VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA) has selected Beth Awalt ’10 as the recipient of its Young Alumni Medal. Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, will present the award to her at an alumni association event May 11 in Baltimore. A leader in the community, Awalt co-founded The Starfish Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational support for students in Ecuador through scholarship, tutoring and leadership development.
The Young Alumni Medal is presented by the VUAA to an alumnus or alumna who has reached a significant level of achievement in his/her profession and who is a model of the quality and caliber of today’s Villanova student. The award honors alumni who have made outstanding contributions to one or more areas of society, including professional, academic, and service to the college.
Awalt started volunteering at a young age, but never did she think that serving her community would lead to starting a non-profit in a foreign country. In high school, she served her community through projects with Key Club. Awalt continued her service at Villanova, volunteering on service break trips, among other programs. She also served with the University’s Center for Peace and Justice, largely through the anti-genocide movement.
After graduating from Villanova in 2010 with a degree in Mathematics and a concentration in Peace and Justice, Awalt spent a year in Ecuador volunteering at a vocational school. Though many of the students at the school had the motivation to study, they lacked the financial resources to further their education once graduating. Though public schools in Ecuador are free, families often still struggle to provide all the necessary materials while living on minimum wage.
Upon returning to the US, Awalt worked with immigrants and people experiencing homelessness at Catholic Charities. She presently works as the Communications Coordinator for a Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Since its founding five years ago, The Starfish Foundation has grown from serving 28 students with five volunteers to supporting more than 120 students annually. In addition to her efforts with Starfish, Awalt volunteers extensively for HOBY, the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Seminar, a non-profit that empowers youth to be the best leaders they can be. She also serves her community as a leader with the young adult ministry in her parish, and collaborates on various committees for interfaith action in Baltimore, improved College of Liberal Arts and Sciences programs for graduate students, etc.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.