2009 Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement

The Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement were announced during a reception in the North Reading Room, Wilbur Cross Building, on Dec. 9. The event was organized by the University’s Public Engagement Forum.

Poster presentations prepared by the finalists were displayed before and after the awards ceremony, and will be displayed at the Legislative Office Building in February, during the next legislative session.

Joseph Antelmi, a senior honors student majoring in economics, received the Undergraduate Student Award. Antelmi is described as “a campus leader, community leader, and major player in many state-based initiatives.” His outreach efforts include addressing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and immigration issues in his work with the Connecticut Association for Human Services, Access Agency, Connecticut Voices for Children, and the Coalition for a Working Connecticut. He is also an active leader in various campus organizations and has received numerous awards and scholarships.

Brian Chapman, founding Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UConn’s Waterbury campus, received the Staff Award. The program was established in 2006 through grants from the Bernard Osher Foundation and the Leever Foundation. The mission of OLLI at UConn is to offer non-credit lectures, courses, special events, and outreach efforts for mature adults (age 50 and over) in many different cities and towns in Connecticut. The Institute has formed partnerships both on campus and with off-campus organizations, such as the American Association of Retired Persons, the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, and St. Mary’s Hospital.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) at the Center for Academic Programs received the Program Award. GEAR UP has serviced Connecticut’s children for 10 years. The mission of the program is to increase the number of low-income students preparing to enter and succeed in post-secondary education by providing academic enrichment services to students in middle and high schools in New Haven. It also provides a Teacher Professional Development component to promote curriculum improvement in the areas of mathematics, English, science, and technology. The program works in partnership with parents, educators, many UConn departments, the U.S. Department of Education, New Haven Public Schools, business, and community organizations.

Louise Simmons, associate professor of community organization in the School of Social Work and director of the Urban Semester Program, received the Faculty Award. The citation noted that her work with grassroots organizations that seek to address poverty, economic and social justice, and advocacy for women and their families has made her a true leader and pioneer. She also has helped hundreds of UConn students make a difference in Hartford’s community, advocacy organizations, agencies, and in-school and after-school programs.