The Center for Social Impact is committed to measuring and evaluating our work. Please take a moment to look at the positive results of our social impact programming, as well as the good work done by our colleagues and partners who were given our most recent Active Citizen Award.


infographic showing benefits of service learning

Service-Learning Superstar Award

The Center for Social Impact is excited to announce a new way of recognizing the fantastic work of our service-learning faculty members on campus and in our community–a monthly Service-Learning Superstar Award.


April 2024 - dr. Mykin higbee

Dr. Mykin Higbee is an Assistant Professor in the Nursing Department at Utah Vportrait of Mykin HigbeealleyUniversity.  She earned her BSN at Brigham Young University, her MSN at Utah Valley University, and her PhD at the University of Texas at Tyler.  Mykin teaches Nursing Lab and SIM courses for first semester students and fourth semester students, Global Health Nursing, and Nursing Care of the Aging Population.  Her research interests include caffeine and energy drink consumption habits of nurses and nursing students and attitudes and experiences of nursing students related to care of older adults.  
Mykin says this about her service-learning work:
I teach a nursing course about caring for older adults and have noticed that several nursing students do not have a particular interest in caring for this population. To better engage students, I have created several service-learning opportunities. First, students interview an older adult about their life and write up the story.  This activity helps students to better see older adults as individuals, recognizing commonalities between them.  Students turn in the paper, but also give a copy to the individual.
Next, students visit a local community senior center and perform a health screening where they check senior’s vital signs and provide basic education.  This is a great opportunity for the students to interact with healthy seniors in the community and provide a useful service while learning more about community resources available to older adults.
In a final project, students come up with a service project they can provide for a senior or a group of older adults. The plan should include evidence-based information related to activities that are beneficial for seniors including exercise, technology help, gardening, meal planning, or games, etc.  These projects encourage students to look for needs and then find creative ways to improve quality of life and connection for older adults in the community.
At the end of the course, students have expressed feeling less apathetic and more connected to older adults.  This new attitude is important as the population of seniors is growing and nurses have the obligation and privilege of caring for them.

March 2024 - dr. sean crossland


Photo of Sean Crossland

Sean Crossland is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership at Utah Valley University. Sean focuses much of scholarship on the public purpose of higher education, community engagement, and community organizing. He earned a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah, MA in Community Leadership from Westminster College, and BA in Psychology from Iowa Wesleyan College. Sean has experience teaching with undergraduate and graduate community engaged courses at a community college, a research-intensive flagship university, and a liberal arts teaching college. Sean has administrative experience in community engagement and student leadership.
Sean says this about his service-learning work:
I have enjoyed redesigning and relaunching the Social Impact Scholars here at UVU. This program is open to any student in any major who wants to incorporate Social Impact into their educational experience. While I currently only teach graduate classes, I have incorporated the essence of service-learning into the capstone experience for the program and the classes I teach. I’m happy to get to contribute to the Social Impact Faculty Fellowship (Tier II) and support faculty in exploring ways to incorporate service-learning and principles into their own work.
I am currently finishing the first edited volume on the Pathways of Social Impact. The book will feature Pathways Practitioner Profiles, case studies from eight colleges and universities, and some empirical and theoretical considerations on the Pathways from 25 contributors. It has been about three years in the making, and I’m thrilled for it to be published fall 2024.
I also serve as the co-editor for the Community Organizing Journal, a new journal dedicated to advancing the scholarship and practice of community organizing around the globe.

february 2024 - dr. natalie grecu


Photo of Natallie Grecu

Natalie Grecu (Ph.D., Washington State University) is an Associate Professor of Communication at Utah Valley University. She teaches courses, including Introduction to Public Relations, Communication Theory, Communication Research Methods, and Public Relations and Strategic Communication Campaigns. Her research focuses pedagogy and multi-stakeholder engagement surrounding contentious issues and dialogic communication to promote relationship-centered communication engagement opportunities. After six years of working in media sales, advertising, and the nonprofit sector, she earned a Master's in Organizational Communication from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She then earned her Ph.D. in Strategic Communication/Environmental Communication from Washington State University. Prior to joining UVU, she taught Public Relations and Communication courses for five years at Missouri Southern State University.
Dr. Grecu has used service-learning in multiple courses, including her COMM 4850 Public Relations Strategic Communication Capstone courses, and she is continually impressed by what students learn from working on strategic communication campaigns for local nonprofit organizations. Service-learning courses are vital to providing hands-on, engaged learning experiences for students, especially in the field of public relations, an area that emphasizes building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with community stakeholders. Student service-learning projects have included creating multiple in-depth communication strategies for Utah's Project Read, an adult literacy organization in Utah and Salt Lake Counties. Dr. Grecu models the community engagement that she encourages in her classes. Her passion for teaching and education extends beyond the classroom. Prior to UVU, she was an executive board member for the Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action (NALA) of Joplin, Missouri. Here at UVU, she is currently an executive board member of Project Read Utah and is the newly elected chair of the executive board. Dr. Grecu continually sees how impactful the projects are for students and the importance of these intentional moments that foster mindful reflections on the co-educator relationship between students and the community. This semester, the students in her COMM 4850 course are working with Project Read on their 40th Anniversary event! She believes service-learning is a fantastic opportunity to develop new ways of thinking and creative problem-solving that will hopefully better equip students to navigate their careers and professional relationships.  

