Hannah is the first-ever recipient of the Kohlmeier Mikulencak scholarship. Hannah is a junior at WWU in the Honors Program, pursuing a major in Anthropology and minors in Spanish and Journalism Public Relations.
During her time at Western, Hannah has been involved with the CAST meal program. The CAST meal program is an organization that prepares and serves simple meals to the homeless community in downtown Bellingham with the Newman Center once a week. Every Monday evening is spent in a parking lot chatting and giving out sandwiches and hot drinks to those in need.
“The hours I spend downtown has fostered a love for these people who I know by name and now call friends. Many of them have told me their stories and it occurred to me that human interaction is not something they encounter… This program has opened my eyes to society’s dehumanization of the homeless population. By ignoring them, we are refusing to acknowledge that our community has an issue.”
Hannah has also been involved in the Northwest Youth Services (NWYS) through a service-learning project. Hannah, along with a group of fellow WWU students, worked closely with NWYS to discuss and promote awareness of homeless in the Bellingham community through a campus screening of the Homeless in Bellingham film series.
“I know this involvement is creating a positive impact on the city as a whole, both by supporting the at risk community and creating a greater awareness of this problem so many people face. This awareness leads to action and more involvement from the community as a whole.”
These are just two examples of Hannah’s outstanding community service. She also volunteers annually with the Convoy of Hope with local churches, businesses, community service and health organizations to provide guests with groceries, medical and dental screenings, haircuts, lunch, veteran services, music, a kids’ carnival, children’s shoes, job and career services, community services, family portraits and more. Hannah has also worked with surrounding villages of Jinja, Uganda through a program called Grace Giving International, providing food, clothing, and feminine hygiene products to those in need.
Not only is Hannah involved in giving back to her community, but she is also an outstanding student having received several awards including: the Washington State Honors Award in 2015, the WWU Admission with Distinction in 2015, the WWU Opportunity Pathway Scholarship in 2015-16, the WWU President’s Scholarship in 2015-16, the WWU Honor Roll in Fall 2016, and the Longenecker & Associates award for distinguished service in 2016.
Congratulations Hannah and keep up the great work!
More from Hannah…
“I’m currently pursuing a major in Anthropology with minors in Journalism (Public Relations) and Spanish. My current plan after college includes volunteering with the Peace Corps for two years as well as applying for the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. I want to not only encourage, but support and provide avenues for others to pursue higher education. With the Peace Corps, I hope to volunteer by teaching English as a foreign language in a Spanish speaking country. If accepted to the fellowship, my hope is to fill the nine-month long excursion with research surrounding the issues of orphanages, inter-country adoption practices, and their relation to the drug wars in Latin America. My long term goal is to be a researcher and photojournalist in both the United States and Latin America. I intend to record and share the lifestyles of people across the globe as well as shed light on issues such as education and poverty. Access to an education creates pathways for at risk populations to gain a foothold in escaping their circumstances. My goal is to give those within the foster care system and other vulnerable positions a fighting chance in the world. I want those who otherwise would not be able to attend school to have alternative options. Education is an investment in someone’s future which can change not one life but many. The choice to receive an education should be available for anyone regardless of their economic or social status. If there is a way that I can improve the system and remove some of the obstacles people face when trying to obtain their own education, then I am going to use my privilege and all resources available to make that goal a reality. Furthermore, I believe that providing access to accounts of cultures across the world will promote a greater understanding, respect, and empathy to those beyond our own borders.”