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Inaugural Danforth St. Louis Confluence conference elevates community research

Matthew Kreuter (right) accepts the inaugural William H. Danforth St. Louis Confluence Award from Vice Provost Mary McKay on April 28 at the Delmar Divine. (Photo: Mena Darré)

Matthew Kreuter, a faculty member at the Brown School, is the first recipient of the William H. Danforth St. Louis Confluence Award (STLCA), the Office of the Provost announced. The award focuses on and elevates Washington University in St. Louis’ investment in the region by encouraging research that enhances community impact.

“William H. Danforth is the namesake of this notable award because he recognized how closely our university and our city are linked,” said Mary McKay, vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives. “In honor of his enduring legacy and informed by ‘Here and Next,’ a vision built on that legacy, we recognize the collaboration, innovation and impactful research that contribute to a brighter future for our region. When we center sustainable partnerships built on earned trust, then we can, as proud stewards of Dr. Danforth’s legacy, create a future worthy of the talented, diverse people and institutions who call our city home.

STLCA recognizes and elevates the strength and impact of the work already being led by community-minded researchers, their partners and university collaborators.

“This is a team award, for our group and for our community partners,” Kreuter said. “I’m honored that my name goes on it, but this was a massive undertaking by so many people.”

The existing strength of researchers, including Kreuter, positions WashU to forge genuine partnerships in the St. Louis community to create greater equity in the city, state and region.

“So much of our strategic vision is reflected in this award,” McKay said. “It represents the impact of research that’s led by our talented faculty. Our commitment to our region is evident in the deep collaboration with our community partners. We aim to address the deepest societal challenges, beginning right here in St. Louis. It was an honor to bring our researchers and their community partners together to recognize and elevate their impactful work.”

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Top 10 finalists

    2023 Top 10 Confluence Award Finalists. Not pictured: Sean Joe. (Photo: Mena Darré)

    The call for Confluence Award nominations created a catalyst for recognizing and elevating the work of faculty leading community research.

    The top 10 finalists, and their community and university collaborators, were recognized during the conference. View a video summarizing their research.

    The Office of the Provost also announced ‘Here and Next’ special designations at the conference:

    • In and For St. Louis: Ebony Carter and Shannon Lenze
    • Provost Community Impact Award: Bettina Drake
    • Provost Community Impact Award: Carol Camp Yeakey
    • Provost Investment in Research-to-Practice Networks: HomeGrown STL and the Institute for School Partnership