Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health presents Student Achievement Award

Mary Rosman, an undergraduate student in the Penn State Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA), received the 2016 Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award.

The inaugural presentation of the award was April 13, during the 19th 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 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.

The award was 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 was 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.

Rosman, of Weedville, Pennsylvania, in rural Elks County, was nominated by Diane Spokus, associate director of professional development in HPA.  In her nomination, Spokus recognized Rosman as a conscientious, motivated and enthusiastic student who works collaboratively with other students and consistently shows a high level of initiative and passion.

Spokus noted that Rosman is the vice president and treasurer for the Penn State student chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators Club and has served in numerous and varied campus roles, such as a Lion Ambassador tour guide, orientation leader and public relations chair of the Campus Activities Board. 

She also lauded Rosman for her achievements during her undergraduate internship at 10 skilled nursing facilities in California, where she expanded the organization’s market through an increased web presence, and for her work with a home health and hospice agency in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, where she worked on open enrollment benefits, compensation and developed and implemented a three-month health program, which included health screenings.

In her letter accompanying the nomination, Rosman said that creating a healthy community is important no matter where the location.

“Growing up in Elk County, one of the most rural counties in the state, I witnessed first-hand some of the challenges that communities face in terms of health care, Rosman said.  “Living and working in a rural area allowed me to develop an understanding of the importance in advocating for healthy communities, specifically rural and underserved populations.  For this reason, I chose to major in HPA and turn advocating for healthy communities into a career.” 

Rosman added, “I now have a solid foundation to advocate for health care advancements among rural and underserved populations.”

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

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

Mary Rosman, a health policy and administration student, received the 2016 Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award. Credit: Beatrice AbieroAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated May 27, 2016