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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 in the Mars Hill community or their local community:

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Eric Stone and Kelly Spencer received the G. McLeod Bryan Award for students and faculty/staff, respectively.

Madison County Health Department received the Community Engaged Partner Award.

Selena Hilemon received the Bonner Alumni Award.

The Bryan Awards are given 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 significant contributions to a better community and a better world. The campus community recognizes one student and one faculty or staff member each year who has made a positive impact on the community, whose involvement with a community partner is ongoing, whose action in the community is directed at serious social challenges, and whose work connects the campus to a community partner.

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

Kelly Spencer, Ph.D., LCMHCS, ATR-BC, is an assistant professor at Mars Hill, teaching in the art therapy, psychology, and women’s and gender studies programs. She was recognized with the faculty/staff Bryan Award for her work with community partners and students, integrating art therapy course work with community engagement. In addition to her participation in community engagement pedagogy workshops, Spencer attends many of the university’s community partner social events in order to maintain and strengthen relationships and find new project ideas. She runs many programs for Mars Hill students, faculty, and staff, including the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night. Her classes regularly are included in the community leadership minor, and she is program coordinator for the women’s and gender studies minor.

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

The Bonner Alumni Award goes to a former MHU Bonner Scholar who has maintained and sustained the Bonner Common Commitments in their pursuit of the world of work and in their personal lives. The Bonner Common Commitments are: community building, civic engagement, spiritual exploration, diversity, international perspective, and social justice. Selena Hilemon, class of 2001, is this year’s recipient. Hilemon is executive director of Hands and Feet of Asheville, one of nine national sites for the Young Adult Volunteer program of the Presyterian Church (U.S.A.).

About the Center for Community Engagement:

The Center for Community Engagement builds deep and meaningful opportunities that promote 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 nonprofits, international non-governmental organizations, and government agencies in order to meet needs in the community, region, and world.





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