October 2, 2019
For more information, contact: Su Ofe, (334) 833-4515; email@example.com
Huntingdon Presidential Fellows Carve a New Path
Montgomery, Ala.—Intellectual curiosity fueled by active learning form the core directives for Huntingdon’s newest group of scholars: the Presidential Fellows. Selected from applicants demonstrating high school grade point averages of 3.0 or better and ACT composites of at least 23, 25 Presidential Fellows entered in fall 2019, each involved in one of seven academic teams: Ability First; Academic Mentoring; Forensics/Debate; Media Production; Sports Marketing; Technology; or Undergraduate Research. Engagement through student life programming, service, and completing a Capstone Project are among other commitments. In turn, Fellows flourish in the art of learning while developing their skills, experience, and resumes for life after college.
The group arrived early for fall semester, spending a day on retreat bonding with each other and with their team coaches (faculty members) and six sophomore peer mentors. Periodic meetings with program director Leanne Mallory Carroll ’05 for sessions on time management, personality and aptitude testing, college involvement, and other topics stoke student success.
“The work of the Presidential Fellows program reminds me of Proverbs 27:17,” says mentor Anna Nutting ’22 of Montgomery. “‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ Each Fellow is offered a niche for developing his or her talents, which in turn strengthens our community. When they are not participating on their teams, they immerse themselves in all facets of the campus. It is true that you get what you give: as Huntingdon provides the outlets, the Fellows return the favor as they shine in the role of true leaders.”
“The [Presidential Fellows] program is outstanding and is enhancing the professional and personal skills of the students in their first year of College,” says Dr. Maureen Kendrick Murphy ’78, professor of chemistry. Murphy and associate professor John Berch ’98 coach the research team, which is analyzing metal content in exotic orchids. “They made some discoveries that have never been reported in the research literature,” says Murphy, who plans for Fellows to present their work at a professional conference in spring 2020.
Graycee Williams ’23, from Hope Hull, Ala., is discerning a career in biology and, though part of the research team, had no prior laboratory experience. “I’ve learned how to safely navigate a lab and all its instruments and how to measure each chemical.”
Christopher Mayer ’23, a political science major from Bennington, Vt., chose the Forensics/Debate Team because of his desire for a career in law and politics. The team requires students to stay up-to-date on current issues and to formulate speeches based on ways to solve those issues. “Public speaking, critical thinking, academic writing, and professional research skills are critical for being successful on our team,” says Mayer. “[The PF] program benefits the college because [it is based on] positive educational work. It also betters the students because we are able to do more with our interests.” The Forensics/Debate team competed in their first tournament, the Golden Eagle Speak Up Swing at Tennessee Technological University, last week, receiving high rankings and praise from judges. Competitions are scheduled for October and November, as well.
In some cases, Fellows are performing work equivalent to staff positions for the College. Jacob Holston ’23 serves as a technology fellow and was responsible for readying an electronic attendance system as fall classes began, requiring the installation of imaging devices, wiring buildings, testing, and troubleshooting.
Sophomore mentors provide guidance and friendship to the Fellows and say they’re also benefiting from the program. “The transition into college is very exciting, but can also be a scary, stressful time,” says mentor Amelia Blair ’22 of Montgomery. “We are there to provide a built-in community [as well as] advice from people who were just in their shoes last year. We attend the PF meetings, share meals in the dining hall, share stories of our first year at Huntingdon, provide life advice and study tips, and even take spontaneous trips to get milkshakes!”
“I have grown in my leadership skills by being a mentor,” says Colby Hutson ’22 of Cullman, Alabama. “I love knowing I am making an impact in someone’s life and always welcome the opportunity to help make someone feel at home.”
“The Fellows program has been an amazing addition to the Huntingdon College family and I can already see the impact they have made just in the past month,” says Blair. “They have been eager to serve others, to be involved, and to challenge themselves academically. They have offered their gifts and talents for the benefit of our school and have done it with grateful hearts.”
Because of the time commitment Fellows demands, participation is reserved for those who are not part of an athletic team, cheerleading, or band—but Fellows have a team of their own, forming camaraderie through a common goal. Kurt Kraft ’23, a communication studies major and music minor from Enterprise, Ala., is participating in the Media Production team. “I find a new reason to enjoy my time here each and every day,” says Kraft. “The school is great, the people are greater, and the atmosphere is like no other.”
The first application deadline for the group of Presidential Fellows entering in the fall of 2020 is December 1.
Huntingdon College embraces students’ development and growth in faith, wisdom, and service, providing a solid foundation that enables graduates to respond to the needs of today’s complex world.
Suellen (Su) Ofe
for Marketing and Communications
1500 E. Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106
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