Towson University student Lunden Hawkins has been awarded the Circle of Excellence scholarship by the Maryland Daily Record. Given to one female college student in the state, the $3,000 award recognizes academic achievement, outstanding leadership in the community and a commitment to mentoring.
The scholarship was presented at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore last week during the publication’s Top 100 Women awards ceremony. Towson University President Maravene Loeschke was also honored that evening as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.
“It’s an honor and it’s definitely a blessing,” says Hawkins. “It’s truly a humbling experience.”
A family studies and community development major, Hawkins carries a full-time course schedule and maintains a 3.3 GPA while working two jobs to underwrite her tuition.
Her leadership and philanthropy efforts began in high school when she and her peers raised more than $5,000 to build a homeless shelter in Howard County, Md. Since her arrival at TU, she has been involved in numerous leadership activities.
Hawkins is the founder and president of Project STAND (Students Taking a New Direction), an organization that recruits volunteers to mentor at area nonprofits. Under Hawkins’ leadership, Project STAND has recruited more than 40 new volunteers for the U.S. Dream Academy, a national nonprofit that provides after-school mentoring and tutoring services for children whose parents or relatives are incarcerated. Hawkins has been an active volunteer at the U.S. Dream Academy in Baltimore City for more than over three years.
She is also active with the TU Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) and is a recipient of an NLA national Next Gen scholarship. In addition, Hawkins is a senator with the Student Government Association, involved in track and field, and a scholarship chair for the Lambda Beta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
In the summer of 2011, Hawkins studied in Madrid. She defines her Spanish as “almost fluent.”
Hawkins will graduate this spring. What’s next on the horizon?
“I want to take a little bit of a break and then come back to start my own nonprofit that focuses on empowering women.”