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Press Release for Monday, July 28, 2008

UNF Student Honored for Service at Summer Commencement

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

The University of North Florida will honor a student with an outstanding record of volunteerism when it hands out nearly 850 degrees Friday, Aug. 1, at 3 p.m. during summer commencement at the UNF Arena.

Stacey Kitano-Enriquez, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a 3.94 GPA, will be recognized as the recipient of the summer 2008 Senior Service Award, which is presented by the UNF Alumni Association to a graduating senior for outstanding volunteer service to the University and the community.

A Southside resident, Kitano-Enriquez has become well known in the community and on the UNF campus. Her off-campus community service is extensive and is focused on improving the quality of life for individuals and families of Northeast Florida affected by HIV/AIDS. Although Kitano-Enriquez feels that all volunteer experience is important, her most rewarding experience was her trip to South Africa as a representative for the International Scholar Laureate.

The UNF nursing student was selected from 160 students around the world and was the first student in Northeast Florida to spend 12 days in South Africa, where she was completely immersed in the communities and culture in order to get a first-hand look at the challenges the country faces with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“My aim is to take my own transformational experience from South Africa and use it to forge the types of lasting relationships that are needed between institutions of higher learning and the communities that rely on them,” said Kitano-Enriquez.

Participating in this trip not only provided her with opportunities to interact with and learn from people who are culturally different than herself, but the trip also instilled a determination to provide the same support, strength and compassion to those within the Jacksonville community who experience the same struggles.

Over the past four years at UNF, Kitano-Enriquez has served in several volunteer organizations, including Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, Golden Key, American Red Cross and River Region Human Services. Additionally, she has served as a student spokesperson for the University and the School of Nursing by volunteering to talk about her transformational learning experiences at UNF and South Africa.

The University expects to award 699 bachelor’s degrees, 140 master’s degrees and six doctorates this summer.