University of Vermont

University Communications

Four Students Awarded Scholarship by United Academics

Release Date: 11-03-2010

Contact: University Communications Staff
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Four students at the University of Vermont have been awarded a scholarship by United Academics (AAUP/AFT) for demonstrating their dedication to social, economic, and environmental justice. Each year the faculty union at the university provides $500 to be used for books and supplies by students who exemplify not only academic excellence but also an active commitment to achieving justice. The scholarship is named in honor of Jeffrey Brace, a Black American who lived and farmed in Vermont from the late 1700s until his death in 1827.

The United Academics Jeffrey Brace Book Award for 2010-2011 goes to DeAnna Bevilacqua, a psychology major from East Greenbush, N.Y.; Kimberly Davy, a nutrition and food science major from the Bronx, N.Y.; April Hillman, an environmental sciences major from Shelburne, Vt.; and Genna Waldvogel, another environmental sciences major, from Branford, Conn. This is the seventh year the scholarship has been awarded.

"These four students have taken their commitment to social justice well beyond the UVM campus into community, national, and international work," said Kathy Fox, sociology professor and vice president of United Academics. "United Academics is honored to present the Jeffrey Brace Award to these deserving student activists."

Devoted to social action on campus and in the community, Bevilacqua has organized and implemented an English-as-a-second-language program, providing volunteers at Burlington elementary schools to mentor immigrant children while advancing their language learning. She also has been actively involved in UVM's Next Step Program offering workshops on diversity and social justice.

Born in Jamaica, Davy, a community and international development minor, has committed herself to improve the social and economic environment of the Caribbean community. In addition to serving as the publicist for the Black Student Union at UVM, she has worked on fundraising for Haiti relief and on HIV/AIDS prevention in St. Lucia.

Hillman is dedicated to climate activism at home and abroad. Having been selected by Greenpeace to spend three months in Washington, D.C. as part of their Organizing Term, she was trained in grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action. Since then, Hillman has worked with youth around the globe to apply her new skills, participating in United Nations conferences abroad including last year's U.N. Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

Passionate about human rights worldwide, Waldvogel has involved UVM students in writing letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and organized faculty discussions on themes of rights and justice. She is also leading an effort to establish a local chapter for Amnesty International on campus, making it the umbrella organization for all the other UVM groups committed to social justice.

"Inspired by the example set by Jeffrey Brace, we hope this award will continue to encourage students to take action on key issues in social justice," said Fox, one of three United Academics judges for this year's awards. Also on the award selection committee were professors Alice Fothergill, sociology, and Trina Magi, UVM Libraries.