UF Student Awarded Congressional Award Gold Medal
Victoria Hansen is a University of Findlay freshman, double majoring in journalism/digital media and psychology. Long before she was a student at UF, she set the goal of receiving the Congressional Award. At the age of 14, Hansen began her journey toward a gold medal, achieving her dream earlier this year at 18 years old.
The Congressional Award is a challenge created by the U.S. Congress. It was created to honor, encourage, and inspire America’s youth, and has recognized thousands of young Americans who “did not win the award – rather they earned it.”
To earn the Gold Medal, each participant must complete at least 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, and 200 hours of physical fitness. Hansen completed her service hours by working with her local Meals on Wheels chapter, helping with citizen science projects on Zooniverse, and by distributing diapers to families in need within her community. 200 hours of physical fitness came in the form of taekwondo classes, progressing towards her black belt. In an effort to focus on personal development, Hansen put in 200 hours working with computers and writing an 11-page paper about Kenya.
Starting the process in 2019, Hansen’s journey was quickly faced with the hurdle of COVID and shutdowns. “The award got me through COVID and gave me something to work towards,” she said. “I absolutely love serving others and this award gave me a sense of achievement.”
Hansen encourages others to follow in her footsteps, admitting that it’s hard work, but that it’s an “amazing adventure.” “I’m almost surprised that I made it this far,” she said. “The amount of dedication it took was a challenge for me, but I’m glad I did it!”
Students aged 14 through 23 are able to participate. For those people interested in learning more about the Congressional Award Gold Medal, and how they can follow the lead of Victoria Hansen, visit the program online.