"In any environment, I seek to make a positive contribution that allows everyone around me the freedom to use their gifts and talents for the benefit of society.”
- Dr. Amma
Dr. Amma's service and outreach work can be viewed through three lenses:
Contributions of her research area and work to the public, corporations, and national venues through public speaking and dialogue facilitation;
Leadership and committee positions to represent her institution, colleagues, and students; and
Giving back through mentorship, advocacy, and community outreach.
NATIONAL HISTORY DAY
One of Dr. Amma's most humbling service contribution has been for the National History Day competition, the nation’s leading history education program for 6th-12th grade students. A recipient of the 2011 National Humanities Award given by the President of the United States, the competition is akin to the stature of the Scripps Spelling Bee for Language Arts and the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Junior high and high school students, individually or in teams, conduct college-level research on a historical topic of their choosing and then present their work either as a paper, a museum exhibit, a documentary, or a live performance. Over half a million students enter the competition each year from all over the country and the world, with the top 2000 students (approximately) reaching the national competition held at the University of Maryland. The competition also inspired Dr. Amma's current career path to use the stage and screen to tell history. In the video above, Dr. Amma chronicles the life-changing experience in which teachers Mickey Bogart and Crystal Johnson mentored her to create a solo historical performance entitled "Joseph Cinque and the Amistad Incident: Taking a Stand for Freedom."
Since 2004, Dr. Amma has served as a national judge and captain, evaluating entries in the Junior Individual Performance, Junior Group Performance, Senior Individual Performance, Senior Group Performance, Senior Documentary, and Senior Exhibit categories. She also assists the national office by presenting medals at the Award Ceremony, alongside executives from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Organization of American Historians, The History Channel, et al.; and by volunteering in all aspects of contest operations. In 2014, she keynoted the Welcome Ceremony of the national contest, an honor also previously held by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD 5th District).
Dr. Amma inspires National History Day students, parents, and teachers during her 2014 Keynote at the national competition (College Park, MD). Photo by Route 1 Multimedia.
Dr. Amma speaks during her 2014 Keynote at the National History Day National Competition (College Park, MD).
Photo by Route 1 Multimedia.