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Galvanizing Tomorrow's Civic Leaders

Kimmy Foundation Community Service Professional Award

About the Award

Kimmy Foundation Logo

The DU Kimmy Foundation Community Service Professional Award reflects the Foundation's commitment to the professional advancement and service of capable young men and women in their growth and development as world citizens.

Award recipients will be chosen from seniors graduating in the spring from DU's traditional undergraduate program based on:

  1. Past contributions to community service as a DU student
  2. Future contributions to society via community service/engagement, including specific employment plans following graduation

The Kimmy Foundation's mission is to support youths who exhibit creativity, character, and compassion in keeping with the life and ideals of Kathryn Dougherty Galbreath.

This award highlights the Kimmy Foundation's efforts to support those who give to others and lead the way toward helping their community.

Please note: Depending on the awardee's level of unmet financial need, financial aid packages may be adjusted per federal regulations. Students can contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Award Eligibility and Application Process:

In the spring, two awards of $5,000 each will be presented. The criteria for the DU Kimmy Foundation Community Service Professional Award include:

  • Completion of at least 2 service learning courses (for example, classes that involved partnerships with community agencies to solve public problems or provide services);
  • Completion of a community-engaged/public good research project, separate from work completed in the service learning courses listed above (for example, conducting research with a community partner to understand or address a public problem);
  • Record of significant community service activities over time;
  • Future contributions to society via community service/engagement, including specific employment plans following graduation.

To be considered for the DU Kimmy Foundation Community Service Professional Award, students graduating in the spring should submit a single pdf document to that includes:

  • A letter of introduction detailing achievements and future plans in terms of the above award criteria (maximum 3 pages, double spaced, Times Roman 12-point font);
  • A resume listing community-engaged work (projects, research) as well as academic work (including coursework, publications, presentations, and other relevant academic work);
  • Because representatives of the Kimmy Foundation review applications (see Decision Process below), please include a release allowing your application to be shared with the Kimmy Foundation representatives. The form can be accessed here. To assist with filling out the form, you can list:
    • Name of recipient: Representatives of the Kimmy Foundation on the review committee
    • Record(s) to release: Application materials for the Kimmy Foundation Community Service Professional Award
    • Duration of release: Today's date to June 1, 2022
    • Purpose for release: To be considered for the Kimmy Foundation Community Service Professional Award
  • Your name, email address, and DU 87-number.

Due dates for the 2021-2022 Scholarship will be announced during the Winter quarter. Please contact with any questions.

Decision Process

The award recipient will be selected by two representatives from the Kimmy Foundation as well as two DU faculty/staff, identified by the CCESL Director.

Past Award Recipients 


Carson HeadshotWalid Hedidar graduated with double majors in Anthropology and International Studies. He was involved in many different activities during his time at DU. He served as a coach for the Public Achievement Program; as a member of the DU Service and Change club; as well as held several roles within the DU Muslim Students' Association, African Students United club, and the International Students' Association. As a second-year student, he was elected into Undergraduate Student Government where he served as the Senator for the Korbel School as well as the Chair of DU's first-ever Internationalization Committee. Upon graduating from DU, he will be starting a master's program in International Education Development at the University of Pennsylvania. He also plans to continue working on LEAPS Academy, an organization that he co-founded during his time at DU that provides comprehensive and effective teacher training to educators across Tunisia

yehle headshotHaley Pachelo graduated undergrad with a degree in Communication Studies and two minors in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. She then enrolled in the Graduate School of Social Work to earn her MSW. There, she expanded her areas of studies to include a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Policy Practice (OLPP), and earned my Animal-Assisted Social Work (ASSW) certificate. In the Spring of 2020, she graduated both programs simultaneously. Haley has volunteered with many organizations in the Denver community including Dress for Success Denver, Friends First, Joshua Station,
Mile High Ministries, CASA, Junior Achievement, and Alternatives Pregnancy Center. She founded So How Are You Really to serve the University of Denver student population who is struggling with severe illnesses and volunteered as a research assistant for the Institute for Human and Animal Connection. Post-graduation, she plans to search for employment at a non-profit organization that serves
the Denver community.


