Stay Work Play New Hampshire announced its 2021 Rising Stars Awards winners earlier this fall and Aubrey Porter ’22 was among them, winning the College Student of the Year award. The award honors a New Hampshire college student who is an academic rising star and is giving back to the community.
The Rising Stars Awards, an initiative of Stay Work Play in partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio, celebrate and recognize New Hampshire’s remarkable young people and the businesses that go the extra mile to recruit and retain them. The award recipients, selected by 33 judges from across the state, represent individuals and businesses contributing to their industries and the Granite State in eight award categories. Porter was nominated by Kristen Butterfield-Ferrell of the UNH Honors Program, whom Porter calls a role-model and mentor.
Porter is pursuing a psychology degree at UNH and is focused on helping others. The senior has been involved with Alpha Phi Omega, a community service co-ed fraternity; Psi Chi, the psychology honor society; the National Alliance of Mental Illness and the Shadow a Wildcat program. She’s also been a peer mentor in the Honors Program. Since freshman year she’s volunteered at the Waysmeet Center’s weekly food pantries as well as its community dinners and drum circles. She’s been on the Waysmeet board of directors and was the food pantry coordinator, organizing and managing volunteers and helping patrons receive food. She got hooked on volunteering through UNH’s PrOVES pre-orientation program in the summer of 2018, where she volunteered at various local organizations such as the Seacoast Science Center and Strawbery Banke.
She is now working on her honors thesis in a neuroscience lab and has a psychology internship at Great Bay Services, working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I feel very grateful for this award as well as all the opportunities and connections I have had at UNH,” says Porter.
When Porter looks ahead to her future and career, she hopes to make a positive difference in people’s lives through her work, “whether that is through providing them with food and shelter or counseling and resources,” she says. She plans to earn her master’s degree in social work and can envision a career in nonprofit organizations.