Each year, the Campus Compact for New Hampshire (CCNH) celebrates students, staff and representatives from local colleges and nonprofits who demonstrate exceptional community service in higher education. The CCNH Presidents' Awards recognize students, faculty, staff and local organizations that actively contribute to the betterment of their campus and community. UNH Manchester’s commitment to community service is well represented among this year’s recipients: Team Cooke NoMADS (Leadership Award), Marie O’Neil (Good Steward Award) and the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester (Community Partner Award). CCNH will recognize and celebrate the contributions of these and other outstanding campus-community engagement leaders at a virtual ceremony on April 12.
Presidents’ Leadership Award
Team Cooke NoMADS: Ben Beane ’21, Tom Gerton ’22, Izzy Laizure ’22, Ray Miller ’23G, Dianne Moschitta ’21, ’22G, Sydney Rollins ’21, ’22G, Vishnu Soni ’22, Shoshana Trudel ’23, Irma Vrevic ’23
To celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, NASA is sending five student projects to the International Space Station as part of its Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS). One of the five experiments NASA selected for its 2022 launch is NoMADS, research on bacterial mutation in space conducted by a team of UNH Manchester students and their faculty advisor, Sue Cooke. As part of this competition, the students not only had to submit a plan for the experiment, but also for a substantial outreach component. The team’s ambitious outreach plans have come to fruition under the leadership of biotechnology graduate student Sydney Rollins, who was recently awarded a UNH Alumni Association grant to cover materials and equipment to expand and enhance the team’s STEM outreach programs.
The team’s outreach included creating the NoMADS Junior Scientist Competition for New Hampshire middle school students, in which the winning team would get to provide the actual soil Team Cooke will send to space in their experiment. Team Cooke regularly visits the winning team, a 5th/6th grade class from Newington, to provide hands-on science activities that teach the kids about various aspects of the NoMADS project.
Beyond the competition, Team Cooke also created the NoMADS Tribe programs, which invite K-12 New Hampshire schools to arrange a free in-person or virtual visit for members of Team Cooke to present on a variety of STEM topics, including bacteria, antibiotic resistance and space science, all aligned with the curriculum standards for that grade. To reach even more people, Team Cooke have also connected with community partners like the McAuliffe-Sheppard Discovery Center, Girls Inc., the SEE Science Center and the Plaistow Library to hold both live and virtual programs for kids and adults.
Their collective outreach has impacted more than 300 people, with the majority being kids ages K-12. And this is just the beginning: Team Cooke has many more events in store at community partners and local schools, and they have even added new team members to serve specifically as youth educators.
Presidents’ Good Steward Award
MARIE O’NEIL, M.ED., SENIOR ACADEMIC STUDENT SERVICES ASSISTANT
Through her passion for a more aware and inclusive campus, Marie O’Neil has reinvigorated and energized UNH Manchester’s Committee for Community Action and Awareness. Her work on the Committee has supported campus efforts such as the In Our Own Voices diversity gallery, upcoming World of Wildcats flag display, land acknowledgement, cross-campus sharing of diversity events and more. Always seeing to recognize and amplify student voices, Marie serves on the Inclusion Council and several other committees to foster diversity on campus. She started a newsletter, The Perspective, to spotlight student voices on subjects such as race, culture and identity. Marie has also helped find resources to support committee members in their own education on issues such as racial equity, accessibility, LGBTQ+, gender equity and more.
Presidents’ Community Partner Award
The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester
The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester is a valued community partner that allows UNH Manchester’s STEM Teaching Fellows to provide K-12 science outreach. At the Boys & Girls Club, biological sciences and biotechnology majors are invited to fulfill independent study and capstone experiences while providing interactive STEM activities with kids. Under the leadership of Keith Darling, Boys & Girls Club STEM Coordinator, STEM Fellows teach K-12 students how the human body works with an emphasis on healthy eating and active living. The STEM Fellows benefit by sharing their passion for science while serving as role models for the next generation, and K-12 students benefit by working with a real scientist and increasing their science literacy. This partnership expanded in 2021, with the STEM Fellows performing K-12 outreach at the summer home of the Boys & Girls Club, Camp Foster, thanks to funding by the John Small Community Fellowship. This ongoing partnership will continue for many years to come and will enrich the lives of both UNH Manchester STEM Fellows and the K-12 students at the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester.
The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester is one of the 53 founding organizations of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Manchester Club was incorporated in 1907 and currently has an annual membership of more than 2,600 children. The organization operates programs at three sites throughout the Greater Manchester area. For more information, visit www.BeGreatManchester.org.