FPU Presidents’ Awards recognize student leadership, community partnerships

  • Mack Bean Courtesy photo—

  • Carina Dillon Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/28/2021 2:57:34 PM

Franklin Pierce University has honored senior Carina Dillon, an avid community volunteer and founder of the university’s Students of Faith organization, with the Presidents’ Award for leadership.

Dillon was recognized in a virtual ceremony last week, along with her fellow Presidents’ Awards recipients for Franklin Pierce University, Professor Mack Bean, who was recognized with the Good Steward Award, and Project Shakespeare, which received the Community Partner Award.

Dillon, a Health Sciences major who will be moving on to doctorate-level studies after graduating Franklin Pierce this spring, has been highly involved with the area’s youth through her commitment to the Franklin Piece Community Service office, and as a student leader in several areas of students life.

“In addition to her dedication to the Community Service Office, Carina’s leadership with Students of Faith and the University’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has helped further sustained dialogue and initiatives to create a more just and equitable campus community. Carina is committed to empathic listening and continually strives for consistency in action,” Franklin Pierce wrote in a press release issued regarding the award recipients. “She is deeply respected by her peers and community partners. We are grateful for her service to the University and the many organizations throughout the community.”

Dillon has been a manager for Launch Point, an afterschool care program administered by Monadnock Christina Ministries for Jaffrey-Rindge school-aged children, the Boyton Middle School Boynton Buddies program, the local Head Start program in Jaffrey, and the Telephone Tales library initiative.

“I got involved in the Community Service office with Launch Point as a freshman,” Dillon said. “It’s always been a passion of mine, working with that age group.”

Dillon said she is aiming to be a physical therapist, and working with children requires a high level of empathy and understanding, a crucial skill required for her future profession.

Dillon has also taken on other leadership roles in her time at Franklin Pierce, including the role as a student leader during alternative spring break trips prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of a vacation week, during spring break, students participate in charity projects, including a Memphis, Tennessee trip for river clean up and a Habitat for Humanity build in Dade City, Florida.

Dillon said she would have participated in her third alternative spring break trip as a senior, had COVID-19 not put a damper on that, as well as many of her other usual community volunteer opportunities.

“It was a little heartbreaking that I couldn’t interact with the community in the ways we used to,” Dillon said. “Launch Point was a huge light in my week. Those two hours with kids were just awesome, being able to make those kids smile.”

Dillon said she’s tried to still make a difference in her senior year, including through the Students of Faith organization, an endeavor she helped start.

Dillon, a devoted Catholic, said the organization began with a much smaller focus. She wanted to start a ride-share for Catholic students to attend church services twice a month in 2018. She successfully started that group, but it eventually grew into something much more – a multi-faith group that participates in multiple charitable endeavors. Some of those were able to continue this year, including Operation Christmas Child, where the group put together shoe boxes of toys and practical gifts for an international charity, and also fundraised for Brigid’s House of Hope, a transitional safe house for survivors of human trafficking in New Hampshire.

Dillon said the opportunity to take her small idea of a ride sharing program, and see it grow, is just an example of what you can do with the right motivation and community support.

“The Catholic Mass Transportation program was my seed,” Dillon said. “It’s really blossomed into something else. I started with a small idea, and that one small idea was taken by the people at Franklin Pierce and it blossomed into wonderful opportunities.”

The college also recognized Dr. Mack Bean with the Good Steward Award, given to faculty who have contributed their professional expertise in the wider community. Bean, who has been a professor of finance and economics at the University for the past 14 years, administers the colleges’ student-led business incubator and Business Minds Club.

“Dr. Bean provides the steady mentoring and strategic guidance that keeps the students engaged and moving forward toward their goals,” Franklin Pierce officials said in the award announcements. “His enthusiasm continues to inspire his students, and fosters positive relationships between Franklin Pierce University and the greater Monadnock Business Community,”

Begun six years ago, the Monadnock Incubator assists regional businesses with creating business plans, financing, and advancing particular projects.

“Over the years, we’ve worked on projects in every industry,” Bean said. “It allows Franklin Pierce to get its name out there in a positive way, it provides a resource to businesses that need it, and it allows our students to take what they’re learning in the classroom and apply it in a real-world setting. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

Bean said this year, like many other sectors, has had additional challenges due to COVID-19, with students adapting to Zoom meetings and exchanging information via video calls, telephone and email instead of in person. He said it is ultimately the work of the students to build those relationships that he credits for the success of the program.

“This is really a reflection on the students, and it’s nice to see that they are being recognized for the work they are doing. I’m humbled to be nominated and a recipient, but this is really a reflection on them. I’m not doing the work, I’m just making sure they have those community connections,” Bean said.

The University also recognized Project Shakespeare with its Community Partner Award, given to a nonprofit organization that enhances the quality of life in the community.

Project Shakespeare, a Jaffrey youth theater organization, has provided opportunities for student actors to perform abroad, as well as producing local productions, including youth performances of Shakespeare, annual productions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and plays and readings throughout the year.


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