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Hannah Edelen

Paul J. Sipes Award

By Madison Dornoff ('20) & Jayna Morris | Photography by David Bushle | Published May 2020
Hannah Edelen, Paul J. Sipes Award recipient
The Paul J. Sipes Award is presented to an outstanding senior student who displays the personal qualities of honesty, character and industry and who has actively participated in community affairs. The Northern Kentucky University Alumni Association sponsors this award.

It’s safe to say that Hannah Edelen made an impact during her time at Northern Kentucky University.

Hannah, a first-generation college student with majors in Communication Studies and History, took on several leadership roles on campus: vice president of public relations and later president of NKU’s Student Government Association, member of NKU's Board of Regents, vice president of operations for her Kappa Delta Sorority Eta Eta Chapter and intern in NKU’s Office of Government, Corporate and Foundation Engagement. She was also nominated as the student representative on Kentucky’s Committee on Postsecondary Education (CPE) for 2019-20, a 2019 Henry Clay Scholar and a Future Leaders Internship Program participant. She even spoke at President Vaidya’s investiture last year.

The Springfield, Kentucky, native was honored with several awards during her time as a student at NKU for her efforts in the community. And she was recently selected as one of only five college students in the state to be a 2020 Kentucky Derby Princess.

“Hannah Edelen’s record reflects a commitment to NKU and the Commonwealth that is exceptional,” says Dr. Ryan Salzman, associate professor of political science. “At every level, she has dedicated herself to serving her communities: NKU, northern Kentucky and Kentucky. That she is working toward being an educator to those most in need—special education and those in poverty—is not surprising to me. And I trust that this is only the beginning.”

Hannah has quite a busy schedule, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her biggest passion: education. When she’s not volunteering her time at Read Ready Covington (RRC)—a local early childhood literacy organization—she’s an instructional assistant at Holmes Middle School. 

“I am looking forward to taking my skill set and creating change. It took one teacher to change the outcome for me, and I want to be that one who helps open the door for others,” she says. “I long to serve the Commonwealth in a capacity that precipitates change—whether that be in an office, in a classroom, out in the community or on a farm. My hope is to increase opportunities for individuals to have more equitable opportunities to obtain higher education regardless of their background.”