BTU Partnership Awards

BTU is making an impact. We want to celebrate it.

Towson University plays an important role in the vitality of Towson, Greater Baltimore, and Maryland. Through BTU—Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore, TU faculty, students, and staff are working with partners to address community needs.

To recognize this impactful work, Towson University is proud to present the BTU Partnership Awards. These awards celebrate the efforts of you—faculty, students, staff, community partners—and the collaborative work being done that embodies the spirit of TU and benefits the communities we serve.

Nominations Open—2024 BTU Partnership Awards 

The 2024 BTU Partnership Awards will recognize up to three mutually beneficial partnerships taking place between Towson University and at least one community partner. Recipients are determined based on the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the partnership aligns with at least one of the five BTU impact areas
  • The impact and scope of the partnership on Towson University and Greater Baltimore
  • How the partnership exemplifies best practices and problem solving to address community needs
  • How outcomes are assessed and measured  

Award recipients and their community partner(s) will be celebrated at an awards reception on Wednesday, November 13 2024.

To make a nomination or self-nomination, complete the nomination form by Thursday, May 16, 2024. Nominees will be followed up with to obtain additional partnership information.

2023 Awardees

MentHER Program

TU Lead: Lauren Tigue Meredith, College of Business & Economics
Community Partner: Lansdowne High School

MentHER is a “lift as you rise” program that combines networking and mentorship to support the growth, education, and empowerment of college and high school women. MentHER matches College of Business and Economics students with women mentors in the business world. The TU students then act as mentors to Lansdowne High School juniors to help prepare them for college.

College of Education Robotics Program

TU Lead: Qijie Vicky Cai, Ph.D., College of Education
Community Partner: Baltimore County Public Schools

The TU College of Education Robotics Program is designed to broaden participation in STEM and robotics education. Through this free program, local elementary and middle school students come to TU, where they learn to design, build, and program robots. Pre-service teachers work alongside faculty to co-design and teach the weekend sessions. The program culminates with parents and guardians participating in a day of learning alongside their children.

Campus Move Out Sustainability Program

TU Lead: Patricia Watson, Facilities Management
Community Partners: Baltimore Lutheran Campus Ministry, Ascension Lutheran Church

TU is dedicated to threading sustainability through all aspects of the campus experience. The Campus Move Out Sustainability Program is a unique approach to reducing waste by taking remaining supplies and materials from TU students when they move out each year and putting them into the hands of local nonprofits.

2022 Awardees

TU Leads: Steven Kimble, Ph.D. and Richard Seigel, Ph.D.
Community Partner: Town of Port Deposit

Since 2008, TU has been working with the Town of Port Deposit to study and strengthen the population of endangered northern map turtles along the Susquehanna River. The partnership includes the establishment and maintenance of shoreline conservation space and the restoration of the Historic Tome Gas House, which serves as a research facility and community education center.

TU Lead: Julie Leary
Community Partners: Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools–PSFALS, Hussman Center for Adults with Autism and Building STEPS

EduCycle reconditions, upgrades, and redistributes retired university-owned computers and related equipment and gives them a second life on campus and in the community, reducing e-waste. The partnership provides critical hands-on technology and work skills training opportunities for k-12 students and adults.

TU Lead: Ardys Russakis
Community Partner: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

Launched in 2022, this emerging partnership brings cohorts of high school freshman to StarTUp at the Armory to develop entrepreneurial skills through a hands-on interactive learning experience. Students identify real-life problems faced by their peers and communities and grow into young entrepreneurs, creating and pitching solutions.

2021 Awardees

TU Lead: Lisa Ann Plowfield, Ph.D, RN

This award celebrates the breadth of work that took place and continues to be in action between faculty, staff, and students in the College of Health Professions and community partners to address a multitude of needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


TU Lead: Tyasia Velines
Community Partner: Woodbridge Elementary School

This partnership pairs Towson University pre-service teacher candidates with underrepresented P-12 learners, to provide them with free online tutoring and to combat issues related to school closures and virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TU Leads: Kay Broadwater, Ph.D. and Art Education Faculty
Community Partner: New Song Academy

Founded in 1994, this partnership provides at-risk youth opportunities to explore the arts in a teaching and learning collaboration alongside Towson University art education students, both on TU’s campus and at New Song Academy in West Baltimore.

