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Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Alumni

  1. National Association Features Tyson Cooper (’07)

    January 15, 2014

    BOM201312_BackStoryThe National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) featured Tyson Cooper (’07) in an article by Margo Vanover Porter.

    Cooper, a Southern Virginia University graduate, currently serves as director of student financial services and associate director of human resources at Southern Virginia. He received a master’s degree from Liberty University in 2011. He and his wife, Camden, live in Buena Vista, Va., with their four children.

    Read NACUBO’s feature to learn more about how Cooper has improved the university’s Student Financial Services Office.

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13.)

  2. Southern Virginia Graduate Teaches Spanish In Local School

    December 17, 2013

    IMG_0064Jordan Clark (’13) is one of the latest Southern Virginia University alumni to put his education to use in the local community. Clark started teaching Spanish at the middle school level in Lexington, Va., this fall.

    “I love it,” Clark said. “I love waking up and doing what I studied for and what I wanted to do. It’s great to have a job that you worked hard for.”

    Clark learned Spanish while living in Peru as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While attending Southern Virginia, he quickly realized he had a passion for the Spanish language.

    “When I came back from my mission,” Clark said, “I learned I loved the culture and language, and that’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

    Clark, who transferred to Southern Virginia in 2010 after attending Santa Barbara City College, chose to major in Spanish and minor in politics.

    After working as a Spanish tutor at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington while he was still a student, Clark now teaches sixth, seventh, and eighth grade Spanish at Lilburn Downing Middle School. Clark still plans on furthering his education at the graduate level, and hopes to teach college eventually. But for now, he enjoys teaching Spanish to younger students. In the two years he spent as a student at Southern Virginia, Clark found that small classes with personal focus are the most effective model of education.

    “I love the small class environment,” he said. “When I was at my old school in California, I was in classes with 125 students. It was so impersonal. You didn’t know the professor, they didn’t know you, you were just a name on a list. But I believe in the genius of small. What made the difference was being able to interact with the teacher one on one. That’s what I try to do with my students. I try to imitate what I did here with my professors.”


    Clark says the most helpful aspect of small classes at Southern Virginia he’s been able to transfer to the middle school level is teaching a foreign language through conversation.

    “[Professor] Konstantinova’s teaching style in the class was more conversational,” Clark said. “Which really showed how teaching can be more than just standing in front of a class lecturing, but actually talking back and forth and having a conversation.”

  3. Students Volunteer in Virginia Campaigns

    November 15, 2013

    Last week, Virginians across the Commonwealth cast their votes to determine who would serve as Virginia’s next governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Throughout the Virginia gubernatorial campaign season, several Southern Virginia students volunteered for their choice of candidate.

    Brea Roberts, a senior from Modesto, Calif., triple-majoring in history, politics and liberal arts, served as the office manager in Lexington, Va., for the Republican Party.

    “Last year I worked on the Romney campaign and I just enjoyed being a part of the campaign and learning how a campaign works,” said Roberts. “[For Ken Cuccinelli's campaign] I recruited volunteers and interns, met the candidates, made a lot of phone calls, knocked on a lot of doors and did a lot of paperwork and computer work.”

    After she graduates from Southern Virginia, Roberts plans to pursue a law degree. She said that she has appreciated being a part of Cuccinelli’s campaign, in part because of the opportunity she had to make connections and meet people involved in different campaigns throughout the United States. Roberts was joined by two other students — Wright Noel and Melzer Jones — in volunteering for the campaign.

    Several other Southern Virginia students, as well as one alumna, participated in Terry McAullife’s campaign. Colin Smith, a junior majoring in history from Silverspring, Md., spent time making phone calls, going door-to-door, and staffing events under the direction of Sara Helsel — a Southern Virginia alumna who served as the campaign’s deputy field organizer in Lexington, Va.

    “[I volunteered] because I care a lot about politics,” said Smith. “My dad is a political scientist and I’ve been talking political theory since I can remember. I also really like Sara [Helsel] and I wanted to work for her.”

    Smith said that his favorite part of volunteering was “getting to see Bill Clinton speak in Roanoke.” Smith previously has volunteered for campaigns both in Virginia and in his home state of Maryland. Smith said that other students — including Nicolas Jensen, Lindsay and Scott Dransfield, Mary Cragun, and Cody Shafer — also spent time volunteering for the campaign.

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13.)

  4. Homecoming Dance: Flags, Food and Fun

    October 22, 2013

    Walking into the Homecoming dance, students and alumni were instantly transported to a 1940s fairground. Paper flag garlands decorated the ceiling and an array of carnival foods — fresh baked pretzels, bags of mini-corn dogs, cotton candy and root beer — welcomed guests. There was even a photo booth where you could pose with a cute scarecrow couple and sit on a bale of hay.

    Many students embraced the theme by showing up in their most retro-fabulous ensembles — polka dot dresses and three-piece suits abounded. The DJ played a mix of beat-dropping contemporary and old school big band music. Members of the university’s Social Dance Club even put their newfound knowledge to use and wowed peers with crazy swing dance moves.

    The clear autumn night was loud and bright and fun. Both students and alumni gathered to celebrate the genius of small with music and laughter and pretzels — because everyone knows pretzels are the great equalizer.

    (Post by Erin Seage ‘16. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ‘13.)


  5. The Sound of Homecoming

    On Friday night, I attended two concerts: the annual Homecoming concert featuring the university’s choirs and orchestra, and a Homecoming bonfire concert featuring music by alumna Melissa Branin Wheeler.

    I was touched during the Homecoming Showcase Concert, with the theme “Uniamo in Amore,” when Professor Launa Whitehead dedicated one of the flute choir’s musical numbers to her husband, Richard Whitehead, who she said is “vice president of institutional advancement and the love of my life.”

    Later in the concert, Dr. La Rae Carter dedicated another musical number to Richard Whitehead, who has recently had some trying health problems. It was beautiful to see the audience in tears, giving a standing ovation in honor of a man who has done so much for the university.

    Other highlights of the concert included the beautiful rendition of “Uniamo in Amore” by the Concert Chorale and three student soloists: David Riska, Alex Marcum and Spencer Farris. It was also inspirational to see so many student conductors. In addition to the usual array of choral conducting interns, Stephen Taylor did an excellent job conducting several of the orchestra’s musical numbers.

    One of the most exciting numbers of the evening was the lengthy medley of music from “Les Misérables” sung by the Concert Chorale. Throughout the medley of the many familiar tunes, a number of student soloists performed as some of the show’s different characters.

    Another great number was a Hungarian piece performed by the orchestra. Before they began playing, Dr. Clayne Robison, who conducted the number, told the audience to imagine a Hungarian gypsy girl dancing along to the orchestra’s performance. I love how Dr. Robison always tries to make things accessible and get the audience completely immersed in the musical experience.

    But the best part of the evening? Getting to join the Concert Chorale to sing the final number, the beautiful “Shenandoah.”

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ’13.)