Congratulations and Special Thanks to the Third Annual Honors College Changemaker Award Recipients

By Donel Young
Aasha ('20, SAS/HC) and Hannah ('20, SAS/HC)

Each year, the Honors College recognizes students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to service—an integral part of our mission. Please join us in congratulating this year’s outstanding Changemaker Award recipients, who have served in their communities in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and beyond:

Aasha Shaik

Aasha ('20, SAS/HC/DRC), above left, has dedicated herself to serving those who are marginalized and to encouraging young people to pursue civic engagement. Among her many contributions, she is the president of the Rutgers Petey Greene organization through which she serves as a tutor at the Edna Mahan Women's Correctional Facility; a Young People For national fellow focused on social change; a participant in the HC Serves program where she has done a range of service from caroling at senior homes to packaging meals; an activist for women's rights, mental health issues, and those who have been sexually assaulted; the former student coordinator for Eagleton's RU Voting program to encourage students to register and vote; a former Honors College Diversity Peer Educator; and more. In addition to the HC Changemaker Award, she is the recipient of numerous service awards, including the Leah Boddie Award for Outstanding Community Service (DRC) and the Chancellor's Student Leader Revolutionary Award for service and leadership. This spring, she spoke at the NY State Convention of the American Association of University Women regarding the power of vulnerability and girls' leadership as central to progressing the women's movement. She was one of 72 students from across the country invited earlier this year to the Harvard Kennedy School for her demonstrated commitment to service for a future career in public policy.

"I have had the privilege of getting to know so many phenomenal HC students and serving alongside them," said Aasha, who is majoring in political science and Middle Eastern studies, and minoring in Arabic, women's studies, and international studies. "I am inspired by those who continuously exemplify their passion for service, and I am excited to continue giving back to the community–locally and globally."

Hannah Calvelli

Hannah ('20, SAS/HC), above right, has given countless hours in service of the Honors College community and beyond. For the past two years, she has been on the HC Student Advisory Board Community Service Committee where she created the first HC Cares Day, a signature event during the HC Serves Series each spring where students spread out across the state to work on a range of projects. To date, 130 students have served on HC Cares Day, helping nesting shore birds, packing medical supplies, visiting residents at the Francis E. Parker Memorial Home, and more. In her first year, she was a team leader for A2E, a tutoring program launched by HC students to help elementary school children with homework and life skills, where she oversaw a classroom of tutors and first graders. In addition to the 35 students whom she supported this year as an HC Mentor in Residence, she focused on civic responsibility programs for all students, including an event where students made blankets for children in shelters and hospitals as well as the annual Paint for a Purpose philanthropy program in support of Youth Empowerment Services in New Brunswick. Hannah is also an active volunteer at Saint Peter's University Hospital and has participated in the Rutgers Alternative Break service program. This fall, in addition to being a Lead Mentor, Hannah's focus will be on launching an HC Student Wellness Committee to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and promote a culture of wellness.

"Service is a reciprocal relationship where my experiences are shaping how I think about my career in medicine and how I will support patient communities," said Hannah, who is majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry. "Service can be done in any capacity at whatever level of commitment is possible, and it's something people can always come back to. Follow what you're really passionate about, and you'll get back so much more than you imagined."

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