2023 Alden Award Winners Represent Exceptional Commitment to Service-Learning

Each year, Duke Service-Learning recognizes students, faculty and community partners with the Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Awards. Betsy Alden was a pioneer in service-learning, beginning her work at Duke during the 1980s. Read more about the legacy of Betsy Alden HERE.

Recipients are chosen because they represent an exceptional commitment to the ideals of service‐learning. Each winner receives $150 to further develop his/her community-building and leadership skills. They are also recognized at the Duke In the Spotlight display at Penn Pavilion, an awards dinner with Betsy Alden, and at the Duke Program in Education graduation ceremony.


Graduating Seniors

Taylor Emerson

Taylor Emerson

Taylor Emerson will graduate in Spring 2023 with a major in Public Policy, a minor in Economics, and a certificate in Markets & Management Studies. Taylor was nominated by Genna Miller, Lecturing Fellow of Economics and Faculty Ambassador to Duke Service-Learning, for her work with Student U, an organization that provides ongoing educational support for first-generation college students and their families. Taylor was a service-learning assistant for the course ECON 337S:  Social Inequalities & Low Wage Work. 


Without Taylor’s assistance, during the past three years, the continuity of services and programming for the children at Student U would not have been able to continue. Taylor’s work with Student U has enabled over 300 students from Durham Public Schools to learn and be supported throughout the pandemic. – Genna Miller

"Service-learning at Duke has taught me so much about the Durham community, which has been a priority of mine ever since I accepted a spot in the Duke University Class of 2023. Through working with community organizations like Student U, E.K. Powe, the Food Bank, and more, I have been fortunate enough to realize and work toward the city’s assets and goals. I also have been able to work with Duke students from older and younger classes, whose drive to serve others and the community is truly motivating," Emerson said.


Josie Vonk

Josie Vonk

Josie Vonk will graduate in Spring 2023 with a major in Psychology and certificates in Documentary Studies and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Josie was nominated by Susie Post-Rust, Lecturing Fellow in the Center for Documentary Studies, for her ongoing work as a service-learning assistant (SLA) in documentary studies courses. Josie first took a Documentary Studies course as part of a freshman Focus cluster: Knowledge in the Service of Society. She continued for several semesters as a service-learning assistant in documentary studies, working in both Croasdaille Retirement Village and later in Hillsborough.  


This is, in part, because Josie has always intuitively known how to connect with people. This skill allowed her to produce documentary work that conveyed the deeper nuance of her subject, revealing the heart of someone’s story. I felt grateful when she agreed to be my SLA because her skill and insight could benefit so many other service-learning students. – Susie Post-Rust

"It is without a doubt that service-learning has fundamentally altered how I think about participating in community and “who helps who”. As I’ve walked through the documentary process with over 100 students, the most rewarding part is seeing the fruitful friendship blossom between them and their subject as they learn to empathize and understand their subject’s story. I am so grateful for the opportunities that the Service-Learning department has offered me and continually wowed by the profound changes I see in students who find a love for their community," Vonk said.


Elizabeth Maydew

Elizabeth Maydew

Elizabeth Maydew will graduate in Spring 2023 with a major in Spanish and minors in Biology and Chemistry. Elizabeth was nominated by Joan Clifford, Associate Professor of the Practice of Romance Studies and Faculty Director and Consultant for Duke Service-Learning, for her ongoing and sustained work with GANO, a student organization that tutors English language learners from the community. Elizabeth worked with Dr. Clifford through GANO, and as a student in Spanish 306-01.01, Health, Culture, and the Latinx Community, a service-learning course. Elizabeth has also volunteered for several other organizations serving the Latinx community, including Roots Causes, the Duke Infectious Disease clinic, and the Campbell University Community Care clinic.


