James Madison University

Social Work Student Receives NCORE Scholarship

By: Dina Manco
Posted: August 31, 2015

PHOTO:Rashema Jefferson

Rashema Jefferson (’15) has been chosen as a Student Scholar for the Annual National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE). This award by NCORE’s founder, the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies, allows her to attend the May conference on racial and ethnic change in higher education. The scholarship enables her to attend with conference fees waived. Professor David Owusu-Ansah assists in funding the costs NCORE does not cover. Jefferson is the second consecutive JMU student to be named a NCORE Student Scholar; Ha Tang, (Social Work) was last year’s recipient.

After attending the 2014 conference, Jefferson was inspired to apply for the scholarship to attend this year’s event. For the application, she listed Dr. B.J. Bryson and Social Work Department Head, Dr. Lisa McGuire as faculty references. She was one of about 30 students to be chosen nationally. Jefferson’s leadership experience was a contributing factor in her selection. She holds positions as a student representative for the Social Work Advisory Group (SWAG) and program adviser for Confidence. Understanding. Respect. Learning. Support (CURLS). She is also former Vice President of the JMU Social Work Organization (SWO).

Bryson states Jefferson is an excellent student and person. She adds, “The university sends faculty and staff to this fabulous conference, and this is one of the pay offs where students have been included. It is great when folks can find their path to be more ‘them.’”

Jefferson is eager to attend the conference for the second year along with other JMU social work students. Last year, two of Jefferson’s favorite events were workshops entitled “Black Women, White Campus: Students Living through Invisibility” and “The Power of Self-Definition: Networking as a Woman of Color.”

“NCORE rekindled a flame in me.” Jefferson comments. “The atmosphere of NCORE was very welcoming because it promoted open discussions, critical dialogues, and exchange of information about enhancing social development, education, positive communication, and cross-cultural understanding in culturally diverse settings.”

Jefferson says the JMU Social Work Department has supported her personal as well as professional growth and development. In the fall, Jefferson will be enrolling in Howard University’s Master of Social Work Program. After completing her education, she looks forward to applying her social work skills in the criminal justice field.