Ambassador Awards fund independent student projects

In spring of 2012, the Center for Inquiry, Discovery and Leadership gave out six Student Ambassador Awards. The award recipients became the first student ambassadors to Geneseo.

Student Ambassadorships are donor-sponsored $5,000 awards given to support a student-designed project in leadership, innovation or community engagement.

“Almost any student is eligible to apply for an ambassadorship award, but it does require a lot of independent ability,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Long.

“We are looking to build independent thinkers and motivators,” said Long. “We want to give them enough support to motivate them.”

As the Gerard Gouvernet Ambassador in French Language and Culture, junior Erin O’Brien used her grant money to stay at a French-speaking village in Canada for five weeks, where she took classes and volunteered at a residence for seniors.

Students may also apply for this award as a group. In spring 2012, four Geneseo students – seniors Michael Mattiucci, Hayley Martin, Grace Trompeter and Stephanie Kelly – received the Frank Vafier Ambassadors in Leadership award.

“This allowed us the opportunity to apply what we learned in the classroom to the community environment,” said Trompeter, a biochemistry major. Prior to receiving the award, Trompeter said she and her group members took BIOL 250: Biological Data Analysis where they learned how to enter complicated data into different types of software and different processes by which to analyze this data.

For their ambassadorship proposal, Trompeter, Martin, Mattiucci and Kelly applied the $5,000 grant money they received toward purchasing an electronic medical records system, computer software, three laptop computers and a printer for the Parish Outreach Center. They then donated their skills and time into working with doctors and patients at the POC to enter this data, originally recorded on paper, into the electronic system. Using the new technology and data analysis experience, the group created a portrait of the patient demographic.

“This allowed us to increase and expand wellness education aspects,” said Trompeter. This patient outreach project was only one of six projects funded by the new student ambassador program.

“I think [ambassadorships] are a great opportunity for experimental learning, and it really is a transformational experience,” said Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology Rose-Marie Chierici. “It is a wonderful way for students to practice putting into action what they’ve learned in the classroom.”

According to Long, in order to be eligible to apply to the student ambassador program, the student must be coming back for the fall semester of the following year.

Applications for the Student Ambassador Awards for 2013 will be available before the end of this semester with a due date in February. In this round of ambassadorships, the center will award nine grants, including a Campus Auxiliary Services Ambassadorship for Entrepreneurship.