Carson HeadshotGrace Carson graduated with double majors in Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in English. During her time at DU, she served various roles. She served as secretary and pow wow co-chair for the Native Student Alliance; as Opinions Editor and Executive Editor at the Clarion, DU's student newspaper; as a coach for the Public Achievement Program and as a Community-Engaged Fellow in Access & Education at the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL); as a research assistant to DU professors; and more. Beyond her roles at DU, she is passionate about social and racial justice, writing, and serving her community. After her time at DU, she will attend UCLA School of Law in both the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and the Critical Race Studies program. She hopes to eventually work towards changing the ways that the law and legal system creates and maintains racial and social inequity.

yehle headshotLauren Yehle graduated with a Bachelors of Arts with a major in Political Science and minors in History, Economics, and Spanish. She served as the  Community-Engaged Fellow  focusing on Meeting Basic Needs through the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) for the 2018-2019 academic year. She has been working with the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) on disseminating research about youth experiencing homelessness back to the communities that were surveyed for the realyst team. Lauren loves learning and hopes to pursue a PhD in Political Science with a keen eye on broader issues and involving the community in any future research. Lauren likes skiing with her sister, beatnik literature, and musicals. 


Michaela headshot Michaela Nee graduated with double majors in International Studies and French and with a minor in Communications. After a year of organizing service projects through DU Service & Change, Michaela served as co-president for the remainder of her time at DU, and took a lead role in the annual Day of Action planning team that brings elementary students and their families to campus to overcome barriers to higher education. She is also co-founder and Chief of Staff of Human 2 Human, a student organization that organizes events in the Denver community to rebridge gaps and misconceptions between migrants and domestic residents in the US. Through numerous internships and volunteer experiences, Michaela has developed a passion and drive for community organizing on a grassroots level, and was awarded a 2018 Pioneer Award for her initiative and contributions to the public good. After graduating, Michaela will continue on to the University of San Francisco to pursue her Masters in Nonprofit Administration to continue working on social justice issues related to education, immigration, and international development in her future career.

Jazmin BustillosJazmin Bustillos graduated with double majors in Political Science and Economics. During her time at DU, she became involved with several community organizations in Denver and abroad. She worked actively on issues such as immigration, wage-theft, and education. She fought wage theft and immigration by working closely with legal non-profit organizations such as Medical-Legal Partnership and Towards Justice. She also became a research assistant for the DU Just Wages project by going to different day laborer sites collecting data and later participated in outreach informing workers of their legal rights. Jazmin also studied abroad in Chile. There she interned for a local legal organization that assited in protecting the rights of incoming immigrants'  and helping them assimilate into the local culture. Additionally, for a year she was also president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Her main contribution as president was March to College Day, where she brought middle school students to campus to experience life in college and brought college students to middle school classroom to inform them on college life. During her time at DU, Jazmin has developed a deep-rooted passion for economic justice. This fall she is headed to Barcelona, Spain to obtain a Master's degree in Economic Policy. She plans to use the knowledge and international experiences she obtains to work in international development and fight for economic justice.



Ashley Edinger graduated with degrees in Socio-legal studies and Political Science. She also minored in Leadership Studies, Psychology, and Urban Studies. During her time at the University of Denver, Ashely worked toward her passion for social justice in several distinct capacities including as president of DU Service and Change and as a coach for the Public Achievement Program. Ashley also served as the Colorado Organizer for the Campus Election Engagement Project. She was a Daniels Scholar, a member of Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, and on the Dean's List. Post-graduation, Ashley is continuing community engaged work with Adam's County Youth Initiative.

laleobeLaLeobe Olaka is a Puksta Scholar who graduated with a B.S. in Biology. LaLeobe volunteered with Gathering Place and helped to found the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS) while she was at DU. Additionally, LaLeobe served as a member in a number of organizations including DU's Volunteers in Partnership, the Excelling Leaders Institute, Black Student Alliance, and Latino Student Alliance. Moving forward, LaLeobe is exploring opportunities to serve in the Peace Corp with the long-term goal of becoming a physician assistant.

LarcyLarcy Brooks graduated with double majors in English Language and Spanish Literature and Culture, along with a minor in Psychology. She was a member of the Social Justice Living and Learning Community and a part of DU WRIT Engagement Corps. During her time as a student, she focused on an effort to increase knowledge about the need for gender-neutral restrooms on campus. Larcy was also involved in several groups and programs on campus including the Diversity Committee, two performances of the Vagina Monologues, Interfaith Advocates, and the Queer Student Alliance. Larcy also served as a Puksta Scholar with CCESL where she worked to build community with common values of openness, encouragement, and diversity.



