Celebration of Service Award Annual Winners


Graduate Volunteer of the Year: Muhammad Hassan Bin Afzal, Graduate Student, Political Science

Hassan has demonstrated his commitment to a wide range of opportunities, from addressing food insecurity with the Campus Kitchen, to promoting health and wellness through the Kent State of Wellness Ambassadors program, to contributing to diversity and inclusion as well as sustainability initiatives. He also serves as a Student Service Leader and led several Alternative Break trips in 2018-2019. 

emily france

Undergraduate Volunteer of the Year: Emily France, Senior, Psychology

Emily volunteers with “Movers and Groovers”, serves a minimum of 24 hours each week as an advocate for victims of crime with TownHall I, and has taken on a leadership role with the Campus Kitchen where she oversees four weekly recovery shifts as well as delivers fresh food to the Women’s Center food pantry on Thursdays.

Stephanie Smith Headshot

Faculty Service-Learning Award: Stephanie Smith, Assistant Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication

Smith teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Communication Studies. Smith is a beloved instructor whose courses explore real-life scenarios and solutions-based curriculum. Her Spring Media and Movements Course explores the scope and prevalence of childhood trauma, the connections between trauma and lifelong health, and the impact of childhood trauma on community health, resilience and well-being. Working on behalf of the Family and Children First Council of Trumbull County, students develop multimedia public education campaigns. Last spring, her course focused on the Opioid Epidemic and collaborated with the Alliance for Substance Abuse and Prevention of Trumbull County.

claire young

Outstanding New Service Initiative – Claire Young, Dress Up for Downs: Picture Perfect Fashion Show

A fashion show planned by the student organization Dress Up for Downs, Picture Perfect was designed to close the gap between the fashion community and the Down Syndrome community by creating garments, raising funds, and building relationships. All the models for the fashion show were individuals with Down Syndrome who received custom-made clothing by fashion students at Kent State. The student organization team elected to donate the proceeds of the fashion show—over $3,000—to The Upside of Downs, an organization that serves as a resource for people with Down Syndrome and their families in Northeast Ohio.

sunni ali

Outstanding Co-Curricular Service Initiative: Dr. Sunni-Ali, Fulani Institute of Academics and Art

The Fulani Institute is presented by the Center of Pan-African Culture at Kent State, and the curriculum is designed by Dr. Sunni-Ali. Children from various schools in the city of Kent and the surrounding area are able to attend free Saturday sessions in a safe and affirming environment. The Fulani Institute's work has assisted participants in developing positive attitudes and respect for others, provides opportunities for youth to explore and hone their talents and abilities, and works to expand children’s knowledge of Africa and African Diaspora history and contemporary culture.

kristina knight and kaitlin grant

Outstanding Curricular Service Initiative: Dr. Kristina Knight & Kaitlin Grant, Near Peer Violence Prevention 

The Near Peer Violence Prevention program is a collaborative effort between KSU and the city of Cleveland led by Dr. Kristina Knight of Public Health. This collaboration has involved the development, implementation, and evaluation of a Near Peer Violence Prevention Education Program within Recreation Centers in the city of Cleveland. The goal is to help communities to create healthy, sustainable paradigms to protect itself against toxic stress and other adverse experiences.