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Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Alumni

  1. Orientation 2015: Day Three

    September 2, 2015

    Rise Up for Honor has become one of the most essential parts of new student orientation, a testimony to Southern Virginia’s focus on a positive learning environment and personal development. No one can deny that the Code of Honor and the university’s core values are an enormous part of what makes Southern Virginia the sort of place where good people can come to be better, and where they’ll find others who are striving to do the same.

    This year’s Rise Up for Honor included speeches by current student Laine Thompson (‘16), alumna Allison Walker (‘13) and Dr. Jan-Erik Jones.

    Thompson compared Southern Virginia Knights to the Marines, referencing standards of chivalry and service. Walker, who recently received a master’s degree in theology, imagination and the arts at the divinity school of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, drew connections between modern and classical theology, stressing the importance of religion to a fulfilling life.

    “Religion provides the living force by which morality is livable and enjoyable,” she said.

    Dr. Jones was the concluding speaker and incorporated the orientation’s theme, “All In,” into his message, arguing that a person cannot be honorable without being “all in.”

    “Men and women of honor keep their commitments,” he said. “Men and women of honor finish what they start. … You right now have started. … The kind of person you are if you keep your commitments, if you are a finisher, will honor you for the rest of your life, and it will honor us. And we will say that he or she is one of us, he or she is a Knight… Welcome.”

    Following this introduction to the university and its standards, dozens of Southern Virginia University students performed community service in Buena Vista, Va. The acts of service included painting fences, beautifying city parks and weeding the community garden.

    Though service has long been a part of Southern Virginia’s new student orientation, this was one of the most far-reaching and extensive projects. Brian Brown, Buena Vista’s director of economic development said that this was the “highest attended event [he has] had” and that the 32 gallons of paint “doubled” the amount of painting usually done in this project.

    “It’s a great group of kids,” Brown said. “I look forward to doing multiple projects in the future.”

    Joseph Bouchelle, dean of students at Southern Virginia, explained that service has been incorporated into new student orientation to stress that it is an essential part of the university’s “mission to prepare leader-servants.”

    “This is often one of the most memorable aspects of orientation, and one where some great new friends are made,” he said.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Hannah King ’13 and Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)

  2. Utah Alumni Carnival!

    August 14, 2015

    It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Roughly two years by my calculations. Of course, I can’t math  that’s why I got my degree in English. So maybe don’t put too much stock into those calculations. Look, the point of the story is that it’s been a while, okay? I thought I’d check in and see how Southern Virginia was doing.

    So hey. Hi. Hello. How are you? Good, I hope. Oh, me? I’m fine, thank you. I’ve been doing much better since the Southern Virginia Summer Carnival that was held here in Utah on Aug. 1 at Labrum Park. I’ll admit, I’ve been missing my friends — some of whom are professors like Professors Stoddard, Hufford, and Georgeson the fireflies in the summer, the cicadas, the lush greenery, the Blue Ridge Parkway … Virginia will always have my heart, and home is where the heart is so I was very much homesick. So the opportunity to see fellow Southern Virginia alumni, some of whom I haven’t seen in years (again, if my calculations are to be trusted), was a great reminder of the time I spent at college. It helped with my homesickness.

    The carnival hosted Minute to Win It games, a selection of snacks (watermelon, chips and other traditional summer fare), drinks, and even free snow cones. Labrum Park itself was pretty sweet, too; most of us at some point spent time climbing through the obstacle course playground set.

    It’s been nice catching up, home skillin’ biscuits. Maybe I’ll get a chance to visit campus again before the next meeting of the Southern Virginia University Alumni Utah Chapter.

    (Post by Mika McIntosh ’13. Photos by Aleah Ingram ’11).

  3. Q&A: Rebekah Pence, Ms. Virginia United States

    August 10, 2015

    Photo by Goodwin Photography

    It’s no secret that Southern Virginia alumna Rebekah Pence is this year’s Ms. Virginia United States, especially since this article about her experiences in the pageant enjoyed a nice stay on the front page of Last month, she also participated in the national Ms. United States pageant.

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Bekah and talk to her about not only the pageant but the experiences she had as an undergraduate at Southern Virginia, what she’s done since then, and her hopes for the future.

    Q: First of all, could you tell me a bit about your experiences as a student at Southern Virginia?

    Bekah: I absolutely loved it. I think for my personality I needed the smaller classroom sizes and the one-on-one attention, so I really benefited from that. And I loved how I felt like I could just contribute, and I really enjoyed that. I was a music major and eventually switched over to family and child development. I think one of the professors who really affected me was for sure Professor Rodriguez. He is over family and child development first of all, but he’s been very patient and I love his teaching. I got a lot out of his classes. He’s very fun, but he knows what he’s talking about.

    Q: Do you have a have favorite class that you can remember?

    Bekah: Man. Actually, all of the FCD [family and child development] classes are amazing, but the men and families or even marriage and families classes [were my favorite]. I love that because I eat that stuff up.

    Q: What was the most rewarding part of your life as an undergraduate?

