Members of Volunteer USI, the University of Southern Indiana’s volunteer organization, celebrated another successful year and honored three award recipients during their annual Volunteer Recognition Event, held virtually on Wednesday, August 26.
The Student Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a student who has performed outstanding volunteer service to USI and/or the community through the Volunteer USI program. The Mentor of the Year award recognizes a USI faculty, staff, alumni or community member who has mentored a current USI student to enhance their development in their overall academic field. The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a USI faculty, staff, alumni or community member who has performed outstanding volunteer service to USI and/or the community through the Volunteer USI Program.
Student Volunteer of the Year
Erika Uebelhor, a junior studying political science and psychology with a minor in pre-law from Ferdinand, Indiana, was recognized as the 2020 Student Volunteer of the Year. Uebehlor volunteers for multiple USI student organizations, most notably the Student Ambassadors Organization (SAO) for which she has donated over 100 hours to help facilitate positive visit experiences for prospective students and their guests. Erika also serves on the SAO’s executive board as secretary and has received two Ambassador awards for her many volunteer hours with SAO.
“Erika makes everything she touches better than it was before,” says Erika’s nominator. “While I recognized very quickly that Erika was going to leave her mark from the moment she stepped foot on campus, how much she has done for USI in just two years is truly phenomenal.”
Mentor of the Year
Shenae Rowe, Food and Nutrition Director for the Warrick County School Corporation, was recognized as the 2020 Mentor of the Year. Rowe serves as a preceptor for current students to obtain service hours for their nutrition practicums, as well as for USI graduates in their dietetics distance internships. She is an annual guest speaker on school food service and nutrition in USI’s Community Nutrition Course, and an advocate for public policy regarding school nutrition guidelines. Rowe also volunteers for the Southwest Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association and the School Nutrition Association.
“School food service is a challenging and demanding field, and Shenae is very skilled at effectively communicating to students the value of the field and the positive impact they can have on children’s health and well-being,” writes Rowe’s nominator. “Her positive outlook and passion for nutrition and dietetics help change mindsets and stereotypes that often accompany this field of nutrition.”
Volunteer of the Year
Donna Nelson, a long-time supporter of USI Athletics and devoted USI volunteer for many years, was recognized as the 2020 Volunteer of the Year. Nelson serves as a board member for the USI Varsity Club and volunteers her time for numerous USI Athletics events, including basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, cross country and other Varsity Club events. She always has a bright smile and a listening ear for all USI visitors and athletic event attendees. Donna arrives early and stays late when needed, going above and beyond for USI and giving her time to any and all events she can.
“Donna has a heart of gold,” writes Nelson’s nominator. “Whether it is sitting in the cold at a cross country meet or in the heat at a baseball game, Donna is there with a smile on her face. She is so friendly to all campus visitors, and we are so fortunate to have her as a member of our USI Athletics family.”
Established in 1996, Volunteer USI is a University-wide program to recruit, place and recognize volunteers who give their services and talents to benefit USI and the surrounding communities. Volunteers contributed a total of 44,716 hours throughout the 2019-2020 fiscal year, and the program has recorded a total of more than 2.1 million volunteer hours since its inception.
For more information on Volunteer USI, visit USI.edu/volunteer.