Elizabeth’s leadership has made it possible for GANO to prosper during the pandemic — and therefore continue the access to free English language tutoring that has existed since 2006. She has shown an awareness of the importance of changing power dynamics in our society in hopes of providing greater access to resources for all people. She is knowledgeable about issues related to equity and rights and makes those present in her work. Elizabeth Maydew wants to be an agent of change, and this underscores how she models the characteristics of the Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning award.  – Joan Clifford

"Why have I spent so much time volunteering with various organizations? I love facilitating connections between community members. I will never forget when the owners of Pincho Loco met Luis (a C1 bus driver) at a GANO ice cream event. After hearing about Luis’s fun bus music from their daughter (a student at Duke) and sending Luis a holiday basket, the owners were delighted to put a face to the name. This, to me, is community building. I find community in greeting familiar faces at the beginning of GANO sessions to hearing delighted shrieks from ESL students upon receiving a new book. I find community in learning the different words for “straw” from patients in clinic. I find community in my conversations with construction workers across the street from Farmer Foodshare after inviting them to take a bag of fresh produce for their families," Maydew said.


Faculty Member

David Malone

David Malone

Dr. David Malone is the faculty recipient of the 2023 Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Awards. Dr. Malone led the Duke Service-Learning as faculty director from 2006-2022 and under his leadership, Duke Service-Learning has continuously evolved and expanded from a small group of committed faculty members to 80 courses representing Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Sanford School of Public Policy, and the Pratt School of Engineering. Dr. Malone continues his work with Duke Service-Learning as its inaugural Faculty Scholar.

His career at Duke has spanned over 35 years, and he continues to be a trusted colleague across campus. Dr. Malone served as Chair of the Program in Education and Director of Undergraduate Studies of Education.  He serves on multiple university committees, teaches service-learning courses in Educational Psychology, and directs DukeEngage in Boston. Dr. Malone has been extensively involved in the field of service-learning through the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE), the International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE), and NC Campus Engage. 

Dr. Malone was nominated by colleagues Sam Miglarese, Retired Deputy Chief Administrator, Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs and Adjunct Instructor in the Program in Education and Dr. Jan Riggsbee, Professor of the Practice of Education, and Director, Duke TeachHouse.

Of his teaching, his nominators say:

Dr. Malone teaches several very popular service-learning courses each year. He has a special rapport with students and is extremely invested in providing the best programming possible for them. - Sam Miglarese, Jan Rigsbee

Like the best teachers we know, David models and lives the values he teaches. He is a remarkably authentic man comfortable in his own skin. He brings the values of humility and reciprocity to this work, a deep commitment to both his students and community partners, and a thirst to make this work as good as it can be. David is more committed to undergraduate education than virtually anybody I know at Duke. - Eric Mlyn, former Assistant Vice President of Civic Engagement at Duke, Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and Lecturer in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Dr. Malone’s leadership in the field of service-learning embodies the ideals of the Alden award. His passionate commitment to student learning and his robust record of scholarship and service makes him a very deserving candidate for this recognition. - Sam Miglarese, Jan Rigsbee


Community Partner

Geer Cemetery

Friends of Geer Cemetery

Friends of Geer Cemetery were selected as the 2023 community partner recipient. They were nominated by Adam R. Rosenblatt, Associate Professor of the Practice of the International Comparative Studies Program, for their work with Geer Cemetery, a historic African American public cemetery in Durham. Their care of the cemetery began in 1877, and has continued, despite protests and vandalism from white neighbors. They have worked with several Duke classes, and an estimated 80 students, who have participated in the work of restoration, including researching the stories of individuals buried in the cemetery, surveying grave markers, creating a database of monuments, creating 3D models of tombstones, and researching a wide range of issues. In Summer 2021, students in Dr. Rosenblatt’s class researched Durham funeral homes with ties to Geer and the “invisible labor” of cooks and cleaning staff. Currently, they are preparing an outdoor exhibit about the cemetery to be displayed at the Rubenstein Arts Center at Duke University. The Friends of Geer Cemetery have an ongoing and sustained collaboration with several different service-learning courses.  

All this work has been based on the organization’s enthusiasm for working with students. FOGC has generously incorporated students into projects while maintaining its own agenda and priorities, helping us to model ethical university-community partnerships. Though there are many other members to thank, I particularly wish to recognize Debra Taylor Gonzalez-Garcia, Nicholas Levy, and Carissa Trotta. I never would have imagined how many colleagues would become involved in the Duke-Geer relationship, or how much we could achieve together as we seek to change our city’s memory landscape and our students’ understanding of Durham. – Adam Rosenblatt