CCELL Honors 2013 Happy Award Recipients


LSU’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership, or CCELL, has awarded twelve LSU faculty, students, and community partners with the third annual set of CCELL Happy Awards for excellence in service-learning.  

The Happy was initiated to commemorate former CCELL director Jan Shoemaker’s ten years of distinguished service, commitment to education, and service for the common good.

The 2013 Happy Award recipients are BREC, community partner; Linda Cross, Honors College student, biological engineering; Ciera Duronslet & Marshall Moulis, PhD students, chemistry; Joyce Jackson, associate professor, geography and anthropology; Debra Kopcso & Stephanie Kurtz,  instructors, mathematics; Kevin Lewis, supervisor, Operation Pathways Division, The NHP Foundation;  Chaiss Matthews, Honors College student, biological sciences;  Andrea Morris, associate professor, foreign languages and literatures;  Jeffrey Nunn, Andrew Clinton Pereboom alumni professor, geology and geophysics; and Mary Stein, assistant library director, East Baton Rouge Library. 

Recipients of the award were honored at the Happy Award and Partnership Celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the Carver Library. The celebration served as an opportunity to recognize Happy Award winners and honor the work of all members of the service-learning community.

Claire Coco, community partner, BREC  

Claire Coco is the manager of the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, a 103-acre facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation and tourism. Ms. Coco has been a faithful community partner for a number of service-learning classes that have partnered with the Nature Center during the past decade to eradicate invasive species. For example, Claire has collaborated with students in Barry Aronhime’s Principles of Ecology course to stop the proliferation of elephant ear. Barry says, “It was Claire's idea to work with elephant ear in the first place and she has openly welcomed our class to tromp around the swamp and use her equipment. Claire has been a tireless advocate for science and environmental education.”

Linda Cross, Honors College Student, Department of Biological Engineering
Linda has taken 3 service-learning classes at LSU, in which capacity she has served as a VIPS Reading Friend and has collaborated with teachers at University Lab School to bring interactive demonstrations of engineering to K-12 students. She is a very active volunteer and has participated in more than 25 service projects. Linda recently received the Honors College Service Award.  

Ciera Duronslet & Marshall Moulis, PhD Students, Chemistry

Ciera Duronslet and Marshall Moulis are facilitators of ChemDemo, a large-scale service-learning program in which LSU students enrolled in general chemistry teach principles of chemistry to K-12 students from around the state through interactive demonstrations. Ciera and Marshall prep ChemoDemo kits, review key aspects of successful demos, and provide safety tips to the chemistry students.  Due to a shortage of funding, Ciera and Marshall are no longer paid to execute this large-scale facilitation effort, but they continue to serve in this capacity as volunteers.

Dr. Joyce Jackson, Associate Professor, Geography & Anthropology

Joyce Jackson, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, and the Director of the African & African American studies program, is a pioneer in service-learning at LSU. For many years, her Anthropology classes have partnered with organizations like iHope, the Community Development Corp, and the House of Dance of Feathers, to facilitate each organization’s mission to improve the quality of life for people in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Through the process of generating oral histories in conjunction with children living in these communities, Dr. Jackson’s students gain perspective on the power of community resilience.  

Debra Kopcso & Stephanie Kurtz, Instructors, Mathematics

Debra Kopcso & Stephanie Kurtz, Instructors of Mathematics have been using service-learning in their classrooms since 2001. Together, they have taught 72 service-learning courses over this 12-year period.  Their service-learning program was founded to help LSU students address their own math anxiety by serving as math tutors to K-12 students.  This program has had spectacular success for LSU students by improving their confidence and understanding of mathematics, as well as their math grades; additionally, hundreds of public school students identified by their teachers as being at-risk of not passing the mathematics section of high stakes tests, have improved their understanding of mathematics and have passed these tests.

Kevin Lewis, Supervisor, Operation Pathways Division, The NHP Foundation

Kevin Lewis is a supervisor with Operations Pathways, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide quality, affordable, rental housing and resident services for low- and moderate-income families. Resident services include pathways to academic achievement, healthy living, and financial success. Christy Foreman, an instructor in the Department of English, nominated Kevin for the Happy Award because he has been a very supportive community partner who was instrumental to the success of her 4 simultaneous service-learning classes as they supported the three pathways of the organization. Kevin visited all the classes, provided orientation, and regularly communicated encouraging words and gratitude to all 80 service-learning students.

Chaiss Matthews, LSU Honors College Student, Department of Biological Sciences

A student in in Dr. Jeffrey Nunn’s Honors 2000 Critical Analysis class, Chaiss was the first student in the class to begin and complete her required volunteer hours with One Stop Homeless Services Center.  She developed a personal connection with the people at One Stop and continued to volunteer beyond the required hours during the semester, and after the semester ended. Currently, she is serving as part of a team writing proposals to create a dental clinic at the Center.

Dr. Andrea Morris, Associate Professor, Foreign Languages & Literatures

Andrea Morris, Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, has taught service-learning since 2008. Her Spanish classes have partnered with Adult Literacy Advocates and Prime Time Family Reading Time in order to address enhance literacy efforts with our burgeoning Spanish-speaking population.  Dr. Morris’ students have worked with over 200 people who speak English as a Second Language—her innovative service-learning program spans the age spectrum and focuses on the entire family, resulting in an enhanced level of success that eases the transition into American culture.

Dr. Jeff Nunn, Andrew Clinton Pereboom Alumni Professor, Geology & Geophysics

Jeff Nunn, Andrew Clinton Pereboom Alumni Professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, has taught service-learning every year since he participated in CCELL’s Faculty Scholars program in 2010. Dr. Nunn’s community partners have included East Baton Rouge Public Schools and the One-Stop Homeless Services Center. Jeff’s service-learning practices are outstanding examples of reciprocal campus-community partnerships: his community partners are co-designers, teachers, and evaluators; he has presented and published a journal article with his community partners; and he shares student reflections with his community partners in order to evaluate and improve future collaborations.

Mary Stein, Assistant Library Director, East Baton Rouge Library

Mary Stein is the Assistant Library Director for East Baton Rouge Parish Libraries. Ms. Stein has been an instrumental community partner in executing service-learning classes in conjunction with East Baton Rouge Parish Libraries. For example, this past summer, she worked with Stan Barrera’s education course for pre-service teachers to collaboratively design and facilitate a 3-week summer reading program for neighborhood children in order to combat the educational backslide that often occurs in K-12 students over the summer. Mary also shares her expertise as a community partner with CCELL staff; additionally, she has served on the selection committee of CCELL’s Outstanding Faculty Award.