Each year, this award recognizes two outstanding graduating students (either undergraduate, graduate or law) for unique contributions and sustained service that will leave a lasting impact on the University community.
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Majors/School: Communications, Law, Economics & Government (CLEG); and Political Science, School of Public Affairs
From the very start of her AU career, Isabella distinguished herself as a leader to watch.
Through her DC Reads service and her participation in a civics curriculum design project for middle school students, she showed deep, sustained commitment to her community — on campus and off. She also became involved in the launch of a project to foster inclusive dialogue and helped to plan a roundtable conversation with experts on diversity and policy making.
Her involvement grew deeper and more impactful with the years. As a research fellow, Isabella helped build the proposal for what became the Project on Civil Discourse (PCD), to foster civil discourse among students, faculty, staff and the community. The focus of the project is on supporting and encouraging free speech not only as a matter of rights, but of responsibilities, values and opportunities. Isabella ultimately became a peer facilitator for PCD and showed enormous skill and grace in facilitating challenging conversations. After studying Arabic abroad in Morocco, she returned to PCD as the Project Coordinator.
Isabella is described by those who work with her as “a wonderful thought partner” in developing events, including the Paradox of Tolerance panel on free speech, racial justice, and activism. Her long list of involvements includes vital work in student organizations such as the NAACP, the Black Caucus Committee and AUSG, along with a number of social justice-related internships.
She was also selected as a 2019-2020 Newman Civic Fellow, a national fellowship for students nominated by their university presidents on the basis of their high leadership potential. As a Newman Civic Fellow, she has been learning skills and tools of activism and civic engagement that will make her an even more effective community advocate.
As a recommender put it: “She brings integrity and clarity to everything she does.”
Isabella discusses her path to student activism in this video from the Julian Bond Oral History Project.
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Majors/Schools: Public Relations & Strategic Communications, School of Communication; and Communications, Law, Economics & Government (CLEG), School of Public Affairs
Meghan has made a profound impression on campus as an advocate and mentor who is capable, compassionate and creative. She is a true servant leader with a deep commitment to ensuring that the AU campus is a welcoming environment for all.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are the values that run through all of Meghan’s work, from classrooms to event spaces to administrative committees, and from the macro to the micro levels. Whether she is organizing thought-provoking large-scale events, creating programs, or mentoring students individually, Meghan has consistently been focused on helping her peers be successful and valued.
As Senior Peer Facilitator for AUx, she facilitated classroom sessions with empathy and skill, mentored students and her fellow Peer Facilitators, and worked effectively with faculty to adapt the curriculum to respond to evolving student needs.
In her involvement with AU Pride as Secretary and Deputy Director, Meghan created and led educational programming to build safe and affirming spaces on campus for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies.
She is also a Community-Based Research Scholar (CBRS), completed the Community-Based Research certificate program, and served on the CBRS Advisory Board all four years of her time at AU. Her leadership in CBRS has been exceptional.
Meghan's advocacy and leadership has also extended to her work on the Student Advisory Committee to the President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion, ensuring that the LGBTQ community has a seat at the table and brainstorming implementable ideas with committee members to increase equitable practices across campus.
Meghan is an outstanding student and individual whose accomplishments, commitment to service, scholarship, and leadership reflect the highest ideals of American University.