Farmingdale State College students Louisa Witt and Aesha Curtis are 2015 winners of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. It is the most prestigious of all volunteer awards associated with the White House.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes outstanding volunteer service that helps better our local and global communities. The awards were presented by the Long Island Volunteer Center.
Louisa is a senior, and Aesha is a second-semester junior.
Louisa is working towards a bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology and Society, with a minor in Anthropology. She has twice appeared on the President’s List. She is a recipient of a Hagedorn internship and is the 2015 winner of Farmingdale’s Social Science Research Institute’s Hagedorn Foundation for Social Justice Scholarship. Louisa was nominated for the Volunteer Service Award for her advocacy efforts and hands-on work.
Louisa said in a personal statement that her mission is "to have a positive influence towards a world of equal rights. I’d like to be able to provide solutions and tackle the concerns of social justice. I would like to be part of beneficial organizations, as a service to my community, my family and myself."
Her volunteer activities include:
- Long Island Crisis Center’s Pride for Youth
- Long Island chapters of Autism Speaks, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- First Presbyterian Church of Freeport, preparing Thanksgiving meals
- Hurricane Sandy outreach and clean-up
- Sustainable Long Island, Long Island Volunteer Fair
Dr. Miriam Deitsch, Director of the Social Science Research Institute and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Sociology, says of Louisa: "All of Louisa’s service reflects a deeply internalized ethic of dedication to humanity and human rights. Her moral compass is uncompromising, energizes her efforts, and is a source of inspiration to all."
Aesha, a Professional Communications major with a minor in Legal Studies (she plans to attend law school after she graduates), is Farmingdale State’s new Student Government Association president. She has been the recipient of many awards, and has participated in a host of Island-wide volunteer programs.
Says Aesha: "I chose to use my experiences as a way to not only inspire myself, but to inspire others. I fell, stood up, learned, and refined myself into the individual I am today. I will use my gifts to help others inspire themselves. My purpose of becoming a lawyer is to achieve positive change; to help someone who just needs a supporter and a voice, so they may have a better day."
Among her awards:
- Empire State Diversity Scholarship
- Certificate of Distinction from the Ladies United in Vision
- Who’s Who among Universities and Colleges
- Farmingdale’s Dean’s List
Her volunteer activities include:
- Family Planning Advocates of New York State, Day of Action
- Reach Higher (Education Initiative by First Lady Michelle Obama)
- L.I. Coalition for the Homeless, food donations
- L.I. Coalition for the Homeless, children’s egg hunt
- Barnes & Noble campaign to collect books for children in homeless families
- Backpack Mission for a Difference, collecting school supplies for homeless children
Dr. Lynn Elfe, Director of the federally funded program TRIO, (Student Support Services), says about Aesha: "When I think of Aesha, I am reminded of a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou: ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.’ Aesha’s drive to assist those in need, enroll others to assist her and have everyone enjoy the journey will allow her to make a difference in this world."