Maryville College senior Alyssa Hughes ‘17 is among five college students in Tennessee to be named recipient of the 2017 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award sponsored by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).
Created in 1991, the award was named in 1997 for Harold Love, Sr., the late state representative from Nashville who was instrumental in passing legislation for community service recognition programs for higher education and was known for his compassion and good humor.
The award recognizes outstanding community service at the campus level and carries a $1,000 cash prize.
“The individuals selected to receive recognition represent the many dimensions of community service – volunteer work, public service, charitable service and leadership roles in community organizations,” according to THEC’s website. “They serve as ambassadors for community service among the many diverse higher educational communities in Tennessee.”
Hughes, a biology major and chemistry and psychology double minor from Griffin, Ga., was nominated for the award by administrators at the College and has been involved in a variety of community service activities since she arrived on campus in 2013.
“Alyssa has used her college years to make a difference in the community around us,” said Maryville College President Tom Bogart in his nomination letter. “As a campus leader, a Bonner Scholar, and a mentor for other students, as well as a faithful volunteer in organizations that strive to meet health care needs of our poorest citizens, Alyssa has been an outstanding example of the principles of public service.”
Hughes has served the community both on and off campus during her time at MC.
In 2014, Hughes became a Maryville College ambassador, as well as a Maryville College resident assistant (RA)—two positions that she still occupies. As an ambassador, she mentored prospective Maryville College students through leading tours of the campus and serving as a show room host. She served as a role model for current students and assisted in managing one of the campus residence halls as an RA.
Since the beginning of Hughes’s college career, she has served as a Maryville College Bonner Scholar. The program only accepts 15 incoming freshmen each year and requires 10 hours of volunteer work per week in a non-profit organization during the school year and 280 hours over the summer. Through this program, she served at Blount County Children’s Home and Wellington Place Assisted Living in 2013. From January 2013 until January 2016, she volunteered at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH), where she worked with therapy dogs, served as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) “cuddler,” and worked with Child Life Specialists in the Child Life Department, who “ease anxiety through the power of play in a constructive, healing and educating manner,” according to the ETCH website.
Additionally, Hughes began volunteering with both New Hope Child Advocacy Center in August 2014, where she serves as an office assistant and marketing intern, and Trinity Health Missions in September 2014, where she serves as an oral surgery dental assistant—two positions she still occupies.
“Her work as a volunteer at Trinity Dental Clinic has both added to their capacity to help people who otherwise do not have access to dental care, and helped her discover her professional and vocational path,” Bogart said.
Hughes has also received the Maryville College Church and Ministry Leadership Certificate, which requires a semester-long ministry internship, as well as several academic courses taken in addition to the student’s major; the Highland Leadership Certificate, which is received upon completion of the Highland Leadership Program consisting of one academic year of experiential learning, direct instruction, mentoring and skill application; and the Non-profit Professional Certificate upon completion of the Maryville College Program for Nonprofit Leadership, which requires students to fulfill a prescribed set of competencies developed by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance that are completed in addition to the student’s major.
Hughes has been active in the Maryville College chapter of the Non-Profit Leadership Alliance, which is a national organization that provides the aforementioned certification in the management of nonprofit organizations. In 2016, she also assisted in forming the Maryville College chapter of Circle K and became the club’s first president. Circle K is a branch of the international Kiwanis Club that is specifically for college and university students who strive to promote community service, leadership development and friendship.
“Alyssa’s work with Kiwanis International, and in particular with Circle K, as well as her leadership in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance on the Maryville College campus, has enhanced our student engagement with community organizations,” Bogart said. “Her major in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology, and her completion of certificates in Non-Profit Leadership and Church Leadership, will position her well to continue working for a more just society for all.”
The award was presented to Hughes during a reception at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville on April 21, 2017.