Laura Guertin, associate professor of earth and mineral sciences at Penn State Brandywine, received a congressional citation from Delaware County U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, April 28, on campus. Guertin received the award for all of the community service activities she has initiated and organized at Penn State Brandywine, including those for the 40 Acts of Kindness and Civic Engagement campaign this year as part of the campus' 40th anniversary celebration.
Campus Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska said the honor was well deserved. "I am delighted and proud that Dr. Laura Guertin is being honored with a congressional citation for all of her outstanding efforts to promote community activism at Penn State Brandywine," she said. "Congressman Sestak expressed in a letter to the campus his admiration for 'her initiative, spirit and activism' on campus and called her 'an outstanding example to the next generation of Americans.' Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Laura or taking her courses knows he is exactly right. Laura's dedication to helping others is inspiring and endless."
Among other things, Guertin leads a campus effort that has already shipped more than $55,000 worth of coupons to military servicemen and their families serving overseas at locations such as the U.S. Navy base in Yokohama, Japan. For the last several years she has organized campus initiatives to help provide much-needed supplies to local elementary schools and the Ronald McDonald House. She works with others on campus to provide blankets to children in hospitals and heart-shaped pillows to cardiac recovery patients.
Guertin serves as the co-coordinator of Penn State University's minor in civic and community engagement.
"It is important to me to work with the campus and community in fulfilling Penn State's historic land grant mission. I am also honored to work with students in developing their commitment to volunteering and engaging in the democratic practices our country was founded upon. Seeing the desire of our students to become future leaders in the local-to-international community continues to serve as my motivation," she said. "This congressional citation is quite a surprise and honor for me, but this recognition deserves to be shared with all of the Penn State Brandywine faculty, staff, students and alumni that share the Penn State spirit by engaging in community efforts."
This isn't the first time Guertin has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to the campus. In 2006, she was awarded the George A. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, in 2005 she received the Award for Teaching Excellence from Penn State Commonwealth College, and she was named Penn State Brandywine's Woman of Year in 2004. In 2003, she received a national honor as being selected part of Project Kaleidoscope's national network of Faculty for the 21st Century as an innovator in science education. She has taught at the campus since 2001.
For information on Penn State Brandywine's Center for Community and Civic Engagement, go to http://community.de.psu.edu/.