Since her teaching journey in the Political Science and Public Administration department at Central Michigan University began in 2015, Emma Powell has made significant contributions to the campus and Mount Pleasant communities.
She led the development of CMU's Certified Nonprofit Professional Credential, the only national nonprofit credential preparing students for careers in nonprofit management, and launched the Nonprofit Leadership Student Alliance organization on campus, which she also advises.
Powell recently was recognized for her unwavering support for volunteer efforts in the Mount Pleasant area by receiving the Rising Star Community Impact Award from the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce.
The award honors an individual who is a rising star in their overall service to the community — a person who actively works to improve the quality of life in Isabella County; contributes to the community through volunteerism, career, and community support; and establishes events, programs or initiatives benefiting Isabella County community members.
Service in action
Powell serves and consults on the boards of local nonprofits including Art Reach, Angel Wings Fund, Junior Achievement, and Isabella Community Soup Kitchen.
She is a trustee for the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation and advisor to its Youth Advisory Committee. Additionally, she coaches cheerleading at Sacred Heart Academy.
As a leader in her department, as well, Powell organizes departmental days of volunteer service. Their volunteer efforts include working with Habitat for Humanity, The Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum, the Community Action Network, and other nonprofits.
"Emma Powell is a Rising Star, helping to build the capacity of local nonprofit organizations, preparing college students who will play critical roles in these organizations, and ultimately preparing future community leaders who will one day lead these organizations," said one of Powell's nominators for the award.
Student success and real-world results
The Nonprofit Leadership Student Alliance at CMU has found success at the annual National Leadership Alliance conference, where students present their research. Several of Powell's students have earned honors at the conference, including the CMU chapter being awarded the 2019 Excellence in Program Building Award. Recently, Powell was awarded a $12,500 grant from The Teagle Foundation that will be used to support students' work with the NLSA.
Powell channels her passion for student success and real-world results by creating relationships with local nonprofits to connect her students to professional development opportunities and to lift others up in the Mount Pleasant community. To further foster relationships between her students and nonprofit organizations, she created an annual Nonprofit & Government Internship Fair that places students in nonprofit organizations for meaningful work.