President Michael R. Lovell on Wednesday, Jan. 17, continued his tradition of honoring members of the Marquette community with “Difference Maker” awards to kick off his annual President’s Address. Difference Maker awards are presented to individuals or groups who have gone above and beyond to Be the Difference.
The following were recognized in front of a standing room only crowd:
Dr. Paula Papanek, associate professor and director of exercise science, for the Youth Empowered to Succeed program, a community-based approach to reduce health disparities and risky behaviors among minority youth, particularly in the Latinx community on Milwaukee’s south side. The YES program is a partnership with the United Community Center. Also recognized were five members of the YES Triathlon Team.
Marquette University Police Department Officers Paul Zientek, Jesse Nelson and Brian Larson, who — through swift and heroic action — saved a woman’s life following an opioid overdose.
Dr. Michael Schläppi, associate professor of biological sciences, for “having the audacity to try to grow rice in Wisconsin.” Through his research, Schläppi identified a strain of rice with the fortitude to thrive in the state’s northern clime. He has partnered with members of the Milwaukee Hmong community, who were also honored on stage, to harvest the rice in a one-acre plot in Ozaukee County.
Marquette students Cristofer Borghese, Paola Canting-Reyes, Alex Martinez Pellot, Danielle McCloskey Suarez and Irene Rojo Arisso for their relief efforts following Hurrican Maria’s devastation to Puerto Rico. The group helped raise more than $9,000 and 7,000 pounds of food and supplies for the people of the U.S. island territory, which is still without power and water.
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