Lenoir-Rhyne University senior Selina Cortez was awarded the Community Impact Student Award by North Carolina Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility.
Cortez, a biology major, is one of only 22 students across the state to receive the 2019 award, joining more than 300 college students honored by the organization since 2006. Every year, North Carolina Campus Compact honors one student leader from each member school who displays a deep commitment to community involvement and ability to inspire peers.
A founding member of Strategies for Ecological Education, Diversity, and Sustainability (SEEDS) at LR, Cortez leads and inspires students to engage in activities and events that enhance their understanding of the natural world.
"She has done an excellent job helping me get (SEEDS) off the ground," said Carly York, Ph.D., assistant biology professor at LR. "Not only has she worked extremely hard in promoting our cause on campus, but she also attended the national SEEDS Leadership Meeting in Arizona, where she attended seminars on policy, science education and ecology issues, specifically around the U.S. and Mexico border."
Following the trip, Cortez returned to LR and gave an hour-long presentation to the School of Natural Sciences. As president and student liaison of the SEEDS chapter at LR, she's helped to organize more than 20 events on campus in the last year to promote ecological and environmental issues.
"Because of her dedication and hard work, our roster has grown by almost 100 members in one year," York said. "Selina is an extremely mature public speaker, and her wonderful, cheery personality makes her exceptional at conveying information to the public. She has endless potential to become a leader in the field of ecology."
SEEDS of LR, an official chapter of the program of the Ecological Society of America, seeks to provide opportunities for students to interact with a diverse group of ecologists and other motivated students to both broaden and deepen students' understanding of ecology and potential careers.