    Bekah: I think it was just the type of education and the people that I’ve met here. I love how Southern Virginia focuses on being a leader-servant, and I had a lot of opportunities to try to do that and implement that in my time at Southern Virginia. That’s just something that I really enjoyed because I love helping people and I love just being around people. I kind of feed off of that. I felt very fulfilled.

    Q: You’re currently working at the Blue Ridge Autism Achievement Center. What led you there and how does your training and education prepare you to tackle the work that you do?

    Bekah: Well, since I’ve graduated I lived out West for a couple years, I served a mission, and I got back this past October. And then when I got home, I actually was thinking about moving back out West, but I felt impressed to kind of look for jobs [here]. It was actually my sister Taerra, she works here at Southern Virginia, [who showed me that] BRAAC — the Blue Ridge Autism Achievement Center — sent out an email saying to any students, but especially FCD students, to let them know that there were full-time positions open and maybe other opportunities to volunteer. I jumped on the opportunity. I walked in and talked to my boss, and she let me come in just a couple weeks. It really just kind of fell in my lap, it was such a blessing. I didn’t know that I’d love working with autistic children so much. Honestly, that’s been a really cool experience.

    Q: What is your position at BRAAC?

    Bekah: I’m a behavior technician/therapist. We work one-on-one with the children. We’re in teams, so technically I work with four children specifically, but every day I get to work one-on-one with a child. We are able to keep track of their progress to help them. Because autistic children are brilliant — they really are — we’re trying to help them function in an everyday world.

    Q: Having graduated, found work that you love, and recently served a mission, it’s probably safe to say that your perspective on many things has changed. How do you feel you have grown since you left Southern Virginia?

    Bekah: Just so much. So very much. I feel that my experiences at Southern Virginia really helped me. They gave me a foundation and helped me know how to grow and learn so much better and faster, and to know in the real world how I can apply the things that I’ve learned. I’ve had a ton of different, very unique experiences since I left Southern Virginia. I’d never lived on the West Coast, so after I graduated from Southern Virginia and moved out there, the experiences that I had here at Southern Virginia helped me greatly. The jobs that I was able to find and also the people that I was able to meet and other opportunities helped me grow, but I think that was because my time here at Southern Virginia helped me grow so much.

    Q: What led you to pursue the title of Ms. Virginia United States?

    Bekah: Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be in pageants because my mom was in pageants. But as I got older there were a lot of different reasons I could never make it happen, and I decided not to and kind of put it out of my mind. And I thought I was too old. Most pageants, once you’re older than 26, it just doesn’t happen. So when I got home from my mission, [an ad for the pageant] popped up [online] several times, so I went ahead and clicked on it. It said that there was a division, the “Ms. Division,” for [women ages] 26 to 39. I was baffled that they had a division that was old enough that I could be a part of it. … I’m so grateful that I did it. … For me personally it’s just been an amazing experience to reaffirm for me what my values are and that I can do hard things.

    Q: Can you tell me a little about what the pageant experience was like? What was the “behind the scenes” experience?

    Bekah: Just know that I am not a pageant girl. A lot of opportunities came up because I wanted to be modest. When I was backstage, for example, in my one-piece swimsuit. Before I went onstage, the girls just turned around and I felt like they were thinking, “What is this girl thinking? There’s no way she’s going to win with a one piece.” Some girls actually said, “Oh my gosh. I almost thought about wearing a one piece!” But I was able to talk to a couple girls about how I just like to dress modestly and more conservatively. It was cool. It was little experiences like that where I was able to either talk about what I was wearing, or when people would tell me how happy they saw that I was. I felt like I could basically share my testimony of why I choose to make those decisions. As we’re just trying to do our best to live the gospel and literally be a light, I guess like Heavenly Father asks us to, people see that. They can’t not see it. I’ve had a lot of cool experiences, and I’ve been affected positively by the women that I’ve been able to meet as well. I just think there’s a lot of give and take that I’ve had from the pageant.

    Q: What do you think is the most important thing that’s come about from your experience with the pageant?

    Bekah: What I actually want to do with my life is seminars, or musical firesides. I write and compose music, and I want to share my testimony through music with youth. [I feel like the pageant will] aid me in doing the work that I really feel like I am supposed to do.

    Q: Is there any advice you’d like to give current Southern Virginia students?

    Bekah: Honestly, it would just be on a spiritual note, or spiritual perspective, because my experience at Southern Virginia was very led by the Spirit. All I can say is that it is all about the Spirit and being led by it, even education. Heavenly Father asks us to get an education, but to do His work. Because I feel like I’ve had this opportunity to help Heavenly Father maybe in some way do his work, I would just say to them: Be open to the Spirit, work hard, educate yourself — actually be educated while you’re here getting an education. Choose to learn and to work hard so that afterward you can use the education that you received to build up the kingdom [of God].

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16.)

  4. Photos: Senior Art Show 2015

    May 28, 2015

    This year, a whopping 12 seniors presented their work in the senior art show, displaying competency and skill in diverse mediums and techniques. You can learn more about this year’s show by reading the news article on the university website.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)