Four Mississippi college ‘Citizen Scholars’ honored for dedicating 600 hours of their time to communities

Published 10:30 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) has recognized four recipients of the Citizen Scholar Award, an honor for students demonstrating significant involvement in community engagement.

The Citizen Scholars program is a new initiative that honors undergraduate students who have made significant contributions to their communities by incorporating service and community engagement into their academic experience. Students who earn 100-plus service hours, participate in a community-engaged learning experience, and complete a reflective exit interview are eligible to be recognized as Citizen Scholars.

This semester’s four awardees are:

  • Carrington Brown, Kinesiology major and Psychology minor from Hattiesburg, Miss
  • Demecia Edmond, Social Work major from Canton, Miss.
  • Emily Rushing, Nursing major from Gloster, Miss.
  • Sarah Mitchell, Microbiology major from Brandon, Miss.

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“The Citizen Scholars program was developed to recognize students who go above and beyond to serve their community during college,” said CCE Director Christy Kayser. “These students, in addition to their volunteer work, also find a way to incorporate community-based learning into their academic work through internships, leadership projects, and research. We are so proud of all they have accomplished.”

As students at Southern Miss, the four recipients have volunteered for a combined total of 615 service hours, in addition to participating in various community-engaged learning experiences.

Brown completed more than 220 service hours through volunteer work with West Point Baptist Church, Christian Services, and Dance Art Dance. Brown’s community-engaged learning experience was as a MS INBRE Outreach Scholar where she participated in a 10- week summer community-based research on the topics of nutrition, physical activity, and health; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy; and the obesity science and prevention initiative.

Mitchell completed more than 150 service hours through volunteer work with Forrest General Hospital’s Ambassador Program. Mitchell’s community-engaged learning experience was a leadership project called Eggroll Fest through which the Vietnamese Student Association makes eggrolls and sells them to benefit a Collective Philanthropy Project (CPP). This year, the CPP was One Body Village, an art therapy program for child victims of sexual assault.

Rushing completed more than 110 service hours through volunteer work with Forrest General Hospital, Centreville Baptist Church’s food pantry and outreach programs, and by providing support at COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Rushing’s community-engaged learning experience was an internship with Forrest General Hospital where she provided nursing care to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.

Edmond completed 135 service hours by volunteering with schools in the Jackson area and helping coordinate large backpack giveaways three years in a row. Edmond’s community-engaged learning experience was an externship with Pinebelt Mental Healthcare Resources where she learned about social work and mental health.