March 23, 2022

Steps to Leaps announces inaugural award winners

The Steps to Leaps steering committee recognized four winners of the inaugural Steps to Leaps awards at the Steps to Leaps Summit, held March 9 at Beck Agricultural Center.

Steps to Leaps Excellence in Research Award

The Steps to Leaps Excellence in Research Award was presented to Nasreen Lalani, assistant professor of nursing. The award is given to a researcher or team whose published work exemplifies efforts to expand the understanding of one or more of the Steps to Leaps pillars.

Lalani’s research aims to develop strengths-based approaches and interventions to promote resilience, existential and spiritual well-being of vulnerable individuals at the end of life and in disasters. In conjunction with the Red Cross and other disaster agencies, Lalani developed a Psychological First Aid training module for social work students and other human service professionals. One of her current research projects examines the effectiveness of spiritual intervention to promote the resilience and well-being of nurses and health care providers, especially during the pandemic.

A second grant project examines the perceptions of nursing and medical students about death and dying using simulation strategies, done in partnership with Kent State University. During the pandemic, Lalani contributed to a nine-week online social media program aimed at developing tools and resources to foster resiliency and well-being among children, youth and families in small towns and rural communities.

Steps to Leaps Student of the Year Award

Roseline Adewuyi, a graduate student in the School of Language and Cultures, received the Steps to Leaps Student of the Year Award. The honor is bestowed to a student who has shown a passion for growth within the Steps to Leaps pillar areas and/or contributes toward the education of peers within the Steps to Leaps pillar areas.

Adewuyi serves as a staunch gender advocate for girls and women, particularly in the African context. Her commitment to gender advocacy has taken her from her home country, Nigeria, to the U.S., Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, France and other countries. She recently won the Social Justice Award from Purdue’s Women’s Gender and Sexuality program for her project “Breaking Gender Stereotypes and Reimaging the Woman.”

Since 2017, she has organized a program for secondary school girls in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria, to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child. Much of her work focuses on connecting with young girls and helping them choose their own path independent of societal expectations. On campus, she serves as the treasurer of the Nigerian Student Association. She has helped lead innovative projects, including several webinars and seminars in the area of professional development. She will be featured in an upcoming BBC piece for her work.

Award for Academic Integration of Steps to Leaps<

The Award for Academic Integration of Steps to Leaps was bestowed to Abrar Hammoud, clinical assistant professor of technology leadership and innovation. The award recognizes an educator who has woven Steps to Leaps into their pedagogy.

Hammoud helps lead the Teaching Excellence Collaborative, a community of transformation in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute that supports faculty teaching efforts. She has worked to incorporate the Leadership and Professional Development competencies of the Roger C. Stewart Leadership and Professional Development Department into Purdue Polytechnic curricula. She supports student well-being as a Mental Health First Aid trainer at Purdue and has trained nearly 100 members of the Purdue community through her efforts. Hammoud additionally contributes to the Steps to Leaps Tip of the Week Series, which provides well-being tips for Purdue students, faculty and staff.

During fall 2020, she led efforts to produce a series of projection art installations on prominent campus buildings, including the Córdova Recreational Sports Center and Krannert Graduate School of Management. Colleagues say Hammoud’s encouragement for students to fail “spectacularly” so they strengthen and leverage grit contributes significantly to the resilience of students in Purdue Polytechnic.

Steps to Leaps Student Support Award

The Steps to Leaps Student Support Award was presented to Autumn Cummings, assistant director of advocacy and training for University Residences. The award is given to an individual or unit that consistently leveraged the language of Steps to Leaps in their conversations and communication with students.

Cummings’ work directly connects students with well-being resources. She has led a University Residences initiative to create resource cards for students who are working through concerns related to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and addiction/substance use. These resource cards use Steps to Leaps language while providing tangible steps for students to improve their well-being and develop networks of support. She often connects with students of concern, works to understand their experiences and directs them to appropriate campus resources.

Cummings also serves as a conduct hearing officer with University Residences, where she works to balance accountability with learning opportunities for students. In her previous work with Purdue Dining and Culinary, Cummings developed numerous resources for dining staff and annually trained staff in areas such as Title IX, compliance and student advocacy.

About Steps to Leaps

Steps to Leaps is a collaborative effort to foster lifelong habits and promote a growth mindset in the areas of well-being, leadership and professional development, impact, network building and grit. Steps to Leaps offers goal setting, action planning, worksheets, short motivational videos and more for self-assessment or facilitator-led assessments to help students celebrate their strengths while learning paths to improvements. Steps to Leaps was created by students for students under the auspices of the Office of the Provost and is aligned with long-term university goals under the Provost Road Map for Transformative Undergraduate Education.


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