Honors College Monthly Newsletter: March 2020

Spring Is in the Air!

Spring is here and we are in the homestretch of this academic year. What a year it's been! We have persevered through challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and now look forward to an optimistic future. We have had wonderful engagement opportunities for our students this semester and we are excited to welcome the Class of 2025 to campus in the fall. Sending well wishes to all of you as we finish out this semester strong.

Giving Day-March 23, 2021

Through thick and thin, Dukes are always there for each other, lending a helping hand when needed. Once a year, we celebrate this spirit of generosity on a day like no other in a special drive to support students. This year, as we look toward a brighter tomorrow, we call on Dukes everywhere to come together for JMU Giving Day.

The Honors Team invites you to participate and make a difference in the lives of our students on Giving Day. Every dollar raised will provide unique learning, internship and travel opportunities for Honors students. Additionally, funds raised on Giving Day help students in financial need for tuition and books!

Can we count on your support on Giving Day to help students like Reagan? Tag us in your social media posts (#jmu honors, #jmugivingday, #givetohonors). We are so excited to announce that we had 100% participation with our Honors Advisory Council and that has already unlocked $1,500 in funds for our students! Additionally, if we reach 200 unique gift donors Dr. Bradley R. Newcomer has pledged an additional $1,000 to support our students! Thanks for showing up for our students and helping Dukes Keep Going!

Have you been following us on social to see whether the Starship Bot can make it to Hillcrest in time for Giving Day? If not, check it out now!

Student Engagement

This semester the Honors College focused on unique ways we could engage our students while also practicing safe social distancing. The Honors team held numerous events to encourage participation whether in-person or virtually.

Snowflakes and Friends student event.

In January we held a Snowflakes and friends event. We invited students to take a decorate snowflake ornaments and share their designs. The winning entry was created by Erin Davisson ('23).

I LOVE Honors week event.

In February we had an I HEART Honors Week. We asked students to fill out hearts with why they LOVE JMU or Honors. We then decorated the windows of Hillcrest for all to see and feel the love. We also held a SURPRISE event: Chicken Nugget Thursday, partnering with JMU Dining Services. Students were surprised with chicken nuggets and FREE shirts to the first 100 who attended. Needless to say this event was a HIT and its probably going to become an annual favorite.

Chicken Nugget Thursday was a HIT!

Due to the pandemic students weren't provided the traditional spring break week so the Honors team created a Spring Break at Hillcrest week. The week was full of events engaging students such as pin design creations, a photo contest, Zooms around the world and drop-in events daily at Hillcrest along with a sampling of international food and candy. Read more on Dr. Davis' weebly site. Congratulations to all our prize winners and thanks for participating!

  • Photo Contest: Ashlyn Campbell ('23)
  • Pin Design Winner: Sara Mudd ('24)
  • Pin Design Winner: Dagmawi Mamo ('23)
  • Pin Design Winner: Brendan Dunne ('24)
  • Pin Design Winner: Brooke Hepstintall ('23)
  • Zoom Attendance Winner: Azait Imtiaz ('23)
Spring Break 2021 at Hillcrest.

Enjoy our Zooms around the world with Alina Chavez-MexicoNelson Girinshuti-Rwanda, Will Scott-China and Katie van den Berk-Netherlands. You can also enjoy the Fulbright info session with Dr. Meredith Malburne-Wade, Director of Fellowships and Cierra Brenna-Fulbright Recipient and Honors Alumna.

We were also excited to host a virtual alumni spotlight event with Erin Rettig ('96) in February. Erin is the stage engineer for the Newman Scoring Stage on the Fox Lot in Los Angeles. You can learn more about his career and the role that the Honors College played for his success on YouTube. Toolbox Workshops continued in March with a session about critical reflection presented by Josh Shulruff, Assistant Director in the Office of Community Service-Learning. You can check out his words of wisdom on our Facebook page.

Overall, the spring semester has been filled with unique opportunities that we hope the students have enjoyed! We look forward to providing more unique and interactive opportunities to students the remainder of this semester!

Student presenting at the 2019 Symposium. Photo taken prior to COVID-19.

Spring Symposium

The Honors Symposium is an opportunity for our students to showcase their individual research and creative projects, including Capstone theses, Honors seminar scholarship, ePortfolios, practicum projects, and more. The spring Symposium will be hosted in a hybrid format with both in-person and synchronous virtual components on Friday, April 23, 2021. If you are on campus, you are encouraged to check out the in-person Symposium in the Highlands Room of Festival. Drop-in any time between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. Attendees will be granted access to the Highlands Room individually or in small groups to maintain capacity limits as per JMU guidelines. No registration is necessary to attend the Symposium in person.

You are additionally encouraged to attend the virtual Symposium Roundtable discussion on April 23 at 4:00 via Zoom. Attendees will have an opportunity to view poster images and recordings in advance and to submit questions/feedback to our students. The Symposium Roundtable will allow our students the chance to respond to your questions. Please RSVP for the Symposium Roundtable. The Roundtable will be live-streamed on the Honors College Facebook page.

Medallion Presentation

The Honors College will be hosting small in-person medallion presentations for the Class of 2021 graduates. We realize this year has been a challenge and due to that we wanted to provide an opportunity for families to celebrate the success of their students hard work and determination. The presentation dates will be May 1st OR May 2nd.

All graduates have been sent a formal invitation, with an RSVP deadline of Friday, April 9. We realize this isn't the preferred option, but this is the next best thing. We ask that all guests who attend please adhere to all COVID regulations and encourage your students to respond as soon as possible as the registration dates/times are first come-first serve.

Additionally, this year we are offering a unique way for family members, friends, classmates, and professors, who are unable to attend, to interact with the graduates. The Honors College will be using FullMeasure-a mobile-first experience. FullMeasure will allow guests to post messages on the Honors College social wall and students to virtually capture themselves wearing their cap and medallion through social filters. It is a fun way to congratulate the students and we hope you will participate. Family and friends can join the fun by texting JMUhonors to 580-52. Students can participate by texting JMUhonors21 to 580-52.

Medallion Presentation Facebook Live

The Honors College Dean, Associate Deanm and Commencement Coordinator will be hosting a Facebook Live on Wednesday, March 31 from 5-6 pm. This will be a time for families and graduates to ask any questions about our upcoming presentations. We will share with you additional information about COVID regulations and plans to make this event special for all our students. Please join us!

Class of 2021 Virtual Celebration

The Honors College will also be hosting a virtual celebration of all graduates on Saturday, May 8 at 2 pm on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). We will showcase the students with a video montage of the Medallion Presentations and individual photos of each student. We encourage you to participate and post message of congratulations using #jmuhonors2021 or #jmugrad21.

Sierra Orr ('20) performs Walls: An American Story, a new work about an interracial couple that premiered at JMU.

Students in the News

Steven Davic ('22) is one of seven finalists from Virginia for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Willis Landon (’20) cultivates self-expression, cooperation, and life skills in young people with community-based music education.

Sierra Orr (’20) teaches that, through theatre and history, we have the power to build a better world

Kearney Quillen ('22) brings together interests in collective responsibility, political philosophy, and economic justice in self-designed curriculum.

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JMU Honors College: jmu.edu/honors