Kate Kemper
Center for Service Learning

Service learning excellence recognized with awards, juried presentations

Tue, 05/09/2023

LAWRENCE — The Center for Service Learning (CSL) at the University of Kansas has announced the 2023 Excellence in Service Learning award recipients and selected the winners of this year’s Service Showcase presentation competition. The CSL recognized these award recipients and others at the annual Service Showcase + Celebration in April.

The CSL’s Excellence in Service Learning and Community Engagement Awards recognize exemplary contributors to KU’s community culture of service and civic action. Nominations are continuously accepted on the CSL’s Awards webpage.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Service Learning

Brent MetzBrent Metz | Professor of anthropology | Director, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies

Metz’s service learning course instruction spans 15 years in partnership with local and international communities and organizations. He has presented about these experiences twice as part of the CSL’s annual Summit on Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship.

Congratulate Brent Metz


Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement

Gowri Nagarajan, staffGowri Nagarajan | Program coordinator, Self Engineering Leadership Fellows

Nagarajan works tirelessly to ensure students and community partners mutually benefit through the SELF sophomore Community Service Project program. This year’s projects have been developed in partnership with local community nonprofits.

Congratulate Gowri Nagarajan


Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement

Kayla HammerKayla Hamner | Program manager, Sensory Enhanced Aquatics

In her staff role with the KUMC Occupational Therapy Education department, Hamner has increased access to swim and water safety lessons for low-income families and people with autism by community partnership development and grant/fundraising efforts. This staff award is co-supported by the Institute for Community Engagement at KU Medical Center.

Congratulate Kayla Hamner


Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community-Engaged Research + Learning

Molly Han, staffMolly Han | Doctoral candidate in communication studies

As a graduate student in the Department of Communication Studies, Han engages in community-engaged research on nonprofits and supports COMS 342 students in their "Do Good" service-learning projects.

Congratulate Molly Han


Community Partner Award for Excellence in Campus Collaboration

Center for Supportive Communities logoCenter for Supportive Communities

CSC has been a key collaborator in engaging KU students in their work to support youth in Douglas County through practicum placements, volunteer opportunities and more.

Congratulate the Center for Supportive Communities


Undergraduate Student Award for Excellence in Service Learning

Selia WaltonSelia Walton | Junior, project management

Walton is a program coordinator for the KU Center for Community Outreach, development director for The Big Event and the director of community service for Chi Omega.

Congratulate Selia Walton


In addition to the recipients of the CSL’s Excellence in Service Learning Awards, student recipients of national awards were also recognized at this event, including:

President’s Volunteer Service Award

Hannah BunchHannah Bunch | freshman, engineering

This year, Bunch has earned the bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award for completing 175 hours of service in a year. This award honors individuals whose service positively affects communities.

Congratulate Hannah Bunch


Poster competition

At the Service Showcase + Celebration, exemplary student presenters for the annual Service Showcase poster competition were recognized. Faculty, staff and community partner judges evaluated each presentation based on several criteria, including evidence of meaningful community partnerships, intentional reflection and sense of civic identity and social responsibility.

Selia Walton

Selia WaltonJunior | project management

This year, Walton has served as a Center for Community Outreach Program Coordinator for HUG (Helping Unite Generations), which builds intergenerational connections between KU students and the senior community in Lawrence.



Storm Alicie and Tian Heinle

Storm Alicie and Tian HeinleSupportED mentors, Center for Supportive Communities

This year, Alicie and Heinle have been serving with the Center for Supportive Communities' SupportED program. SupportED connects mentors with truant youth in Douglas County to determine and mitigate variables causing these youth to miss school.


“Our annual Service Showcase and Celebration recognizes a year of community-engaged work that is showcase through our service and our community engagement endeavors,” said Jomella Watson-Thompson, director of the Center for Service Learning. “The celebration event allows to recognize, award and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty, staff and community partners throughout the year.”

The event recording for the Service Showcase + Celebration, hosted by the Center for Service Learning on April 20, can be viewed on the CSL’s YouTube channel.

KU in the news
The Harvard Business ReviewMon, 09/18/2023

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today