Press Release for Tuesday, February 27, 2007

UNF Honors Student Wins Excellence in Service Award

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

University of North Florida honors student Jacqulyn Simmons was recently recognized as a 2006 Excellence in Service Award Winner by Florida Campus Compact, an organization that works with Florida colleges and universities to promote service-learning, civic engagement and collegiate volunteerism. She was presented the award at The Watermark of Student Leadership: An Engaged Institute, held in Tallahassee Jan. 26 through Jan. 28. All winners received $500.

Simmons, a dual major in psychology and sociology, wants to practice medicine in developing countries and has accumulated more than 890 hours of community service since she entered UNF in the fall of 2003. She serves as a service-learning facilitator on campus, recruiting other students to become involved in the community.

The Arlington resident has been a mentor for three years with the Jaguar Foundation/UNF Community Scholars Program. The program mentors at-risk high school students from Duval and St. Johns counties, encouraging them to attend college and providing assistance with the SAT and ACT testing process as well as applying for financial aid.

“At-risk youth aren’t always the easiest student population to work with. As a result, many mentors become discouraged and want to quit,” said Heather Burk, UNF service learning coordinator. “This is a thought that has never crossed Jacqulyn’s mind. She mixes patience and understanding with a good sense of humor.” Her energy and dedication has paid off as two of her mentees completed high school and are now attending UNF on a scholarship.

Simmons has also participated in two very different alternative spring breaks offered through the UNF Honors Program. One took her to Ecuador and the Amazon basin, where she and a team of UNF students helped rehabilitate a village school bathroom, rebuild walls, doors and plumbing. She also traveled to Washington D.C. and worked with chronically-ill children at the HSC Pediatric Center, where she conducted play therapy and reading one-on-one with children and in small groups.