The Morgridge Center for Public Service is proud to announce its selection for the 2015 Meyerhoff Undergraduate Excellence Award for Leadership, Service and Scholarship. Senior Neil Damron has been named one of 26 campus-wide recipients of the prestigious award.
The awards, made possible through the generous support of Harvey “Bud” Meyerhoff, recognize University of Wisconsin-Madison students who have made outstanding leadership and service contributions to the University and the surrounding communities while maintaining an excellent academic record. Entities across campus select 26 recipients, with each winner receiving $1,000.
Neil, an Economics and Political Science major, has served as the Poverty Analysis Intern with the Morgridge Center for the past year and has participated in the Badger Volunteers program since fall 2013.
“Neil’s accomplishments in leadership and academics are incredibly impressive,” said Morgridge Center Assistant Director Megan Miller. “But what stands out even more, is his commitment to civic engagement. Serving the Madison community has been at the heart of his college experience and upon graduation he plans to devote his career to eliminating poverty.”
As Poverty Analysis Intern, Neil produced easily-understandable fact sheets about issues related to poverty, for distribution among undergraduate students. The factsheets, produced with the UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, covered issues such as infant brain development and the effects on children of incarcerated parents.
As a Badger Volunteer, the Syracuse, New York, native has worked with Porchlight Inc. and Leopold Elementary School. At Porchlight, Neil worked alongside low-income citizens producing locally-sourced food products for sale locally with proceeds going to support the program. At Leopold Elementary, he mentors, tutors and encourages fourth grade students in need of academic support.
“My work with the Madison community has impacted my understanding of my own privilege and has reinforced my vision of how I would like to spend the rest of my life,” Neil said. “I am compelled to spend my life working to make the structure that has given me so many advantages more equitable and more just.”
Neil has also spent his undergraduate career at UW-Madison active in the Wisconsin Union, Model United Nations and the Associated Students of Madison. Neil served as Wisconsin Union President his junior year. In fall 2014, Neil was named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist.
Along with the 25 other Meyerhoff Award recipients, Neil will be honored at a campus ceremony May 8.