August 5, 2020
VINCENNES, Ind. – With the coronavirus pandemic impacting in-person
activities on the Vincennes University campus, VU Jobs for America’s
Graduates (JAG) College and Career Success Program Manager Shaun
Brames was determined to make sure college-bound students could still
take part in the annual VU JAG Summer Academy, and hence the one-week
immersive college experience went virtual.
Students from across Indiana participated in the virtual VU
JAG Summer Academy held July 27-31 via Zoom sessions. The Academy
focused on college survival strategies, college preparation, and
leadership development activities. It also showcased the outstanding
opportunities available at VU.
“What I liked most about the VU JAG Academy was getting to know
more about people with the same goals in life of helping others. I
enjoyed the warm friendly atmosphere and getting to learn more about
Vincennes University,” Isabella Floyd said.
Before the event, all 27 students received a JAG Cool Box filled with
fun VU items and an array of popular snacks from southern Indiana.
"I enjoyed all the fun activities as well as the valuable
information that we learned from Shaun's presentations. I know that I
will be using this information when I start college in a few weeks,”
Megan Poe said.
Academy participants were divided into two different Zoom sessions.
One group was made up of incoming college freshmen. The other group
was for incoming high school seniors.
Sessions were led by Brames from both the Vincennes main campus and
the VU Jasper campus. He also streamed live tours of both campuses,
while also taking questions from students as he conducted the tours.
Shaun Brames, VU JAG College Success
“The VU JAG Summer Academy is a great way for students to experience
life on a college campus and to learn the expectations of being a
college student,” Brames said. “We are able to show the academic and
support programs available at Vincennes University. We are able to let
them know that they can continue their JAG experience with the VU JAG
College Success Program, too. The best thing about the VU JAG Summer
Academy is just meeting new JAG students all over the state. For me,
the most rewarding part is seeing JAG students from all over Indiana
make lifelong friends with one another, whether they are from rural
areas or cities.”
The incoming college freshmen group called the VU JAG Experience
earned college credit for completing assignments and a final project
during the week. They also received instruction in emotional
intelligence, active reading, memory skills, note-taking strategies,
maximizing campus resources, and test-taking strategies.
“I learned a lot from the JAG Academy. I am going to VU in the fall.
I was able to learn a bunch of things about VU, including the support
programs they offer,” Caleb Johnson said.
The future high school senior group called the VU JAG Trailblazers
learned about planning and preparing for college. They learned about
the many different majors and programs available at VU.
“I really enjoyed the JAG Summer Academy because I got to meet new
people while learning about college at the same time,” Grace Middleton said.
A variety of guest speakers from VU also participated in the Summer
Academy including, Chuck Johnson, VU President; Christian Blome, Dean
of VU Jasper campus; David Tucker, Executive Vice-President of
Workforce Development and Community Services; Stan Werne, Director of
Financial Aid; Karen Mundy, VU Jasper Assistant Director of
Admissions; Dr. Kenneth Coleman, Director of Experience VU Program;
Candace Joles, Director of COPE Program; Curt Coffman, Dean of the
College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics; Ty Freed, Dean of
Technology; Cynthia Ragle, Dean of the College Social Science,
Performing Arts, and Communication; and Kevin Porter of the VU Police
Department. Christine Shaffer of JAG Indiana also
conducted entertaining virtual activities.
The week culminated with a JAG All-Star College Student panel which
consisted of VU
JAG College Success students.
They shared their college stories as well as college survival tips
plus answered questions.
“It was very important to have a JAG Summer Academy this year,”
Brames said. “I was bitterly disappointed not to be able to have a
huge event on campus with over 200 JAG students, but I realized that
we needed to make the best of the less than ideal circumstances. We
simply could not just give up and say, wait until next year. I had a
curriculum ready to go and plenty of students who had signed up. What
we were able to do was add a little bit of normalcy to an otherwise
rough year. It was good for me, and it was good for the kids to be
able to learn things, talk, and to give positive affirmation to one
another. This meant as much to me as it did to the students.”
The VU JAG College Success program aims to help students prepare to
enter the workforce after graduating from VU. JAG College Success
participants receive benefits, including academic, remediation, adult
mentoring, career guidance and counseling, leadership development,
service-learning projects, social activities, and emergency support services.
To get involved in the program or to learn more, contact VU JAG
College and Career Success Program Manager Shaun Brames at
812-396-8925 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit https://www.vinu.edu/web/workforce-development/jag-college-success