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Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents' Awards Winners

Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents' Awards Winners


Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Valerie Messner

As the President of Enactus, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, student-led association, Valerie Messner has a grassroots, civic engagement approach to solving problems. Specifically, she works to identify problems or opportunities in the community using evidence-based approaches and community engagement. She works with community stakeholders, business leaders, non-profit leaders, and Enactus students to develop interventions leveraging social entrepreneurship. She is directly responsible for developing operational plans that address the daily operations of a significant project, Mindful Meals, that address disparities among social-economic classes of students, addressing malnutrition and mitigating academic achievement gaps.

Presidents' Community Partner Award: The Schwan's Company

The Schwan's Company has partnered with the SMSU Exercise Science program for 12 years in providing an experiential learning opportunity for the Exercise Science students. Students work with employees to complete fitness assessments, write individualized exercise prescriptions, and train these employees in exercise, healthy eating, goal setting, and stress management.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Leadership Award: SMSU Exercise Science Advisory Council

You have been nominated for your work as the SMSU Exercise Science Advisory Council bringing together the SMSU Exercise Science program and students with professionals in the community greatly enhancing civic engagement and experiential learning opportunities for students. The council’s work has provided insight into how civic engagement opportunities can mesh with curriculum to provide excellent experiences for students.



Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Isatu Shirek

Isatu Shirek’s work and dedication as an intern with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and with Pioneer Public Television modeled deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership. She has worked to create and have aired two short pieces that promote positive change in rural communities, shining a light on gender and racial equity and the importance of mental health as a tool for resilience when facing adversity. 

Presidents' Community Partner Award: Marshall Public Schools

Marshall Public Schools has been a constant support to the SMSU School of Education and the Placement and Licensure Office. MPS administration, staff and teachers consistently provide a professional learning environment for over 100 clinical experience placements for SMSU Teacher Candidates on a yearly basis, making them our largest E-12 partner. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit E-12 education especially hard and it would have been easy for MPS to not accept our students for placements. However, through the pandemic the MPS has recognized the importance of our partnership and have continued to open their classrooms to our SMSU Teacher Candidates.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Dr. May Lee Moua-Vue

Dr. May Lee Moua-Vue is leading the Center for International Education (CIE) in a new and exciting direction.  By hosting weekly International Coffee Hours, she has engaged not only the SMSU community with international students but the surrounding Marshall community. She had re-envisioned the annual international food event and expanded it to  become WorldFest,  a collaborative festival between the city of Marshall and local organizations to include not only SMSU’s international students but local diversity present within southwest Minnesota including the Native American, Hmong, Latino, Somali communities. 



Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Isabella Erickson

Isabella (Bella) Erickson is a senior at SMSU served as one of the Campus Election Engagement Project Student Fellows in 2020. She worked quickly and innovatively to help implement the six required events before November 3, 2020. Bella was integral to the voter engagement at SMSU during the 2020 election.

Presidents' Community Partner Award: Cultures on the Prairie Committee

The Cultures on the Prairie Committee was selected for this award for putting together the ‘Cultures on the Prairie Conference,’ which focuses on the experience of stories, history, and cultures of Southwest Minnesota. Holding interacting listening panels to discuss the views from employers, workforce personnel, students and adults help participants to gain insight when hiring and serving all people of Southwest Minnesota.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Michele Knife Sterner

Michele Knife Sterner is an integral voice representing SMSU on the Cultures on the Prairie Committee. Her work with the City of Marshall, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council and Southwest Initiative Foundation has advanced SMSU’s civic mission by helping to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement.



Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Mae Wrase

Mae created and serves as President of the Exercise is Medicine (a worldwide American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) health initiative) Club on her campus. Mae serves on the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) for the regional Northland Chapter of ACSM (NACSM), and as NACSM's sole student representative for ACSM (national).

