News

UNCW Faculty, Staff Honored for Community Service

Friday, October 14, 2022

UNCW employees and a community partner were honored for their outstanding community engagement and service to the greater Wilmington area during the 2022 Community Engagement Awards held on Oct. 11.

The Office of Community Engagement and Impact recognized:

  • Dr. Kimberly Cook, criminology and sociology professor – Distinguished Scholarly Engagement and Public Service
  • Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte, history associate professor; and Dr. Josalin Hunter social work assistant professor – Rising Faculty Distinguished Scholarly Engagement and Public Service
  • Mr. Troy Alphin, Senior Research Associate in the Benthic Ecology Laboratory – UNCW Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
  • Dr. Kirsten Kinzer, public and international affairs associate professor – Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
  • The Town of St. James – Community Partner Award for Excellence in University Engagement

The Distinguished Scholarly Engagement and Public Service Award recognizes faculty excellence in addressing crucial local, regional, national, or global issues through scholarly activity that enhances cultural, economic, and social development.

The UNCW Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement is presented to a staff member who has been an exceptional leader university in the areas of engaged learning, scholarship and service.

The UNCW Community Partner Award for Excellence in University Engagement recognizes community organizations that have been exceptional partners with the university.

In addition to presenting the awards, the event also spotlighted UNCW Learn to Swim, Wings Up for Wilmington and the Equity Initiative to illustrate the university's commitment to serving the community.

UNCW's Learn to Swim program offers free swimming lessons to Black youth. The program is an outgrowth of research conducted by UNCW staff member and alumna Ann Freeman '08, '17M for her Master of Public Administration degree. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black Americans and other racial minorities had the highest rate of drowning in the nation. Black children and teenagers are 5.5 times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. Freeman, the program coordinator, translated her research into a pilot swim program in 2019. The program is a partnership involving UNCW Athletics, the Chancellor's Office, the Office of Community Engagement and Impact, and other campus and community partners.

Wings Up for Wilmington, a day of service, was first held in September 2019 to observe the anniversary of Hurricane Florence. The Category 1 storm made landfall on Sept. 14, 2018, causing widespread flooding and millions of dollars in damage in communities throughout the Cape Fear region. To commemorate the anniversary, UNCW faculty, staff and students assisted community organizations throughout Wilmington. This year, more than 400 UNCW employees and students aided 24 organizations on various projects.

UNCW's Equity Initiative cultivates positive social change by fostering an interdisciplinary network of scholars and community members focused on education, access and opportunity based on principles of equity and justice.

-- Venita Jenkins 

#OCEI

Winners of the 2022 Community Engagement Awards

UNCW Office of Community Engagement and Impact honored employees for their outstanding community engagement and service. 2022 Community Engagement Awards receipients (l to r) Dr. Kirsten Kinzer, Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte and Dr. Troy Alphin are pictured with Dr. Jeanine Mingé, associate vice chancellor for community engagement and impact.