Emory University recognized College senior Naomi Maisel for the 2016 Lucius Lamar McMullan Award for her accomplishments as a student leader in food and health sustainability.

The Lucius Lamar McMullan Award is awarded at the end of the spring semester to a graduating senior who “demonstrate[s] outstanding citizenship, exceptional leadership and singular qualities of mind and character,” according to an Emory University press release.

College faculty members and administrators nominated individuals who they believed possessed extraordinary leadership abilities and who contributed to the community. The winner is  selected by a committee of eight to 10 senior faculty and administrators from the College and Campus Life. Upon graduation, the winner of this award is given $25,000 which can be used at the recipient’s discretion.

“A lot of people on this campus deserve this award,” Maisel said. “[I] appreciated that [my] peers and faculty took the time to nominate me.”

Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences Robin Forman and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Joanne Brzinski called Maisel to their office under the pretense that she may be in trouble for something, Maisel said. It was a very pleasant surprise when she found out that she was nominated for the award instead, she said.

Although Maisel said that the award took her by surprise, she told the Wheel that her proudest accomplishment was in bringing Campus Kitchens to Emory. The organization is a student-run kitchen that aims to keep food from going to waste, according to its website.

Members of the organization at Emory collect leftover food from on-campus dining halls such as the Dobbs University Center (DUC) Market and Cox Hall, as well as the supermarket Earth Fare. Volunteers then repurpose this food into healthy meals and bring them to food pantries for those in need, Mainsel said.

According to Maisel, the organization has come a long way since her freshman year, and she stated that she has an excellent team working with her to thank for that.

Regarding the $25,000 award, Maisel said she  plans to return  to school in the near future to obtain a master’s degree in public health.

“[I want to use the money] towards helping me do good in the world,” Maisel said. She wants to make all of her supporters proud, she added.

After graduation, she is considering pursuing either a fellowship or research, but she said she might put off both options in order to travel the world.