Governor’s Award Program to Honor 21 BVU Students for Volunteer Work

Governor’s Award Program to Honor 21 BVU Students for Volunteer Work

Governor’s Award Program to Honor 21 BVU Students for Volunteer Work

Twenty-one Buena Vista University students will be honored at the 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Award ceremonies on June 4 at BVU.

The program begins at 12:30 p.m. in Anderson Auditorium in the Siebens Forum. Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds are scheduled to attend. Overall 100 individuals and organizations from northwest Iowa are to receive awards at the Storm Lake event, the first of six awards programs to be held across Iowa.

The BVU students were nominated by Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, director of civic engagement at BVU, who is a member of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and co-chair of its volunteer engagement committee.

The students have been involved in a variety of volunteer organizations and activities including: BV Buddies in which they serve as mentors to local middle school students; Student MOVE (Mobilizing Volunteer and Outreach Efforts), the organization that coordinates volunteer efforts; the Cultural Leadership Conference; AmeriCorps; Summer VISTA; AWOL (Alternative Week of Offsite Learning, which is BVU’s alternative spring break program; SAVE (Students Against a Violent Environment); and Students of Diverse Populations.

The students are:  

  • April Allen, a graduating senior history and digital media double major from Sioux City;
  • Jessy Bibler, a senior exercise science/physical education major from Alta;
  • Hillary Cohrs, a graduating senior accounting and management double major from Logan;
  • Kevin Coriolan, a junior corporate communication and digital media double major from Worthington, Minn.;
  • Dominique Daily, a graduating senior communication studies major from Chicago;
  • Serena Geisinger, a graduating senior biology major from Lawton;
  • Alexa Guessford, a graduating senior marketing major from Johnston;
  • Angela Herman, a graduating senior business management major/human resources emphasis from Pocahontas;
  • Anthony Hunt, a graduating senior business management major from Cherokee;
  • Michael Keane, a graduating senior biology and chemistry double major from Panama, Iowa;
  • Allison Kirchgatter, a graduating senior biology major from Anthon;
  • Rochelle Niehues, a graduating senior social work major from Red Wing, Minn.;
  • Erika Ocker, a senior criminal justice/criminal and psychology double major from Lake City; 
  • Jemira Payne, a December graduate, marketing major from Macedonia, Iowa;
  • Kimberly Perez, a graduating senior biochemistry and mathematics distributive major from Brownsville, Texas;
  • Samuel Riesenberg, a graduating senior criminal justice major from Audubon;
  • Erin Rippke, a graduating senior elementary education major from Ames;
  • Eric Rodine, a graduating senior computer science and criminal justice double major from Kearney, Neb.;
  • Kelsey Shatto, a graduating senior biology major from Estherville;
  • Lauren Whitt, a graduating senior political science and English double major from Sloane;
  • Meg Williams, a graduating senior biology major from Braddyville.

Also being recognized is “Love Takes Root,” which was nominated for an award by BVU. This Iowa-based organization ( supports an orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, where a group of BVU students volunteered this year in AWOL. Love Takes Root grew out of a 2010 medical mission trip to Haiti taken by Dr. Rick Wilkerson, an orthopedic surgeon from Spencer who is one of the team physicians for BVU athletics and medical director of BVU's athletic training education program.

The Governor’s Volunteer Awards program was created in 1982, with inaugural awards presented in 1983. What began as a small program only available to state government agencies has expanded over the years and now provides all Iowa nonprofit, charitable and government organizations with a way to honor their volunteers with a prestigious state-level recognition award.

Several hundred volunteers are recognized each year with awards in one of several categories: Individual, Group, Length of Service or Disaster Volunteer.

The program is coordinated by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and the Governor’s Office. More information about the organization and a complete list of 2013 award recipients is available at