Four students have been honored with awards that recognize their outstanding civic engagement activities. 

VT Engage presented the awards in April, which Virginia Tech has designated as Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) month.

Two students – one graduate and one undergraduate – received the Gwin Parker Gwin Award which is presented to students who have demonstrated community engagement in ways that make a difference.

  • Anibal Concha-Meyer of Valdivia, Chile, a doctoral student in food science and technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, volunteered to complete certifications to teach safe food handling courses for Virginia Cooperative Extension. Concha-Meyer is now one of only a few instructors able to teach the course in Spanish.
  • Laina Schneider of Alexandria, Va., a senior majoring in crop and soil environmental sciences (with a minor in civic agriculture and food systems) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, joined forces with the YMCA at Virginia Tech. Her project was the Hale Y Cook Stove at the Hale Y Community Gardens. Schneider also worked with Heifer International and led the Sustainable Food Corps at Virginia Tech, where she coordinates a monthly community meal that is free and open to the public.

Two students were awarded $750 each from the new John E. Dooley Student Engagement Grant program. The grant underwrites the work of students planning to implement a community-based civic engagement project.  

  • Tana Schiewer, of Toledo, Ohio, a doctoral student in rhetoric and writing in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is helping nonprofits in the New River Valley develop community support through consistent messaging and targeted social media. Schiewer plans to put on a communications workshop so the organizations can learn to better develop community support for their missions.
  • Nina Miller, of Mount Clinton, Va., a freshman majoring in agricultural sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and psychology in the College of Science, plans to create the Fieldstone Community Garden. Designed to feed hungry families in the New River Valley, the garden will feature 29 raised beds.

Their progress on the projects can be followed on the VT Engage: The Community Learning Collaborative website.

Share this story