Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reynolds Honor Student Ryan Lingo Volunteers at NASA Event

Ryan Lingo has a goal, but he isn’t waiting for that goal to materialize. He is going after it, one volunteer opportunity at a time. Ryan’s goal is this: he wants to work for NASA when he graduates from college. So right now, whether it’s serving as an Advocate at the annual Aerospace Day Conference (February 2018) or being a Student Coordinator at NASA’s International Space Station Downlink Event (July 2018), Ryan will be there. 

“Being a part of an event like this is truly a privilege, and one of the primary reasons why I want to work for NASA once I graduate from college.” The NASA Langley Research Center’s International Space Station (ISS) Downlink Event, held at the Virginia Air & Space Museum, was an opportunity for students to speak with an astronaut onboard the ISS in real time through a video chat. For this event astronaut Alex Gerst from the European Space Agency (ESA) spoke to the students and answered questions. After the downlink, students had the opportunity to explore the museum, meet with First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam, and speak with NASA experts about the ISS and NASA’s role in future space exploration. 

Ryan’s roll at this event was to coordinate the groups of students, getting their lunches and moving them from their time with Gerst to the museum and answering their questions about NASA and space. He also helped with the NASA legislative delegation. “Questions from the students,” Ryan said, “ranged from “are you an astronaut?” to “how do telescopes work, and how far can you see into space with one?” Every event is a learning experience.

“The skills I have acquired through the Reynolds Honors program, such as communication and research skills, helped me be the best chaperone and mentor for all of the children I worked with.” Ryan also pointed out that had he not had the strong networking skills he honed by participating in the Honors program the NASA Education Specialists likely would not have chosen him to help with this event.

Ryan, we are proud of your persistence and look forward to the day when you can reach your goal and maybe even reach outer space!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Honors Students' Research Symposium

Second row: Mary Fishwick, Grace Swal, Stephanie Cull, and Charles Raum
Front row: Sarah Brown, Dr. Gale D'Andrea, Donald Cooper

Mental health issues are increasingly common on college campuses, but can be overlooked amidst the normal stress of work and classes. Focusing on this growing concern, Honors students in Professor Gayle D’Andrea’s Honors Sociology 200 class spent the semester working on research about mental health and substance abuse issues in the community college population, specifically at Reynolds Community College. The students collaborated with Professor D’Andrea to compile research for a literature review, create a survey, gather and interpret data, and begin to implement much needed changes at the college. On Friday April 6, 2018, three of these Honors students, Donald Cooper, Stephanie Cull, and Grace Swal were invited to present their research at the Annual Reynolds Faculty Research Symposium. The students presented alongside Professor D’Andrea and Dr. Mimi Getachew, discussing the need for this research, research methods, findings, and future plans. One student presenter described the opportunity to give a professional presentation “quite an incredible experience.”

Donald Cooper began by discussing the need for mental health research aimed at students, he pointed out that current research pertains mainly to four-year universities, not the community college population. He also talked about the prevalence of the issues of mental health and substance abuse in this population. Next, Grace Swal discussed the methodology behind the research. She spoke about how the sample size was determined, as well as the process for creating of the survey questions. Finally, Stephanie Cull highlighted some of the pertinent findings from the research. Researchers focused on the prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders in Reynolds students along with the startling statistics on students who are prescribed medication for these issues but refrain from taking them. Another frightening statistic discovered in the findings was that one in ten current Reynolds students have thought about, tried, or made a plan to commit suicide within the past twelve months. This data was particularly alarming to the researchers. After the student portion, Dr. Getachew discussed possible future plans to implement at Reynolds to address the serious needs in these areas. 

