Akimbo’s Free Emerging Leaders Program Helps College Students Channel Their Changemaking Powers

If your pandemic summer’s shaping up to be a bummer, a five-day online workshop series for college-student leaders and changemakers could turn it around—and it won’t cost you a dime.

Akimbo’s Emerging Leaders Program launched in June with 100 students looking to learn the real skills they need to thrive in the working world—and channel their own changemaking powers. It was such a success that Akimbo will offer it again from Monday, August 3, through Friday, August 7, 2020.

Interested students must apply for the program before midnight, Monday, July 6. Click here to learn more and fill out an application.

The program is free, but spots are limited. Finalists will be contacted via email by Thursday, July 9, and a mandatory group call of all finalists will be held at 10 a.m. (ET) on either Monday, July 13, or Tuesday, July 14. Students will receive notice of acceptance on Wednesday, July 15.

The project-based program is designed for fulltime undergraduate college students from the sophomore level up to 2020 graduates. It’s run by two Akimbo coaches with a passion for helping students embrace the unknown and discover their own ability to make change. “It’s really all about leaning into the possibility ahead,” said Taylor Harrington, who manages the program. “There’s no rubric for the projects.”

“This program could be the thing that helps Sullivan students realize, ‘This is what it takes to help me get where I want to go. This is the path I should take. This is the first step. And I don’t have to do it alone,’” Harrington said. “When we ran this program in June 2020, students found their tribe. I had one student reach out and share how reassuring it felt that there were people out there, other college students, who also question the status quo, who want to push the boundaries of what’s possible, who were searching for a community of like-minded peers to support them.”

Founded by entrepreneur, author and blogger Seth Godin, Akimbo offers a range of online workshops that include the four-week altMBA program focused on leadership and management. According to the company’s website, Akimbo’s workshops are “about bending the culture, about speaking up and being heard. We believe that each of us has more power than ever before to see the world as it is, to contribute and to make things better.”

The Emerging Leaders group will meet online through Zoom starting at 10 a.m. (ET) each day. The program includes a few hours of group conversation led by the coaches, followed by intensive work on daily team projects—the exact nature of which can’t be revealed in advance, Harrington said. “I can say they’re open enough that everyone will be able to relate to them and interpret them differently,” she said. “The assignments won’t be silly group projects about something students aren’t interested in. Students will be asked to talk about themselves within the projects and the change they want to make in the world.”

Recalling the June program, Harrington said, “Students spent a lot of time together. The projects helped them dig deep, to leave with more questions than they had at the beginning of the week. There aren’t any case studies. This is about the students, their work and where they want to go … They find the answers within themselves and each other.”

One participant, Kimia Tabatabaei, said the June program taught her “what it means to be a lynchpin, the type of leader whose magic and authenticity and commitment to a purpose bring value to every place they enter. And I’ve learned that being that leader doesn’t require any permission. All you need is to choose yourself, to trust yourself and to believe that you have the power to step up and start making that change.”

Natalie Esparza participated in the Emerging Leaders workshop program in June. (LinkedIn photo)

Natalie M. Esparza, another participant, agreed. “No matter how old you are, no matter where you are in the world, you can take ownership of making change happen. You can ask for help from anyone in the world who’s just as passionate as you, and you can make things that didn’t exist a week ago that are powerful and life-changing.”

Since many Sullivan-affiliated students have already built their own network of like-minded changemakers through the Ignite Retreats, field trips and study-abroad adventures, Akimbo’s Emerging Leaders Program offers a chance to cast their net even further. “Last time we had students from all over the world join us, including students from Australia who switched their sleep schedule to dedicate time to this,” Harrington said. “Experiencing ‘aha!’ moments with students from around the world whom you’ve never met in person is something magical.”

Guilford College Art Professor’s Paintings Capture Plight of Systemic Racism

Antoine Williams, an assistant professor of art at Sullivan Foundation partner school Guilford College, recently auctioned his mixed-media work on Instagram in support of racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“All of the figures in the painting are small within this distressed surface, so it’s all of us—Black people within a system of racism. We are in this system of economic and racial oppression. We are still people, and we still navigate it, and we still do the best that we can,” Williams explained.

Related: Past Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Josh Nadzam raises funds for NAACP With Run for Black Lives marathon

The two pieces included in the auction were selected from Williams’ “There Will Be No Miracles Here” series, based on Casey Gerald’s book of the same name. Both the novel and the artwork serve as memoirs of each man’s experience with racial identity and systemic power injustices.


“The series overall is about memory,” Williams said. “It’s about these people that I grew up with that I love, but as a kid you look at them as superheroes. Adults are something else when you are a kid, and then you grow up and you realize they are, like all of us, flawed individuals. Then you get older, and I am taking a look back, realizing these are individuals who were within this system.”

Williams also worked with local North Carolina art institutions that have exhibited his work to donate to the cause. “There is conversation in the art world around white-led art institutions who benefit greatly from Black creative labor but don’t do enough to address anti-blackness and white supremacy,” he said. “Them taking part in the fundraiser was a way of having these institutions engage, past Instagram posts, in a way that affects the lives of actual Black people.”