january 2024 - dr. weihong wang


Photo of Weihong Wang

We are pleased to announce Dr. Weihong Wang as the January 2024 Service-Learning Superstar! Dr. Weihong Wang is an Associate

Professor and Department Chair of Earth Science at Utah Valley University. She teaches courses on topics such as Wetland Studies, Energy Use on Earth, and Introductory and Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Passionate about engaged learning, Dr. Wang incorporates service-learning projects to enrich students’ educational experience and bridge classroom concepts with real-world applications.

In her Wetland Studies course, Dr. Wang partners with federal and state agencies to involve students directly with the challenges facing Utah Lake. Students collaborated with the Utah Reclamation Mitigation & Conservation Commission and the Utah Lake State Park to examine threats to the lake. They visited the Provo Delta Restoration site to learn about native wetland species and weed removal efforts, gaining firsthand experience with ecosystem restoration and conservation. In collaboration with the Utah Lake State Park, student teams created educational posters addressing issues like invasive species, population growth impacts, geological hazards, wetland loss, and land use and land cover changes around the lake. These posters will be displayed at the park's visitor center where students could interact with visitors and share their research findings. By learning through doing, students applied their knowledge to address real issues while engaging community members on pressing environmental topics.

Beyond the classroom, Dr. Wang serves as Co-Principal Investigator on an NSF-funded project, “Undergraduate Preparation through Multidisciplinary Service Learning at Utah Lake.” She feels strongly that education is crucial for conveying scientific information and protecting Utah Lake for future generations. Over the past three summers, her research groups have worked with various state and federal agencies to examine water quality in Utah Lake using methods from in-situ sampling to GIS visualization of correlations between nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms. Through these collaborative summer service-learning programs, students gained a sense of stewardship and found their voice to speak to the economic, cultural, and ecological importance of preserving Utah Lake.


december 2023 - Dr. maureen andrade

We are pleased to announce Maureen Andrade as the December Service-Learning Superstar!

Photo of Maureen Andrade

Dr.  Andrade shared the following thoughts about her experience with service-learning:

In my service-learning course, I implement a number of high impact educational practices, such as teamwork, collaborative assignments, writing intensive assignments, and ePortfolios. During the semester, students collaborate in teams to resolve management challenges and arrive at theory-based solutions, which they document in a team ePortfolio. This prepares them for a consulting project where they work with a community partner to collect and analyze data about a real-life management issue and make recommendations based on the theories they are studying.

As students work in teams on their assignments and consulting projects, they develop skills in resolving conflict, understanding diversity, communicating, managing conflict, and leading—all topics in the organizational behavior course; thus, students are applying course concepts. Students are exposed to situations and people unlike themselves as they partner with and gain understanding of real-life management issues in a community organization and recognize how academic theories can help address these issues. ePortfolios are an innovative way to demonstrate learning as opposed to more traditional assessments.

I have collected extensive data related to the efficacy of these approaches to help students develop employer-valued skills such as teamwork, written and oral communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and application of learning to real life, and published several related articles. Additionally, this work has involved the development of an ePortfolio learning outcomes survey, supported by UVU’s Title III HIELG grant. Research validating this survey, co-authored by Dr. Alaa Alsarhan. was recently accepted in the International Journal of ePortfolio.


Dr. Maureen Snow Andrade is a professor in the Organizational Leadership Department at Utah Valley University where she teaches organizational behavior and leadership. She holds the distinction of Principal Fellow from the Higher Education Academy in the UK for leadership in teaching and learning. Dr. Andrade is a former associate vice president, associate dean, department chair, director, journal editor and associate editor, and is currently serving as assistant department chair. Her research interests include job satisfaction, work-life balance, leadership, business education, service learning, organizational change, and flexible learning. She has published extensively in academic journals and is a regular conference presenter.

november 2023 - dr. zan cammack


Photo of Zan Cammack

We are pleased to announce Dr. Zan Cammack as the November 2023 Service-Learning Superstar! Dr.  Cammack shared the following thoughts about her experience with service-learning:

Service-learning has long been an integral part of my pedagogy. My goal with any service-learning course is to bridge the gap between academia and the community by emphasizing the foundational role the humanities play in effecting social change.

