2014 Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship

Presented October 28, 2014

Provost Mun Y. Choi and Director of Engagement E. Carol Polifroni welcomed faculty, staff, student and family guests to the celebration of the 2014 Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship. Five awards were made to students, faculty and staff.


2014 Provost's Award for Excellence in Community Engagement winners 2014 Provost's Awards plaques Undergraduate Student Award winner, Alexandra Buda. Virginia Ruiz, Advanced Degree Student award winner. Professor Michael J. Darre with the poster of his community engagement programs. Marie Smith's poster of community engagement work Kevin McLaughlin with his awards poster Staff Award winner Kevin McLaughlin with student participants in Engineering Community Engagment programs Local Routes cheeses and refreshments Porovst Award Posters on Display at CT Legislative building.


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Director Carol Polifroni, Alexandra Buda and Provost Mun Y. Choi (Tina Covensky photo)

Alexandra Buda is a May 2014 Honors graduate. Alexandra received a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Human Rights. While at UConn she worked with the Office of Community Outreach to lead an Alternative Break trip to Costa Rica, focused on rural poverty and recycling awareness. In the Spring of 2014 she received a Student Life Award for Individual Community Development. Alexandra has been on numerous service trips both nationally and worldwide, including Peru, Costa Rica, India, and Cameroon. She has accepted an invitation to serve in the Peace Corp[s as a Community Health Volunteer beginning in early 2015.  Alexandra Buda’s Poster of her community engagement work.



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Dean Salome Raheim, Virginia Ruiz and Professor Antonia Cordero (Tina Covensky photo)

Virginia Ruiz obtained her B.S. in Human Services from Springfield College in December 1996 and anticipates receiving her Masters of Social Work degree in May 2015. As a graduate student, Virginia has served 2 years as co-chair of the Latin American Student Organization, completed an internship with the Puerto Rican/Latino Studies Project at the School of Social Work, and has coordinated a six day, eight hour student exchange program between the University of Puerto Rico and UConn School of Social Work. Virginia has managed local and federally funded programs offering services to underserved communities at the Hispanic Health Council, sits on local advisory boards and committees, and is certified as a Suicide Prevention Trainer. Virginia Ruiz’s Poster of her community engagement work.





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Director Carol Polifroni, Professor Robert McCarthy accepting the award for Marie Smith, Provost Mun Y. Choi (Tina Covensky photo)

Marie Smith, Pharm.D., is the Henry Palmer Professor and Assistant Dean, Practice and Policy Partnerships at UConn School of Pharmacy. Her scholarship, teaching, and public engagement has a larger sense of mission to address the pressing problem of our broken and fragmented US health care system. Marie works with state/federal health policymakers and several organizations to focus on: interdisciplinary medication management services in new care delivery models, health policy on appropriate medication use and safety, and primary care transformation/health information technology. She is a graduate of the School of Pharmacy of both UConn and the Medical College of Virginia. Marie Smith’s Poster of her community engagement work.


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Professor Michael Darre with the poster display of his engaged scholarship activities. (Tina Covensky photo)

Michael J. Darre, Ph.D., P.A.S., has been a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science at UConn since 1981. He received his B.S. in Animal Science in 1975, M.S. in Animal Physiology in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Environmental Animal Physiology in 1980 from the University of Illinois. He is a charter diplomate of the American College of Animal Physiology and a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Mike is the Extension Poultry Specialist for New England, conducting outreach educational programs for teachers, youth, small flock owners, and commercial poultry producers. He teaches Introduction to Animal Science, Principles of Poultry Science, and Behavior and Training of Domestic Animals. Mike’s research focus is on environmental factors affecting poultry production, especially lighting, and health related issues in poultry management, such as the use of Plant Derived Antimicrobials to control salmonella. He is advisor to the UConn Poultry Science Club and is secretary and advisor to the Connecticut Poultry Association. Mike has been serving as the University Marshal since 2005. Michael Darre’s Poster of his community engagement work.



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Kevin McLaughlin with student participants in engineering engaged scholarship programs. (Tina Covensky photo)

Kevin McLaughlin has been the director of the Engineering Diversity Program since 2002. Kevin earned his B.S.E. from UConn in 1983, double majoring in Material Science Engineering and Chemical Engineering. After working in industry for ten years, Kevin’s passion for teaching and mentoring inspired him to complete the School of Education’s Secondary Education Teaching Certification Program in 1993. Kevin taught physics and chemistry at E.O. Smith High School from 1993 to 2002. Since joining UConn, Kevin has expanded his role to include: directing the Northeast Regional Science Bowl, directing the School of Engineering’s daVinci Project (an annual program which introduces middle and high school teachers to engineering), teaching a leadership class for six different engineering student organizations, and serving as faculty advisor to the UConn chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers, Engineering Ambassadors. He also serves as an advisor to Engineers Without Borders and the National Society of Black Engineers. Kevin McLaughlin’s Poster of his community engagement work.