Mercer, community partner recognized at Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning

Group of college students holding awards
Student poster presenters (left-right) back row: Ryan Brownlee, Jamyah Combs, Kaylee Bargeron, Aarush Babburi, Connor Holland. Front row: Oneeka Kohli, Zainab Shaik, Bree Withrow, Helen O'Dell

MACON — Mercer University faculty, staff, students and a community partner were recently recognized at this year’s Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Through Higher Education hosted by Auburn University.

This year’s theme was “Bridging the Gap Between Personal and Social Responsibility Through Knowledge, Engagement, and Action.” Mercer earned three out of the five 2024 poster awards presented at the conference this year, including:

  • Best Research: “Mapping Communities: Evaluation of a Service-Learning Project for STEM Students” presented by senior Kaylee Bargeron, Professor of Chemistry and Vice Provost of Engaged Learning Dr. Kathy Kloepper and Associate Professor of Environmental and Civil Engineering Dr. Todd Davis.
  • Best Student Impacts: “Crafting the Vision: Exploring the Visionary Student Panel Program” presented by Associate Director of Engaged Learning Lauren Shinholster.
  • Most Innovative Project: “The Good, the Bad, and the Unfinished: Bridging the Gap Between History and Community through Social Advocacy presented by senior Jamyah Combs and junior Bree Withrow.

In addition to the poster awards:

  • Dr. Sinjae Hyun, professor of biomedical engineering, won the Outstanding Faculty Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education – Instruction award.
  • Dr. Sherri Flagg, program supervisor for the United Way of Central Georgia’s Read United Initiative, won Outstanding Community Partner Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education for her support of Mercer’s Read2Succeed tutors.

“This conference brings together expert practitioners and researchers in the fields of service-learning and civic engagement,” said Dr. Kloepper. “It is an honor to have so many Mercerians recognized by this important conference, and we are grateful for the support that these students, faculty, staff and community partners have from Mercer and our community alike.”

The mission of the Gulf-South Summit is to promote networking among practitioners, research, ethical practices, reciprocal campus-community partnerships, sustainable programs and a culture of engagement and public awareness through service-learning and other forms of civic engagement.

Membership in the Gulf-South Summit Executive Committee consists of representatives from Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.