AlyAlyssa Higgins graduated Summa Cum Laude with two majors, International Studies and Spanish, plus a Leadership Studies minor. She served as co-president of the Undergraduate Women's Council, as a Public Achievement Coach, and was a part of the Pioneer Leadership Program, among other activities. Alyssa studied abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia where she compiled short stories into a project that reclaimed storytelling as a form of valid expression. For her Honors thesis in Spanish, she collaborated with the community organizations We Are North Denver to study methods of artistic resistance to gentrification in Denver's Northside and to dissect how common defenses of gentrification depend on a colonized, euphemistic vocabulary. Much of her time as an undergraduate student was spent, she says, "exploring the potential of language to be a mechanism of both personal and social change." Post-graduation plans include pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition to become a professor of writing. "I believe words, when re-worked outside of traditional paradigms," she explains, "have the power to break oppressive spaces and to create avenues for learners to develop new forms of knowledge."

Photo of NedaNeda Kikhia earned her bachelor's degree with a double major in Communication Studies and Religious Studies plus a minor in Leadership Studies. She has served as the co-president of DU Service & Change, as both a Coach and a Team Lead through Public Achievement, as a Program Assistant to various CCESL programs, and with the Pioneer Leadership Program's Community Change Initiative, among other activities. Neda is a strong advocate of service learning and community engagement. She completed a community-engaged research project centered around understanding the gap of resources for refugee youth when settling into new social and academic realms. Her own experience with discrimination committed her to actively create spaces where underrepresented voices can challenge stereotypes through education and shared experiences. She has a passion for organizing people around a common cause and coming up with innovative and sustainable ways to address community issues. In addition to the Kimmy Foundation award, Neda has received numerous impressive accolades, including being named the 2015 Service Student of the Year. Her plans for the future include pursuing a career in college access. 

Sarah YaffeSarah Yaffe received her degree with a double major in French language and International Studies with a specialization in Human Security. During her first year, she was a part of the Social Justice Living & Learning Community where she learned how to align her passion for volunteering with her academic career. Sarah was involved with DU Service & Change for all for years of her undergraduate education, and she served as co-president her senior year. She was particularly committed to the annual Day of Action which brings hundreds of young children to campus to experience "college for a day." Additionally, she was active with DU Interfaith Advocates, and she won the Undergraduate Champion of Change award. She presented at various workshops, summit, and conventions where she spoke about self-interest, service from one's core values, and the importance of critical reflection. Sarah accumulated a total of 730 hours of volunteer service during her time as a Pioneer, and following graduation, she plans to teach abroad where she will continue to give back as a global citizen, exploring the world through service. 



emily thomasEmily Thomas graduated from the University of Denver in June of 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in International Studies and a minor in Sustainability. The marriage of these interests led Emily to become immersed in community engagement through programs such as Public Achievement and the Sustainability Council. Using community organizing principles, she coached two 9th grade classes on issues of gang violence and youth gang involvement. Her contributions led to the development and implementation of a community event called “Games not Gangs.” She helped to utilize feedback from this community-engaged research project to enhance future partnerships. Both during her time abroad and while at DU, Emily served as a leader in efforts to find sustainable solutions to broad reaching social and environmental problems.

tanner mastawTanner Mastaw completed his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Public Policy at the University of Denver in June of 2015. During his 4 years as a pioneer, Tanner served as a Public Achievement Coach working with high school students on civic engagement. As a process-oriented thinker, Tanner has used his learning to encourage systemic and structural change in international educational communities in Rajasthan and Tanzania. He also contributed to the launch of Wisconsin’s 8th District Office’s first annual Youth Leadership Conference in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay. He bridged his community activism with his experience at DU by participating in University Student Government and by developing numerous service informed research papers and presentations.


MaddieMaddie Spilman graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theater with a minor in International Studies. While at DU, Maddie worked for four years with the Public Achievement program through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. Using community organizing principles, Maddie facilitated the students through projects addressing areas they saw needed improvement such as immigration, restorative justice, education, and health. Maddie also worked for the Denver Center for Crime Victims to assist victims of crime with crisis intervention, and provide services to ensure their safety and well being. In addition, she served as Philanthropy Chair for her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, in which she led her local chapter to raise over $65,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 



Emily Bowman graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Journalism, and Spanish in June of 2014. As a DU Pioneer, Emily was a founding member of the student-led volunteer organization, DU Service & Change, and served as one of it’s co-presidents in her senior year. She is currently living in Houston, Texas, working in the field of education, and preparing for graduate studies. Still volunteering, she interns at the Neuhaus Education Center in their Development and Advancement office. Emily hopes to build a career that propels her passion for serving others.


JosephJoseph Zhang is the Founder of Project Ava, a nonprofit media site he started while attending the University of Denver. For several years, he has traveled the country documenting people’s stories. He has collaborated with filmmakers such as the Jubilee Project, spoken words artists, and various nonprofits on multiple projects. Currently, he resides in Denver and works in the nonprofit industry as a development and marketing professional.




Last updated: 2/11/2021