Awards & Recognition

Fall 2017 Senior Service Award

Elizabeth "Nikki" Adams 




The UNF Alumni Association selects a graduating senior each semester for outstanding service to the University and the community through volunteerism for the Senior Service Award. For the fall 2017 graduating class, the Association selected Elizabeth “Nikki” Adams. Nikki graduated this semester from the College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. A remarkable student while at the University of North Florida, Nikki exemplifies our spirit of servant-leadership and civic commitment through her desire to help and lead others.

Nikki began her college career knowing she had a strong desire to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives and worldview. She ultimately decided a degree that would allow her to work in various ecosystems and in close contact with the natural world would best fit her interests and passions. Nikki enrolled in challenging ecology and evolutionary biology courses, causing her to gain a deeper understanding of the natural world, and looked for ways to contribute as an environmentally minded student in our current socio-political climate. Nikki learned she could spark change and awareness through volunteerism, and found that the University's Environmental Center was her mobilizer.

Nikki deepened her involvement with the Environmental Center by becoming a part of its student-led organization, the Environmental Center Student Coalition. Founded in the shared interest of student-fueled environmental change, the club organizes volunteer events for UNF students. Nikki ultimately ran for club president and was elected by her peers in the fall of 2016. During her year as president, Nikki facilitated open discussions in which students conversed about environmental problems and ways in which they could enact change as students.

Through the Environmental Center, Nikki began to participate in activities that bettered the northeast Florida community, as well by volunteering at clean-ups organized by the St. Johns Riverkeeper, North Florida Land Trust and Groundwork Jax. These events introduced her, as a Jacksonville native, to parts of the community she had never experienced. By "getting down in the dirt" with a team of impassioned individuals, it enabled her to work as part of a team committed to making a positive, visual change.

Additionally, Nikki interned with the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve and the National Park Service, volunteered with The Girls Gone Green, the U.S. Green Building Council, Dreams Come True and the Rising Tides Young Professionals group. Nikki also volunteered with the North Florida Land Trust’s Team Terrapin, where she contributed to a database that served to quantify the amount of diamondback terrapins present in the marshes of Big Talbot Island.

Since she began volunteering, Nikki has been passionate about promoting awareness for the environment’s fragility in an increasingly globalized world. Her involvement and contributions go far beyond what is included here, and truly reflect that she is an outstanding Osprey. She is an example of a passionate, conscientious and driven leader and a great representative of the University of North Florida. She characterizes what the Senior Service Award represents, and we have no doubt that she will be successful in her next journey and make us proud to call her an Osprey alumna.