11:15 AM

Recipients Announced for Sylvester Turner Service Learning and Community Engagement Grants

The Center for Public Service and Family Strengths would like to recognize the awardees of the Sylvester Turner Service Learning and Community Engagement Grants for 2014.

In November 2013, Representative Sylvester Turner awarded $40,000 (FY14) to UHD for service-learning initiatives.

Service-learning is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students:

  • a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs
  • b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content
  • c) a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility.

Service-leaning is one of the high-impact educational practices as discussed by Kuh, 2008.

Applicants submitted a multi-page proposal that included a description of their project, course objectives and that answered the following questions: how will the outreach enrich learning and how will the initiative strengthen students' critical thinking while fostering civic responsibility, among others. An assessment plan and budget were also included.

The Service Learning and Community Engagement Committee, which consists of representatives from each college, developed criteria, reviewed applications and selected this year's award recipients, including:

  • Maria Bhattacharjee and Christal Burnett - Dept. of Urban Education

Maria Bhattacharjee and Christal Burnett were awarded funds for their project "Preparing Pre-Service Teachers for Bilingual Classroom," which will be completed in partnership with Crockett Elementary in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Read more here.

  • Vida Robertson - Dept. of English

Vida Robertson was awarded funds in support of a HISD summer reading program, which enables UHD students to conduct and facilitate book discussions with participating high school students. Placing UHD students in the role of teacher/facilitator will enrich their learning and provide critical thinking, organizing and leadership skills to prepare them for the 21st century workforce and community engagement. Read more here.

  • Mary Jo Parker - Scholars Academy

Mary Jo Parker was awarded funds for her project, "Connecting UHD STEM Undergraduate Leaders to the Next Generation," which provides STEM mentoring to middle school-aged students from UHD Scholars Academy STEM leaders. Read more here.

  • Poonam Gulati - Dept. of Natural Sciences

Poonam Gulati has been awarded funds for her "General Microbiology Project," in which UHD students enrolled in general microbiology will have a "Science Corner" in Dateline Downtown, the student-run newspaper, where they will showcase articles they have written in order to inform the UHD community about interesting and relevant societal issues involving microbes. Read more here.