2018 Engaged Campus Award Winners

April 24, 2018

Learn more about the 2018 Engaged Campus Award winners:

Civic Mission Leadership Award: a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated leadership for higher education civic engagement and has worked to give voice to the civic mission of higher education.

Winner: Dr. Theresa Donofrio, The Esther and Robert Armstrong Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Coe College

Dr. Donofrio’s academic areas of interest include rhetoric and political culture,visual rhetoric, public memory, media studies, and cultural studies. Her research most often focuses on the rhetoric surrounding public tragedies or crises. Her passion for these subjects translates into a commitment to helping her students develop their critical and analytical capacities. Dr. Donofrio strives to create accessible yet challenging classroom environments and seeks to empower students to engage with course content. She was a 2016-2017 Iowa Campus Compact Engaged Scholar Faculty Fellow.

Community Leadership: an alum of a member institution making strong contributions to their community and demonstrating the values of the civic mission of higher education.

Winner: Carrie Romo, Alumna, Central College

Carrie Romo, MS. Ed., is an educator and activist from Kansas City, Kansas. As a freshman at Central College, she got involved with the White Privilege Conference, which she credits to helping her channel her confusion and anger into education and action. She currently serves as a board member for thenonprofit organization The Privilege Institute. Romo is a full-time middle school teacher with the Des Moines Public Schools and serves as the program coordinator for Dream to Teach, an initiative to increase the representation of educators of color in the Des Moines Public School system.

Emerging Leadership: a new person in the field who is making unique and innovative contributions that demonstrate strong future potential.

Winner: Eric Rucker, Director of the Simpson Youth Academy, Simpson College

Eric Rucker received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion from William Jewell Collegein Liberty, Missouri. He furthered his studies in Atlanta, Georgia at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University, and obtained a Masters in Divinity. While in Atlanta, Eric worked with Emory’s Youth Theological Initiative, which ultimately led him to begin the Simpson Youth Academy at Simpson College in Indianola,IA. Eric is the director of the program, and aims to engage with high school students in what it means for them to find their vocation, to meet the world’s deep needs, and to ask some of faith’s biggest questions.

Student Leadership: a student leader with demonstrated accomplishments in engaging students in meaningful service and civic engagement.

Winner: Jane Nguyen, Honors Student, University of Iowa / Co-Founder, ConversationCenter / Co-Founder and President, aKDPhi Sorority

Jane Nguyen is an honors student at the University of Iowa studying Biochemistry. She co-founded the UI’s alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an international organization and largest Asian-interest sorority, for which she now serves asPresident. She also co-founded the Conversation Center, a program that promotes intercultural engagement with the University’s international community through one-on-one conversation, and which led to the development of the Conversation Practicum, a curriculum-approved course at the University of Iowa. Jane consistently promotes leadership, service, and is devoted to continuous improvement in herself and in others.

Emerging Innovation: a recent project, program, or initiative making unique and innovative contributions that demonstrate strong future potential.

Winner: Community Energy & Climate Action, University of Northern Iowa Conservation Corps

The UNI Conservation Corps Community Energy Planning Program works with various cities in Eastern Iowa to conduct greenhouse gas emissions inventories, develop emissions reduction goals, and provide aid in reaching these goals through the production of a Community Energy Plan. Since this project was established in March of 2017, emissions inventories have been conducted for seven jurisdictions including Cedar Falls and Waterloo. Four different classes of UNI students have collaborated with the project and gained valuable experience analyzing real environmental data as well as researching various projects focused on sustainability and energy conservation.

Community Partnership: a campus-community partnership or collaboration that is deep, reciprocal, and transformational.

Winner: Layers of Maquoketa Steering Committee and the University of Iowa

Layers of Maquoketa is a partnership between the city of Maquoketa and the University of Iowa that began in the summer of 2016, with the goal of engaging Maquoketa’s arts, civic, and cultural organizations with residents of all ages to celebrate the city’s past, present, and future. The year-long partnership culminated in a the first-ever Layers of Maquoketa Festival which celebrated thehistory, products, landscape, music, art, stories, food, talent, activities and morethat make Maquoketa a special hometown. Although the project was intended tolast a year, Maquoketa continues to hold monthly “Layers” meetingsand regular Coffee House nights, and members of both UI and Maquoketa regularly visit each other to keep the partnership going.

Winner: Des Moines Area Religious Council and Drake University

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is a multifaceted non-profitorganization that focuses on interfaith exchange and development leading to action in addressing the needs of the vulnerable in greater Des Moines through common understanding. In an almost-decade long partnership with Drake University, DMARC has both served and been served as a collaborator on courses and projects that have made an impact on food insecurity and interfaith understanding. As one example, since 2012 DMARC to serve as acommunitypartner for a first-year seminar section, called The Real HungerGames, focused on the topic of food insecurity.

National Service Member of the Year: individual full-time, part-time, and summer AmeriCorps and VISTA members (in IACC programs) who have made significant contributions to building a community partner or campus department’s capacity.

Winner: Kelly May, Part-time Iowa College AmeriCorps Program Member, Coe College

Kelly May is a third year student at Coe College studying English and SecondaryEducation. He is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a member of the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program, he serves at Matthew 25 and in the Coe College Office of Community Engagement as an Advocate for Community Engagement.

Winner: Alexzandria Tillman, Full-Time Iowa College AmeriCorps Program Member, Iowa Western Community College

Alexz Tillman has been an active part of Service Learning at Iowa Western since 2013 when she started as a student worker. Now as the AmeriCorps Service Learning Program Coordinator she has become an advocate for Service Learning and Civic Engagement not only on the campus but in the Community. Alexz is currently serving on the Fathers Matters and Healthy Families Drive Committees from Boys Town Iowa. Her main focus for this year was to increase Student involvement in Service Learning, just in the Fall 2017 there was over 9,000 Service Learning Hours Logged between Students, Staff, and Faculty.

Network Choice Award: student organizations or student-led projects were selected as finalists for online voting on the Iowa Campus Compact Facebook Page.

Coe College I'm First LogoWinner: Coe College “I’m First” First Generation Student Club

Led by a group of students, this club focuses on supporting First Generation College students’ transition to life in college by creating opportunities for leadership, mentorship, and fellowship and providing an avenue for educating others on campus about the strengths and struggles of first-generation college students. In their short time as an organization, students have set up opportunities for their peers to network with faculty, staff, and alumni who identify as first generation and also launched a campus wide visibility campaign where all first generation college students, faculty, and staff wear their “I’m First” t-shirts to create solidarity across campus. Additionally, students in the club served as volunteers in this year’s Kids on Course Day at Coe – an opportunity for local 6th graders to experience a day in the life of a college student – by leading conversations specifically geared toward the unique challenges of being the first person in their families to attend college. Kids on Course is a college access program in Cedar Rapids that serves elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Join us May 9th at Coe College for the awards presentation!