Undergraduate Humanitarian of the Year Award

Florida State University's Undergraduate Humanitarian of the Year Award is a prestigious award that recognizes students who exhibit tremendous commitment to service. Each school or college selects one student to be the Humanitarian of the Year, and generally, students are then recognized at an awards ceremony hosted by the Center for Leadership & Service. The student who best exemplifies a commitment to service is named the university's overall Humanitarian of the Year. This student is then honored at the annual Leadership Awards Night.

2024 Humanitarian of the Year Honorees 

Alondra Munoz, College of Applied Studies

Alondra Munoz is the Humanitarian of the Year nominee from the College of Applied Studies at FSU-Panama City. A senior majoring in Crime Scene Investigation, Alondra is President of the Delta Delta Epsilon forensic science honor society, where she works with high school students and teaches them about techniques used in forensic science. Her work includes underwater crime scene investigation, and after graduation, she hopes to conduct underwater research and pursue a professional role in forensics. 

Andres Gil Arana, College of Arts & Sciences

Andres Gil Arana is a senior majoring in cell and molecular neuroscience. He combines research and advocacy in his work as a mental health team manager on the Global Health Collaboration Project, which seeks to address healthcare concerns in Honduras. Born in Colombia, Gil Arana is inspired by his background, seeking to support those born in underserved communities who do not yet have access to the educational experiences he received upon moving to the United States. Gil Arana will be pursuing a Ph.D. in population health at the NYU Grasman School of Medicine after graduating in the spring. 

Lauren Morris, College of Business

Lauren Morris is a junior accounting major who credits her volunteer experiences as having shaped her into the person she is today. After volunteering in Hawaii the summer after her freshman year, Morris and her friends founded GIVE at FSU, an initiative seeking to bring cultural perspectives learned in global volunteer experiences to sustainability-centered service in the Tallahassee community. With one summer having impacted her life so significantly, Morris emphasizes the importance of small efforts for change. 

Emma Summers, College of Communication & Information

Emma Summers is a senior majoring in communication disorders. A combination of service and research brought her to the realization that she wants to pursue a career in speech language pathology. Summers served for three years as camp manager for Friendship Journey, an organization dedicated to connecting neurotypical and neurodiverse young adults. Her service has helped her recognized how much of a privilege communication is, and she seeks help others find their voice as a speech language pathologist specializing in augmentative and alternative communication. 

Julia Moffa, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

Representing the School of Teacher Education, Julia Moffa is a senior majoring in elementary education. In tutoring students, organizing school supply drives, and funding a summer camp experience for children impacted by a parent’s cancer, Julia has worked to increase the accessibility of education for all. Her service experiences have taught her how socioeconomic status impacts literacy, and she prides education on its ability to make the world a better place. After graduation, she will pursue her master’s degree in curriculum & instruction at FSU. 

Mia McSheffrey, College of Medicine

As a senior majoring in clinical professions, Mia McSheffrey is dedicated to making healthcare more equitable. Having volunteered and researched public health both locally in Tallahassee and abroad in Peru through the Global Scholars program, she acknowledges the barriers that limit access to high quality healthcare for people around the world. She cites her younger brother as her main motivator; his experiences with a rare genetic disorder have shown her firsthand the importance of healthcare access for all. She will continue her journey with the FSU College of Medicine as she enters medical school in the fall. 

Keith Cohen, College of Motion Picture Arts

Keith Cohen, senior majoring in Motion Picture Arts-Production, believes strongly that art is one of the greatest catalysts for change. As an aspiring writer and director, Keith’s student Emmy nominated documentary, Healing Paws, showcased the work that facility and therapy dogs perform daily. Keith’s second project focused on developing sustainable water distribution and recycling systems that can be used on movie sets throughout the College of Motion Picture Arts. These films have shown Keith that one spark is all it takes to light a fire for change. 

Bridget Gorder, College of Music

Inspired by the music educators who guided her in her childhood, Bridget Gorder is a senior majoring in choral music education. She is driven by a call to help others, which she carries out in her role as coordinator on the Board of Advisors at the College of Music. Bridget seeks opportunities to mentor first-year and transfer students, citing their evolution as testaments to the impact she is making. She hopes to serve as a music educator specifically for a nonprofit music organization in order to reciprocate the work that served her as a child.

Halie Hornsby, College of Nursing

Senior Halie Hornsby’s service is rooted in friendship. Through inspiration from her childhood friend Cali, Halie formally developed the Hair Fairy Project to provide children enduring pediatric cancer with moments of joy. In the style of the tooth fairy, the Hair Fairy Project has provided craft kits, toys, and treats to patients with hair loss at Golisano Children’s Hospital, the hospital that treated her friend, Cali. The Hair Fairy Project is thriving is at FSU, where it is on its fourth round of partnerships. As an aspiring pediatric cancer nurse, Halie hopes to continue the work of the Hair Fairy Project in the hospital that become her professional home later this year. 

Nadia Rassech, College of Social Sciences & Public Policy (Overall Winner)

Nadia Rassech is a senior majoring in international affairs and Middle Eastern studies. Her work with the International Rescue Committee and engagement with the Tallahassee Afghan community has amplified her passion for refugee protection and humanitarian work. This passion has led to opportunities to study international human rights at Oxford University, researching refugee protection issues in Germany, and organizing service initiatives with the Arabic Honor Society. Nadia serves because her love for her family’s home country has opened her eyes to the necessities of advocacy, connection, and empathy. She also serves out of a respect for and the honoring of human life and dignity, especially when it feels that others have forgotten you.

Lucy Lawrence, College of Social Work

Lucy Lawrence, a senior majoring in Social Work and Theatre, believes in working for change. From fostering community connections to establishing mutual aid and support, Lucy has always heeded her mother’s advice to look out for those around her, especially those with no one else to depend on. Lucy’s unwavering hope for humanity is what drives her to ensure that everyone she serves can enjoy their inherited right to security, stability and joy.

Sierra ElDeiry, Dedman College of Hospitality

Engaging in community service and humanitarian activities has been the most significant aspect of Sierra ElDeiry’s academic journey. For the senior Majoring in hospitality and tourism management, serving with Best Buddies gave Sierra a deeper understanding of the significance of embracing diversity. Sierra’s service has deepened her understanding of the importance of empathy, patience, and a compassionate approach to fostering connections. Volunteering with children at the Littlest Lamb Orphanage in Cairo, Egypt, offered Sierra insight into the challenges faced by the children and staff at the orphanage and the importance of having a nurturing home environment. Sierra’s service endeavors have taught her lessons in leadership, collaboration, and social responsibility.

Kennedy Joy Foristall, Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship

For senior commercial entrepreneurship major Kenndy Joy Foristall, FSU’s Service Scholar program and the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship helped her blend her passion for service with the power of entrepreneurship to create positive change in communities. In addition to her business, a peer-to-peer clothing rental app for FSU students aimed at reducing clothing waste and enhancing environmental sustainability, Kennedy Joy has spent her time mentoring her peers and partnering with small businesses and charitable organizations.


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