TU Leads: Zosha Stuckey, Ph.D. and Dr. Carrie Grant, Ph.D.
Community Partners: Family Survivor Network, Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park, Black Girls Cook, Franklin Square Elementary School & St. Luke’s Youth Center and Safe Alternative Foundation for Education

Grantwriting In Valued Environments (G.I.V.E.) is a BTU Strategic Partnership in the English Department that advances students’ professional writing goals by connecting their coursework to the writing needs of small nonprofits in the Baltimore/Washington region.

2020 Awardees

Staff Lead: Jen Stano, D.M., Office of Human Resources
Community Partner: Humanim

The Humanim & TU Human Resources Partnership provides workforce training and employment pipeline opportunities—reinforcing TU’s commitment as an anchor institution. The program has allowed TU faculty and staff in need of temporary administrative support to quickly meet their needs while providing much needed experience in the workplace. Over the past four years, temporary employees at TU have successfully moved into full time positions, primarily at TU but at other anchor institutions as well. Currently, six TU offices have Humanim graduates in permanent administrative positions after completing their temporary assignments. Not only is TU benefitting from Humanim’s thorough and high-quality training program, but members of our community are getting life-changing opportunities with steady and consistent employment.

Faculty Leads: Natalie Scala, Ph.D., College of Business and Economics and Josh Dehlinger, Ph.D., Fisher College of Science and Mathematics
Community Partners: Harford County Board of Elections, Anne Arundel County Board of Elections

Empowering Secure Elections is unique partnership that helps to identify and mitigate potential cybersecurity threats during the voting process. In this work, TU developed training modules to educate Election Judges on identifying and mitigating potential cybersecurity threats during the voting process. All counties in Maryland employ the same process and equipment on Election Day, and polling places are arranged into five general sections or stations. Election Judges are assigned to each station, and a Chief Election Judge oversees the entire polling location. Threats may emerge at any station at a polling place; threats may evolve from accidents or honest mistakes made by voters and/or Election Judges, or threats may emerge from those interacting with the process with malicious intent. The developed modules train Election Judges to recognize that a threat may be present and equips them with the actions to take to mitigate the threat. This work specifically fills in the gap to provide a cybersecurity-specific training module for each of the five general stations at a Maryland polling place.

Faculty Lead: Elyshia Aseltine, Ph.D., College of Liberal Arts
Community Partners: Baltimore County Detention Center, Harford County Detention Center

Inside-Out provides opportunities for TU students and incarcerated individuals to learn side-by-side while transforming views and opinions about crime and justice. The core of the Inside-Out Program is a semester-long academic course, through which outside students and the same number of inside students attend class together inside a correctional institution to learn together as peers. Currently, eleven faculty from across TU are trained in Inside-Out pedagogy and have offered (or will soon be offering) classes at Baltimore County Detention Center and Harford County Detention Center. Class topics include criminal justice, health/well-being, philosophy, theater, and communications. To date, four faculty have taught ten Inside-Out classes.

Faculty Lead: Mary Stapleton, Ph.D., TU Center for STEM Excellence
Community Partners: Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Baltimore City Public Schools

The Harbor Scholars Program works with in-service teachers as they educate their students about our watershed and how they can connect with and impact environmental issues in their communities. In addition to supporting teachers through an intensive summer professional development workshop, the Harbor Scholars program allows every student of participating teachers to visit Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on a field trip, providing them with an opportunity to study the Inner Harbor water first hand and connect what is happening on their school grounds with the ecosystem challenges facing the Chesapeake Bay.

2019 Awardees

Lead: Nicole Fabricant, Ph.D., College of Liberal Arts
Community Partners: Benjamin Franklin High School, United Workers

In 2016, the TU Department of Anthropology partnered to expand a model of youth-based research and education in South Baltimore. Dr. Fabricant and Greg Sawtell, lead organizer at United Workers, teamed with Albina Joy, environmental science teacher at Benjamin Franklin High School, to create a multi-year participatory action research project on environmental injustice in Curtis Bay, which has a long history of industrial development and subsequent toxicity. The research project uses qualitative research and local sources of secondary data as vehicles for change. Through intensive meetings with high school students (five days a week for one hour) we forge student-led and student-based research teams on food access/availability, trash and pollution, crime/safety, and vacant housing. This year, Towson University is offering three credits to each Benjamin Franklin High School for participating in this year long course.

