The National Society of Collegiate Scholars’ Inspire Integrity Awards are the only student-nominated faculty and administration awards scholarship. Students nominate full-time faculty and administration who, through their lessons and actions, made a significant impact on the lives of their students and instilled a high degree of personal and academic integrity. Meet this year’s recipients! Check out the profiles of the other winners, Andrea Sununu, Nominated by Rachel Higson, and Dean Emanuel Chestnut, Nominated by Aric Justice.
As a professional within the field of Orientation, Transition, and Retention, I supervise students that work long and tedious days in the summer, working tirelessly to welcome the incoming class of students to our institution. These long hours can prove to be grueling, and it can oftentimes be difficult to maintain consistent motivation, especially when many incoming students do not always show their appreciation for the effort that my student leaders put into the work that they do. For that reason, I find it critical to find ways to motivate my student leaders. Thus, I always make an effort to share with my students the Starfish Story. In brief, this story highlights a young boy who is seen throwing starfish into the ocean. An older man approaches the boy and asks what he is doing. The boy explains that he is throwing the starfish back into the ocean so that they do not die. The man then points out that there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish, so the boy cannot possibly make a difference. In response, the boy picks up another starfish, tosses it into the ocean, and notes that he made a difference for that one.
For me, it is important to share this story with my students to help them recognize that, regardless of how many students may not say a word about the impact my student leaders are having, it is always worth it when you recognize that you’ve made a difference for at least one student, and hearing that you made that difference makes it all worth it. That being said, being nominated for the Inspire Integrity award is certainly a starfish moment for me. It is both so humbling and so encouraging to know that my actions in the work that I do are inspiring enough for a student to write an essay on my behalf, highlighting the integrity that I strive to exhibit in the work that I do. For me, this moment is so humbling because Julia and students like Julia inspire me on a daily basis. Their passion and the determination they have to accomplish all of their goals and ambitions is a constant motivating factor for me to work harder and consistently strive for more.
Being recognized for the Inspire Integrity Award means so much because integrity is what I hope to instill in my students. It is truly an honor to be recognized for this award, and I am so thankful to have even been considered. This has only further motivated me to continue to encourage my students to make a difference and to continue to find those starfish.
The Inspire Integrity Awards are presented each year during Integrity Week. Faculty and administration recipients are awarded a $1,000 professional development award, and the students who nominate them receive a $1,000 scholarship.