A software engineering project, a program to help empower English language learners locally, and an advertising and marketing campaign for a local cancer charity won awards during Jacksonville University’s first Community Impact Competition.
The competition, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Center for Service Learning, saw six student-faculty teams present projects to a panel of four judges including:
- Mike Clark, editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union
- Paige Kelton, producer and reporter with CBS47 Action News
- Oliver Barakat, senior vice president of real estate services firm CBRE
- Tommy Hazouri ‘66, former Jacksonville mayor
Each of the teams spent approximately 15 minutes detailing service-learning projects, which they undertook within the context of an academic course. The projects showcased how Jacksonville University students engaged in experiential learning are helping address needs and problems in our community.
“When faculty and students agree to take on these projects, they understand there is typically a ton of work involved,” said Dr. Laura Atkins, Director of the Center for Service Learning. “These projects go well beyond what faculty and students do in a classroom.”
The highest-rated presentations included:
- Dr. Mini Zeng’s Software Engineering Class: “Developing a Web-Based Youth Profiling System for the nonprofit Krumpin 4 Success.”
- Dr. Alice Jo’s Applied Linguistic Class: “Empowering English Language Learners in the Greater Jacksonville area through Language and Cultural Exchange Experience.”
- Dr. Courtney Barclay’s Communication Practicum Class: “Developing a social-first fundraising campaign for the Child Cancer Fund.”
Faculty and students from the three highest-rated teams received financial awards to help them continue or expand their projects.
The highest-rated presentation involved the creation of a simple database for Krumpin 4 Success, a non-profit organization dedicated to decreasing risk-taking behaviors and youth recidivism through providing creative, artistic activities and promoting academic stability, economic sufficiency and successful transition to productive citizenship. Dr. Zeng’s class described how they determined the organization’s needs and designed a simple, scalable, and secure database to help manage and report program and participant information.
Since 2015, Dr. Jo’s classes have worked to share language and culture with English language learners across Jacksonville. Each semester, students spend at least 10 hours at a local elementary school, with learners at the University’s English Language Program, or at the Jacksonville refugee center. Students plan lessons and teach classes or individuals with the goal of making English language learners more comfortable with their new language and culture.
Dr. Barclay’s class created a public relations campaign to increase awareness and donations for the Jacksonville Child Cancer Fund. The proposed five-week campaign aims to enhance social media engagement and giving primarily from millennial donors.
Other presentations included:
- Dr. Gretchen-Bielmyer Fraser’s Environmental Chemistry Class and Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette’s Communications’ Class: “The Effects of Land Use and Climate Change on Water Chemistry in the St. Johns River and Empowering Change through Multimedia Storytelling.”
- Dr. Shelley Grant’s Sociology Class: “Evaluating the Accuracy of Media Coverage of At-Risk Youth in Jacksonville.”
- Dr. Ray Oldakowski’s Statistics and Research Methods in Public Policy Class:” Arlington Residents Satisfaction with City Services: An Analysis of Recently Collected Survey Data.”
In determining the final scores, judges considered:
- Explanation of the issue studied or the service provided
- Explanation of the positive impact or potential impact the class had/will have on the community, organization or business
- Organization and execution of presentation
“The judges provided excellent feedback,” said Dr. Matt Corrigan, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, who organized and facilitated the event. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the ideas for projects that this might spur for next semester.”