Schreyer scholar receives achievement award from PA Office of Rural Health

April 13, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Amelia Browning, a Schreyer Honors Scholar undergraduate student in the Penn State Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA), received the 2017 Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award.

The award was presented on April 12, during the Annual Stanley P. Mayers Endowed Lecture at Penn State University Park. Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) and outreach associate professor of HPA, presented the award.

The Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award recognizes community achievement by an HPA senior undergraduate student who has demonstrated service and commitment to a community or an underserved population, preferably, but not exclusively, in a rural area of Pennsylvania.

Established in memory of Jennifer S. Cwynar, a 2008 graduate of HPA and a 2008 undergraduate intern at PORH, the award is given in recognition of Cwynar’s commitment to community service, advocacy for underserved and rural populations, and focus on public health. The award is issued to a senior undergraduate HPA student who has advanced those commitments and is intended to encourage and foster personal and professional development.

PORH formed in 1991 as a joint partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. The office is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation funded under a program administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance and networking; partnership development; and assisting in the recruitment and retention of health care providers. 

PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, agricultural health and safety, and community and economic development. PORH is administratively housed in HPA in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University Park.

Browning, of Woodbine, Maryland, was nominated by Diane Spokus, associate director of professional development in HPA. In her nomination, Spokus recognized Browning as a conscientious, dependable, detail-oriented, motivated and enthusiastic student.

Spokus lauded Browning for her achievements during her undergraduate internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control. Throughout the internship, Browning generated data on care-provider compliance with personal-protection equipment on intensive-care units and contributed to a collaborative nurse-education project with the Armstrong Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Spokus also noted Browning’s dedication to several leadership roles, which include her participation in the Women’s Leadership Initiative and diverse community service activities. Browning served as the director of Programming of Empower Orphans, president of the Penn State Chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, and taught a two-week creative arts camp in Sri Lanka. Additionally, she is a member of the College of Health and Human Development Honor Society and a Peer Writing Tutor group.

In her letter accompanying the nomination, Browning said that helping others discover their passion for service is what brings her the most happiness.

“Prior to 2016, Empower Orphans was not a student organization at Penn State, but my friend and role-model, International Children’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Neha Gupta, had a dream to bring Empower Orphans to Penn State,” she said. “During each Empower Orphans event I organized in Centre County, I saw my peers and my friends experience wonderful moments serving the community.”

“We are very pleased to present this award to Amelia Browning and to honor the legacy of Jennifer Cwynar, who was an exceptional student and intern with our office,” Davis said. “This is one way in which we can encourage excellence in those who will become leaders in advocating for the health of vulnerable populations.  

To learn more about the Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, visit

  • Amelia Browning

    Amelia Browning

    IMAGE: Photo Provided

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 14, 2017