May 6, 2022
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is pleased to announce that nursing student, Irene Neal, was recently honored by Maine Campus Compact (MCC) on April 28, 2022, at its 21st Annual Awards Ceremony. Neal was awarded the Heart and Soul Award which recognizes outstanding work in public service and civic engagement by Maine faculty, students, and community and corporate partners.
“During these unprecedented times, our award recipients’ positive impacts on campuses and in communities throughout the state reinforce the importance of the public purposes of higher education,” said Sally Slovenski from MCC.
The Heart and Soul Student Award recognizes six Maine undergraduate students who are actively involved in transforming their campuses and communities into environments of civic engagement. These students have developed positive community and campus change and have worked to institutionalize their community projects. They have implemented innovative approaches to social, educational, environmental, health, economic and legal issues facing their communities and demonstrated leadership through their successful involvement of others on campus and in the community.
“We’re so proud that Ms. Neal’s work is being recognized at the state level,” said UMFK President Deb Hedeen. “She has had such an impact on campus and with her peers.”
Neal is from central Maine. She began her college journey at the University of Maine studying Biomedical Engineering but changed her major to Nursing at UMFK. As a Student Trustee to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees during the onset of the pandemic, she strongly advocated for science-based responses—masking, testing, social distancing, vaccinations—and this focus on public health informs her continuing activities. In addition to serving as an officer on the UMFK Student Nurses Organization, she has also worked part-time as a CNA. After graduation in May, she will start her nursing career at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina on a Cardiac Stepdown Unit.
“Ms. Neal pursued her preceptorship at Duke University Hospital, and they were so impressed with her that they have offered her a position upon graduation,” said UMFK Dean of Nursing, Dr. Erin Soucy. “She has been a wonderful student to have on campus.
For more information about the nursing program at UMFK, please go to the Nursing program webpage or call (207) 834-7600.