USF Sarasota-Manatee student honored with Florida Achievement Award

Michelle Cogswell, an Elementary Education senior at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, has been selected by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women (FCSW) to receive the FCSW Florida Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions and service to her community.

The Florida Achievement Award recognizes women who have improved the lives of women in Florida and/or who have served as positive role models for women and girls in their community.

The award was presented to Cogswell at the USF Women’s Seminar in Tampa on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 12:30 p.m. in Gibbons Alumni Center-Traditions Hall.

As the Vice President of P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting, Recruiting and Increasing Diverse Educators) at USF Sarasota-Manatee, Cogswell has mentored teenage youths at the Police Athletic League (PAL) Charter School in Bradenton and has tutored students at one of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s professional development schools, Rowlett Elementary.  She also volunteers in Newtown for the “Summer Learning in the Park” program, in which she reads to elementary school children to keep them on their grade level through the summer.

“Michelle has shown her commitment and dedication to students of diverse backgrounds, and is an excellent positive role model for young women in our community,” said Marie Byrd-Blake, advisor of P.R.I.D.E. and an assistant professor of Education at USF Sarasota-Manatee.  “Michelle believes strongly in giving back to her community and making a difference, and proactively seeks out opportunities to make education among diverse populations a priority.”

Cogswell has been making a difference internationally as well.  In April 2010, she was one of fourteen students from USF Sarasota-Manatee who visited the Children of the Light Mission in Honduras to deliver a donation of food and useful items to the mission.  Students spent five days with the children and the mission, which works to rescue and educate children that are abandoned in Honduras.

“For me, teaching is about reaching the student who needs a little bit of extra encouragement in order to succeed,” said Cogswell.  “Many of the students I work with come from a background where education is not a priority, and I know I can help them reach their full potential.”