Before coming to UVU, I incorporated community-based projects in courses from technical writing to literature and film studies. At UVU, I have taught multiple sections of Writing for Social Change as a service-learning course. Students work in small groups with a range of student-selected community partners who address issues of inclusivity and equity. In past years, students have partnered with organizations like My Story Matters, where students created scrapbook templates for Navajo students in Monument Valley Elementary school to support the sharing of their personal narratives. We also joined forces with Encircle LGBTQ+ Family & Youth Resource Center, the ACLU of Utah, and UVU's Women’s Success Center. This fall, student projects include working with UVU’s Sustainability Outreach Program to create media content to promote events and make visible the sustainability practices on campus, collaborating with LQBTQ+ Student Services to draft content for next semester’s MLK Commemoration Week, and supporting the Office for Global Engagement’s upcoming celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Next semester, I am excited to teach Literary History I, a class that will bring the oral traditions of Irish literature to local libraries and Title 1 elementary schools through interactive storytelling. Through this public humanities project, I aim for students to gain insights into the role humanities play in child development, the importance of democratizing access to the arts, and our ongoing need for community-based narratives.



We are pleased to announce Dr. Nate Cottle as the October 2023 Service-Learning Superstar!

Photo of Nate Cottle

Dr. Nate Cottle is a Professor of Family Science in the Behavioral Science. Shortly after arriving at UVU, he began engaging his students in service-learning projects in the Family Life Education Methodology class and in the community internships and UVU Stronger Families Program. For example, in FAMS 4500, Dr. Cottle’s students write curricula to teach families of various types to improve their functioning and coping skills. The students become certified in Survival Skills for Healthy Families and use that curriculum in their teaching families in the community as part of UVU Stronger Families Program. His use of service learning helps teach students vital skills which are essential learning outcomes for students in the Family Science major. 

Some of Dr. Cottle’s students’ have taken this certification and lessons from their curricula to present to families in a variety of settings outside of UVU. These students are better prepared through service learning to enter the workforce and share their skills as they intervene with families in their careers.


september 2023 - dr. Meaghan Mckasy

We are pleased to announce Dr. Meaghan McKasy as the September 2023 Service-Learning Superstar!

Photo of Meaghan McKasy

Meaghan McKasy is an Assistant Professor of Public Relations and Strategic Communication at Utah Valley University. She is the Major Coordinator for the Public Relations and Strategic Communication major and she teaches courses such as Communication Research Methods, Public Relations and Strategic Communication Campaigns, Environmental Communication, and Media Literacy. Dr. McKasy works with several community focused research groups, including the Capitol Reef National Park Social Science Team and Utah FORGE, and was an inaugural faculty fellow with the Environmental Initiatives Hub with the Center for Social Impact.


Dr. McKasy believes service-learning to be an incredibly impactful tool where students get to put their education into practice to serve their communities. As such, she embraces service-learning in several of her classes. In COMM 4850 Public Relations and Strategic Communication students work with community clients to design and execute a communications campaign. Students have worked with clients like the UVU Sustainability recycling program to develop new signage and awareness of recycling efforts on campus. Students have also worked with the UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences to promote several programs (e.g., Spanish, Humanities, online Communication). Dr. McKasy has also taught COMM 4250 Communication and Leadership, where students bring leadership theory into practice through a self-selected ongoing service-learning project in the community. Projects have worked with local food groups, elementary schools, the Red Cross, and more. Dr. McKasy also worked to designate COMM 3570 Crisis Communication as a service-learning course where students could work with community partners to develop crisis plans in preparation for crisis scenarios.

April 2023 - Dr. Bobbi Kassel

We are pleased to announce Bobbi Kassel as the April Service-Learning Superstar!

Photo of Bobbi Kassel

Bobbi Kassel is an Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Utah Valley University. She has an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah and a BS degree in Criminal Justice from Utah Valley University.

Bobbi uses Service Learning projects in her Victimology class (CJ 3300). This course is designed for students to learn more about crime happening in their own communities, identify the problems and dilemmas that crime victims face along with learning how the criminal justice system interacts with and assists crime victims. The Service Learning project allows students to engage with criminal justice organizations that help crime victims. The students work hand-in-hand with these organizations to plan, develop, and execute meaningful projects to help people that have been a victim of a crime.

