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Shepherd Success Academy receives $10,000 grant from Carlson Foundation

ISSUED: 19 December 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University has received a $10,000 grant from the Carlson Family Foundation that will enable the Shepherd Success Academy to provide students scholarships to purchase needed materials such as books, online resources, laptops, or tablets to use in their classes.

“It means we can help more students,” said Julia Franks, director of student success and orientation programs. “We’ve noticed that students have different needs, so we are happy to be able to use this grant money for scholarships so they can purchase the materials they need.”

“So many courses have really strong online components and access to technology is key to doing well in the class,” added Hannah Williams-McNamee, success coach.

Franks worked with Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation, to write the grant.

“I identified the Shepherd Success Academy as something that would fit the mission and the intent of the Carlson Foundation and that would personally appeal to Jim Norton, a member of the family foundation’s board of directors,” Lingenfelter said. “I pitched it as teaching someone to fish—investing in the success of the students, giving them what they need to be successful in order to achieve the degree.”

“The Carlson Family Foundation, a local community philanthropic organization, recognizes the opportunity a college degree provides for men and women in our community to achieve success in their lives by completing the requirements of a four-year university degree in order to have a ‘career rather than a job.’” Norton said. “We are pleased to support the new Shepherd Success Academy with scholarship funds to students who may need support in reaching their goal of graduating from Shepherd University.”

Lingenfelter said a major grant such as this goes a long way toward helping the Success Academy achieve its goal of helping students succeed.

“The Shepherd Success Academy staff members and administrators are working hard every day,” Lingenfelter said. “A $10,000 gift really allows them to move forward. They have been very encouraged by this.”

This is the third year the Shepherd Success Academy has invited 36 students to participate in the program. It is designed to provide additional support and services to students who have been identified as those who may struggle during their first semester in college. Participating in the academy is not a reflection of a student’s ability or acumen, but instead assists with transitioning to the academic and social rigor associated with being in college.

Students in the program have weekly meetings with a coach who works with them throughout the first semester by creating a personalized plan to help them maintain good grades and positive relationships on campus. The program also connects students to key campus resources. Students in the program receive priority class registration, and one grade credit, contingent upon participation in the SSA group meetings during the first semester.

Students in the Success Academy take a first-year experience course associated with the program and meet weekly with Williams-McNamee, Franks, or a graduate assistant.

“We work well as a team adjusting the topics we cover based on the needs of our students, which changes every single semester,” Williams-McNamee said. “We’re constantly changing resources, adjusting our topics.”

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