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Mar 7, 2016

Communication Center Supports JMU Valley Scholars

picture of the JMU Valley Scholar participants For those of you who think the JMU Communication Center is just about helping you earn great grades on your speech assignments, I am here to tell you that we do so much more. Most importantly, we use our skills and experience as tutors to work with the JMU Valley Scholars program. This program was started last fall by President Alger to reach out to the regional population that will become first generation college graduates. The students are middle and high school students from different counties in the area. This initiative has been extremely successful in reaching students and making a difference in our community by giving students access to JMU’s campuses and resources. This is important, as most of the students would not have access to these trips or resources without the program.

The Communication Center Tutors have worked with the students multiple times of the past two years, and each experience has been equally rewarding. In the fall of 2014, the tutors, along with the College of Business, helped the scholars develop business and critical thinking skills. The scholars gathered information from Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market vendors and then as groups developed solutions to those issues. These groups were composed of students from different schools, which allowed the scholars to make friends and forced them to work with different personalities.

picture of communication center tutor working with valley scholar studentsThe tutors also worked with the scholars during the summer during a 3-day summer camp. At the camp two of our tutors, Chris Horton and Ellie Miller, worked to help the scholars with a number of academic and social skills. The scholars took trips to the JMU Arboretum, East Campus Library, First Tee of Harrisonburg, and the JMU Team Challenge Course. In all of these places they learned many interesting facts about the campus, ranging from the history of the arboretum to how to use the library. Tutors helped the scholars develop these skills and learn this information through mentor groups where tutors were able to get to know the scholars personally. Ellie Miller says "I really enjoyed working with the Valley Scholars. Not only does the group do an awesome job preparing these kids for their future, they are also dedicated to making sure they enjoy themselves and really prosper as individuals. We spent a lot of time teaching them skills that will benefit for the rest of their lives. I am very excited for all of the futures these children will have because of the Valley Scholars, and even more excited to work with them again."

The next project the Communication Center will be working on with the Valley Scholars is an international speech-writing and debate contest. For this, our tutors will help the students develop and present a speech discussing the following resolution: An overriding ethical obligation to protect and preserve extraterrestrial microbial life and ecosystems should be incorporated into international law.

picture of communication center tutor working with valley scholar studentsThe competition offers a fantastic award for being among the top students in the nation and world. The students are very excited to begin researching such an interesting topic. Working with the students, our tutors will help the students in every stage of the process. Following the importance of education that the Valley Scholars Program promotes, our tutors will help the students learn sustainable skills. Starting with research and then concluding with speech presentation skills, the students will learn a wide array of speech techniques that will help them in the competition, and also in life.








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