A high-achieving junior at Baylor has been named a recipient of a Congressional Award Gold Medal, the highest award presented by the United States Congress to American youth.
Carmen Ross registered for the award as a middle school student and worked toward the achievement over the course of four years.
The award is open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 23, and it is earned by setting and achieving goals in four areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.
The only other award awarded by Congress is the Medal of Honor.
Ross earned the award by volunteering her time to tutor middle school students at Baylor, coaching UPWARD basketball at church and working with LaPaz Chattanooga, an advocacy group that works with the local Latino community.
She also met the personal development component of the award by improving her musical abilities on the guitar and reached her physical fitness goal by clearing 9' 6" in the pole vault as a member of the school track team.
Finally, she met the expedition component by planning a family trip to St. Simon's Island, Ga and added a service element to the trip by helping with beach cleanup and aiding a local agency with management of the island's sea turtle population.
She also takes three AP courses and is a member of the National Honor Society, Peer Support Network, Red Circle and the Baylor Concert Choir.
The Congressional Award is non-competitive and was established in 1979. The program currently supports over 45,000 participants nationwide with over 68,000 awards earned since its inception, representing over 7.5 million volunteer hours.
Ross will be presented her award at the annual gold medal ceremony in Washington, D.C. in June of 2017 by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
Further information about the program can be found at congressionalaward.org.