Valley Scholars Engagement Fellow
Contact Info

Melody Hackett

Melody recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, as well as a minor in Humanitarian Affairs. She grew up in northern Virginia, but fell in love with the Harrisonburg community and area when she came to JMU. She has lived here full time ever since! Service has always been an impactful part of her life, and she served with both SafeRides and the Alternative Break Program as an undergrad. She is thrilled to be part of the Engagement Fellow program and looks forward to a year of service in Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley. As a first-generation college student, she is  "honored to be working with the Valley Scholars program to support students as they work toward their JMU education."

Interested in Applying to this Fellowship Position?

JMU Presidential Engagement Fellows will: Represent the University and are held to the highest standards of performance and behavior. They should seek to provide quality service in their placements while growing both personally and professionally. Their past experience at James Madison University should inform their daily work as they seek to help this community grow and improve every day. They will serve as part of a cohort of Fellows dedicated to the Fellowship and James Madison University. They will also balance their commitment to the Program with the needs of their placement and the work needed for each to be successful.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the James Madison University Mission and Vision and a sense of responsibility and obligation within the community and organization they serve.
  • Approach complex problems through the practice of interpersonal skills that promote teamwork and acceptance of diversity of thought regarding goals and priorities.
  • 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.

Duties and Responsibilities

In addition to meeting the specific job description/expectations for the respective department, the Fellow will:

  • Exceed expectations within their placement and serve the JMU community through their 25 hours average per week in that role.
  • Work in their role for the time period of August 15 – May 15;
  • Engage in an average of 4 hours of weekly program activities:
  • Participate in all professional development activities organized by the program;
  • Attend bi-weekly program staff meetings;
  • Represent the university at designated events and programs and serve as an ambassador for the university; and
  • Adhere to all JMU policies for employees; and
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

The Position:

Each day is a little different for the Valley Scholars fellow. Two days per week Melody is in the office helping plan programs for Valley Scholars students, updating reports, and doing other administrative tasks. The other days of the week are spent primarily at partner schools throughout the region, either mentoring 8th grade students or serving as an academic coach for 9th through 12th grade students.

For partner schools, the fellow will prepare a brief lesson about extracurricular skills, check grades, and help with homework. The fellow is responsible for managing approximately 25 middle and high school studentswork at partner schools alongside a Valley Scholars Social Work Intern. They will work together to plan lessons and to visit schools each week. Additional duties include helping to plan and execute program days on campus and working as a member of a team with Valley Scholars GAs and Staff. Being able to accommodate each student's changing needs with equal diligence is paramount. Good communication and organization are key. The fellow will also assist with various service and activity days for the scholars hosted at JMU and with the continued assessment of the program for efficacy and impact.

The Valley Scholars Engagement Fellow Must:

  • Have event planning skills.
  • Be patient, flexible, and positive.
  • Serve as a role model for their students and other students within the program.
  • Demonstrate our University's values and mission.
  • Be comfortable working with and mentoring middle-high school students.
  • Have excellent time management skills and the ability to manage multiple projects at once.

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