Investiture 2018: Community Award Recipient -- Kyla Rodgers

The Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 Graduate Community Award is Kyla Rodgers, a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (PEMM).

The Graduate Community Award is designed to recognize outstanding community service undertaken by graduate students on behalf of the entire Dartmouth graduate community. The award is presented annually to the graduate student who best exemplifies a deep commitment to serving the Dartmouth community. Past recipients have been recognized for participation in student governance, service on campus-wide committees, and the development and promotion of programs that enhance the academic and social options of the entire community.

From among a cohort of high achieving graduate students, leaders typically emerge with much boisterous fanfare—not so with Kyla. Through a gradual progression of quiet persistence, Kyla has proved time and again her dedication to bettering the lives of those around her.

As an undergraduate at Gettysburg College, Kyla showed a commitment to serving underprivileged communities by volunteering at multiple community service organizations, including the Campus Kitchens at Gettysburg College, where Kyla prepared meals and repackaged rescued food for the hungry. Kyla also showed an early commitment to serving academic communities by tutoring local middle and high school students in the Gettysburg area.

Kyla's commitment to meeting the needs of her community has continued during her time at Dartmouth. After serving a two-year term as a program representative for PEMM on the Graduate Student Council (GSC), she successfully ran for GSC President in 2016. Her platform was a promise to improve mental health awareness on campus. In 2017, she launched the GSC Mental Health Awareness Week. In 2018, this initiative expanded to a month of events and activities to promote positive mental health and awareness of mental illness on campus.

Testament to her dedication and integrity, Kyla also worked to ensure that the graduate community was included in the College's first Fresh Check Day, an event focusing on suicide prevention and awareness.

Mindful of the importance of connection, Kyla also makes time for service to the broader Upper Valley community, including helping the GSC Service Team with dinners served at The Haven and organizing bingo nights for elderly residents at Hanover Terrace. According to her laboratory adviser Richard Chou, Kyla does all of this and more without compromising the "excellent quality of work she undertakes."  "I cannot think of a more highly deserving student for the Award," Chou wrote.

Kyla's steadfast commitment to improving the lives of others continues and serves as a model for her peers. She works as an eloquent advocate for graduate students, and her efforts have resulted in many improvements for the community. We are delighted to honor Kyla's work and dedication and to recognize her efforts through presentation of the 2018 Graduate Community Award. Congratulations, Kyla!