Not only has this group of staff and students worked to pinpoint the current issues at Reynolds, they are planning to address these issues for the future. Under the leadership and mentoring of Professor D’Andrea, these students have been able to be a part of something much bigger than just another class and semester. Honors courses attempt to prepare students for research they will undertake in upper level courses after transfer; Professor D’Andrea’s engaging student-led research model takes this goal to a higher level, involving students in data collection and methodology. Thanks to Professor D’Andrea and Dr. Getachew, these students are actively making a difference in their community. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Reynolds Honors Students Receive Prestigious Awards

Meghan Clancy (AS, Social Science) has been selected as the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council’s Emerging Scholar of the Year. This is an unique honor bestowed on a student who has demonstrated extraordinary potential as an emerging scholar, and who embodies the scholarship, character, and ambition associated historically with honors students and the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council (VCHC).  She will receive a $500 cash award/scholarship and complimentary conference registration. Meghan will attend the Southern Regional Honors Council Conference in Northern Virginia where she will make a speech to accept this award. Meghan has also received a National Collegiate Honors Council scholarship to fund her application for a summer Partners in the Parks trip, which will take her on a NCHC faculty-led trip to National Historical sites in New York City. The Partners program is an interdisciplinary exploration of various sites. Meghan will attend along with other Honors students from 4-year programs across the country.

Michael Pittman (AS, Science) is one of only 10 students selected for a paid summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) internship at the New York State Department of Heath’s prestigious Wadsworth Center. Michael will live in Albany, New York for 10 weeks and pair with a PhD mentor in a biomedical research lab to help conduct a project focused on genetic research and in cooperation with Albany Medical Center. This internship offers invaluable lab and research experience, as well as a chance to present in a student symposium at the end of the summer.

Bryanna Mountford (AS, Science) has been selected to participate in the Theoretically Interesting Molecules Consortium REU summer program at the University of Richmond, a paid internship. Bryanna will work with Dr. Kristine Nolan, a chemistry professor at U of R. This program will allow Bryanna to conduct research in Dr. Nolan’s lab with current U of R students,  and traveling internationally to Quebec City, Canada to attend the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry from July 8th through 13th.

Reynolds Students Named Coca-Cola Scholars

Richmond, Va. (March 14, 2018) – Reynolds Community College is pleased to announce that two of its students have been selected as 2018 Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholars. James Brown and Donald Cooper were selected from more than 2,000 applicants and named as Coca-Cola Bronze Scholars. 

The Coca-Cola Academic Team recognizes high achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends beyond the classroom to benefit society. Of the more than 2,000 applicants this year only fifty students were named Bronze Scholars. To be eligible for this program, students must submit an application for the All-USA Academic Team and be selected as a nominee by their college. Donald and James were nominated by Reynolds. Their selection was based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service. Funding is provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

When asked how he felt about winning this scholarship Donald Cooper had this to say: “Ultimately, winning this scholarship has pushed me to be a better version of myself. After getting my letter that I had won the Coca-Cola Academic Team scholarship, I was of course super pumped. However, it made me reflect back to all of the time I had put into applying. I am honored that someone took a great deal of time to read about my life, my choices, and my passions. Again, it means the world to me that someone out there can see or relate to my story of self discovery and improvement, and be there to help provide for my financial needs in the next chapter of my career.”

Donald and James will be recognized at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention in Kansas City, Missouri in April. 

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”

“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “Scholarships like these are integral to the success of these students in reaching their educational and career goals.”

* * *

Serving over 19,000 students annually, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is the youngest and third largest of 23 community colleges in Virginia. The College operates three campuses serving residents in the City of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan and Louisa.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reynolds Honors Student Receives NCHC Stipend

Reynolds Community College Honors Student Meghan Clancy has been selected by the National Collegiate Honors Council to receive a stipend for one of the Council's summer fieldwork trips. The stipend will allow Meghan to join the NCHC Partners in the Parks Gateways: New York City trip held June 18 – 23, 2018.

The NCHC Partners in the Park program offers unique opportunities for collegiate honors students and faculty to visit areas of the American landscape noted for their beauty, significance and lasting value. Only a small group of honors students from around the country are selected to participate in these programs. Trips are led by an interdisciplinary group of Honors faculty, and are week-long, intensive experiential learning events featuring a series of seminars on the historical, cultural, and scientific significance of the location. During the trip students also participate in a community engaged service learning project.

Meghan was awarded one of the few available stipends based on her application. The stipend will help offset the cost of the trip. Meghan will be graduating from Reynolds in May 2018.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Reynolds Honor Student Ryan Lingo Advocates for NASA

Reynolds Honors student Ryan Lingo will serve as a NASA Advocate at the annual Aerospace Day Conference held at the Richmond State Capitol during the General Assembly session. The daylong event this year takes place on Wednesday, February 7. Organizations taking part in the event are Virginia Aviation Business Association (VABA) and the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority along with the NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The conference is intended to show Virginia’s state legislature how Aerospace is benefitting the state financially, socially, politically and educationally.

