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Center for Community-Based Learning

Osprey Community Engagement Medallion Recipients

In alignment with UNF’s mission, the Osprey Community Engagement Medallion recognizes students who demonstrate exemplary commitment to the greater Jacksonville community through activities such as community-based learning, volunteerism, community or social advocacy, community-based Federal work-study, and political engagement during their years as a UNF student.

2023 Spring/Summer Recipients

Khelsea Boyd, is a Coggins College Arts and Sciences student graduating with a master's degree in social work. From Khelsea’s application, “My time in the classroom attaining my degrees, and in the field, have both created a more resilient and capable version of myself that I am so immensely proud of. It has led me to be knowledgeable, confident about the knowledge I know, skillful, and competent in my practice decisions and relationships with those in need. My love for helping others has been truly reinforced during this time as a UNF student and has given me the opportunities to create a career and life out of doing what I love with purpose and dedication. I will continue to grow as a practitioner post-graduation and continue learning all the new ways to support someone in need. This experience has supported my self-awareness by allowing me to grow personally and professionally in social sciences and achieve my goals as a graduate.”

Paige Brooks is a Brooks College of Health and Hicks Honors College graduate majoring in Nursing and minoring in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies. From Paige’s application, “I passionately believe that my community-based experiences at UNF have made me a better person. I know the importance of community nursing and advocating for minorities and underrepresented populations. I hope my time and effort have positively impacted every individual I have met through community service. In terms of learning, community involvement is constantly teaching me something new. I have learned the needs of my community through social programs and research. I feel joy when I volunteer in our community and local areas. I think my community involvement during my time at UNF has shaped me into someone who will always want to volunteer and give back to those in need."

Bruno Calado is a Coggin College of Business student graduating with a master's degree in management. From Bruno’s application, “Working on this project was especially important for me because I had difficult moments in my life before coming to UNF, and this project brought me good things, good feelings, and a huge learning experience for life. It helped to clear my mind and give me strength for future challenges, understanding that life is not how we want it but how we can do it. I am sure that I will be a different person after this project, I can see the future differently, and with a continuous desire to continue working to help the community. Reflecting on the past is something that strengthens us for the future. It is where we can verify our mistakes and correct them with new actions. It understands that all of us will always, someday, need something or someone. It is seeing life as something light and smiling.”

Chandria Carter is a Brooks College of Health student graduating with a degree in Health Science and Public health, minoring in Health Education. From Chandria’s application, “I have always had a passion for helping people and I know the importance of giving back to the community and world for a greater purpose. Civic identity refers to how we perceive ourselves as contributing members of society who have a powerful sense of obligation to collaborate with one another for the common good. With all my community-based experiences, I can help make a positive change in the world. With every experience I have been fortunate to be a part of it has shaped and molded me into the young woman I am today. It has prepared me to start accomplishing my own dreams and goals. It has paved the way for me to continue to give back to my community and to help make a change in the world.”

Blayne Curtis is a College of Computing, Engineering and Construction student earning a degree in electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics. From Blayne’s application, “The volunteering done throughout the Jacksonville community relates to my UNF student coursework as the whole field of engineering is sworn to keep the world safe and while beach cleanings and helping animals may seem small, and mundane, they are an important reminder of the world we are serving. I have truly learned how easy yet important it is to preserve our planet and put others ahead of personal desires. Although these experiences do not relate or directly apply the mathematical theory learned in the technical coursework, it shows how small actions can make an enormous impact, even when others are not watching.”

Allison Dodson is a Brooks College of Health student graduating with a degree in Nursing and a minor in Business Management. From Allison’s application, “There is no one prouder of their time at UNF than me. Through community outreach at UNF, I have grown as a woman, a significant other, a sister, a daughter, a student, and as a true member of an ever-changing society. I have had the honor of meeting individuals from all walks of life and learned to make personal connections with each regardless of their diverse cultures, native languages, needs, and outwardly appearance. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that as UNF students, we set a standard of excellence and have an obligation to continue to research, share vetted knowledge, and better ourselves every day.”

Dylan Fergus is a College of Arts and Sciences student graduating with a bachelor's degree majoring in Political Science, Pre-Law, and a minor in Environmental Science. From Dylan’s application, “My experience within the past 4 years at UNF has broadened my understanding of not only the legal field but also the concept of human rights as well. I finally have a true understanding of what it means to be "free" within the United States. It is the freedom from being forced into war outside of your control, the right to have affordable housing, and the right to be protected and seek asylum in the U.S. when you and your family’s lives are in danger. Many Americans take these freedoms we have for granted. However, I have learned just how lucky we are to have such freedoms in our nation. And I intend to use these freedoms not only to my advantage as a future lawyer but to the advantage of those displaced and in need of assistance.”

Ernesto Gonzalez is a College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and Hicks Honors College student graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. From Ernesto’s application, “I have made myself aware of social issues that surround my community while collaborating to fix them. I feel proud of all the accomplishments that the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers UNF chapter has achieved this year and how I got the opportunity to serve others and improve my leadership skills in the process. As I approach graduation, I desire to continue helping others through servant leadership with a focus on building community.”
Mario Granados Serrano is a Coggin College of Business student graduating with a bachelor's degree in Business Intelligence. From Mario Andres’s application, “My social experiences at UNF had a significant role in my growth as a responsible citizen. Through participating in various organizations, events, and volunteer opportunities, I learned the significance of being an involved and active member of my community. I also gained a greater understanding of the struggles that other groups of people face and empathy and sympathy for them. My involvement in the community has improved me in a variety of ways, including fostering my leadership skills.”

