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Published April 05, 2019
Her work inspiring the next generation of engineers has earned University of Wyoming student Annaliese Fitzsimmons, from Greybull, UW’s Marvin Millgate Community Engaged Student Award.
Fitzsimmons has been a regular participant in UW’s Engineers Week and other outreach activities, which has helped earn her the award. The student engagement award recognizes an exceptional individual record of service to the community and engagement in service-learning or other programs that have made a difference in the community.
She is double majoring in civil engineering, and environment and natural resources. Her concentration is geotechnical engineering and sustainable design.
“Annaliese has helped open the eyes of hundreds of primary students to the excitement and challenge of engineering and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) interests,” says Paul Flesher, the interim UW Office of Engagement and Outreach director, which sponsors the Millgate awards. “This work embodies the purpose of this award, which is to honor one outstanding university student who has been engaged in service opportunities that have made a tangible difference in the community.”
The Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards were established by President Laurie Nichols and Provost Kate Miller, in cooperation with UW’s Engagement Task Force, to recognize collaborative teaching and research that extend beyond the UW campus. The selected honorees each receive $1,000, which may be used to fund additional engagement work by the recipients.
“With these awards, we acknowledge that community engagement is an integral component of UW’s land-grant mission and honor those faculty, staff, students and partners whose collaborations involve the exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of reciprocity with the citizens and institutions of Wyoming, the nation and the world,” Flesher says.
Teddi Freedman, UW College of Engineering and Applied Science K-14 project coordinator, who nominated Fitzsimmons for the award, first met Fitzsimmons during the college’s freshman orientation four years ago.
“I recall being immediately impressed by her poise, friendliness and gracious interaction with her peers, and university staff and faculty,” Freedman says. “Since then, I have had the pleasure of working with Annaliese on a weekly basis in leading engineering outreach programs for K-12 students.”
She adds that for nearly four years, Fitzsimmons has dedicated 60 hours per year to K-12 outreach engagement activities for Wyoming school groups.
Among her outreach service projects is her involvement in the college’s annual Engineers Week program. The statewide program invites professional and college-age student engineers into third-grade classrooms to lead a hands-on activity focused on the engineering design process, Freedman says.
Together, Fitzsimmons and the other K-12 outreach team members annually engage more than 4,000 third-grade students in hands-on discovery of STEM principles.
“Annaliese has a natural ability to connect with younger students. She is a natural leader and an outstanding scholar,” Freedman adds. “It is a privilege to work with a student like Annaliese who genuinely cares about the UW community and the K-12 population across the state.”
Dana Robertson, the executive director of UW’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic, received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award; Susan Jerke, a regional director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network, received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award; and the Excellence in Community Partnership Award was won by Wyoming Humanities.