The Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award recognizes service-minded Utah high school juniors and seniors and undergraduate students with a $5,000 college scholarship and $8,500 in runner-up awards.
Though our society recognizes young people for their accomplishments in sports and academics, this is an award that celebrates outstanding humanitarian service among youth. Promoting humanitarian service in our youth is the reason behind this annual tribute, sponsored in its thirteenth year by the George S. & Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
There were 125 applications from incredible young people across the state. These top 5 applicants have gone through two rounds of application judging and and interview judging process to make it to this point. Wish them luck, and come see who receives the Award at our Annual Benefit on Saturday, May 12th at the Utah Cultural Celebrations Center!
Cassandra Ivie, Senior at Copper Hills High School
Through her leadership positions in the 4-H program, Cassandra became keenly aware of the lack of opportunities to learn engineering and technical skills, especially for minorities, girls, and youth in rural areas. To combat this issue, she created an engineering curriculum to introduce students to electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, and software engineering. She received a grant to fund her curriculum which can be accessed through 4H and used throughout the state. She has spent over 2,500 hours teaching engineering concepts in after-school clubs, classrooms, summer camps, and public events. Cassandra writes “I see STEM as an enabler, teaching life skills that can be used in any career choice.”
Keethu Ramalingam, Senior at American Preparatory Academy
Keethu is a passionate aspiring computer scientist who hopes to leverage technology to aid those in need. Her service journey began while volunteering as a tutor, where she was inspired to develop several apps to assist those with learning disorders including DyslexiaMate and ReaderMate. She believes that as the world gets more technologically advanced, humanitarianism must also adapt in order to make the greatest impact possible. One of Keethu’s recommenders writes, “Despite the number and quality of her outstanding accomplishments, she resonates with both humility and confidence, accompanied with a warmth, compassion, and sincere desire to serve.”
Nick Knight, Senior at University of Utah
As the Executive Director of Feed U Pantry, Nick has helped over 1,400 University of Utah students, staff, and faculty receive free food assistance as well as increase the variety of ways Feed U can serve the community. He works hard to improve fitness and nutrition-related health literacy through his experiences within the community and in research surrounding diabetes. One of Nick’s recommenders writes, “Nick has almost single-handedly transformed the climate and conversation about hunger on our campus, as well as throughout the state.” Nick plans to continue to serve others in ways that will improve their quality of life in his professional pursuits as a physician.
Taelor Gass, Senior at Piute High School
Taelor’s focus has been on helping others on an individual level and knows that even small acts of service make big impacts. In addition to many other community contributions, she has educated the public on the risks and solutions of opioid abuse, encouraged community members to properly use helmets, and tutored elementary students. One of her most rewarding projects was organizing Piute High School’s All In Hope Squad which prevents suicide, improves self-esteem, and restores hope one individual at a time. Taelor’s lifelong goal is to make the world a better place and knows her work may never be finished, because as she writes, “ as long as there is suffering, there is something I can do.”
Tia Smart, Senior at Skyline High School
Starting at the age of 8, Tia has spent many years dedicating her time to various causes, particularly raising awareness for both food insecurity and human trafficking. As a member of the Souper Bowl of Caring National Youth Advisory Board she was able to collaborate with like-minded teens and raise community awareness about food insecurities. Tia has been an advocate against human trafficking a student leader and station chief of Skyline’s chapter of Backyard Broadcast, a youth-led organization dedicated to spreading awareness and fighting human trafficking, particularly that of children. Tia writes, “I’ve decided it’s my responsibility to not only help those in need, but to work to prevent the issues leading to their circumstances in the first place.”