Students enrolled in Bobbi’s Victimology course participate in projects with many organizations throughout the state of Utah. Recent student projects include working with the following organizations: The Refuge, Utah County Children’s Justice Center, Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, American Fork Police Department, Orem City Police Department, Provo Police Department, CourtWatch -Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Fourth District CASA Program, Utah Office for Victims of Crime, and Pretty Tough Ladies Resource Center. Her students provide various services for these organizations and in turn, they receive valuable insight into the work that is being done within the criminal justice system to help people that have been victimized.

A Service Learning project that stands out to Bobbi is one where a student worked closely with a police officer in the Provo Police Department. The student worked with the officer to organize, plan and complete a donation drive, asking for new door locks. These locks were donated to the police department. Officers respond to domestic violence calls often. To help the victim feel safer, and depending on the situation, an officer might offer to change the locks on the doors at the home. This particular student was able to collect more than 30 new locks that will go a long way to help victims of domestic violence feel more secure. This is just one example of many meaningful projects Victimology students complete each semester.

Service Learning is an excellent way for students to be involved and make a difference in their communities. Many of the projects in Bobbi’s Victimology class have personal meaning to her students. Her students have loved the opportunity to network with these criminal justice organizations and at the same time, make a difference in someone’s life.

March 2023 - LynnAnn Erickson

We are pleased to announce LynnAnn Erickson as the March Service-Learning Superstar!

Photo of LynnAnn Erickson

LynnAnn Erickson is a Professional in Residence in the Organizational Leadership Department at Utah Valley University. Prior to teaching, LynnAnn worked as an HR Professional primarily in the manufacturing industry. She held specialist, generalist and manager roles  at various companies.  She is also a consultant with TracTalent, a startup company focused on driving a people-first approach to attract, retain and develop talent. She has an MBA degree  from Utah State University and a BS degree in Business Management from Utah Valley University.

LynnAnn uses Service Learning projects in her Training and Development class (HR 3570). One of the goals for this course is for students to create effective training content that organizations can use to close critical skill gaps. The training framework taught in the classroom  requires students to  plan, develop, and create a system that measure results. The Service Learning project is particularly well suited to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom and requires students to directly apply these concepts into a consulting project for a client in our local committee.

"I love using Service Learning in my courses," LynnAnn says, "This process enables my students to  work closely  with clients in our local community. This helps students gain valuable practice in applying the concepts we discuss in class to real world projects.  Service Learning gives my students skills  that help them enter the workforce competent and prepared."

february 2023 - Dr. Wioleta Fedeczko

We are pleased to announce Dr. Wioleta Fedeczko as the February Service-Learning Superstar!

Photo of Dr. Wioleta Fedeczko

Dr. Wioleta Fedeczko is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, where she teaches courses in the Writing Studies emphasis, including Rhetorical Theory, Multicultural Rhetoric, and Grant and Proposal Writing.   

In her courses, Dr. Fedeczko emphasizes to students that we study rhetoric and composition as a journey to deeper understanding of the modern world and our (in)ability to use language as we engage with and contribute to our communities. Her Service-Learning (SL) course, English 3320: Grant and Proposal Writing, provides students an opportunity to experience engaged learning in its most literal sense: students work with community non-profit partners to research their funding needs, locate possible grants, and complete the necessary components of a proposal.  

UVU English majors Brenda Cottle (class of 2022), Erin Cousins (class of 2022), and Olivia Allen (currently enrolled) co-wrote a grant proposal for Dr. Fedeczko’s Spring 2022 section of Grant and Proposal Writing and in January 2023 learned their proposal resulted in a $50,000 grant for their non-profit community partner, the Road 2 Recovery Foundation.

When Cottle wrote to Dr. Fedeczko about the winning grant, she added: “Thank you so much for ALL the amazing instruction and guidance along the way. Your classes were easily the highlight of my time at UVU.” 

Another UVU graduate, Alisse Shiles, wrote to Fedeczko stating: “I wanted to thank you again for your awesome class on grant writing. When I brought up that fact to my new boss, he started thinking about how we could look into grants to help with our new program and large ticket items that will benefit our school.”  

 Dr. Fedeczko regularly teaches Grant and Proposal Writing as a designated Service-Learning course and invites faculty colleagues and community members to reach out if they’re interested in serving as community partners or know of non-profit organizations in need of funding.  

January 2023 - Juliann Fritz

We are pleased to announce Juliann Fritz as the January Service-Learning Superstar!

picture of Juliann Fritz

Juliann Fritz is a faculty member in the Communication Dept., she teaches in the Public Relations and Strategic Communication major.

“Service-learning is an empowering experience,” she shared. “It puts students in the thick of real challenges organizations face. Students roll up their sleeves, apply learnings, and build their portfolios to share with future employers. However, the best part is how service learning helps students see the value of their education on improving our world.”

