Students receive awards for civic engagement

By Sean Park
Two University of Washington Bothell students — Paris Bruner and Ada de la Cruz — have been recognized for their civic engagement with awards from Washington Campus Compact, a coalition of 44 two- and four-year colleges.

Committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, the organization believes that active and engaged student leaders can help cultivate vital and sustainable communities across the state. The awards were given to 42 students statewide, selected by their institution’s president or chancellor.

Bruner received the Outstanding Student Civic Leader Award and de la Cruz received the Emerging Student Civic Leader Award.

An outstanding leader

Paris Bruner

Entering her senior year this fall, Bruner has a double major in Mathematical Thinking & Visualization and in Society and Ethics & Human Behavior. She also works at the Makerspace, running workshops and helping students maximize their experience inside the creative space.

Off campus, she teaches 5- to 10-year-olds at Coding with Kids, an international after-school program for aspiring coders. She started as an intern nearly two years ago and has been inspired by how teaching computer programming can change her community.

“A lot of kids I’ve worked with are being introduced to a coding career they never knew was possible for them,” Bruner said. “I love being able to share my knowledge and help them grow their confidence.”

She says she wants to give others the head start she had at home. “My parents worked very hard to make sure I have the opportunities that they never had,” she said. “I want to make sure I’m now doing my part for my community.”

An emerging leader

Ada de la Cruz

A rising junior in 2020-21, de la Cruz was accepted this academic year into the Biology major. She is specifically interested in molecular biology and hopes to work in a research lab that focuses on biomedical advancements or DNA analysis.

Currently, de la Cruz works as a student liaison between UW Bothell and Sno-Isle Libraries at  the new Mariner Community Campus, a space designed to encourage community building and provide resources to Mariner-area residents. Her work includes collecting community feedback and attending planning meetings.

The multiuse space is funded by Washington state, with additional support in the form of staffing provided by Sno-Isle Libraries and other community partners.

“Our goal is to provide technology equipment, access to the internet, a library space for people to borrow books — and many other things that will uplift the community,” said de La Cruz.

A resident of nearby Everett, Washington, de la Cruz has been involved in the local community since high school as a member of the National Honor Society, a volunteer with Bloodworks Northwest and a leader with Casino Road City Life.

Working on the Mariner space has been a great way to stay involved in her community now that she is in college, she said. Receiving this state award fuels her desire to stay engaged.

“People are seeing the difference I am making and that makes me want to do more to help the community,” she said. “There is still a lot of work to do.”

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