Volunteer of the Year

By Erin Jacob, communication studies, '19
Biomedical engineering student is Volunteer of the Year

At Widener, civic engagement isn’t a catchphrase or a slogan. It’s a value that shines through Widener students.

Biomedical engineering junior Vanessa Limbert of Norristown, Pennsylvania is a good example. Limbert was recently named VEX Volunteer of the Year at the VEX Eastern Pennsylvania State Championship for her countless hours serving the robotics program in her home town, and at local and state competitions.

The VEX Robotics Competition is a program with robotic challenges for students who work in teams toward the goal of competing against other schools globally. Limbert’s involvement in the program began in high school, where she joined the Robotics Club and found a passion for VEX Robotics. Although she stopped competing after graduation, Limbert’s robotics journey did not end. She continued to be an active member of the VEX Robotics Competitions by regularly volunteering to assist the program.

As a PSC Bonner student, Limbert is also an active volunteer in the Chester community, where she is required to complete service hours. As she entered her second co-op, Limbert had to get creative in ways to serve the community while she was not on campus. PSC Bonner allowed her to make the VEX Robotics Competitions her service site to complete her service requirements, giving Limbert the freedom she needed to follow her passion and become very involved in the program.

Limbert’s hard work and commitment to the program did not go unnoticed. To her surprise, she was awarded Eastern Pennsylvania VEX Volunteer of the Year.

Winning that award meant the world to me because the VEX Robotics Competitions are what helped me find my place in life. It showed me where I wanted to go because when I first got involved I didn't have anything I was truly passionate about — student Vanessa Limbert 

“The VEX Robotics Competitions promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields along with female empowerment which is important to me because there are too few women in STEM,” she said.

The Volunteer of the Year award is presented to the person who shows true dedication to the program by spending considerable hours of personal time helping the competitions happen.

Gretchen Mielke, assistant dean for civic engagement, speaks highly of Limbert’s achievement.

“Vanessa Limbert is a brilliant representative of Widener’s civic mission. I am so proud of her for receiving the Eastern PA VEX Volunteer of the Year,” said Mielke. “Vanessa seamlessly combines her biomedical engineering skills with training the next generation of young minds. Both with VEX Robotics and her work as a PSC Bonner site leader at Chester Eastside, Vanessa consistently activates her peers and is a role model for active citizenship.

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