2018-2019 President's Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the inaugural President's Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement.

2018-2019 President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Community Engagement


Dr. Shelly Schaefer Hinck, Professor, Department of Communication & Dramatic Arts, College of Arts & Media

Dr. Hinck has engaged undergraduate and graduate students in the process of service, learning and the scholarship of community engagement since 1996 with the goal of creating a more informed citizenry through assisting others.  
Currently, more than 1.5 million individuals are imprisoned in the United States (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2015). One of the strongest ways to enhance rehabilitation and reduce recidivism is to provide educational programs and resources to the incarcerated. Yet, many members of our national, state and local communities argue that those who have been convicted of a crime do not deserve support. To cultivate a more informed citizenry and a public more receptive to reimagining current public policy, Dr. Hinck uses service-learning and community engagement to create space for both compassion and rationality in a politically-contested learning environment. Service-learning holds the possibility of transforming previously-held positions, offering a promising educational strategy for social change.

2018-2019 President’s Award for Staff Excellence in Community Engagement 


Mr. Thomas K. Rohrer, Director of the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems

Tom Rohrer, as Director of the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems, has been involved in a number of innovative community engagement projects and programs over the past eight years. From 2010 to 2015, he served on the Sustainability Committee of Union Township, working with then township supervisor John Barker and commissioner Phil Mikus to secure funding for a Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth grant to implement a sustainability program in the township. This grant provided funds to complete an energy efficiency retrofit and lighting upgrade for the Union Township Hall and institute recycling programs for the township. The project provided $85,000 in funds to the township for this work and the township continues to enjoy the benefits of reduced energy consumption at its facilities today. Energy savings recorded by this project provided support for additional grants that allowed the installation of LED street lighting on East Pickard Road funded by the State of Michigan. 

2018-2019 President’s Award for Student Excellence in Community Engagement


Ms. Katelyn Nicole Massaria, senior, majoring in Health Administration & minor in Legal Studies

As an undergraduate student in the Health Administration major, Katelyn has made great strides to impact the local community and as far reaching as international organizations. She has done so by fulfilling CMU’s core values and encapsulating what it means to be a Chippewa.  
To see these values in Katelyn one needs to look no further than her work in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The work she did with St. Jude affected not only the local community but had far reaching effects on the lives of patients all over the world. In the fall 2015, during her first semester at CMU, Katelyn joined St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn on campus because she was passionate about helping those in need, especially children battling cancer. She would soon take on a battle of her own being diagnosed with cancer in October of 2015.  
Katelyn’s personal experience and recovery fueled her passion for helping cancer patients. She personally raised over $400 for St. Jude Up ‘till Dawn and was named a top fundraiser for the event. The disease had a lasting impact on Katelyn, strengthening her desire to become a healthcare professional who serves others. In her role as the Sponsorship Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she rallied the local businesses and CMU students in support of St. Jude. Her hard work led to an impressive outcome – over $9,000 were donated during the 2017 and 2018 fundraising seasons. Moreover, she personally was able to raise over $1,700 during her three-year involvement with St. Jude through the support of friends and family. The hallmark of St. Jude’s collegiate fundraising is the sale of the ABCs of Cancer. Each plaque contains a letter drawn by a St. Jude patient and is sold only once at each school. In the many years that St. Jude has been a part of the CMU community the group had never been able to sell all 26 letters, despite valiant attempts. In 2018, Katelyn accomplished the goal with grace, elegance, and ease.  

In addition to fundraising and funding a grant, in September, 2017, Katelyn planned and executed an event titled, Transgender & Healthcare: An Open Discussion Panel in collaboration with the LGBTQ Student Interest Group (SIG) at the College of Medicine. The event provided information on how transgender individuals struggle to navigate through the healthcare system. The event featured an educational presentation researched and presented by Katelyn. Her work contributed to CMU’s College of Medicine focus on educating students on diversity and inclusion. 

2018-2019 President’s Award for Outstanding Community Partner

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Mount Pleasant Public Schools  

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, under the leadership of Superintendent Jennifer Verleger,   collaborate with faculty, staff and candidates across the Professional Education Unit (PEU) that encompasses 5 colleges and over 20 programs. CMU teacher candidates work alongside district professionals in classrooms from pre-school to adult learning completing clinical observations, supporting small group instruction in pre-student teaching, or co-teaching in the capstone student teaching experience. CMU future educators also support afterschool programs such as PEAK and assist with tutoring in the secondary buildings. Additionally, the district partners with CMU registered student organizations to offer resources to the community such as science exploration events, trunk-or-treating and Parent Nights Out.  The district and the university community are able to work collaboratively to support each other’s initiatives and benefit mutually from the partnership.