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Emilee Taylor Receives Distinguished Service Award Honor


JONESBORO – Emilee Morgan Taylor of Jonesboro is one of eight outstanding students who received a 2017 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) at Arkansas State University. She was honored at a recognition dinner, Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the Cooper Alumni Center.

The DSA acknowledgement comes during A-State’s Convocation of Scholars, an annual celebration of academic achievement that includes college and departmental awards and recognition events.

The Distinguished Service Award winners are recognized as the institution’s most-outstanding graduates because of their leadership, scholarship and citizenship. Faculty, staff, advisers to student organizations and other members of the campus community submit nominations for these prestigious awards.

All of the nominees have provided countless hours of service to the community, their classmates, their departments and colleges and to Arkansas State University. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and past Wilson Award recipients makes the final selections.

Dr. Ruth Owens, associate professor of Spanish, nominated Taylor. Taylor is a world languages and cultures major with an emphasis in Spanish and will graduate in May with a grade point average of 3.70. She plans to become a volunteer for the Peace Corps. Following that goal, she wants to earn her master’s degree in College Student Personnel Services and aspires to work in higher education.

Among her academic achievements, Taylor is a recipient of the Arkansas Promise scholarship, the Arkansas Lottery scholarship and the privately funded Warren and Lu Nedrow Trustees Scholarship. She is also active as a member of Sigma Delta Pi, a Spanish honor society; the A-State Honors College; and the Chancellor’s List (2013-15).

She has received an invitation to the National Panhellenic Council (NPC) scholarship dinner for maintaining 3.8 GPA and is a three-time award recipient for earning the highest grade point average in her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.

Active in the Student Government Association, Taylor served as a senator twice — as a junior and senior. As a senator, she helped host “Party in the Pines” to kick off football season with the student body. She also helped hold public forums designed for the student body to provide ideas and suggestions as to how to improve university life.

She also represented the SGA on various shared governance oversight committees, the international students and scholars committee to promote inclusion and cultural celebration, and on the intercollegiate athletics committee. As a junior, she voted to create a hammock farm at A-State and worked during the holidays to raise money for the Salvation Army.

As a member of the Arkansas State award-winning cheerleading squad, Taylor did volunteer service for numerous events, including the Gearhead Endurance Challenge race, the Miracle Kids/A-State pep rally, the Westside Elementary School balloon launch, and the Nettleton High School’s Touch-A-Truck event (raised money for Miracle League and Hope Circle).

She created and founded the “A Path Appears” organization based on books by author Nicholas Kristof. The mission of the organization is to transform lives and create opportunities by turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. She recruited more than 150 members, and she and the group provide volunteer opportunities in the community to help eliminate human trafficking, lack of education in impoverished areas and domestic violence. The members worked with Family Care Home, City Youth Ministries and Hispanic Community Services, Inc.

Taylor has a strong history of philanthropy work through her membership in Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. Those efforts benefitted St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Feeding America, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Children’s Miracle Network, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Camp Sunshine, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Toys for Tots.

She also provided service to arthritis, diabetes and breast cancer research, as well as the NEA Humane Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 5K, the Strike Out Diabetes bowling tournament and the My Generation Foundation White Party. The My Generation Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing strategic programs to promote children’s health and wellness in Northeast Arkansas. Each year, the group holds a fundraising gala where all attendees dress in white.

A-State’s Global Student Leaders allow students to serve as an ambassador for the university while visiting another country. Taylor traveled to Belize and Costa Rica as part of the Study Abroad Program and will travel to London in that capacity.