Rainey Twohey-Jacobs, a freshman Public Health Scholar, received a 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Grant through the Center for Community Engagement and Service. This year had the largest number of applicants for the Eagle Endowment Grant for Public and Community Service in the past 10 years.
The $500 grant will be used to empower students at The Next Step Charter School by hosting a panel of first generation college students to share their experiences with Next Step students. The Next Step Charter School mission is to provide students who face extraordinary challenges and who are not supported in traditional high schools the opportunity to continue their education.
“Hosting a panel of first generation college students from the AU community and the DC area is a way to inspire the Next Step students to continue pursuing their education,” said Melissa Hawkins, director of AU’s Public Health Scholars Program. “Rainey came up with an excellent idea that combines the goals of Next Step with her dedication to community service.”
Twohey-Jacobs volunteered at Next Step during the fall semester as part of the Public Health Scholars Program community-based lab. “When I volunteered at Next Step I saw the many challenges the students face in their lives outside of school, and yet in the classroom they are motivated and dedicated to learning,” she said. “I hope this panel will help the students to see that continuing their education by going to college will be rewarding, and that it is possible despite the challenges.”
Twohey-Jacobs will moderate the panel this spring and hopes to build a partnership between AU’s community and the Next Step community, showing the next step that students can take towards their future. The award ceremony was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 18.