Human Services student receives state Award for Excellence
KOKOMO, Ind. – Moriah Mercer of Peru, a student pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in the Human Services program at Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Campus, was among those honored Feb. 23 with the Indiana Career and Technical Education Award for Excellence. The awards were presented at a public ceremony in the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis.
Mercer, who serves as president of the Alpha Phi Pi (APP) Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa international academic honor society on the Kokomo Campus, received the award designed to recognize Indiana’s outstanding postsecondary career and technical education students. Nominees are judged on scholarship, character, leadership, and career/technical skill proficiency.
In nominating Mercer for the award, Sally Vyain, dean of the Business and Public Services Division of Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region, wrote, “Moriah is an exceptional student and a valued member of our college community. She is a tremendous asset to her classmates, the Human Services program, and the college, in addition to the wider community.”
Vyain noted that Mercer has demonstrated leadership in her service at APP chapter president, especially in activities that embody human services principles and community-mindedness. These include the Angel Walk, which raises funds for the local domestic violence shelter, and the Cards for Veterans outreach to those who have served, or are serving, in the military. She is an active member of the Human Services Student Organization and the campus’ Student Life group. She also has volunteered for Kokomo Urban Outreach, Family Service Association of Howard County, the Salvation Army’s Coats for Kids program, and United Way of Howard County, among others.
Mercer returned to Ivy Tech in 2014 as an adult student to begin an education to support a career in social work aimed at improving the lives of at-risk children. With a goal of completing her associate degree in 2017, Mercer plans to transfer her credits to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the social work program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, followed by a master’s degree and even a doctorate.
“I have always desired to work with children and after having many friends who were in foster care and being adopted myself, I realized that social work was what I was meant to do,” Mercer wrote in her statement of occupational and educational goals. “I aspire to help children who may be facing terrible situations or may need a new family like I did.”
While impressing Ivy Tech professors with her work ethic, personal integrity, compassion for her fellow students and leadership skills, Mercer also currently works in customer service at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) commissary at Grissom Air Reserve Base.
Laura Lanning, chair of Ivy Tech Kokomo Region’s Human Services program, said Mercer was highly qualified for the state award. “Moriah truly exemplifies scholarship, leadership, strength of character, and skill proficiency,” Lanning said.
Initiated in 1984, the Indiana Career and Technical Education Awards for Excellence program is designed to identify and recognize career and technical education students, programs, active partnerships that contribute to high quality career and technical education, guidance/career services displaying excellence in Indiana, and outstanding contributors to career and technical education in Indiana.