by By Dr. Elisabetta Zengaro

Communications Specialist, Division of Community Affairs

The Council on Community-Based Partnerships recognized University of Alabama students, faculty and staff, as well as community partners, for their achievements in community-engaged scholarship during the 17th Annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards on April 20 at the UA Student Center Ballroom.

“Today we celebrate the remarkable individual efforts that embody the endeavors of the Council on Community-Based Partnerships, which are to bring resources and insights to a variety of challenges facing the public,” said Dr. Jim McLean, associate vice president for Community Affairs and executive director of UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP). “We are here today to honor students, faculty, staff and community partners who are among the most efficient at The University of Alabama. I congratulate every one of you for your accomplishments.”

The day began with breakfast and an Engaged Scholarship Showcase where faculty, staff and students shared their research and experiences with community-engaged scholarship and teaching in a round-table discussion setting.

Before the luncheon, attendees had the opportunity to view research posters on display from UA faculty, staff and students. Topics ranged from the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of the proposed Interstate 14 on Selma to increasing access to doula care in Alabama.

This year’s poster award recipients are Jennifer Baggett, Hannah Corbin, Victoria Duignan, Baili Gall, Ayana Hendricks-Boyland, Dr. Holly Horan, Kefentse Kubanga, Rebecca Lewis, Emily Locke, Ella Magerl, Ozioma Omah, Jacob T. Peterson, Paige Rentfro, Jack Spalding, Dr. Daniela Susnara, Riley White and Andrea Ziegler.

Dr. Drew Pearl, director of community engagement research and publications for CCBP, recognized the 2022–2023 cohorts of the Emerging Community Engagement Scholars, Community Engaged Learning Fellows, and Public Engagement Learning Community.

Emily Locke, a doctoral student in anthropology and graduate research assistant to Pearl, followed, recognizing the 2022–2023 members of the Student Community Engagement Center Leadership Academy, which seeks to develop students’ leadership in engaged scholarship.

The Council also awards seed funding and graduate fellowships to support community-engaged research across campus.

Seed funding was awarded for two projects:

  • Allison Grant, assistant professor of art, for Wood and Springs
  • Dr. Stephanie McClure, assistant professor of anthropology, for The Period Study: Exploring and Addressing the Needs of Menstruating Adolescents
    Three faculty members were awarded Graduate Fellowships for 2023–2024:
  • Dr. Lisa Davis, associate professor in the Department of Geography, for Food Particles to Flood Plans: Assessing and Planning for Extreme Flood Risk in the Tennessee River Valley. Master’s student Mary Eminue will assist Davis.
  • Dr. Mercedes M. Morales-Aleman, assistant professor in the College of Community Health Sciences, for Improving Maternal Mental Health Outcomes for Black Women in the U.S. South: Examining Telehealth and In-Person Models of Care through an Academic-Community Partnership. Master’s student Kate Graziano will assist Morales-Aleman.
  • Dr. Ansley Gilpin, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Psychology, for Partnering with Schools: Teachers Deploying the Imagination Intervention to Improving Children’s Self-Regulation and School Readiness. Doctoral student Lindsey Held will assist Gilpin.
    Eleven individuals received Excellence in Community-Engaged Scholarship awards in three different areas.

Engaged Scholarship awardees included:

  • Dr. Kristine Jolivette, Paul and Mary Harmon Bryant endowed professor, College of Education, for Improving Juvenile Justice Facilities
  • Dr. Haley Townsend, assistant professor in the Capstone College of Nursing, for Project Wellness in Motion
  • Justin McCleskey, student, for his work as an intern with the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
  • Jillian Maxcy-Brown, student, for Addressing Infrastructure Challenges in the Black Belt Region of Alabama through Evaluating Wastewater and Water Access Affordability
  • Dr. Cheryl Fondren, director of United Way of West Alabama’s Success by 6 program, and Dr. Allison Hooper, assistant professor of early childhood education, for Improving Kindergarten Readiness through the JumpStart Summer Program
  • Sally Smith, J.D., executive director for the Alabama Association of School Boards, for work to obtain funding that will make possible opportunities for individuals to become grant coaches for schools across the Black Belt
    Engaged Teaching and Learning (a new category this year) awardees included:
  • Dr. Chapman Greer, associate provost for general education and senior instructor of management, for MGT 456/556: Data Visualization
  • Dr. Yinghui Liu, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, for STEM education
  • Dr. Chandra Clark, assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media, for The World Games
    Civic Engagement (a new category this year) awardees included:
  • John Dodd, student, for his work in voter engagement
  • Dr. Jessy Ohl, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, for providing students with experiential learning opportunities through COM 341: American Political Rhetoric
    Alexa Ellis, a junior majoring in public health and psychology, received the 2023–2024 Zachary David Dodson Endowed Scholarship in recognition of her involvement with CCBP’s Language Partners, Vision Days and HomeFirst Programs, as well as its STEM Showcase.

The 2023 Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar Award recipients are Dr. Blake Berryhill, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Program in the College of Human Environmental Sciences; Dr. W. Ross Bryan, associate dean and associate professor in the Honors College; Katie Johnson, a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies; and the Walker Area Community Foundation, led by President Paul W. Kennedy. Dr. Marcus Ashford, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was posthumously awarded as a Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar.

Dr. Susan Carvalho, dean of the UA Graduate School and associate provost, received the Distinguished Special Achievement in Community Engagement award in recognition of her commitment to higher education leadership and for her unique contributions to the field of community-engaged scholarship.

For a complete list of the winning projects and more information about award recipients, please visit