Lauren Ryan ’20H Receives 2020 Honors College Service Award

The Honors College staff is proud to announce Lauren Ryan ’20H as the recipient of the 2020 Honors College Service Award. The award recognizes a graduating senior in the Honors College for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the University of Maine Honors community.

Lauren Ryan ’20H

During her time at the University of Maine, Lauren studied biomedical engineering. Beyond the classroom, she took on leadership roles in on-campus groups like Team Maine and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Honors society, All Maine Women (AMW). Lauren received the UMaine Student Life 2020 Outstanding Student Leader Award for her outstanding dedication to service across campus.

UMaine’s Coordinator for Leadership Development, Jenny Desmond, worked with Lauren for three years and commended her on her service, stating “Whether she is welcoming new students through her role on Team Maine or modeling care and compassion with All Maine Women, Lauren has demonstrated what it means to be a Black Bear. I’m so proud of her dedication to our campus community and her love for the College of our Hearts Always.”

Within the Honors community, Lauren was the President of the University of Maine Honors College Student Advisory Board (SAB) in 2019 and lead coordinator of the Maine Day Meal Packout for the 2019-2020 school year.

Lauren Ryan (center) volunteers at the 2019 Maine Day Meal Packout along with Alec Penn (left) and Emma Hutchinson (right).

For the 2020 Maine Day Meal Packout (MDMP), Lauren organized the student team as well as the fundraising effort. With her leadership, the MDMP team raised close to $25,000 from fundraising events, grants, and campus and community donors towards the goal of purchasing 75,000 meals from the nonprofit meal-packing organization The Outreach Program, with plans to pack and distribute the meals to food pantries across nine counties in Maine.

While the 2020 MDMP was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauren was not deterred from helping out. She and the MDMP team rose to the challenge and worked with The Outreach Program to purchase meals that are packed offsite and then delivered to Maine to help feed hungry Mainers in this time of immense need. 

Through this quick thinking and innovation, and with the support of Honors community friends, Dave and Sherrie Wight, the MDMP team has been able to distribute over 73,000 meals to area food pantries as well as the Good Shepherd Food Bank. These meals will reach dozens of communities and thousands of Mainers who are struggling due to the pandemic, among other circumstances.

Regarding Lauren’s involvement in the MDMP, Associate Dean Melissa Ladenheim said, “Lauren is an inspiring leader and role model whose dedication to service at UMaine is deep and abiding. Her skillful management of the MDMP and commitment to getting much-needed food to Mainers under very challenging circumstances is nothing short of amazing.”

We congratulate Lauren on her recent graduation and her receiving this award. Her service, leadership, and compassion in the face of challenges truly exemplify the values and spirit of the Honors College. 

2020 Service Award Plaque and Framed Print of Colvin Hall Illustration by Arline Thomson