Wanted: Your Nominations

Faculty and staff urged to recommend inspiring students for Create Your Own Story

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
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Winners of the CYOS Awards 2016 pose for a photo

Winners of the 2016 Create Your Own Story awards pose at the spring luncheon event. From left: Christian Seasholtz, Kitty Savage, Yue Bella Bai, Paige Balcom, Madison Lightfoot, Cecilia Martins, Samantha Granville and Cory Nitschelm. Not pictured are winners Aboubacar Konate and Misha Charlat.

Ask any UNH faculty or staff member what one of the best parts of their job is, and nearly all of them will say working with students.

It’s at the core of our work here on campus, in direct and indirect ways. We each play a part in student success; it’s a fact we remind ourselves of when we’ve had a bad day or get a little frustrated with the trials and tribulations of working at a university. Having a positive impact on the life of a young person is the thing that makes us remember the big reason we’re here, and why we love it.

And those who work directly with students know that many of them have unique stories to tell. Many have overcome challenges — financial, emotional, personal — to make a college degree a reality. Others have flourished on campus, transforming from shy freshmen to students who are leading the way, making changes and having a positive effect on our campus community.

Now is the time to celebrate the personal and academic successes of those remarkable students through the Create Your Own Story (CYOS) program. 

Thinking About a Nomination?

For more information, you can visit unhmub.com/createyourownstory or reach out to CYOS committee members by emailing cyos.nominations@unh.edu.

To download the nomination form and FAQs about nominations, click here.

Based in the office of residential life but truly a campus-wide initiative, CYOS is an annual program that recognizes current students who have transformed their UNH experience into stories of success. CYOS not only honors dedicated students who have an impact on the university community but seeks to inspire others to take advantage of all that UNH has to offer.

Nominations are now open for the 2016-2017 CYOS celebration and will be accepted through January 27. The preferred deadline is December 23. 

The CYOS committee selects 10 students from the pool of nominations, interviews them and writes their stories with them. Those stories are presented at a luncheon in the spring that also includes a video each selected student creates about their UNH experience. It is an incredible showcase of stellar students and a powerful, inspirational event for everyone.

“Working with the ‘stories’ of these students is one of the highlights of my year. The only challenge is selecting only 10 recipients; every nominee has accomplished incredible things on this campus,” says Tara Schoenherr, CYOS committee member and hall director of Handler Hall. “And because the nominations come directly from faculty and staff, this program is also a great sign of the impact that we all have as part of our everyday jobs. Each story seems to include a unique piece about the mentor relationship between faculty/staff and students.”

Last year, the committee shared stories like that of Cecilia Martins, who one nominator said, “sees the value in service and leadership ... and has a wonderful combination of brilliant intellect, a sparkling personality and a hopeful perspective on the challenges that face us.” There was also Aboubacar Konate’s story of growing up in Guinea and how he has become a strong leader at his home-away-from-home of UNH in organizations such as MOS DEF and the UNH chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Since 2004, each of the award recipients has had a compelling and inspirational story, and nominators helped bring those stories to the larger UNH community.

An added benefit, says CYOS committee member Kristi LeClerc, is that the chosen 10 students act as inspiration to other undergraduates.

"Each year I’m in awe of the recipients and the wide range of experiences they’ve had at UNH," says LeClerc, who is a hall director in Alexander Hall. "They are always finding unique and interesting ways to enhance their community and life during and after college, so sharing these stories is a great way to inspire and motivate students.”

Associate Director of Residential Life Ruth Abelmann asks faculty and staff to take a few moments to recognize a student who has truly taken strides in shaping his or her own education. “We are looking for vibrant, unique and inspiring stories. We hope to gather a diverse pool of nominees so the variety of stories inspire a wide range of students to work toward creating their own amazing stories,” Abelmann says.