By Breanne Smith
Two more Ohio University students have received major nationally competitive awards, this time for their active commitment to community service.
Mark Stovell, a senior double-majoring in political science and sociology, earned one of 24 Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows for 2008 and is the only winner from Ohio. Cat Cutcher, who has a master's degree in international affairs and African studies and is pursuing her doctoral degree in education and cultural studies, received an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship.
The Emerson Hunger Fellowship, a project of the Congressional Hunger Center, is a unique leadership development opportunity for individuals seeking to make a difference in the struggle to eliminate hunger and poverty. Each fellow spends six months with an urban or rural community-based organization, learning to fight hunger at the local level, followed by six months in Washington, D.C., working at a national organization. There are roughly 220 applicants annually.
Stovell, a senior political science and sociology double major, has served the university and Athens community as a research scholar at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, an active member of numerous service organizations and an intern at the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD), where he served as a program assistant for the Home Weatherization and Warm Choice programs.
"Mark has a record that makes him one of the most ambitious students I've encountered in my college career," Julie White, associate professor of political science, said. "He has, during his time at OU, done an amazing job at balancing a commitment to volunteerism and an ability to obtain high academic achievement."
Cutcher, who also has a remarkable record for service, was only one of 65 AAUW fellows chosen from a field of some 630 applicants. She will receive $20,000 to use while completing her dissertation.
The fellowship is from the AAUW Educational Foundation, one of the world's largest sources of funding for graduate women. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence, teaching experience and active commitment to helping women and girls, through service in their communities, professions or research.
Cutcher, a former Fulbright winner who is currently conducting research on education among women's grassroots organizations in Kenya, also has studied in Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland, Italy, England, the Bahamas and Canada and was an AmeriCorps volunteer in Philadelphia, Pa., and Athens, Ohio, where she worked with the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, the Buckeye Forest Council, Rural Action, the Athens Farmers Market and InterAct.
"Cat's really deserving of this award," Risa Whitson, women's studies and geography assistant professor, said. "She's been so active in our own community as well as in educational and development programs in Africa. She has such a long background working in Kenya and is so enthusiastic about it. She's committed to social change and just a great student."
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