Fritz utilizes service-learning in her Comm-4850/PR Campaigns course. She supports students as they tackle a client problem. Examples include:

UVU Sustainability – With various environmental issues affecting Utah, there is a need to create awareness and action. The students researched, strategized, and met with The Nature Conservancy, the Utah Transit Authority, and UVU. Their efforts resulted in digital and social media campaigns on the benefit of small habit changes, and a media relations program around pledging to ride public transit.

UVU Museum of Art – The pandemic hindered museum attendance. In addition, UVU’s has been without space as it moves to Lakemont Manor. Students sought to build and reignite an affinity to it. As research, they met with the museum and the SLC Airport which shares similar issues. Their campaigns brought the fun of artmaking to everyday campus life with hands-on activation booths and games that were extended through social media. They created a fan base connected to the museum and awareness about its reopening.

December 2022 - Dr. Julie Nelson

We are pleased to announce Dr. Julie Nelson as the December Service-Learning Superstar!

headshot of Julie Nelson

Julie Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the Behavioral Science department and the Family Science Internship Coordinator. She teaches FAMS 481R, a community practicum course, that offers high impact, engaged learning through an off-site internship. Since 2018, she has supervised year-round up to 65 interns per semester, each student completing 120 field hours. The individualized internships reflect compelling connection to psychoeducation or other professional endeavors related to formal teaching, family intervention and education, curriculum and resource development, social services, family policy, marriage enhancement, parenting skills, rehabilitation, trauma-informed care, financial, or military family support. She has established sponsoring agreements with over 100 approved businesses or agencies along the Wasatch front.

Julie is also the Faculty Director of the UVU Stronger Families Project (SFP) that provides a community-based, family life education internship every fall and spring semester. Since 2008, the program has served nearly 1,050 families in 15 Utah counties. The SFP leverages student engaged learning experiences to help families achieve meaningful and successful lives. Interns teach in-person classes (English and Spanish) to Utah county residents as well as virtually to any Utah resident to improve their interaction and emotional patterns within the family.  

UVU's SFP immerses students in practical, functional skill-building to persist in college and carry them forward after graduation. Interns with SFP carry many workforce-ready credentials upon completing the program and graduation. They have been mentored and supervised by Julie and other professionals including UVU faculty, community partners, social service workers, and the program coordinator. Community partners include South Franklin Community Center, United Way, Alpine and Provo School Districts, Kids On the Move, Early Learning Essentials (formerly Mountainland Headstart), PG Cares, and Utah Department of Workforce Services. Interns are assigned a program site in the service area where they lead all program outreach, marketing, recruitment of participants, intake, teaching, reporting, and participant survey satisfaction. As they finish the SFP internship, they qualify to receive the Certified Family Life Educator-P certificate, the Qualified Educators certificate through "Family Wellness Associates," as well as the Domestic Violence Coalition 101 and 102, Columbia Suicide Training, and Psychological First Aid. They complete a professional e-portfolio in the 10 content areas documented by the National Council of Family Relations.

Additionally, Julie has collaborated with UVU’s Wee Care and Stronger Families Project to mentor service-learning students volunteering with FAMS 3800, SOC 1020, and FAMS 3000. Students are prepared to teach children, implement age-appropriate lesson plans, developmental assessment, parent outreach, observations on child socio-emotional, cognitive, and physical development, and make a positive impact the family system through wholistic learning.

On the impact of service-learning, Dr. Nelson said, "I relish opportunities to see service-learning students and interns in the field, representing UVU in magnificent ways. They are impressive and impact our world for good. It’s a delight to work year round with students who are determined to make a difference by applying themselves and elevating others through direct services."

November 2022 - Dr. Devin Gilbert

We are pleased to announce Dr. Devin Gilbert as the November Service-Learning Superstar

headshot of Devin Gilbert

Dr. Devin Gilbert is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages & Cultures, where is building and growing UVU’s Spanish translation and interpreting program. Since he arrived to UVU in 2021, his students have pursued service-learning projects in the Advanced Spanish Translation course, and he has also used service to incorporate authentic experiential learning into his translation courses. For example, in Spring of 2022, Dr. Gilbert’s translation students localized (a combination of translation and technical/cultural adaptation) Orem City’s most heavily used webpages into Spanish, garnering them recognition from the Daily Herald. The plan is to continue working with Orem City and other communities in Utah Valley to develop further authentic project-based learning opportunities for UVU students.

Some of Dr. Gilbert’s students’ individual service-learning projects include translating subtitles for TED talks through the TED Translate program, translating Latino UVU students’ Wolverine Stories (coming soon) so their family members can read their interviews more easily, translating promotional materials for UVU’s English Language Learning (ELL) program, translating patient materials for several local non-profit medical clinics — such as the Hope Clinic — and translating parent- and student-facing materials for various local schools.

