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2018 Engagement Fellows Program

In keeping with its mission to produce educated and enlightened citizens, JMU is proud to support the Engagement Fellows Program. Fellows choose one of eight service year opportunities to explore engagement while serving James Madison University. Positions include a stipend and housing. Each position lasts for 9 months, beginning August 2018.

Available options include:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services
  • Food Access and Security
  • Montpelier
  • President’s Office
  • Student Connection with Engagement
  • Valley Scholars

For questions or more information, contact Mike Davis.

JMU Engagement Fellows:

  • Demonstrate a sense of responsibility and obligation within the community and organization they serve.
  • Anticipate how policies, decisions and issues impact community relationships and proactively attempt to maintain mutually beneficial partnerships through constructive dialogue.
  • Approach complex problems through the practice of interpersonal skills that promote teamwork and acceptance of diversity of thought regarding goals and priorities. 
  • Cultivate continued interest in public policies that promote community investments, connections, and improvements.
  • Perform responsibilities with growing attention to principles of social justice, ethical decision-making, and empathy. 
  • Uphold meaningful and productive connections between the university and community, and be alert to possibilities for expansion. 
  • Explore personal strengths and improve upon weaknesses, with particular emphasis on developing career options and exploring life plan goals through experiential learning.
  • Display an understanding of organizational communication and interconnectedness and how entities work together to solve larger community-based problems. 
  • Recognize how personal and career goals can include responsiveness to community needs and be rewarding to self and others.


Meet The Fellows

The fellows in the 2018-2019 service year cohort are recent JMU alumni who focus on promoting and fostering Engaged Learning, Community Engagement, and Civic Engagement in and around the JMU Campus Community by dedicating nine months of service to one area of university engagement.

Scott Ingram, Ethical Reasoning Engagement Fellow

Scott Ingram is diving headfirst into engaged philosophy as JMU’s newest Ethical Reasoning Engagement Fellow. Scott is from Virginia Beach and graduated from JMU in 2018 with majors Political Science and Philosophy and a minor in Classical Studies. As an active undergraduate student, Scott served the campus community as a Madison Collaborative Educator, a Teaching Assistant for PHIL 150, and as a member of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta.

He is tasked this year with Coaching the Ethics Bowl Debate Team, planning an Ethics Slam event, facilitating Ethical Reasoning workshops around campus, and assisting with Ethical Reasoning in Action programming. He is so excited to be able to further integrate himself into the vibrant JMU and Harrisonburg communities as an engaged citizen. He also looks forward to building lasting relationships with his fellow Engagement Fellows and the faculty and staff of JMU.


Alexandra Conis, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services Engagement Fellow

Alex will be serving as the Institute’s Engagement Fellow. She comes from right here in Harrisonburg, and she graduated from JMU with a BA in Communication Studies (concentration in Public Relations), with three minors in Asian Studies, Italian, and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). She marched with the Marching Royal Dukes all four years in the tuba section, and also performed with an instrumental group for the Chinese Student Association culture show. While at JMU, she worked as a consultant with the Communication Center, a tutor with the English Language Learner Services, and an office assistant with the Office of the School of Communication Studies. 

IIHHS engagement fellowship is a year of service dedicated to assisting over two dozen programs established in response to community needs and in collaboration with community human health and wellness organizations. She will conduct research, write public relations pieces, and work on crucial Institute programming like The Poverty Simulation. She is most excited to work with and give back to the community and university that supported her as she grew up. She is passionate about the people of this city and cannot wait to work on the programs of the Institute!


Joshua Stick, Valley Scholars Engagement Fellow

Josh is excited to serve as a mentor and leader in his community this year as the Valley Scholars Engagement Fellow. He is from Salem and received a BA in Political Science and BS in Economics from JMU in 2018. As an undergraduate student, he served as a Student Educator with Ethical Reasoning in Action and as a proud member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity.

Josh has joined a team that is focused on mentoring and guiding young leaders and scholars in the Shenandoah Valley who have the goal of one day becoming JMU Dukes and on providing access to higher education for First Generation College Students. As the Valley Engagement Scholars Fellow, Josh will spend half of the time working on administrative tasks, such as planning programs, working with data, and writing reports for the Valley Scholars program. The other half of his time will be spent being an academic coach and mentor for high school students in Page County. He says that he is “really excited to interact with younger high school students. It took awhile for me to find academic passions in high school, so hopefully I can share in their experience as they explore new topics.”


Autumn Cox, Student Connection with Engagement

Autumn is from Richmond and graduated from JMU in 2018 as a Communications Major with an Advocacy Studies concentration with a minor in Nonprofit Studies. During undergrad she was the President of Kids Club (a service organization focused on youth in the Shenandoah valley) and was a member of The Madison Society. She was in Phi Mu Sorority where she served as a Rho Gamma, as well as a FrOG for 1787 Orientation. She also interned for the Executive Advisor to the President of JMU as well as the IIHHS (institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services), she worked in the community with America Reads at Spotswood Elementary School, and volunteered with a local Youth Council as well as the Explore Your Ideas Club through the Explore More Children's Museum. 

            Her new role as the Fellow for Student Connection with Engagement will include working with the office of Strategic Planning to create a strategic communications plan targeting undergrad students, establishing an "engagement hub" for students, and working overall on a proposal to advance student understanding of engagement beyond 2019 through focus groups, student interviews, and student interactions across campus. She is “most excited to be working with students! My undergraduate career was completely shaped by engagement on campus and in the Harrisonburg community, and I want to work towards making these opportunities available and accessible to students all across campus.” 