As an Advocate during the Aerospace Day Conference Ryan will visit delegates, senators, congressmen and others in attendance to demonstrate how NASA and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) have shaped his life and why these institutions are vital assets to the state.
Ryan is finishing his first year at Reynolds and is seeking a degree in Business Administration and Management. He was accepted in to the Honors Program for the 2018 Spring Semester. He is also an active member of the Boy Scouts of America with the following designations: Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout), Order of the Arrow (The Boy Scouts’ Honor Society), and the National Eagle Scout Association. Over the past few years Ryan has periodically worked with NASA Langley and VSGC during events such as Aerospace Day. He has been a volunteer at the Science Museum of Virginia for four years where he leads exhibits and activities for events such as the museum’s Space Night.

Monday, December 11, 2017

“I Pay Attention”

Jeremiah Meadows says, “I pay attention”. His smile is warm, his manner attentive, and there is not a shred of doubt he is paying attention, processing, thinking and planning. When asked if he would be willing to come back to Reynolds in May to talk about his experience at VCU where he is headed in January, he pulls out his phone and sets up a calendar reminder. Impressive.

Jeremiah admittedly wasn’t always passionate about academics. He was home schooled and didn’t get a good perspective on the value of education until later when he began exploring his own ideas and interests. Jeremiah has been on his own financially since he turned 20.

Jeremiah’s first real classroom experience came at Reynolds. For a student who had struggled for years to learn independently, to solve his own problems and answer his own questions without the benefit of teachers, coming in to a welcoming environment that offered a community of learners was the spark that set his love of learning on fire. He said, “Now I enter every class ready to learn and engaged. Whether or not the subject is directly related to my studies [biology!] doesn’t matter, I can always take away a lesson.”

Jeremiah, like many of the Honors Students, said he delayed going to college until he knew what he wanted to do. He needed a goal. Instead of heading to college – the easier path that his parents supported – he went to work. He had been working since age 14 so the choice seemed clear. By the time he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life he had worked in a hardware store, for an answering service, as a server at a resort, and as a 911 dispatcher. Currently he works 20 hours each week for Chesterfield County in addition to carrying a course load of 12 or 13 credit hours. 10 of those credit hours are Honors Courses. Again, impressive.

Now that it’s time to leave Reynolds, Jeremiah is reluctant to go. “My experience at Reynolds has been so incredible. The professors have made a huge difference. I am so grateful for the relationships I have made with them. They have always been willing to help and they do a fantastic job of teaching. What I have learned here is so valuable. Not just what is in the textbooks, but for example, Professor Teresa Creech’s class discussion format sharpened my analytical skills and Professor Robert Tyson opened my eyes to my path in life. Then there is the community of learners who inspired me, kept me on track, and became my friends. It’s very hard to leave these relationships.”
To any student thinking about coming to Reynolds, Jeremiah had this to say: “Reynolds is a very welcoming environment. It’s not judgmental. Students are free to be themselves, to explore and express ideas. There is much less pressure. Reynolds is a smart choice for many reasons, certainly financially, but more important, it is a smart choice academically.”

Best of luck to you, Jeremiah. Your professors and fellow students are going to miss you terribly, but no doubt they will be glad they knew you.

Jeremiah Meadows graduates from Reynolds in December as an Honors Scholar. The Honors Scholar designation means Jeremiah has completed the full Honors curriculum and is eligible, per Reynolds transfer agreements, for direct admission to VCU or JMU Honors College.

Earlier this semester, when asked about his future plans, Jeremiah had this to say: “My transfer to VCU this spring (2018) is underway, where I will double-major in Political Science and Philosophy. After that, my course could change or divert. Currently, I wish to attend Harvard Law School after I receive my baccalaureate degree. However, I could find myself on an academic path toward a deeper pursuit of philosophical study where I may go to graduate school for the discipline. My primary goal for my future career is to work toward eliminating the stark socioeconomic inequality that exists both inside and outside of the United States.”

Reynolds Honor Student Ryan Lingo Volunteers at NASA Event Ryan Lingo has a goal, but he isn’t waiting for that goal to materialize. H...