Jessica Stavole, a senior at Xavier University from Painesville, OH, was one of ten winners throughout the state of Ohio to win a Charles J. Ping Student Service Award from Ohio Campus Compact, a non-profit organization of 47 Ohio colleges and universities with strong community service, service-learning, and/or civic engagement programs. In addition, Jessica received one of four legacy grants in the amount of $500, thanks to special grant funding from State Farm Insurance. She is double-majoring in biology and physics, with a minor in environmental studies.
“Over her four years as a Fellow, she’s taken her passion and creativity to new heights,” says Sean Rhiney, director of Xavier’s Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning. “Using the skills she’s developed at Xavier and in her community of Fellows, she was able to recognize a challenge in our neighboring community of Evanston, build a partnership with community leaders to address it, and realize real time success - children are learning and succeeding simply because Jessica chose to make a difference.”
Upon admission to Xavier, Jessica was selected as one of five students to receive a four-year scholarship based on academics and service. She collaborated with the University to conceive and build the NEXUS Garden Project – Norwood, Evanston and Xavier residents and students coming together to learn about healthy food production, composting and sustainability.
Last year, she developed an after-school tutoring program in the Evanston community. The Evanston Community Learning Center provides essential mentoring, teaches life lessons and basic nutrition to elementary-aged children. Jessica has overseen its expansion to include 42 of her classmates.
This summer, she has an internship to work with the Seattle Department of Energy and has been accepted to The Ohio State University for their Master’s program in Environmental Science.
The Charles J. Ping Award recognizes and honors undergraduate students’ outstanding leadership and contributions to community service on their campus and within their community. Candidates must be nominated by their college or university president and the service should meet needs in the community. Additionally, efforts should connect service with academic study and programs should have long-term community support.