Rachel Heiser is a College of Arts and Sciences student graduating with a bachelor's degree majoring in History, minoring in Art History. From Rachel Fran’s application, “I have had many wonderful community-based opportunities to grow as a student and as a professional during my time studying at UNF. As an older student with my children who are in elementary school, my community involvement surrounds them. I am proud to say they have truly shaped the organizations I am involved in. I will continue to use the skills learned in each as I grow and develop in my career and make informed decisions about my future community involvement. I hope to show, not only to other older students but also to my children that community involvement is important even when you think no one is paying attention.”

Michaela Hewitt is a College of Education and Human Services student graduating with a bachelor's degree in English Education. From Michaela’s application, “I know it seems minor changes mean nothing in the larger institution. A person who is influenced by their community does not have to make the national news or be memorialized among its people but accept that their work helped those who it needed to even if it was only a small portion of the community who will later affect a vast majority. My growth is because I accepted an opportunity given to me by someone who wishes to share their experiences with someone else. Community-based experiences are a constant chain reaction, and I was another link in an extensive line of game changers. I have learned more about myself, where I wish to be, and what I yearn to accomplish for my community.”
Katie Jones is a College of Arts and Sciences student graduating with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Environmental Studies. From Katie’s application, “From my firsthand experiences, I know that many students want to change the world for the better, but they also feel like it is impossible. All the barriers in front of us are intimidating, and sometimes it feels like there is no hope. With my work, I aim to give students the hope they need to feel motivated and feel like their actions do truly matter. Even if our events are small, they can inspire bigger things later. Lastly, my community-based experiences are at the core of my learning, development, and growth at UNF. All throughout my college years, my work with the community, whether that be through the work I do at the CCBL or through my internships, has been some of the most important things that I have done.”

Selah Jones is a College of Arts and Sciences student graduating with a bachelor's degree in political science. From Selah’s application, “Community-based experiences are an essential part of my growth and development as a responsible citizen. Such experiences have helped me apply the knowledge and skills I have learned in their coursework to real-world situations, while also promoting a sense of civic engagement and social responsibility. Community-based experiences can also have a positive impact on the community. By working together on a project, we can build relationships and collaborate on solutions to local problems.”

Marianne Kardahi is a Brooks College of Health student graduating with a degree in Health Science and Public Health, minoring in Global Health Education. From Marianne’s application, “Being involved with the community for the past four years has taught me to be more responsible as a human being. It has taught me how to be more involved with things that I am passionate about such as health education. I always want to learn more so I can educate myself more. I believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to learn about their health and how they can better it.”

Kimberly Laynes is a College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction student graduating with a master's degree in computer science. From Kimberly’s application, “My volunteer service with the Navy Wives Clubs of America has been an incredibly valuable experience for self-awareness and personal growth. By reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses, my values, my motivators, my habits, and my emotional triggers, I have gained a deeper understanding of myself and have been able to continuously improve my knowledge, skills, and competence. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such a meaningful organization, and I look forward to continuing to grow and develop through my volunteer work.”

Samantha Maks is a Brooks College of Health student completing her degree in Nursing. From Samantha’s application, “Service-learning opportunities not only provided me an insight I would have never known, but they have encouraged me to continue advocating for more resources, to view life from perspectives that are different from my own, and to continue participating in service that promotes change. The university has allowed me to collaborate with several organizations to increase awareness, promote education, and advocate for common health disparities. I know I will be taking these experiences as I move on to become a nursing professional. I want to be there to support my patients by providing care that is dignified, individualized, and reflective of values that enhance their overall health.”

Erin Mari Poblete is a Brooks College of Health and Hicks Honors College student completing her degree in Nursing. From Erin Mari’s application, “Participating in community-based experiences at UNF fostered self-growth and taught me valuable lessons about the community’s needs. These experiences contributed to my growth as a responsible citizen because they motivated me to engage more in leadership roles on health initiatives during my last two years of college. Prevalent health disparities such as low health literacy, discrimination, and accessibility to quality healthcare affect the Jacksonville community's health on an individual and societal basis."

Alicia Scott is a Brooks College of Health student completing her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, with a minor in Food Systems and Sustainability. From Alicia’s application, “Being a responsible citizen to me means being an agent of change that also fights against injustice in social, economic, and environmental aspects. My community-based experience has emphasized learning how to fight against the things listed above. My experience has been a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to fighting against food waste and food insecurity. Gaining more knowledge is an integral part of personal growth and no amount of course content could have taught me what I learned from being an active member of the Jacksonville community.”

Minakshi Sharma is a Brooks College of Health student completing her master's degree in public health - Epidemiology. From Minakshi’s application, “My experience in the summer 2022 internship with the Florida Data Science for Social Good at UNF has helped me understand in depth how as a citizen, I can contribute towards the development of our society and country. Before joining this internship, I had no idea about solving real-life community problems with the help of data analysis. I learned that if we all do our part, the work done in collaboration would lead to the overall development of our community.”