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Dubuque Eagles "Eyes on the Future" Committee Honors Four Spartans

By Stacey Ortman

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Four University of Dubuque Spartans were recently honored by the Dubuque Eagles "Eyes on the Future" Committee, which provides high school students and college students - including those from UD - with volunteer opportunities to help those in need.

Michelle Grace, EdD, associate professor of communication, director of online learning for graduate and adult studies, internship coordinator for the Department of Communication, and advisor of UD's National Society of Leadership and Success chapter, received the 2021-2022 "Eyes on the Future" College Teacher of the Year. She was nominated for the award by one of her students, Emma Powell, a junior communication major who was awarded a college scholarship with a certificate of accomplishment from the committee.

"It's very humbling especially coming out of a couple years with COVID. It just really reinforces my beliefs and makes me want to work even harder to make my classroom the best place it can be for my students," Grace said.

Carissa Brown (C'21), a master in management - organizational diversity and inclusion leadership student and graduate assistant in the Office of Vocation, Career Services, and Community Engagement, was awarded the Audrey Fitzgerald College Scholarship as the 2021-2022 "Eyes on the Future" College Student of the Year.

"Volunteering with the Eagles "Eyes on the Future" Committee opened my eyes to different organizations in the Dubuque community because I'm not from here. I hadn't worked with a few of the places we have been to like the Dubuque Area Labor Harvest. We cleaned up Cancer Survivor Park with Wendt Regional Cancer Center and donated meals to Hope House and Teresa Shelter. It was a lot of different things to get involved with various organizations in the community, so I'm meeting people, being more knowledgeable about things going on, and having fun and doing service with others," Brown said.

Ellen Carr, MBA, director of the Office of Vocation, Career Services, and Community Engagement, received one of the People Who Make a Difference awards. She started volunteering with the committee about a year ago as a way to give back to the community and also encourage students to participate.

"To receive the recognition for something I already knew was important was pretty moving and exciting. Volunteering really supports the mission of the University of Dubuque. We're all citizens of Dubuque - the university as well as the city - so to make a difference here really helps to make it a better place to live and work and raise a family in my situation," Carr said, adding, "I encourage anyone to get involved and find things that you're excited and passionate about. With all the non-profit organizations in the city, there is likely something that is going to get you excited, and let us know how we can help make that happen."

Michael Duehr, founder and chairman of the Eagles "Eyes on the Future" Committee, said it was the first time since he started the committee in January 2008 that the College Teacher of the Year, College Student of the Year, and one of the People Who Make a Difference all came from the same institution.

"It's good doing something that you really appreciate in life and having young people follow you and being involved in that," he said, adding, "We're about goodness and kindness. That's the bottom line."

This fall, the Eagles "Eyes on the Future" Committee will have donated $250,000 to education, youth, the most vulnerable, homeless shelters, food pantries, and more in the Dubuque area.