ELIZABETH PARKS OF AUSTIN COLLEGE, a senior outfielder on the Roos' softball team, has been named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Female Character and Community Award Winner for the week beginning on February 4.
As a four-year letter-winner on the softball team, Parks has proved an exemplary teammate, always bringing a positive energy and attitude both on the field and in the dugout. It’s no surprise, then, that she brings that same kind of spark and passion to giving back to the community.
The senior from Grand Prairie, Texas has been involved in numerous volunteer events, logging nearly 200 hours of community service during her four years at Austin College. Included in that has been working with Special Olympics and participating in Great Day of Service, which has entailed helping the Red Cross make emergency disaster kits, helping with the upkeep of a local cemetery to make grieving families feel more welcomed during their visits, and assisting at Reba’s Ranch House, a living facility for the families of patients at local medical centers. There, Parks worked with guests to make them more comfortable.
“When something tragic happens and you have to up and leave everything, it helps to feel like you are at home and still have control over some aspects in this unpredictable life,” said Parks.
Along with her volunteer work around the community, Parks has also devoted extensive time to working with local students to get them excited about science. A member of the Austin College Chemical Society, Parks has gone to local schools to give fun, hands-on science demonstrations.
“Being able to have kids feel excited about science like I was as a kid is an amazing opportunity, because that’s really what drove me to want to become a chemistry major,” said Parks. “Doing service events helps me feel like I’m making a difference in the world. Even if I only touch one person, that person can make a huge difference and that, in and of itself, is reward enough.”