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Service Learning Celebration


On April 24, 2018, the Office of Internships and Service Learning held its annual Service Learning Celebration! We recognized the outstanding work of our students, faculty, and community partners.

For the second year, we hosted a Service Learning Showcase.  The Showcase provided an opportunity to learn about the fantastic work accomplished through service learning during the 2017-2018 academic year.  Each team of presenters included students, faculty, and community partners who joined together to tell the story of their service learning experience. 

Here are some of the highlights. 

Outstanding Service Learning Faculty

Faculty Merrywether

Emily Merryweather (left) award winner of the Outstanding Service Learning Faculty pictured with Brooke Coutteau.

Outstanding Service Learning Student

Student Award Winner

Emily Juliano received the Outstanding Service Learning Student award.  She is pictured with Michelle Bailow her site supervisor. 

 Outstanding Service Learning Student GroupStudent Group Winners

Martin Mohammad and Karina Solis Student Leadership Curriculum Development Team award winners.

  Outstanding Service Learning Student GroupStudent Group Award Winner

Kali Campbell Student Leadership Curriculum Development Team member award winner.

 We hope YOU will consider joining in the Service Learning Showcase next year!


 2017 Celebration

We are honored to recognize the recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Service Learning Awards:

Faculty | Community Partner | Visionary | Video | Group | Student

Outstanding Service Learning Faculty 

Russ Neuhart

Russ Neuhart

Pictured: From Left, Ashley Einbender, student and nominator; Dr. Russ Neuhart. 

Russ Neuhart teaches HD361, Intro to Interpersonal, Interviewing and Interaction Skills. Ashley stated that students were encouraged to practice the skills learned in class at their Service Learning site, heping her to better understand the course material in a natural and first-hand personal setting. Dr. Neuhart consistently provided his student with training and support with their service learning, showing videos with scenarios, having students reflect on their experiences and having student interact in groups to apply the course materials. Ashley stated, "I personally feel much more prepared for my future career after having the opportunity to complete service learning in Dr. Neuhart’s class."

Oustanding Service Learning Community Partner

STEM Center

STEM center

Pictured: Student and nominator, Yumary Vasquez and Ed Price, STEM Center Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Physics

The STEM Ambassador program at the STEM Center provides a way for student to learn more about the role of science in their everyday lives, while they teach middle school kids the joy of science.  Service Learning students are sent to under-performing middle schools in Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido, where they get the chance to show kids that science is for everyone, not just those who have money or look a certain way. This program teaches service learning students leadership, perseverance and courage through the process of teaching science. In addition, the STEM Ambassadors serve as role models for students who otherwise may not know very many people who have attended college.  

Visionary Leadership in Service Learning

Michelle Bailow

Michelle Bailow

Pictured: From left: Nominators, Dr. John Halcon, Professor, School of Education, and student, Stephanie Metzler, with Michell Bailow

Students enrolled in EDUC 364, and who have the privilege of working with our award-winning partner, get an experience like no other.  As future teachers, our students will learn about foster children and understand what it will take to teach them effectively. Students learn to work with “at risk” kids with specific curriculum, and then work with the children in individual homes, community centers, and in community-based homes.  They learn not only the state-mandated curriculum for teaching diversity, but they also learn the foster children curriculum. In particular, the service learning students learn the importance of being consistent, of being on time, being flexible, and being patient. Michells’s passion for helping foster kids while also helping service learning students grow is evident and contagious.  She showed students how to best interact with and influence the children, and provided training on how to be a compassionate and effective mentor and tutor. Tutor Connection has been partnered with the University for 15 year. The program has graduated hundreds of teachers (and non-teachers) who are knowledgeable about foster children.  

