Hunger Solutions Institute managing director, pair of accomplished Auburn students receive prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

Honorees highlight 2023 President’s Award ceremony selections

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The managing director of one of Auburn University’s most impactful organizations and a pair of standout students are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Alicia Powers, managing director of the College of Human Sciences’ Hunger Solutions Institute, is being honored for her lifelong devotion to the fight against hunger. Double major Allen Li from the College of Liberal Arts and College of Veterinary Medicine senior Taylor Gwynn join Powers as 2023 honorees, forming a talented trifecta of highly accomplished members of the Auburn Family.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award has been presented at Auburn since 1951 as a reminder of the noblest human qualities exemplified by Algernon Sydney Sullivan, a prominent humanitarian and first president of the New York Southern Society, now the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation.

Powers has spent her career advocating for change and inspiring innovative and collaborative solutions for the problem of hunger in the state of Alabama. She founded the Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs to unify colleges and universities in the fight against hunger, established the Alabama Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program to encourage the purchase of Alabama-grown produce and led a collaborative effort to establish Nourish Wellness, a pediatric health initiative.

An established national expert on hunger solutions, Powers also has served as a panelist and moderator at the White House and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives about Auburn’s efforts to address college student food insecurity. Powers earned her doctorate in Nutrition and Food Systems from the University of Southern Mississippi after completing her bachelor’s and master’s in the same discipline at Auburn.

Li, a double major in economics and political science, has received the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship and been awarded the Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking award. In addition, he serves as an official Auburn host as a Plainsman, has held positions as the director of inclusion and diversity and assistant vice president of academic affairs for the Student Government Association and led the Pre-Law Honors Society as vice president and president.

Gwynn, a champion of mental health and wellness awareness, developed the now annual Wellness Week while serving as wellness chair of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association. She was chosen as the 2021 Student Ambassador of the Year after developing a national charter to create the first student chapter of Not One More Vet — an organization that provides mental health support for veterinary professionals. In addition, Gwynn designed a wellness mentoring program after recruiting faculty members to complete extensive mentor training, garnering support and funds to create a calm and welcoming wellness space for rest and meditation.

Joanne Kim, a political science major from Auburn, has been selected to receive the W. James Samford Jr. ’72 Memorial Scholarship. The award is named in memory of James Samford, a 1972 Auburn alumnus and member of the Auburn Board of Trustees from 1987 until his death in 2003. Kim, a Gramberg scholarship recipient, was named Best Delegate and Outstanding Chair/Rapporteur at the Southern Regional Model United National Atlanta conference, is a team leader of Emerge at Auburn, a public relations officer for the Model United Nations and vice president of the College of Liberal Arts Student Council.

Kim is a member of the Auburn University Flag Line and is a Student Excellence team member within the Office of Inclusion and Diversity. She also performed community service through the Carnegie Mellon public service weekend and was a cohort member of the Clinton Global Initiative University.

The President’s Award and W. James Samford Jr. Foundation Award recognize one graduate in each school or college who has completed at least three semesters at Auburn with a minimum grade-point average of 3.40 and possesses outstanding qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability. All honorees were celebrated at a special awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 11.

This year’s President’s Award honorees are:

Johnathan Alexander Hampton, College of Agriculture

Joseph David Roh Jr., College of Architecture, Design and Construction

Braeden Jacob Stewart, Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Ryan Scott Pollard, College of Education

Noah Soo-Hwan Kim, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Colby Landon Cheaney, College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment

Ja’Lia Jocquetta Taylor, Graduate School

Gabrielle Christine Thabes, College of Human Sciences

Allen Xiang Li, College of Liberal Arts

Chase Bradley Gill, College of Nursing

Caroline Arden Jackson, Harrison College of Pharmacy

Elizabeth Lauren Ledbetter, College of Sciences and Mathematics

Jonathan Everett-Anthony Schiavone, College of Veterinary Medicine

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