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Twelve receive awards at Service-Learning Recognition Breakfast

April 26, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — Twelve individuals received awards at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's 14th annual Service-Learning Recognition Breakfast April 18. More than 250 community partners, 363 project supervisors and 394 UW-Eau Claire faculty/academic staff mentors also were honored for contributing to the success of the university's service-learning program.

Service-learning has been a graduation requirement at UW-Eau Claire for the past 16 years. The theme for this year's recognition event was "Going the Extra Mile."

UW-Eau Claire senior Samantha Faber, a business economics and accounting double major from Falcon Heights, Minn., and junior Mike Somers and freshman Alex Somers, brothers who are both UW-Eau Claire microbiology majors from Beaver Dam, received Student Excellence in Service-Learning awards.

Faber started volunteering for UW-Eau Claire's Jumpstart program in fall 2007 as an AmeriCorps member and took on the role of a team leader when Jumpstart transitioned to the ECLIPSE program. ECLIPSE is an AmeriCorps program focused on early childhood literacy in Eau Claire and Altoona.

Mike and Alex Somers were recognized for a garden redesign project they conducted at their hometown library in the summer of 2011. The brothers created a garden that can be used for both enjoyment and learning. They received a letter of recognition for their work from Jeff Fitzgerald, speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly.

Excellence in Service-Learning as a Community Partner awards went to Timothy O'Reilly, John Lee and Rachel Keniston.

O'Reilly, principal of DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire, was recognized for his dedicated partnership with UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Beginnings Program. The purpose of the program is to educate and inspire students to believe that a post-secondary education is important and can be achieved at UW-Eau Claire and/or other institutions.

Lee, who has been involved with the student organization Circle K since he was a student at UW-Eau Claire, was recognized for his commitment to the program. A 1981 UW-Eau Claire graduate and a program manager in UW-Eau Claire's Learning and Technology Services, has served as Circle K's faculty/staff adviser for 22 years.

Keniston was recognized for her work as executive director of The Community Table in Eau Claire. Every day The Community Table serves a balanced meal, sometimes the only daily meal for many participants, to more than 100 community members. Keniston works with a different team each day as they plan, prepare, serve, eat and clean in an atmosphere of acceptance, respect and genuine caring for everyone.


Two service fellowships are awarded each year to UW-Eau Claire students. The 2012-13 recipient of the $1,000 Sally Webb International Service Fellowship was Kara Kraase, a senior social work major from Oshkosh. Kraase plans to work with a local social development group in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape, South Africa, to help women and girls pool resources to generate capital for small projects. Kraase will work with women and girls making beadwork jewelry. She will work with Dr. Otrude Moyo, associate professor of social work at UW-Eau Claire, to make connections with the local social development group.

Kristina Malec, a sophomore social work major from Eau Claire, received the $1,250 Ryan Prechel Community Service Fellowship. The fellowship fund was set up in honor of Ryan Prechel, a 2005 UW-Eau Claire graduate, by his parents. Malec is planning a 2013 spring break trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where she will help build homes and work in reservation schools. She also will research ways to decrease the poverty faced by the Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Betsy Kell, Eau Claire, and Diane Simon, Elk Mound, received the David G. Anderson awards, made available by the Ruder Ware law firm to honor David G. Anderson, a 1966 UW-Eau Claire alumnus and shareholder with Ruder Ware, in recognition of his community service and volunteerism.

Kell, a 1973 UW-Eau Claire alumna, received the David G. Anderson Community Service Alumni Award, which recognizes UW-Eau Claire alumni for continued commitment to community service and volunteerism. In honor of Kell's award, a $250 contribution will be made to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's Single Parent Fund that Kell created.

Simon, executive director of the United Way of Dunn County, received the David G. Anderson Community Builder Alumni Award, which honors UW-Eau Claire alumni who have made a career working in the nonprofit sector. Simon received bachelor's and master's degrees from UW-Eau Claire, in 1996 and 2005, respectively. In honor of Simon's award, a $250 gift will be made to the United Way of Dunn County's C3 Center, which helps financially stressed people obtain needed basic household items free of charge.

Christos Theo, UW-Eau Claire professor of graphic design, and Dr. Jennifer Johs-Artisensi, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of health care administration, received Faculty/Staff Excellence in Service-Learning awards.

Theo was recognized for partnering the arts with service-learning by having his graphic design students develop portfolios for nonprofit agencies to meet the organizations' current and comprehensive needs for publicity and marketing — a service the agencies may not otherwise be able to afford.

Johs-Artisensi was recognized for her teaching, collaborative research and collaboration with local and regional networks of providers that have provided health care administration students with outstanding opportunities to become engaged in improving the health care system.

For a full listing of 2011-2012 outstanding service-learning students, visit the Center for Service-Learning website.

For more information about the UW-Eau Claire service-learning program, contact Dr. Donald Mowry, director of the Center for Service-Learning, at 715-836-4649.

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