2015 Morgridge Center awards announced

The Morgridge Center for Public Service is proud to announce the recipients of four annual awards honoring UW-Madison students and community members in civic engagement, partnership and service.

Each recipient will be honored at the Be the Change Banquet on Tuesday, May 5 from 5-7 p.m. at Memorial Union. This new event will honor and celebrate all students, faculty, staff and community members who contributed their time and talents to both the community and the UW-Madison campus this year.

In addition to food and entertainment, the Be the Change Banquet will also feature remarks from Chancellor Rebecca Blank and School of Education Dean Julie Underwood.

Mentoring Positives has received the 2015 Outstanding Community Partner Award for its partnership with the Morgridge Center through the Badger Volunteersprogram. Mentoring Positives is a Madison-based nonprofit committed to providing positive mentoring relationships, helping youth and young adults discover their talents and preparing youth for adulthood.

Nominators said Mentoring Positives provides a rich volunteer opportunity for UW-Madison students to realize their Wisconsin Experience. Further, Badger Volunteers say staff members, like Assistant Director Becky Green, often take time to explain the issues facing the population UW-Madison volunteers work with and why their volunteer time is so important.

Kaitlyn Shaughnessy has received the 2015 Louis Korenman Badger Volunteers Award. The award is named for Louis Korenman, a UW-Madison student dedicated to serving others who passed away in 2014. The award honors a student who exemplifies the spirit of the Badger Volunteers community and, like Louis, considers volunteering a central part of their college experience.

Kaityln, a junior studying kinesiology, has been with Badger Volunteers since she set foot on campus as a freshman. She has volunteered with the South Madison Coalition of the Elderly for all six semesters, assisting elderly and disabled residents in their homes. For the past two years, Kaitlyn has served as a team leader specifically with Quaker Housing.

Her nominator says Kaitlyn sets a great tone for the other Badger Volunteers by showing enthusiasm and professionalism no matter what the task. Further, Kaitlyn serves as a role model in her strong work ethic, great attitude and wonderful understanding for the elderly disabled residents her team works with.

Jacob Riederer has been selected for the 2015 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Civic Engagement. An Education major, Jacob has been recognized for his dedication to culturally relevant and responsive curriculum design as well as his work improving teacher health and well-being. Additionally, Jacob volunteers his time as a researcher in the Wright Research Lab at UW-Madison where he studies teachers’ attitudes and perceptions of students who are homeless.

Jacob is also actively engaged as a political and legal advocate. He has served as an intern in both the Wisconsin State Capitol as well as the White House. Jacob has also conducted legal research for Milwaukee nonprofit, The Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation. Jacob’s nominator says, “What truly sets Jacob apart from other students is the diversity of his involvement and his one-of-a-kind delightful personality.”

Jose Vergara has been selected for the 2015 Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship, Graduate Student. Jose has volunteered and taught at Oakhill Correctional Institution since May 2011 and has served as the Oakhill Prison Humanities Project Coordinator since September 2014. Jose’s nominator says his work is exceptional in stretching the boundaries of the university and bringing writing, analytical, thinking, creative and oral communication skills to a prison population that rarely has access to such an education.

Further, Jose has tirelessly worked to recruit new volunteers for the program, believing a diverse pool of volunteers will offer a diverse range of ideas and experiences for classes. Jose has also served as an important mentor for new volunteers and is working towards creating a self-sustaining program. Jose’s main goal for the future of Prison Humanities Project is to be able to bring the inmates’ writing, art and music out from behind the prison walls to a larger audience.

Along with the four Morgridge Center Award recipients, three others will also be honored at the Be the Change Banquet:

WISCIENCE Outreach Director Dolly Ledin will be honored as the 2015 recipient of the statewide Wisconsin Campus Compact Sister Joel Read Civic Leadership Award. Dolly has led science outreach and community-based learning efforts on campus and in the Madison community for over 25 years.

Additionally, two undergraduates will be recognized as recipients of financial awards provided by UW-Madison alum and former Madison mayor Joel Skornicka. The awards, presented to Nicole Lettiere and Pin-yu Kuo, will allow the students to continue community-based work they began in a political science service-learning course taught this year.