Dr. Gilbert's department chair, Dr. Bryan K. Eldredge, says this about Devin:

From the day he arrived on campus, Devin began looking for ways to tailor his teaching to engage with and positively impact the community. His efforts make a difference to his students and to our community, and the provide a glimpse of what higher education should be."

October 2022 - Dr. Maria Blevins

headshot of Maria BlevinsWe are pleased to announce Dr. Maria Blevins as the October Service-Learning Superstar! In addition to being an original co-investigator on the National Science Foundation Utah Lake project, part of the Capitol Reef National Park Social Science Team, and a Faculty Fellow in the UVU SIMLab, Dr. Blevins continues to include a variety of impactful service-learning projects in her courses each semester. These include:

Comm 350 R Public Participation Processes/Host The National Dialogue: The National Dialogue yearly brings together students, public participation practitioners, policy experts, community leaders and the interested public to explore and discuss why and how the public should be involved in complex and technical decision making. 

Comm 4170 Contemporary Issues in Organizational Communication/Developed Volunteer Trainings: This class was an opportunity for students to learn more deeply about processes of socialization and assimilation into organizations.  Students were paired with Teens Act and the National Abilities Center to create new volunteer trainings for the organization.  

Comm 3020 Introduction to Communication Research Methods/Sandy City Water Department: This introduction to research methods class tested the attitudes towards water consumption that are held by residents of Sandy City. This will include their current attitudes, willingness to change, and will analyze the degree to which citizens are environmentally conscious. 

Dr. Belvins said this about her service-learning experience at UVU: "Service-learning is such a great chance for students to apply the theory and concepts they are learning in class to real world issues. It feels fun to work with the community and students on projects that will have tangible impacts in the world."

September 2022 - Dr. Hilary Hungerford

headshot of Khaled ShaabanWe are pleased to announce Dr. Hilary Hungerford as the September Service-Learning Superstar! Dr. Hilary Hungerford (aka Dr. H) is anassociate professor in the Department of Earth Science where she teaches geography and sustainability classes.  Dr. H integrates aspects of the service-learning pathways in all of her classes, whether it is direct service, working with community members, community-engaged research, or having students contact their elected officials and engage in the political process.

Last year she received funding to create the Environmental Initiatives Hub with the Center for Social Impact. The EIH hosted their first three faculty fellows who worked on developing environmental education initiatives that can be used by anyone on campus. The EIH also hosted the First Annual Utah County Sustainability Summit, which brought together elected officials from across Utah County, including national representatives, students, and faculty to identify sustainability successes and future needs.

Dr. H is also part of the NSF-funded Utah Lake Project, and her students worked on an Indigenous history of Utah Lake and oral history project. In June, she was appointed by Governor Cox to the Utah Lake Authority Board -- a new board formed during the last legislative session and that guides decision making for the lake -- and will serve a 4-year term.  In the Department of Earth Science, she teaches Survey of World Regions, Human Geography, Sustainability and Environment, Geography of the United States, Geography of Utah, Geography of Africa, Special topics on Water Geographies, and mentors student projects. 

April 2022 - Dr. Khaled Shaaban

headshot of Khaled Shaaban

We are pleased to announce Dr. Khaled Shaaban as the April Service-Learning Superstar! Dr. Shaaban is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. He teaches a service-learning course titled CIVE 4020 Highway Planning and Design. In this course, students work on real-life projects from the industry. All the projects focus on solving transportation problems in the State of Utah. The projects cover different topics such as corridor selection, design of highway horizontal and vertical alignment, design of intersections, calculation of quantities, and cost estimating. As part of these projects, the students collaborate with other students and develop practical skills that can be applied to future employment. The projects are conducted in accordance with applicable design standards, codes, and specifications and in coordination with the Utah Department of Transportation.


When asked about the importance of service-learning, Dr. Shaaban said, “I believe that service learning is fundamental for the future of our engineering students. To be competitive in this market, we need to prepare our students to enter the workforce with real-life experience through addressing actual problems in our community.”

March 2022 - Sandy Wilson

headshot of Sandy WilsonWe are pleased to announce Professor Sandy Willson as the March Service-Learning Superstar! Professor Wilson was nominated by the Dean of the College of Health & Public Service, Cheryl Hanewicz. Professor Wilson is the Department Chair of Allied Health and Associate Professor in Dental Hygiene. Sandy completed the Service-Learning Fellowship and was instantly smitten with service learning.

Sandy was challenged to be more intentional with how students completed their dental hygiene clinical hours and was inspired to think outside-the-box in finding community partners for DENT 206G - Oral Public Health and dental hygiene clinical courses. These courses provide students with the principles of community health and build on their knowledge of ethics, dental science, and dental hygiene practice.