Faculty Lead: Alexei Kolesnikov, Ph.D., Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics
Community Partners: Baltimore Humane Society, Constellation Energy, RTR Technologies

The Applied Mathematics Laboratory (AML) is a long-running endeavor of the Department of Mathematics. By agreement with sponsoring organizations, AML undertakes research projects of mathematical nature at the advanced undergraduate level whose analysis, solution and exposition requires substantial involvement of a team of students and faculty members for (usually) an academic year. The AML forms a team of talented undergraduate and graduate students, led by one or two faculty mentors with particular interest in the problem posed. This team studies the problem and supplies an honest, intensive effort on the part of its best mathematical talent to study and fully report to the sponsor. Students receive course credit for their participation. To date, the Applied Mathematics Lab has worked on 20+ projects with partners across non-profit, private, and public sectors.

Faculty Lead: Kate Collins, Ph.D., College of Fine Arts and Communication
Community Partners: BCCC Refugee Youth Project, Patterson High School

YAAAS! is a graduate course designed and taught as an elective
for students—the majority of whom are working teachers in PK-12
schools or people who work with youth in other educational settings or
capacities—in the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts Infusion program. This
service-learning course involves a partnership where graduate students work collaboratively with both the BCCC Refugee Youth Project (RYP) and Patterson High School, a Baltimore City public school in southeast Baltimore, where RYP offers afterschool programming for refugee students ages 14 to 20. This learning laboratory creates mutually beneficial opportunities. Refugee youth explore and invest in topics that are meaningful to them while simultaneously providing teachers with instant feedback on their new arts in action curriculum and practices. YAAAS was initiated in fall 2017 and designed to be an ongoing project.

2018 Awardees

Faculty Lead: Phillip Collister, D.M.A., College of Fine Arts and Communication
Community Partners: Annapolis Opera, Franklin Elementary School

Opera in a Can, a faculty and student led children’s opera outreach program, was formed in 2011 by the Department of Music at Towson University and has evolved into a collaboration with Annapolis Opera and Franklin Elementary School. Through Opera in a Can, operas based on familiar fairy tales are performed for children at local schools, libraries, and community centers, exploring relevant social issues and teaching fundamental life lessons while instilling an appreciation of the arts. These performances and the work leading up to them provide hands-on experiences to Towson University students while increasing their awareness of career paths within music education. Since its inception, Opera in a Can has performed for well over 17,000 students, providing access to the arts for youth, while serving as a creative outlet for emerging artists at Towson University.

Faculty Lead: Alison McCartney, Ph.D., College of Liberal Arts
Community Partner: Baltimore County Public Schools

The Towson University–Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) Model UN program provides equal access to civic engagement learning experiences for students in Baltimore County Public Schools while providing Towson University students with hands-on opportunities mentoring high school students. Model UN is an educational simulation, in which high school students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. Through the innovative approach by TU and BCPS, Model UN is offered at no cost to participating students. The programming compliments BCPS’ curriculum and increases college access and civic readiness and provides Towson University students with an opportunity to be active participants in the Greater Baltimore community. Since 2002, Model UN has reached over 25 schools in four school districts and has provided a cost-effective program to over 3,000 students.


Faculty Lead: Mary Lashley, Ph.D., College of Health Professions
Community Partner: Helping Up Mission

Since 2003, Towson University and Helping Up Mission have been partnering to address the complex health needs of homeless men in recovery from chemical addictions while providing transformational, hands-on opportunities to Towson University students. In 2006, seed funding was obtained to begin an oral health program in collaboration with the University of Maryland Dental School, which has provided emergency, preventative, and restorative care to men residing at the mission. In addition to the flagship oral health program, over the years, Towson University nursing students have provided on-site wellness services, including coordinating health fairs, conducting health screenings, implementing wellness programs, and participating in program evaluation research to evaluate the efficacy of program interventions. This partnership promotes health and well-being to one of the most vulnerable populations in Baltimore City while also providing Towson University students with experiential learning opportunities that promote diversity awareness, fosters inter-professional collaboration, and supports students in the development of clinical, research, and leadership skills.