Jessica Loya, The Citadel
Cadet Jessica Loya has applied her considerable intelligence, personal strength, spiritual commitment, and compassion for those who have the least to become one of the most productive and respected student leaders we have had in service learning and civic engagement. Exceptionally mature in her insight and concern about poverty and education, Jessica has worked almost continuously in school-based programs, after-school programs, and summer programs that serve children living in poverty. This year alone she has worked more than 300 hours in community partner sites. In addition to the mentoring, tutoring, and program assistance that many college students engage in, Jessica has been a collaborator in the development and evaluation of three replicable programs for these populations: a literacy based Young Authors program that engages 3rd-5th graders in telling their stories (past, present, and future); a Smart Strengths program that applies positive psychology to help high-risk adolescents identify and mobilize their strengths; and the Gadsden Green (GG) Reading program which offers access to books and reading mentors for disadvantaged youth residing a local housing authority project. She and her fellow students are presenting their projects in April at the 2014 National Service Learning Conference.