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U of U Service-learning Scholars to be Honored for 4,000 Hours of Community Service

April 28, 2009 – Ten University of Utah students who completed 400 hours of community service each will be honored at the U’s commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 8, at 9 a.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus.

The U’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center service-learning scholars were recently recognized for also completing 10 credit hours of service-learning classes and a major integrative service project (ISP) that combines academics with concentrated community work. Next week, the Service-Learning program, now in its seventeenth year, will graduate ten students.

The 2009 service-learning scholars are Melissa Aldape, Shontol Burkhalter, Jonathan Hayes, William Hoang, Yevgeniya Kopeleva, Tania Michael, Brandon Patterson, Barbara Roper, Brent Schmidt and Heather Eliza Tolley.

“The Service-Learning Scholars program gives students an opportunity to combine their passions for academic coursework and lifelong service,” notes JaNae Lilly, Bennion Center Service Scholar Coordinator. “I know these students will remain engaged citizens throughout their lives by contributing to their communities through service.”

Melissa Aldape developed a project on behalf of DiverCity, a local non-profit organization that works to meet the medical, educational and developmental needs of Salt Lake City’s diverse neighborhoods. One of the programs she oversees is “Back Pack to School,” which seeks to provide every child in Title 1 elementary schools with a backpack, school supplies and a huge block party to kick off the school year with a great start.

Shontol Burkhalter developed and implemented a template for introducing first generation students and students of color at Mountain View Elementary in the third-grade to institutions of higher education during the 2007-2008 school year. This project fostered awareness of college professions and interest in pursuing a college degree.

William Hoang helped with U Book, a project sponsored by the University of Utah Alumni Association and is currently in the second year of production. The purpose of the U Book is to enhance student involvement on campus through awareness of student services, activities, and opportunities.

Yevgeniya Kopeleva and Jonathan Hayes collaborated with U administrators to implement a community engagement co-requisite into the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Utah. They hope to institutionalize the importance of experiential learning and provide every student the opportunity to apply their education to the community through engaging experiences.

Tania Michael worked with CareSource to record patients’ life stories. The recordings encouraged patients to talk about important experiences that happened during their childhood as well as their adulthood. She also developed a training manual to train other volunteers on how to record life stories.

Brandon Patterson completed a Humanities House Integrated Service Project, which involved the integration of humanities-centered campus community and mentor/alumni service-centered community through outreach and civic engagement.

Barbara Roper worked with the Utah Pediatric Partnership to Improve Healthcare Quality (UPIQ), identifying and treating childhood obesity. The project provides standardized methods and tools for primary care providers at Central City Community Health Center to measure and evaluate body mass index (BMI) for all pediatric patients 2 years and older

Brent Schmidt worked with Interpreting Services at the University Hospital to create a training handbook for volunteer language interpreters who provide interpretation services for the hospital. The handbook will serve as a resource for both current and future volunteers and help provide a formal training program.

Heather Eliza Tolley worked with Gear Up at East High School preparing students from low-income families to enter and succeed in higher education. She created an orientation manual for tutors containing information about the program, tutoring and mentoring skills, as well as information about working with cultural sensitivity.