate funds to local non-profits. She has also led weekend service trips, Community Immersion Pre-Orientation groups, and Alternative Break trips, including founding the Alternative Winter Break program her sophomore year. Having lived in three different countries and studied abroad in Chile, Sam has channeled her passion for global understanding into developing a self-designed position, the International Connections in Maine Fellow at the McKeen Center. In this role, she works to connect Bowdoin students to Maine’s refugee and immigrant communities.
Sarah Nicole Pritzker '11 recieved the MCC Student PILLARS Award. This award is given annually to one student from each Maine college campus who supports the civic efforts of others and takes leadership roles in addressing and finding solutions to issues that face their communities through Philanthropy, Innovation, Learning, Leadership, Action, Responsibility, and Service.
Sarah Pritzker (English & Spanish) is passionate about the rights of children with special needs and has channeled that passion to educate and help others. For three years she has been a leader of the Bear Buddies program which provides weekly programming for these children and their siblings. Recently, she brought the film Including Samuel and film director Dan Habib to campus to raise awareness and educate her peers on the concept of full inclusion. Sarah has also worked extensively with the Sustainable Bowdoin office, has served on the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Committee, and has led outreach efforts to promote Bowdoin’s Climate Action Plan to the student body.
This award recognizes faculty who integrate community or public service into the curriculum and who work to institutionalize service-learning.
Charles Dorn, Associate Professor of Education, has engaged students in learning in and with the community in courses from the introductory level to seminars, notably, the Civic Functions of Higher Education. Through the Island Schools Project, for the last three years Chuck’s students have worked in collaboration with Vinalhaven, North Haven and Deer Isle/Stonington high school students to explore issues of teaching and learn first-hand about education in island communities. The Bowdoin students also host island students on campus in hopes of increasing college aspirations. As chair of Education, Chuck has promoted outreach to community partners, thereby increasing the department’s capacity to meet community needs, and was a leader in planning the College’s first Professional Development Afternoon at Bowdoin for high school teachers.
This award recognizes and honors the variety of ways in which faculty work to advance the common good through teaching, scholarship, and service that engages with communities and issues of public concern.
Enrique Yepes, Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Romance Languages, embodies generosity in his teaching and his scholarship in Latin American Studies. His multi-faceted website offering grammatical, stylistic and cultural materials for students and teachers of Spanish has won domestic and international acclaim for its excellence and accessibility. Beyond the internet, Enrique promotes cultural understanding and community by engaging students in learning partnerships with Spanish classes at Mt. Ararat and Brunswick High Schools. Both in the classroom and in his research on poetry and social activism, and, more recently, on ecological thought in Latin America, Enrique inspires many as he lives his deep belief in the power of poetry in advocating for peace and social and environmental justice. Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Enrique has chosen the Maine Migrant Health Program.
Stephen Joyce, Director of Student Aid, and Gary Weaver, Associate Director of Student Aid, received the McKeen Center Staff Award for Commitment to Community, which recognizes the significant contributions of Bowdoin staff members who give their time, talent and expertise to benefit the community.
As Director of Student Aid at Bowdoin, helping students with their finances is part of Steve Joyce’s job. However, Steve has devoted an incredible amount of time and energy above and beyond his duties to help students across Maine and the country understand and navigate the financial assistance available to anyone, regardless of their financial background, as they aspire to attend college. He has collaborated with everyone ranging from local schools to the CollegeBoard to get information out to families about college finances. Additionally, he regularly volunteers his time to the Aspirations in Maine program at Bowdoin as well as to prepare taxes for low-income families to maximize their tax returns. Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Steve has chosen Upward Bound.
Gary Weaver works not just with Bowdoin students, but with community youth and their families as they navigate college expenses and financial aid. After reading a report from the Mitchell Institute on barriers facing students as they consider college, Gary recognized the lack of access to coherent information about financial aid for families pursuing college as not only a persistent problem, but also one that he had the power to change. Thus, he submitted a proposal to MELMAC to connect college financial aid administrators with local high school students and has spent countless evenings with high school students and parents helping them figure out financial resources available for a college education. Accompanying this award is a $100 donation to the community organization of the recipient’s choice and Gary has chosen The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund.
Michaela Rose Calnan '11 and Joelinda Coichy '11 received The Common Good Book Award, which is presented to recognize Bowdoin seniors whose efforts to further Bowdoin’s commitment to the common good through leadership in service and coursework is undertaken with a humanitarian view of the world.
Michaela Calnan (Neuroscience/Chemistry) has demonstrated incredible commitment to and passion for mentoring during her time at Bowdoin. As a first-year student, Michaela began a relationship with her mentee that has continued through the past four years. On top of this, Michaela has also worked to foster positive mentoring relationships for her peers as a leader of the Mt. Ararat Middle School Mentoring program and as a McKeen Fellow focused on leading the Bowdoin Volunteer Corps, specifically advising the mentoring programs. In these roles, her guidance and support of other Bowdoin students as they connect with local youth has been remarkable. Additionally, Michaela is an outstanding student athlete as well as a peer mentor through the Baldwin Learning Center.
Joelinda Coichy (Government & Legal Studies/Spanish) has made an impact on both the Bowdoin and greater Brunswick communities over the past four years. As the Community Immersion Pre-Orientation Summer Fellow Joelinda designed four trips that introduced incoming first-year students to local Maine communities through service and assisted in their transition from high school to college life. Joelinda has also been the Common Good Day Transportation Coordinator for three years, an essential role through which she organized transportation for over 500 volunteers on the college’s annual day of service. Joelinda is known to have a unique love for The Offer of the College and truly embodies the call “to lose yourself in generous enthusiasms and cooperate with others for common ends.”