Olivia Anderson Call, Engagement Fellow for Food Access and Security

Livvy is the first Engagement Fellow for Food Access and Security. She is from Richmond and graduated from JMU in 2018 with a major in Dietetics. During her time in undergrad at JMU she also studied Spanish-English Translation and Interpretation, as well as Italian. She stayed very involved as an undergrad student as a member of the JMU club cross-country and track team for several years, and as a participant in the student organizations Food For Thought and GIVE Volunteers.  Her passions led her to co-founder and student leader of the Campus Kitchen at JMU, which is a food waste recovery operation that serves those who are food insecure in the community.  She also served as a leader for two Alternative Weekend Breaks to farms.  She attributes much of her personal development to the JMU Learning Centers, where she worked for three years with the Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) program as a PASS leader for General Chemistry II and Human Physiology, and then later as the Professional Development leader for the program.

            “There was also a food education/justice/sustainability thread that burgeoned during my time in undergrad. I took a semester off the fall of my sophomore year to first study sustainable farming at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, and then attend the Ballymaloe Cookery School near Cork, Ireland. The school was situated on an organic farm in southern Ireland, and introduced me to using cooking as a tool for sustainability and social change.  The following summer, I also studied food politics at the Morven Summer Institute through the University of Virginia.  My junior year, I was also involved with the inaugural cohort of the Creative Fellows, and invested time in interdisciplinary collaboration and identify key areas of the Harrisonburg agricultural community with which JMU might engage.  My senior year, I also began teaching after school cooking classes for underprivileged students of Harrisonburg High School through On The Road Collaborative.  To wrap up my undergrad experience, the spring of my senior year I received a Student Engagement Mini-Grant to host a sustainable and inclusive community meal that engaged JMU with the community.  I brought together community organizers and local farmers to speak, and provided a free and accessible meal to ~120 university and community members. The meal almost exclusively used local, seasonal ingredients from many local farms and from the Friendly City Food Co-op.”

            Stepping into her new role, Livvy will be assessing food insecurity on campus through various means.  She plans to bring together JMU students, faculty and staff invested in this issue, and to be involved in establishing campus resources to address food insecurity based on identified needs.  Additionally, she will aid in strengthening the operations and community partnerships of the Campus Kitchen at JMU.  Another aspect of her position will be to support the local community organizations that are currently addressing food insecurity, and to represent JMU as a resource to support their efforts.  She will be working out of the Community Service-Learning office, and is excited to deepen her understanding of broader social justice issues and community organizing through the lens of food.


Tyler Stanley, Montpelier Engagement Fellow

Tyler Stanley is excited to be serving as the Montpelier Engagement Fellow for the 2018-2019 year. He is from Chesterfield, VA, and graduated from JMU in 2018 with a major in History with a Public History concentration and minors in European Studies and Business German. While in undergrad, he was a member of the Madison Historians and as a DJ at WXJM radio station from 2014 to 2016. He was recognized as an inductee of both Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Alpha in 2017 and was an active member of Phi Alpha Theta from 2016 to 2018 (serving as a presenter at the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial National Conference in January of 2018).

As the Montpelier Engagement Fellow, his fellowship will require him to wear many hats. He will be hard at work assisting in Montpelier's museum programs and collaborating with the Montpelier Communications Department and the Center for the Constitution to coordinate recording projects including Scholar Talks and Your Weekly Constitutional radio shows. He is excited not only to begin his career in public history, but also to serve the greater community as an engaged historian. He also looks forward to building lasting relationships with his fellow Dukes!


Shelby Taraba, Fellow for Civic Engagement

Shelby Taraba is from Williamsburg and just recently graduated from James Madison University in May 2018 with a major in Political Science and a double minor in Political Communication and Women's and Gender Studies. While her formal academia was focused on various dimensions of political science, Shelby also served as the President of Astronomy Club and an employee of the John C. Wells Planetarium. With this eclecticism in mind, Shelby hopes to apply what she's learned throughout her undergraduate career to help build the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement. 

As the Engagement Fellow for the James Madison Center, Shelby will be focused on the student facing programming associated with Dukes Vote in effort to get students more civically engaged on campus and within the Harrisonburg Community. Shelby is excited to pursue a graduate degree in the near future in either Data Science or Public Policy Administration and she hopes that this fellowship position will better prepare her for continued education by providing the experience necessary to move forward.  


Olivia Stephens, Engagement Fellow in the Office of the President

This year, Liv Stephens is stepping into the new Engagement Fellowship in the President’s Office with a passion and enthusiasm for serving the James Madison University community. Liv is from Virginia Beach and graduated from JMU in 2018 with a B.S. in communication studies with an advocacy concentration and a minor in political science, cum laude. While in undergrad, Liv stayed busy serving as a JMU Police Cadet, a Vice President for Madison Equality, a member of the Student Government Association Diversity Ad Hoc Committee, a member of the Gender and Work Research Collective, and as a goalie for the Women’s Water Polo Team. During her undergraduate years Liv also worked as a Huber Connection shadow for the Valley AIDS Network, an intern for Whittington Law, a research intern at Media Matters for America, and as a Business Development intern for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer &Feld in Washington, DC. 

In her new role as the Engagement Fellow in the office of the President, Liv will be the boots on the ground supporting President Alger’s key strategic goals and university engagement initiatives. She is most excited to contribute to making JMU the national model for an engaged university, and looks forward to fostering a campus environment that is ripe with active citizens and empowered community members. With the right education and resources, Liv believes that all JMU students can embody James Madison’s vision of an American populace that arms itself against tyranny and oppression through education and engagement.


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