MLK Semester of Service Student Awards

Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards

Since the 2010/2011 school year, the MLK Semester of Service Student Awards have funded community service projects initiated by students at UMass Worcester.   The program has grown to now support five projects each year.  This program was developed as part of a five-campus UMass Learn and Serve grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and has allowed our students to pursue innovative engaged work in local communities. 

2013/2014 Winning Projects

1. Health Education in Department of Youth Services Central MA Region Correctional Facilities.  Medical students Rahela Aziz-Bose; Jennifer Fishbein; Julia Randall; and Gianna Wilkie will expand a health education curriculum taught by medical students for the residents in the DYS Central MA Region Correctional Facilities. Through a series of health-focused workshops, the students hope to continue to empower the facilities’ teenage residents with the information and skills needed to make healthy decisions both during their stay and after they leave secure treatment.

2.  Farm-to-Health Center Initiative: Prescriptions for Food Insecurity.   Second year medical students Kathryn Bailey and Rachel Erdil, Graduate School of Nursing student Jeremy Malin RN, and first year medical student Liz Rosen will work with the Community Harvest Project and Dr. Melanie Gnazzo, assistant professor and Family Medicine Physician at the Family Health Center Worcester, to assess the level of food insecurity among patients at the Family Health Center of Worcester (FHCW), to improve patient access to farm-fresh vegetables, and to educate physicians and UMMS medical students about food insecurity and resources for hungry families in Worcester.

3.  Worcester Free Clinic Tobacco Cessation Project . Medical students Lauren Veit and Wei-Sum Li will work with the Worcester Free Clinic Coalition to train a small number of committed medical and nursing students in tobacco cessation methods, and to use the free clinics as a venue for these students to develop these skills on a regular basis.  This will increase the availability of effective tobacco cessation counseling to free clinic patients, to connect these patients with the free Massachusetts Quitworks tobacco cessation support program, and ultimately, to decrease tobacco-dependence among these patients.

4. Mentoring Local Refugee Youth for Healthy Lifestyles  Medical students Courtney Temple, Alyse Wheelock, Alison Bialecki, Jennifer Perez, and Michael Richardson will work with Quinsigamond House and the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP) to develop leadership among refugee youth through the design and production of weekly sessions on (1) healthy eating and (2) exercise and stress-reduction techniques.  The project will culminate in a Nutritional Celebratory Session, at which they will distribute a “Student Cookbook” of recipes modified in the sessions.

5. Increasing STEM Career Opportunities in the Worcester Latino Community.  Glen Gallagher, PhD Candidate, GSBS, and Regino Mercado‐Lubo, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, GSBS, will work to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) awareness and education in the Latino community within the greater Worcester area. To meet this goal, UMW students will partner with Elias Medina, a clinician with the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) of the Latino community organization, Centro Las Americas, and the EcoTarium science museum to host STEM education events and a volunteer fair.

2012/2013 Winning Projects

1. Worcester Free Clinic Medical Interpreter Project: Miriam Madsen, Aurian Garcia-Gonzalez, Israel Molina and Wei Sum Li will work with the St. Anne's Clinic and the UMass Memorial Interpreter Services to improve the quality and availability of Spanish-language interpreters for patients who currently rely on the Free Clinic system. 
2. Department of Youth Services Health Education Curriculum: Rahela Aziz-Bose and Julia Randall will work with the Central Region DYS to create and teach a series of health education classes on topics of interest to the youth housed within the detention system, including nutrition and exercise, drugs and alcohol, anatomy and puberty, STIs and contraception, and healthy relationship. 
3. Integrative Medicine Gynecological Oncology Initiative: Building on the success of last year's Oncology Initiative, James Doolin, Nicole Koulisis, Emily Levoy and Ye Li will work with the Division of Gynecological Oncology to extend the provision of wellness classes to include free individualized integrative medicine sessions to those with sensitive gynecological oncology issues. 
4. Mentoring Local Refugee Youth for Storytelling and Performance: Jennifer Perez, Sarah Tracy and Meredith Walsh will work with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project to mentor local youth as they reflect on their life experiences and personal goals. The program will culminate in a story-telling performance at the annual African Children's Education Program Spring Festival.

