Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Volunteer Work Leads to Special Honors for UNF Graduate

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Volunteer Work Leads to Special Honors for UNF Graduate

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

Lianne Bronzo didn't know the male student who committed suicide during her freshman year at the University of North Florida.

But a week later, she was in the same building where it happened and found herself empathizing with his family and their feelings.

"I didn't know if he reached out to get help or didn't know there are free counseling services on campus," she said, adding that she was deeply affected by the tragedy.

So she became a founding member of Active Minds, a student-run organization that focuses on raising awareness and ending the stigma of mental health issues, particularly on college campuses. In her senior year, she was elected president and was recognized by the national organization for her contributions.

Bronzo, whose parents live in Mandarin, was so active at UNF that she received the Senior Service Award given by the Alumni Association for outstanding volunteer service. The psychology major, who was among 1,500 graduates, received the award at spring commencement on April 30.

The 22-year-old's contributions to the school range from mentoring students with developmental disabilities to doing advanced research in the honors program. Oh, yes, all while earning a 3.98 GPA.

"It's clear that she has this endless energy," said LouAnne Hawkins, coordinator of undergraduate research, who wrote her nomination letter. "At first, I wondered if she slept ... she's so energetic and driven."

The second thing that struck Hawkins about Bronzo is her unselfishness. Without being asked, she was always helping others, be it with their writing, analyzing data or providing information about graduate schools, Hawkins said.

'AMAZINGLY SUCCESSFUL'

"There's a difference between doing something for people so that they don't have to do it themselves and doing something where you're helping them learn to help themselves," she said, adding that Bronzo worked in three research labs. "That's the kind of help she's constantly engaged in, yet she's amazingly successful, too. …

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