Outstanding Service Learning Video

Women's Resource Center, Stories of Domestic Violence

Outstanding Service winner

Pictured: From left, nominator, Professor Kristine Diekman, Video in the Community, student team members: Stacie Dupkas and Zoe Warwood
Team members not pictured: Luke Sabin, Jessica Castro, Jacqueline Catechis, Allyssa Mendoza

This year’s winning video provides unique insight into an often silenced population—targets of domestic violence. The students for this video worked in close collaboration with the community partner, and gained in-depth understanding of the complexities of the community serviced.  Their ability to collaborate, see the project through challenges, and come to an understanding of the efforts required in both producing a video and working with the community are outstanding.  The students reflected on their own experiences with domestic violence and were able to act in empathic and supportive ways with the participants they interviewed. 


Outstanding Service Learning Student Group

Department of Communications: Family Education Event

Outstanding Service Student

Pictured: From left, nominator, Karen Ogden with Sole Effects and student team member Stephanie Strand. 
Team members not pictured: Brielle Irwin, Erika Salazar, Taylor Stachacz, Vanessa Merez

The “Screenagers” Communications Team from Kendra Rivera’s Communication Research Methods class planned, promoted, and hosted an impactful event for the Poway community. Held at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, the team collaborated on a showing of the film “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age,” followed by a discussion with teens and their parents about their use of digital technology, particularly cell phones, social media, and video games.  There were 235 community members in attendance, and both teens and parents shared how this event created a great discussion in their homes, and that they felt more confident and better equipped to establish balance around screen time.  In particular, teens said that they really liked hearing the college students’ perspectives, because they can REALLY relate to issues with social media and games, “not like our parents”!  

Outstanding Service Learning Student

Andrea Venegas

Andrea Venegas

Pictured: From left, nominator, Julann Lodge, Alta Vista and student, Andrea Venegas

Andrea Venegas was originally required to complete 24 hours of service learning in the fall, but she has been volunteering at Alta Vista High School for the entire school year at least 3 days per week. Where others run when they see trouble, Andrea gets right to work.  The students who appear to have gang affiliation or trouble with the law have been the students Andrea has made the deepest connections with.  For example, she got 25-30 students to ride the Sprinter with her from Vista to attend the Hommie Up art Exhibit at CSUSM… Students who never imagined themselves fitting in on a college campus are now completely inspired and fired up to go to college.   

Service Learning Student Showcase 2017

Bringing Science to the Community with SuperSTEM Saturday

Super STEM

Students: Helen Sedrak
Professor: Jaqueline Trischman
Class: CHEM 497 Chemistry in the Community

Enriching the Lives of Seniors at the San Marcos Senior Activity Center

Senior Center presentors

Students: Kody Cowell, Shay Minnifield
Community Parter: Ted Uhler, San Marcos Senior Activity Center
Professor: Kendra Rivera
Class: COMM 390 Communication Research Methods

GIS Biosurvey Tool at Agua Hedionda Lagoon

GIS Biosurvey Tool at Agua Hedionda Lagoon

*Evolved from ENVS 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies and developed with a GPSM Grant from CSUSM
Students: Silvia Lopez (ENVS), George Argoud (ENVS), Kyle Lunneberg (BIOL), Trails Manager at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation
Community Partner: Cierra Russo, Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation
Professor: Christina Simokat
Class: ENVS 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies

HIV/AIDS Awareness on a University Campus: The Creation of Safe Spaces with the Pride Center

Pride Center Team

Students: Helena Gulbransen, Shannon Hellmer, Katie Underwood
Community Partner: Abraham Manzon, CSUSM Pride Center
Professor: Kendra Rivera
Class: COMM 390 Communication Research Methods

STEP UP, Change the Game: A Partnership with SOLE Effects

Step Up team

Students: Stephanie Strand
Community Partner: Karen Ogden, SOLE Effects
Professor: Kendra Rivera
Class: COMM 390 Communication Research Methods

Photo credit: Michael Yoshioka, '17
Service Learning Invite 2018
Quick Reference 2017-2018        Award Winners

Emily Merryweather

Community Partner
Project LIKE

Student Group
Student Leadership Curriculum Development Team: Martin Mohammad (team leader), Kali Campbell, Elaine Cueto ,    and Karina Solis

Jaclyn Bailey                           Emily Juliano