Presidents' Community Partnership Award: United Community Action Partnership- The Kitchen Table

Margaret and Lori from United Community Action Partnership's The Kitchen Table have been instrumental campus partners with the implementation of Mustang Market at SMSU. There have been many involved with the organization of this resource, but their support, input, and guidance has been invaluable.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Crystal Watts

Crystal's ability to form relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships with the community is a gift, which has been a primary strength of SMSU’s new resource, Mustang Market. Her work as an AmeriCorps Health VISTA has advanced the civic mission of SMSU in a short period of time.



Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Aaron Bible

Aaron consistently displays a passion for bringing the students of SMSU together and exemplifies what it means to be inclusive and welcoming on campus. Aaron knows how to get even the most hesitant of students engaged in community and team-building activities.

Presidents' Community Partnership Award: Southwest Adult Basic Education - See Moua-Leske and Pat Thomas

SW ABE is a welcoming and affirming support network that has collaborated to develop educational enrichment opportunities for the community, emerging immigrant adult learners, and SMSU students. They allow SMSU students opportunities for internships and tutoring in an effort to increase knowledge on the services provided to their clients.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award: Dr. Emily Deaver

Dr. Deaver works tirelessly to create a culture and practice of engagement among her students and colleagues by forming strong partnerships through the Redwood River Water Monitoring project, Redwood River Clean-up with ADM, SMSU Undergraduate Research Conference, Minnesota State Undergraduate Scholars Conference, and MinnState Poster Session at the State Capitol. 


Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Steven Yang

Steven has built a thriving campus community through his many roles at SMSU from Student Body Vice President to Resident Assistant. He has the traits of an excellent leader and strives to increase student involvement and representation on campus.

Presidents' Community Partnership Award: Bridges International

Bridges International at SMSU creates civic, spiritual, and personal connections with our international students. In this program, international students are offered a bridge to American culture and the Marshall community through home stays, community service projects, and cultural exchange.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award: Marianne Zarzana

As a faculty member and director of creative writing, Marianne is particularly effective in efforts to enhance SMSU’s reputation as a locally, regionally, and globally engaged institution. Her many pursuits include the Creating Spaces Writing Contest, Marshall Literary Festival, and organizing the Mallard Island program week and subsequent presentations.


Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Muna Mohamed

Muna saw values in educating faculty, students, and staff members about Islam. The goal of the Muslim Student Association is to unify the campus through love and reducing stereotypes and reducing fear. Muna took the role to restore the Muslim Student Association.

Presidents' Community Partnership Award: Literacy Volunteers of Southwest Minnesota

Since 2011, SMSU community members have collaborated with LiteracySWMN, as tutors and mentors for adults and families. Through “Families Leading, Families Learning,” Literacy SWMN, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and community partners engage with families to access education, support preK-12 student access, and construct inclusive communities in Southwest Minnesota.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award: Dr. Christine Olson

Psychology professor, Christine Olson, has led SMSU campus efforts to create an infrastructure of support and community engagement. Dr. Olson help developed the Center for Civic Engagement, serving as Faculty Co-Coordinator for Civic Engagement, and leading the Civic Engagement Work Group in creating a civic action plan anchored in Campus Compact’s civic commitments.


Presidents' Student Leadership Award: Enactus

The SMSU chapter of Enactus developed projects that changed the paths of individuals with felonies and improved their employment security. ENACTUS has also improved the workforce sustainability of the Marshall by blending these individuals back into the community.

Presidents' Community Partnership Award: Redwood River Mentoring and Monitoring

For ten years, SMSU students have mentored and taught 7th and 10th grade students how to measure water quality in three Redwood River locations. Thousands of Marshall Public School students have gained hands on experience and importance of healthy water resources.

Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award: Martin Luther King Week of Service and Civic Engagement

SMSU’s Access, Opportunity, and Success/Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Civic Engagement, and eight Marshall civic organizations celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in a week full of music, movies, SNCC activist panel discussion, MLK Day breakfast and much more!


Last Modified: 8/4/23 8:04 AM | Website Feedback