The winners of this year’s Awards for Excellence in Outreach and Public Engagement were announced by Provost Peter J. Nicholls during a reception Nov. 27, in the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room.
The reception was preceded by a poster display outside the North Reading Room featuring the accomplishments of the finalists.
The winners were:
Tessa Getchis, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Extension, Avery Point.
Getchis has developed programs to enhance aquaculture and marine ecology; was appointed to serve on a NOAA Marine Aquaculture committee in 2007; and has presented her work at the National Shellfisheries Association.
Clinton Morse, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Storrs.
Morse, plant growth facilities manager, organizes greenhouse tours that bring in more than 2,700 formal tour participants and close to 4,500 other individuals to visit the collections each year.
His efforts helped bring more than 22,000 people to campus when the Titan Arum bloomed.
He hosted the 2007 annual meeting of the Association of Educational & Research Greenhouse Curators, has facilitated exchanges of plant material with more than 170 institutions throughout the U.S., and maintains a web site that is a vital resource for botanical researchers, educators, and gardeners.
Husky Sport, Neag School of Education, Kinesiology Department, Storrs.
Husky Sport is a program that connects UConn students and student-athletes with youth in Hartford’s North End.
Created four years ago by Jennifer Bruening, associate professor of sport management and sociology, the program has sponsored hundreds of after-school days, physical education classes, and more than a dozen field trips.
The Hartford students learn to live healthier, more productive lives, while the UConn students and faculty grow professionally.
Graduate Student Award
Theodore Van Alst, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Comparative Literature & Cultural Studies Program, Storrs.
Van Alst, a Ph.D. candidate in modern and classical languages, is also program coordinator for the Native American Cultural Society.
He is an advocate for the Native American students on our campus and, as a result of his work, the University has begun to solidify its ties with the local native communities.
He has also mastered the Lakota language and designed several courses here at UConn in Native American Studies.
Undergraduate Student Award
Christopher Soares, Student Activities, Community Outreach, Storrs.
Soares is a senior majoring in molecular and cell biology.
He has worked to establish a stronger relationship between UConn and the Connecticut Special Olympics by establishing the inaugural Husky Classic Special Olympics Soccer Tournament.
He also has served as a leader with the Alternative Breaks program: last spring break, he led a healthcare-focused trip to Philadelphia; this year, he will lead a trip – his fourth – to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding efforts.
Each award-winner receives a $1,000 allocation to financial aid or a department account.
These funds may then be used to further develop and enhance outreach and public engagement efforts across the institution.