Service-learning highlighted in CELEBRATE! Week forum

Posters and presentations gave students involved in service-learning and the Civic Engagement Scholars program an opportunity to share details of their work.

Civic Engagement Scholars shared their work April 25 during a poster session in Oaks 212.
Elon University students whose classroom projects reach beyond campus and into surrounding communities spoke about their experiences Thursday during a CELEBRATE! Week event dedicated to service-learning and civic engagement.

A dozen Civic Engagement Scholars shared outcomes of their efforts in a midday poster session in Oaks 212. Three presentations followed that session where service-learning students recounted their work collecting stories about welfare recipients in the local community; applying “bio-psycho-social” models through service-learning in Kentucky; and writing strategic communications materials for a community partner.

“Our students and mentors are doing phenomenal work and it’s important to celebrate that,” said Associate Professor Sharon Hodge, the Kernodle Service-Learning Faculty Development Fellow. “This is an opportunity to showcase what they’re doing with service-learning and civic engagement.”

Poster session and presentations during CELEBRATE! Week also help students prepare for national conferences, Hodge said. They require students to think strategically about the best way to synthesize material for educating others.

Participants said the forum was an effective way to display the positive outcomes of their work.

Freshman Sawyer Lynn talks with Rich D'Amato, the senior faculty fellow of engineering, about his service-learning project that introduced local children in an academically gifted program to basic concepts in engineering.
“We wanted to show the public what we’re doing for these students,” said Sawyer Lynn, a freshman from Cape Cod, Mass., who together with Jonathan Howar were lead facilitators of a mentoring program in an elementary school where Elon students introduced engineering concepts to academically gifted children. The program itself was led by Assitant Professor Sirena Hargrove-Leak. “Our idea was to instill an interest in engineering while they’re young. … The job needs right now are definitely in engineering and the sciences.”

For Elon senior Elizabeth Nerich, a journalism major and Civic Engagement Scholar who studied ridership of the university’s downtown BioBus service loop, taking part in the Civic Engagement Scholars program – and seeing how her work might be used to further connect the university with its surrounding communities – enhanced her educational experience.

“It’s important to reevaluate Elon’s great programs after a certain period to see if they’re still meeting needs,” Nerich said. “And I love mass transit. Being from New York, I’m so used to it.”


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