Monday, December 4, 2017
Stephanie Fulton '17, Ahed "Eddie" Alhamdan '17 and Crystal Napoli '18

From left to right, CYOS award recipients Stephanie Fulton '17, Ahed "Eddie" Alhamdan '17 and Crystal Napoli '18.

Student success is at the core of nearly every job across the UNH campuses — ask any faculty or staff member what one of the best parts of their job is, and nearly all of them will say working with students.

When students toss their mortar boards in the air at commencement or walk across the stage at honors convocation to shake President Huddleston’s hand, we can each be proud of the ways large and small that we have helped students achieve their goals here.

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 first-year students to those 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.

CYOS is a campus-wide initiative that annually recognizes current undergraduate 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 for the 2017-2018 CYOS celebration will be accepted through January 23.

Nominations are now open for the 2017-2018 CYOS celebration and will be accepted through January 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.

“My favorite thing about CYOS is that the nominations come directly from the faculty and staff who know these students so well — their ups, their downs and their achievements. Each year, we’re creating a new chapter in the UNH story, showing the strong connection between all of us as a community,” says Curt Kenoyer of the Memorial Union & Student Activities, who is serving as the CYOS awards committee chair this year.

The 10 students who were awarded last year represented a broad range of college majors, extracurricular interests and career paths. One story highlighted Stephanie Fulton ’17, a human development and family studies major who used a difficult family home life as a child to motivate her to move toward a better life — and embraced the opportunities and mentors she found at UNH to make it happen. CYOS also shared the story of  Ahed "Eddie" Alhamdan, a business administration major who moved to the U.S. in 2014 and immersed himself in the classes, programs and student organizations within Paul College. And CYOS award recipient Crystal Napoli '18 was featured in a UNH video where she discussed her experiences studying abroad and immersing herself in Chinese culture.

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

"These students are always finding interesting and unique ways to enhance not only their own educational experiences but the experiences of the broader community, as well,” says Leclerc. The program is a great inspiration to other students — some of the award winners are real movers and shakers on campus, but others are just quietly contributing in their own way; it’s always a great mix.”

"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 Williamson 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.”

This year, the committee members are encouraging faculty or staff to partner on their nominations. “Often, we find a faculty member might know a student really well academically but not know about the ‘campus life’ part of that student’s experience here, but a staff member might, and vice versa,” Kenoyer explains. “It’s something positive to collaborate on, and joint nominations give the CYOS awards committee a fuller picture of a nominee.”  

Ready to nominate? Click here to find more information and the nomination form. You can also check out more about CYOS and read about past winners here.