Students in the DENT 206G course are required to provide 20 hours minimum service to community partners. Sandy’s students are now exposed to a wide variety of organizations that provide essential services to patients who might not otherwise have access. These establishments include Centro Medico Hispano, Food and Care Coalition, Give Kids a Smile, Kids on the Move, Lake Ridge Senior Living, Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism, Mountainlands Community Health Center, and Scenic View Academy. In some instances, Dental Hygiene has been given permanent space to set up their portable equipment. Clients learn about dental health and get their teeth cleaned for no charge. For a small department, Dental Hygiene’s impact in the community is substantial as an example of exceptional care.

When asked about why she uses the service-learning pedagogy, Sandy said, “Service-learning is sort of a no-brainer in teaching dental hygiene. Implementing intentional service-learning with meaningful reflection is ALL the emojis. 😊 When students reflect upon their experiences with service-learning in my courses, I can really see them honor the process.”

February 2022 - Dan Hatch

headshot of Dan HatchWe are pleased to announce Dan Hatch as the February Service-Learning Superstar! Dan is an Assistant Professor in Interaction & Design in the Department of Digital Media. His service-learning courses include DGM 221R – Digital Design Practicum, DGM 2240 – Interaction Design, and DGM 490R – Senior Capstone.

In these courses, students have engaged in multiple service-learning projects where they have worked on websites and design for Habitat for Humanity, Francis David Millet, Hands of Charity, Utah State Poetry Society, and the Fuller Center, to name a few. Students have also worked on projects for the Capital Reef Field station and Timpanogos Cave. Congratulations, Dan!

January 2022 - Farah Sanders

headshot of Farah SandersCongratulations to our January Service-Learning Superstar, Farah Sanders! Farah Sanders is Public Relations and Strategic Communication Faculty in the Department of Communication.

Farah Sanders enjoys providing opportunities for students that ensure service learning to the community, persons with disabilities, underserved populations, audiences seeking social change, and the advancement of proper representation in state and national forums.

Over the years Sanders has had the privilege of advising students as they addressed key social issues with both state and national organizations as part of the Public Relations and Strategic Communication Case Study and Campaigns courses. Below are a few of the service-learning platforms she has overseen.

  • Utah Affordable Housing Crisis – improved housing opportunities in Wasatch County.
  • U.S. 2020 and 2010 Census – seeking proper counts of Utah residents for accurate representation in the U.S. Congress.
  • Organ donor awareness – increased the number of organ donors in the state of Utah and kidney screenings.
  • General Mills challenge on childhood obesity – partnered with Utah County elementary schools and Orem City on making healthy choices and adding more movement to daily activity.
  • Financial Literacy in partnership with Ally Financial Bank – partnered with Centro Hispano of Provo to aid in improving financial literacy for underserved populations.
  • Improved awareness of services for Autistic Families and Students within the Utah County community with The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at Utah Valley University.
  • Student Veterans of America – partnered with the UVU Student Veteran Success Center to improve academic retention of student veterans, helped get English and Math veteran specific courses approved through academic affairs at UVU.
  • Anti Bullying – partnered with local middle schools in Utah and Salt Lake County to raise awareness of the signs of bullying.

December 2021 - Dr. Stevie Munz

photo of Dr. Stevie MunzCongratulations to our December Service-Learning Superstar, Dr. Stevie Munz! Dr. Stevie Munz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication.

Here is what Dr. Munz says about her involvement with service-learning at UVU:

"When I began teaching our COMM 319G Communicating Across Cultures course, I also began my service-learning journey. I believe deeply in the positive power of understanding the lived realities of folks who seem different from our own experiences. The beauty of service-learning is it provides a means for us to shift our understanding, complicate how we think about identity/ies, and broaden our knowledge about culture, diversity, inclusion, and access. Students in my courses work with refugees, food and housing insecurity, the English Language Club, as well as literacy communities and learn how difference matters in their communities and neighborhoods. Through the years, I have found some of the most powerful teaching experiences have come through service-learning as I witness students link textbook content to everyday social and cultural challenges in their communities."

Below are a few student narratives:

"From my service hours, I have gained a desire to become a regular volunteer at the food bank. I appreciate so much that they give back to the community so eagerly and it makes it a rewarding and nice place to volunteer. I feel like it's also helped me understand socioeconomic class and race. This experience has moved me to ask more questions to help me understand my own ignorance and assumptions."

