Urkovia Andrews, DrPH, is the recipient of the national Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award. The Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award celebrates the ethical leadership and advocacy demonstrated by community engagement professionals.

Georgia Southern University’s Assistant Director of Service-Learning Urkovia Andrews, DrPH, is this year’s recipient of the national Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award. This recognition is courtesy of Campus Compact, which is a network of colleges across the country dedicated to promoting and recognizing public work in higher education.

The Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award celebrates the ethical leadership and advocacy demonstrated by community engagement professionals. Recipients have demonstrated collaboration with communities focused on transformative change; a commitment to justice-oriented work; and an impact on the larger movement to build ethical and effective community engagement locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Andrews leads the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows, Service-Learning Student Facilitators, the Institute for Community Partnerships, and oversees community engagement at the University. But her dedication to Georgia Southern started well before diving into her community-driven work. Andrews holds three degrees for Georgia Southern.

Andrew said receiving the award is exciting and humbling, but added that awards isn’t what fuels the fire.

“I don’t think the award brings the validation, I think seeing the final product does,” Andrews said. “When you can look at something and say our students assisted with that, or when you can look at something and say a community partner thought enough about us to ask us to participate and help them do that. That brings that validation piece.”

Her work stretches beyond campus. Before joining Georgia Southern, she served as the executive director for Hearts and Hands Clinic in Statesboro.

“Georgia Southern is fortunate to have Dr. Urkovia Andrews facilitating service-learning and community engagement efforts for our students,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Shay Little, Ph.D. “She brings a depth of knowledge that challenges our students to use their talents to become responsible community members. I am delighted at this recognition; she represents our university with distinction and is most deserving of this honor.”

This isn’t the first time Andrews has been recognized for her work. In 2021, she was given a separate national award for her experiential education research.

In a statement, Campus Compact said, “By taking a multi-faceted approach and building powerful connections among the Georgia Southern community and local leaders, she has created a strategic, effective, and long-lasting coalition that works together to create positive change.”