My Emory & Henry College experience has been defined by my selection as a Bonner Scholar. The Bonner Foundation has created an endowment at 27 schools across the country. At Emory & Henry, I am required to complete 280 hours of community service per year to receive my scholarship.
This scholarship has changed my life. As a Bonner, I have served as a mentor to elementary school children in after-school programs, tutored, served in soup kitchens and clothing banks. I have also traveled across the country to serve.
My life is dedicated to serving others. I use my personal experiences as a background to relate to others. I am thankful for every opportunity to work with members of the community.
My service placements have included working as a tutor at Meadowview Elementary School, after-school mentor at Marion Primary School, and lunch buddy at Meadowview Elementary School. My current service placements are at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority as a GED tutor. I work two days a week in the jail, tutoring inmates in the five subject areas to receive their GED certificate. I also work for United Way as the Substance Abuse and Incarcerated Families Development Intern. I am currently collecting research in southwestern Virginia on resources available to families with incarcerated members. I hope to use this information in the structure for a college access program in the region.
This scholarship has also allowed me to see different parts of the country and the diversity that surrounds my life. Each spring break, I have traveled to serve different parts of the country. Over the past few years, I have spent time in New York City; War, West Virginia; and Macon, Georgia, serving the members of their communities through various service projects over spring break. The experiences have been invaluable in my understanding of myself as a citizen, reporter, and friend. I could not imagine my life without the relationships that I have formed through service experiences. My life has been altered to better understanding the world and its people as a whole.
Public Policy & Community Service
The service experiences that Emory & Henry offered me led me to become interested in the Public Policy & Community major. Unique to Emory, the PPCS program challenges students to become active citizens in the community. Individuals learn a sense of individual value in reference to the surrounding society. Students are encouraged to reach out to the community, but to participate in a way that also asks questions of the world.
In my experience in the department, discussing issues of discriminatory privilege, citizenship, and justice have all been powerful forces of impact. Each class in the department has a mandatory service requirement attached. The most recent class that I was involved with placed me in Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority. This was the first time I ever felt a challenge or fear going into a service site. Working at the jail has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. I have created such a bond with the women that I have been able to work with. In the jail, I worked alongside the chaplain and local volunteers who came in to give weekly devotionals.
Through the curriculum, I have learned valuable skills like grant-writing and fundraising, which will extend farther than just beneficial for a career. This major has been much more than an area of study for me. It has given me the ability to recognize each individual for their talents and abilities. Listening to the stories that individuals have to offer inspires me daily. I am so amazed and appreciative to be a part of a wonderful learning community.
I will be spending Fall 2013 in Dublin, Ireland at Dublin City University completing a practicum and senior research project for my degree. I look forward to getting a global understanding of the world and the communities that surround me. Part of my focus will be on the understanding of international journalism, as well as the judicial procedure from an international perspective.
Through the PPCS program, I am also pursuing a master's degree in Community and Organizational Leadership. I will graduate from the program in Spring 2015.
Alpha Phi Omega
I became a brother of the national service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega in Fall of 2010.
The Pi Omicron chapter at Emory & Henry was founded in 1966. Cardinal principles of Leadership, Friendship, and Service drive the fraternity, which was founded by the Boy Scouts of America.
Since being a member, I have served as the Vice President of Service, and recently obtained the position of Chaplain for the upcoming year. As Vice President, I planned service projects to participate in. I also worked to implement a reflection session after our service work. Over the past year, APO has participated in the CROPWalk for World Hunger, UnitedWay Backpacking Programs, American Red Cross Blood Drives, Habitat for Humanity, World Aids Day, Remote Area Medical, and Relay for Life. Our fraternity is the two-time letter writing champion at Emory & Henry for Up 'til Dawn to benefit St. Jude's Research Hospital. Alpha Phi Omega also participates in "Adopt-A-Highway" to keep the direct highway into Emory & Henry clean.
Alpha Phi Omega has connected me with brothers from all across the nation in my travels. My experiences as an APO brother have increased my courage and persistence in life, reminding me of the leaders that are molded in life through this organization.
Since attending my first orientation for Emory & Henry in May 2010, my senior year in high school, I knew that I wanted to be in a position of an orientation leader.
Orientation leaders make the transition for incoming freshman easier. From personal experience, the first people that I knew on campus were the students that had taken me around campus before school started. When I was unsure of something within my first few days on campus, I knew that I could go to any of the orientation leaders that I had during my experience and they would point me in the right direction.
Being an orientation leader is exciting to me. My friends would describe me as "knowing everyone on campus" and I can credit this largely to being an orientation leader. I enjoy getting to meet new people and hear their stories. Spending the first few days with these students really gives you an opportunity to meet them and learn about their lives.
I still have students from my orientation groups that approach me with questions about academics and personal issues. They know that I am someone who is truly devoted to them and their success here at Emory & Henry. I think this is the single most motivation for being an orientation leader.
The orientation leader staff is enthusiastic, encouraging, and fun. Our orientation groups were split up differently each session, so it gave the leaders the opportunity to get to know each other better as well. A class is offered to orientation leaders that deals with leadership and individual styles of leadership. This class and my interaction within my orientation groups really allowed me to see my leadership style in action and consciously grow from my experiences.