"My service hours have helped me see connections between our class content and other communication classes which I think is cool.  The longer I have been volunteering the more that I have seen uncertainty reduction theory come into play from the students perspective.  It has been pretty apparent to me that a lot of the students have trust issues and it has taken a while to reduce their uncertainty about me."

november 2021 - emily hedrick

Congratulations to our November Service-Learning Superstar, Emily Hedrick! Emily is an Assistant ProfessImage of Emily Hedrickor in the Digital Media Web Developer and Design program. She is also a proud Wolverine and graduated in 2009 as one of the first graduates of the newly created Digital Media department.

In fall 2018 Emily accepted a full-time tenure track position at her beloved alma mater UVU Digital Media department. She continues to follow industry shifts in technology and emerging markets to help prepare students for the ever-changing digital media world.

Emily teaches multiple service-learning courses in her department and uses supportive strategies to help both her students and service-learning partners to have meaningful learning experiences. Several of her service-learning partners have been so pleased, they have been working together over multiple semesters.  Some examples of service-learning projects and deliverables from her Adaptive Media II course are listed below.

Gibbs Smith Team A: Social media content of the book Wild Spaces using panoramas of real locations. An e-book version of Little Naturalists: Wangari Maathai Planted Trees and engagement with planting a tree in Africa (the students made a little website component to allow the reader to donate a $1 to plant a tree, just like the protagonist in the book).

Gibbs Smith Team B: The team created an activity kit of the book Fascinating World of Astronomy. The kit has the students build their own telescope, a constellation chart based on the artwork, stickers, and a paint set. Students designed everything, including the packaging.

Timp Cave: The students created an asset library and templates to help the Timp Cave education team to engage with teachers about their cave programs. They researched how to leverage social media with hashtags and types of visual content. Then provided templates and recommendations based on their research.

UVU Marketing: DGM students put their UX skills to work to redesign the UVU Students Page. They used research and testing to determine the most logical and intuitive design layout.


october 2021- Dr. Ashley N. Egan

photo of Ashley Egan with the words Service-Learning SuperstarOur October recipient of this award is Dr. Ashley N. Egan, Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. Egan has designed powerful service-learning experiences for her students that have had meaningful impact on their learning and our community. Dr. Egan shared the following recent service-learning experience with us:

“During Spring 2021, I taught BIOL 3800 Conservation Biology as service-learning. We worked with the City of Vineyard’s landscape planner to use only native plants that were representative of the area to work with for the five major greenspaces.

“Working in groups, the students met each week over teams to learn about Utah native plants and choose 25 plants for their ecozone. The students chose their plants with form and function in mind, for example, with the purpose of providing shade, color in the fall, flowers in the spring or fall, etc.  They honed their plant lists and created a plant palette with photos and information for each species and presented as a group to the city landscape planner.

“My experience this spring semester with teaching SL Conservation Biology was amazing and I found it to be one of, if not the most, rewarding teaching experiences thus far in my career. Personal reflection through written or verbal accounts is an excellent metacognitive means for connecting knowledge with life and is a pivotal aspect

 of service-learning pedagogy. I saw leaps and bounds in student learning of both course content material, connection to other aspects of life, and even recognition of learning of transitional skillsets. One student wrote in an anonymous survey: ‘I felt that this reflection activity was an effective method for me to connect my service activity to the academic content of the class.’

“I have found service-learning to be very impactful on my students and fulfilling to see them learn at a higher level through reflection, selflessness, and community engagement by applying course concepts to address real-world community needs.”



The Center for Social Impact began giving the Active Citizen Award to recognize the work of outstanding faculty, staff, students, and community organizations. This award is given to individuals who contribute in one or more of the following ways:

  • Strengthens social impact work at UVU
  • Shows leadership in advancing community engagement as a critical component within UVU
  • Forms innovative campus and community partnerships
  • Engages, models, or influences students to be involved in the pathways of social impact
  • Serves as a co-educator and provides meaningful opportunities for students to learn and experience one or more of the pathways of social impact
  • Connects coursework and/or academic research to community-identified needs as a successful pedagogy
  • Innovatively employs reflective strategies to connect students' impact with academics
  • Demonstrates academic community engagement through teaching, community-based research, or promotion of service-learning on campus or in one’s discipline

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Our Internal Commitment to Social Equity

This commitment outlines the intentional actions we commit to take in pursuit of social equity in both what we do and how we do it. We anticipate all actions will begin during the 2020-2021 academic year. This year’s commitment is heavily focused on addressing racial equity. As we evaluate and update this commitment on an annual basis, we anticipate addressing the many intersectional aspects of social equity in future actions. Please take a moment to read our commitment.

Social Impact Fellows

Social Impact Fellows plan and implement student-run programs and events that make an impact at UVU and with the community.

Watch the video at right to see what the Social Impact Fellows learned during their 2021-2022 term.