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SPA Students Recognized for Community Service, Leadership, and Scholarship

AU Honors Students 2017

Five SPA students were recognized recently for their efforts to make a difference in their community. They received awards for their academic achievements, their leadership within the AU community, and their distinction in community service.

The SPA Honors and Scholars Committee recognized Karla Palmer SPA/BA’19, Aaron Torop SPA/BA’18, and Sarah Everett SPA/BA’19, who are also members of the AU Honors Program. And they also recognized Hannah Jacks SPA/BA’19, a Community Based Research Scholar, and Lauren Beeslee SPA/BA’18, who is an AU Scholar.

The AU Honors Scholars Annual Awards are intended to encourage students who are part of the American University Honors Program to take advantage of rewarding opportunities through scholarship, leadership and service.

Hannah Jacks, who received the Community Service Award, has been volunteering with new immigrants to the US as an assistant ESL teacher, as well as interning with a national nonprofit organization that provides legal services for immigrants who have survived domestic violence and other crimes.

“Overall, I am really passionate about serving the immigrant community, which stems from my continuous engagement with immigrants who contradict every negative stereotype that has been made about them,” said Jacks. “My work with immigrants and organizations that serve them has exposed many truths about the injustices they face in the US, and has taught me so much about humanity.”

Leadership in the AU Community Award recipient Aaron Torop is spending a Spring semester abroad in Jerusalem at Hebrew University on a leadership program that seeks to take summer camp staff and help develop them to lead the American Jewish Community of the future. Aaron has been an active participant in the Honors program and earlier this year worked on an independent research with five other honors students to perform an interdisciplinary investigation into the migration mechanisms in Vietnam and Bangladesh to deal with rising sea levels.

Karla Palmer received the Leadership in the Honors Program Award. As a Program Associate to the AU Honors Program, Karla works to provide academic and social support to students, carries out co-curricular trips and activities, and builds community within the freshman cohort. Karla says that her upbringing has influenced her commitment to supporting low-income, minority students in their efforts to pursue careers in underrepresented fields in government and corporate America.

Lauren Beeslee was recognized with the Outstanding Junior Award, and Sarah Everett received the Outstanding Sophomore Award. Both are awarded to students for scholarly achievements.

The Office for Honors and Scholars Program recognizes outstanding students every year for their contributions in academic and extracurricular pursuits.