Center for Civic Engagement Fellow

Contact Info

Shelby Taraba

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.  


The Position:

As the Engagement Fellow for the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, Shelby’s tasks and duties are ever-changing but always revolve around the facilitation of Dukes Vote. Dukes Vote provides opportunities to build capacity, knowledge, skills, and values that prepare students for an active and informed role in democracy. It is a nonpartisan initiative that collaborates with academic and student affairs, community partners, and national organizations to advance JMU's civic mission.


Daily tasks and responsibilities that have remained consistent throughout the fellowship position are: planning and hosting events, meeting with important campus and community stakeholders, actively seeking collaboration from student organizations as well as community partners, reporting on events or programming on our Dukes Vote Blog, and working with national organizations supporting civic engagement in higher education. Some days the fellow is searching through the Library of Congress and the National Archives for primary documents to frame our events and inform participants, while other days the fellow is a graphic designer tapping into a new world of PR to heighten attendance and engagement for our programming.


The Engagement Fellow for the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement must:

  • Be diligent, adaptable, hardworking, and detail oriented.
  • Have commitment to non-partisanship when representing JMU and the Madison Center.
  • Appreciation of diversity in its many forms as an asset to civic learning and engagement
  • Be passionate about civic learning and engagement.
  • Be open-minded.
  • Be well-connected on campus and in Harrisonburg.
  • Strike a balance between independent and collaborative.
  • Have experience with social media management.

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