Learn about updates to some of Elon College’s signature programs during the 2019-20 academic year, as well as our new scholars programs and minors.

Elon College Fellows

Building on the success of the 2018 introduction of the Big Cat Colloquium for first-year Elon College Fellows, the program again brought 58 new fellows to the Conservators Center in Caswell County in September. The center houses large carnivores and uses a multi-disciplinary approach to educate the public about wildlife and conservation. Fellows explored the use of the arts and sciences there as part of COR 110: The Global Experience. During Winter Term, the fellows traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of ECF 111: Paths of Inquiry.

Sophomore and junior fellows participated in the annual fall poster session, with juniors unveiling the research topics they will pursue with mentors through their senior year. Sophomores just beginning to explore methodology and intensive scholarly research discussed the process with junior fellows.

Forty-two senior fellows graduated in the Class of 2020 after completing and presenting their research. Many of their projects were selected for undergraduate and professional conferences throughout the year, though a number were unable to attend and present their work this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, they benefited from internships, study abroad, service, leadership and undergraduate research experiences that will continue to serve them well as they embark on their journeys as Elon alumni.

Elon University Poll

The Elon University Poll released five polls in the abbreviated 2019-20 polling season:

  • A July 2019 survey of recent college graduates was developed in partnership with the Center for Engaged Learning. This study focused on high-impact experiences in college and writing skills, examining which experiences in college had the largest impact on career outcomes.
  • A November 2019 survey measured public attitudes in North Carolina about Confederate monuments and race relations.
  • In February 2020, the Elon Poll partnered with McClatchy newspapers in North Carolina to produce a survey related to top issues in the 2020 electoral landscape, with emphasis on healthcare, the economy and the political system.
  • In the early weeks of the national disruption caused by COVID-19, the Elon Poll conducted an extensive survey to understand attitudes in both North Carolina and the United States as a whole during the historic crisis.
  • Additionally, the Elon University Poll invested heavily in fall 2019 in preparation for the 2020 election cycle. This involved developing a high-quality, representative panel of North Carolina voters who could be contacted throughout the 2020 calendar year. The challenges of operating a student-staffed telephone call center during a pandemic led the Elon Poll to adapt plans toward other survey modes for fall 2020 operations.

Elon Service-Year Graduate Fellows

Six members of the Class of 2020 were selected to spend the coming year working for health, wellness and education in Alamance County in partnership with local organizations as Elon Service-Year Graduate Fellows. They are the sixth cohort of service-year graduates.

Four were named Elon-Alamance Health Partners fellows and will work with area healthcare agencies:

  • Colin Deutsch will work with the Alamance County Health Department.
  • Yasmeen Lee will work with Healthy Alamance.
  • Sydney Simmons will work with Impact Alamance, a Cone Health foundation supporting health and education for children.
  • Lily Sobalvarro will be at Alamance Regional Medical Center.

Two are Kenan Community Impact Fellows and will work with area students:

  • Sylvia Ellington and Lallo Yadeta will work with Alamance Achieves, a nonprofit focused on furthering educational success in the county.

Engineering Scholars program launches, welcomes first undergraduates

Spurred by growth in the engineering program and in anticipation of unprecedented growth in STEM education as plans for the Innovation Quad take shape, the College launched the Engineering Scholars program in 2019. Nearly 20 first-year students make up the Engineering Scholars cohort in fall 2020.

The Engineering Scholars program is designed to attract and nourish the brightest young engineers from across the country, supporting their progress as they combine multidisciplinary liberal arts and sciences with engineering skills. The Engineering Scholars program offers additional support and engagement through mentored “Grand Challenges” experiences, as well as business and entrepreneurship experiences. The program provides $4,500 annually over four years. Up to 20 scholars will be accepted in each incoming first-year class.

Public Health Scholars program will accept first incoming class in 2021

As interest around public health continues to increase, the College will launch the Public Health Scholars program for the incoming class in fall 2021. The need for highly motivated, discerning and interculturally competent medical professionals was heightened this year with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Public Health Scholars program will encourage students from underrepresented groups to pursue public health careers through increased support and opportunities within the field. Scholars will have access to professional engagement and a community of motivated and like-minded undergraduates.

Department of Computer Science introduces game design minor

Taking a multidisciplinary approach to one of the most popular and growing forms of entertainment, the Department of Computer Science began offering the game design minor in fall 2019. Faculty from Elon’s art, music and English departments and School of Communications contribute to the minor’s curriculum. The minor is open to students from all backgrounds to study, design and implement computer games. The minor includes a disciplinary sequence — Game Design, Computer Game Production and Collaborative Game Development I and II — as a foundation for roles a student might play on a game-building team. The curriculum strengthens required and universal skills of collaboration and problem-solving through a series of team-based steps in the game-design process.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages minor begins

With the goal of fostering critically engaged, effective English as a Second Language educators, the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages minor is a cross-disciplinary program designed to provide introductory preparation for teaching English to speakers of other languages. Graduates of the minor will be prepared to teach English in U.S.-based K-12 programs and adult education, as well as abroad. The five-course sequence has three foundational courses in English and education, along with a required teaching internship. Additionally, students will have options for two additional courses in language and education from a variety of departments. Service learning and engagement with community classrooms is foundational to each of the required courses. TESOL minor students will have the knowledge and techniques to be effective, culturally responsive teachers.