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Students are invited to submit proposals outlining community service projects they hope to undertake in the Spring semester.  The top four ideas will receive funding awards of $500 with which to accomplish these projects.

Proposals are due by 5pm on the last Friday of December.

Winners are announced on Martin Luther King Day on UMassMedNow, and recognized by the Dean at the medical school's MLK Day celebration in January. The judging panel is comprised of members of both internal and external groups involved in community service and service learning.

Priority will be given to projects that:

• Enhance or strengthen existing relationships with the community 
• Address both community needs and student learning objectives
• Provide opportunities for a diverse range of UMass community members to work together
• Increase the number of students, staff and faculty engaged in the community
• Include opportunities for learners to reflect on their experience

How do I apply?

Applicants must be current UMass Worcester students in good academic and professional standing who wish to organize and run a community service project during the spring semester. Students are encouraged to partner with a local organization that is a non-profit with 501c3 or other tax-exempt status. For assistance connecting with a community partner, interested students should speak with Heather-Lyn Haley or any other member of the UMass Worcester Community Engagement Committee.

 

Please submit an application containing all of the items specified below.

1. Student name(s), school, class, and contact information
2. Community-based organization name(s), contact name and information
3. Narrative (no more than three pages) that includes:
   • Project overview
   • Explanation of community needs/assets being addressed
   • Student learning objectives being met
   • Proposed activities and timeline
   • Description of target audience and participants
   • Plan for recruiting and training of participants
   • Plan for reflection and evaluation of results
   • Budget narrative

What is the deadline?

All proposals are due to Heather-Lyn Haley by 5pm on the last Friday of December.

How do I submit my proposal?

Email completed proposals to the UMass Worcester MLK Award Coordinator, Heather-Lyn Haley at Heather-Lyn.Haley@umassmed.edu  or deliver to
Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD
UMass Medical School
55 Lake Ave N, Benedict A3-219
Worcester, MA 01655

Who selects the winners?

2013-2014 JUDGING PANEL

Kerry Conaghan, VP Community Impact, United Way of Central MA
James Leary: Vice Chancellor for Community and Government Relations, UMMS
Monica Lowell, Vice President of COmmunity Benefits, UMMHC
Carrie Rice: Director of Service Learning, MCPHS University, and Chair, Colleges of   
    Worcester Consortium Community Engagement Committee 
Clara Savage: Director, Common Pathways Community Health Network Coalition
Mark Shelton: Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications, UMMS

 

What is expected of students who receive an MLK Student Award?

All students who receive an award are expected to plan and execute a community service project during the Spring semester. A brief final report documenting the use of funds, number of participants, outcomes of the project, and lessons to be shared with future awardees will be requested, preferably in the form of a powerpoint presentation that can be uploaded for archiving on the UMass Medical School website. They will also be asked to document the numbers and types of participants involved both as volunteers and as recipients of service.

History of the awards:

Building on the Promise: Learn and Serve UMass was a two-year grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (2010-2012). The grant funded work on all UMass campuses to enhance service-learning opportunities and encourage student engagement in the communities where they live and learn. The MLK Award program was developed by the UMass Worcester Learn and Serve team to support student-driven service projects in the communities that surround the UMass Worcester campus.

The first awards were given in January of 2011 to support:

  • WooFoods healthy menu restaurant education initiative
  • Family Health Night with the Burma Youth Organization
  • Healthy Foods Rotating Potluck Nutrition program with African Community Education Program
  • GEAR-UP reading group with North High School students

The 2012 grant winners included:

  • Kelley Backpacks for children entering foster care
  • Integrative Oncology Project bringing meditation and alternative therapies to cancer patients
  • Free Clinic Laptop Project helping to bring efficiency to the care of patients across free clinics
  • Free Clinic Medication Management Project to more safely manage and distribute medication to those in need

What is Learn and Serve UMass? 

Learn and Serve UMass was a UMass system-wide grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, supporting student involvement taking place on all five UMass campuses from 2010-2012. The overarching goal of this UMass initiative was to expand service learning and community service opportunities for students, with specific focuses on youth work, economic development, and community partnerships. 
At UMass Worcester, it was managed by the department of Family Medicine and Community Health: Suzanne Cashman, PI, Heather-Lyn Haley, project manager.