Mars Hill University honors four for community engagement work

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The Center for Community Engagement at Mars Hill University recently recognized three individuals and one organization for their work within the Mars Hill community or their local community:

Eric Stone and Kelly Spencer received the G. McLeod Bryan Award for Students and Faculty / Staff, respectively.

The Madison County Department of Health received the Community Engaged Partner Award.

Selena Hilemon received the Bonner Alumni Award.

The Bryan Awards are presented annually in honor of the late Dr. G. McLeod (“Mac”) Bryan, who was a member of the Mars Hill Class of 1939 and a professor at Wake Forest University. Bryan worked tirelessly for the cause of peace and justice and influenced countless others to do the same. The Bryan Awards recognize members of the university community who make a significant contribution to a better community and a better world. The campus community recognizes each year a student and professor or staff member who has had a positive impact on the community, whose involvement with a community partner is continuous, whose action in the community is directed towards serious social challenges and whose work connects campuses to a community partner.

Eric Stone, the Bryan Award recipient, is an integrated education student from Zacapa, Guatemala. He was nominated for the award due to his volunteer work with the Children First Communities in Schools after-school program and the Madison County Public Library, as an AmeriCorps member with Project Transformation in Texas, transcribing documents for the Library of Congress and coordinating Lions Learn. Live online tutoring program, among other service activities. Stone is a senior and a Bonner Fellow who has been a leader and mentor to his peers.

Kelly Spencer, Ph.D., LCMHCS, ATR-BC, is an Assistant Professor at Mars Hill, teaching in Art Therapy, Psychology, and Women and Gender Studies programs. She received the Bryan Faculty and Staff Award for her work with community partners and students, integrating art therapy classes with community engagement. In addition to participating in community engagement pedagogy workshops, Spencer attends numerous social events of the university’s community partners in order to maintain and strengthen relationships and come up with new project ideas. She runs numerous programs for students, faculty, and staff at Mars Hill, including the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night. Her courses are regularly included in the Minor in Community Leadership and she is the Program Coordinator for the Minor in Women and Gender Studies.

The Community Engaged Partner Award recognizes a partner who is committed to providing meaningful and innovative academic community engagement projects. The partner supports the learning and growth of the students and demonstrates an understanding of their role as co-educator. Jodi Brazil, coordinator of the Madison County Health Consortium, accepted the award on behalf of the health department.

The Bonner Alumni Prize is awarded to a former MHU Bonner Fellow who has maintained and supported Bonner’s common commitments in his quest for the world of work and in his personal life. Bonner’s common commitments are: community development, civic engagement, spiritual exploration, diversity, international perspective and social justice. Selena Hilemon, Class of 2001, is this year’s recipient. Hilemon is the executive director of Hands and Feet of Asheville, one of the nine national sites of the Young Adult Volunteer program at Presyterian Church (USA).

About the Community Engagement Center:

The Center for Community Engagement creates deep and meaningful opportunities that foster student learning in the classroom through service with the community, responsible citizenship, character development and connection to the world of work. The center establishes and maintains mutually beneficial partnerships with non-profit organizations, international non-governmental organizations and government agencies to meet the needs of the community, region and the world.


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