Senior Shelby Wiltz Recipient of Leadership Scholarship
Every year, James Madison University awards one rising senior the Raymond C. Dingledine, Sr., Leadership Scholarship based on academic excellence and leadership. In 2012, the recipient of this prestigious award was Shelby Wiltz. Wiltz, who is majoring in justice studies, with a concentration in social justice, and minoring in both creative writing and women’s and gender studies, continues to make a remarkable impact at JMU, in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.
Within the JMU community, Wiltz teaches a course on diversity through the JMJ Teach Program; serves as the Educational Coordinator in Madison Equality, JMU’s student lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organization; volunteers for JMU’s LGBT & Ally Education Program and; works in the Office of Judicial Affairs as a Civic Learning Program Assistant. Wiltz uses her role as an educator to speak authoritatively, compassionately and effectively about public policy issues that affect marginalized populations in the JMU community and at large.
In the Shenandoah Valley, Wiltz aims to create a more inclusive, just environment through her work as an intern. Wiltz has helped provide a safe, youth-centered, confidential support space for LGBTQ youth through aiding in the creation of the Shenandoah Valley YES! Alliance. In addition, she has used her knowledge and leadership skills in interning for both the Harrisonburg Reentry Council and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute’s 2013 Congressional Internship Program in Washington, DC.
As an intern with the Harrisonburg Reentry Council, which provides assistance on housing, restoration of civil rights, and employment assistance, Wiltz worked alongside local community members, professors, parole officers, attorneys, social services professionals and religious organizations on a committee dedicated to assisting formerly incarcerated individuals in their transition from prison to civilian life.
While involved with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute’s 2013 Congressional Internship Program, Wiltz worked with House of Representatives member Gwen Moore on a variety of policy issues, most notably the reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. Wiltz was responsible for assisting congressional staff in conducting research, creating fact sheets, and writing memos leading up the introduction of the bill.
The Raymond C. Dingledine, Sr., Leadership Scholarship was not Wiltz’s only award. In the spring of 2013, she was awarded the JMU Diversity Enhancement Award and the JMU Woman of Distinction Award. Additionally, in the fall of 2013, Wiltz was awarded the Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award for Emerging Activist, a national award given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to LGBT communities. In every role Wiltz assumes, she continues to make a difference at JMU and in society.