The Class of 2012, part 4

Dave Stevens

Every day this week, we’re showcasing seniors we’ve met through the Be the Change blog.  As a group they represent the more than 4,000 students who will receive their degrees on Saturday. We asked them about their Madison Experience, how it has changed them and the best and worst parts of graduating from JMU.

“….I often conceded to educational challenges….”

Dave Stevens of Harrisonburg will earn a bachelor’s degree in integrated science and technology with a concentration in energy. After earning his associates degree at a community college, Dave enrolled at JMU — and soared. During his time at JMU, he’s worked very hard, learning everything he could in his courses and “taking ownership of his capstone project” as his major professor told me. Dave traveled twice to Costa Rica for his ISAT capstone project, an energy assessment at Punta Leona resort. He’s also volunteered with Harrisonburg’s Big Brothers/Big Sisters, mentoring a young friend.

He writes: “JMU has provided me the opportunity to personally tailor my undergrad education. The opportunities on this campus are endless. Even when an opportunity didn’t exist here, JMU facilitated me in opening new doors.  Prior to attending this university I often conceded to educational challenges. JMU made me realize that if you put in the effort and accept help when needed, you will be successful.”

Like so many, Dave looks forward to graduation but with reservations. He writes: “The best part is having more free time to do things I couldn’t during the busy semesters. The worst part of graduating is leaving behind the incredible people I met here that helped me along the way. This summer I am working some odd summer jobs to save money in hopes of living out west for a year.  My passion is snowboarding, and I would like to experience the best mountains in this country before I get locked down from nine to five.”

“I guess it’s made me more well-rounded …”

Jessie Taylor

Jessie Taylor of Burke, Va., has breakfasted with monkeys and collected prom dresses, indicative of the rich and varied Madison Experience so typically found at JMU. This spring, she and JMU friends collected more than 600 evening gowns to give away to local high-school girls getting ready for proms. The fashion drive was fun, it was community-minded, and it was environmentally “green.” Jessie also traveled to Costa Rica as part of an international capstone project undertaken by ISAT students. She, Dave Stevens and Ben Schulze conducted an extensive energy assessment of the Punta Leona resort in Costa Rica.

Jessie will graduate Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in integrated science and technology with concentrations in energy and the environment.

Asked how JMU has changed her, she says, “So many ways! I guess it’s made me more well-rounded.” She looks forward to no more tests and homework, “but I’m leaving my college friends and the college lifestyle.”

Jessie’s post graduation goal is simple and succinct: “Hopefully to help change the world!”

And last but not least: Scott Dyer and a friend

(Photos compliments of Dave and Jessie)

About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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