Related: This Houston organization aims to break the school-to-prison pipeline for disadvantaged youth

At Guilford, Williams takes these lessons beyond his work and into the classroom, where he teaches students the importance of art in social movements. With protests for racial equality taking place across the community, he wants to serve as a reminder that advocacy can take on many forms. “Everyone doesn’t have the ability to be on the front line at a protest. But we all have skills and resources that can benefit the movement that may not be on the frontlines,” he said.

Williams joins many local artists who have been sharing their work on social media and across downtown Greensboro. “Public art can be a double-edged sword in that it can employ artists and spread awareness. But it can also be used as symbolic gestures in place of actual systemic change. It becomes a backdrop without any real action,” he said.

While he doesn’t have expectations for viewers of his work, Williams said he hopes that those who see his pieces and other public Black Lives Matter artwork will also take the time to educate themselves on how to dismantle white supremacy.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Guilford College website.

Brenau University Faculty, Students and Alumni Guide Georgians Through COVID-19 Quarantine

In the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), students, faculty and alumni at Sullivan Foundation partner school Brenau University are working hard to provide education and support for those in quarantine or who are transitioning from hospital to home.

That includes Brenau alumna Brittany White, a medical social worker at Emory University, who educates and assists patients and their families with care coordination, care progression and discharge planning.

Related: UK social enterprise will bypass big drug companies to make COVID-19 vaccine available to the poor

White, who earned her B.S. in health science in 2012 and M.S. in applied gerontology in 2013 from Brenau, said COVID-19 has pushed healthcare workers to be more creative and innovative in their daily practices. “We think critically,” she said. “We look at not just one aspect but the entire picture. We will not always be able to create a solution for everything, but we do everything we can to help facilitate the safest and most effective discharge for our patients.”

White credits her Brenau education with preparing her for the complex challenges brought on by COVID-19. “I work with a hospital system and team that are taking extraordinary measures that are innovative and [who] are all-around pioneers and world-leading experts,” she said. “I get to be a part of that. But if I know anything, as a Brenau graduate, I am like ‘gold refined by fire.’ Each day, I am working through this crisis, sifting, sorting and continuously refining. I love being a social worker, and I love that Brenau molded and refined me into the strong, resilient and leading woman that I am today.”

While White does not provide hands-on medical care, she is still affecting the lives of each person she encounters by offering as much support as possible. Sometimes, that means a different approach to a new problem.

Related: How Brenau University helps unseen and forgotten populations survive the pandemic

“COVID-19 has shown how resilient we social workers can be,” she said. “You get creative, you get smarter, and you work harder to find and facilitate solutions. Social workers are supposed to help patients and communities to cope and thrive in times of crisis and transition.”

An important part of that transition is quarantine care, and a new partnership at Brenau’s Ivester College of Health Sciences will ensure that quarantined individuals get the care and attention they need while also providing a vital learning opportunity for students.

Becky Metcalfe, associate professor of nursing at Brenau University

Through the nonprofit Hope Ripples, students in the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing will be providing help to those affected by COVID-19—particularly patients who have been sent home and are quarantined. In doing so, they will also be able to earn clinical hours.

“Brenau is going to be the first group working with Hope Ripples,” said Associate Professor of Nursing Becky Metcalfe, who was already volunteering with the organization prior to the new clinical partnership. “We’ll follow patients who have been sent home during their 14 days of quarantine, making sure to communicate what symptoms to watch for. When necessary, we’ll connect them to resources like food, medicine—anything they need.”

Students meet nightly online with a professor and other students to discuss their clients’ needs as well as their experiences in general. For nursing major Tenkela Williams, that includes gaining valuable experience in the field while also helping others.

Tenkela Williams, left, is one of the nursing students working with Hope Ripples. (Photo courtesy of Tenkela Williams)

“It will not only assist in my communication skills with clients, but it will also provide others with the necessary support they need to get through this virus and not feel as if they are alone throughout the process,” Williams said. “Without this one-on-one interaction, I would not feel as confident entering into the nursing profession.”

All of this is done via phone or Zoom, and volunteers follow a strict script with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related: University of Virginia faculty, alumni lead effort to combat food insecurity during pandemic

The CDC has been at the forefront of educating and protecting the public in regard to COVID-19, and that’s a big part of the job for Christy Smith, a quarantine public health advisor for the CDC and psychology student working on her master’s in clinical counseling at Brenau.

Smith is part of the preparedness team that works with quarantine stations at the land borders and the two major airports in Georgia—Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. She is tasked with safeguarding the public by staying in close contact with the quarantine teams if they have to respond to a sick traveler. That includes creating and executing various plans with partners such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Throughout the year, the plans are worked on and practiced in case an outbreak occurs.

Christy Smith is a quarantine public health advisor for the CDC and is earning her master’s in clinical counseling psychology. (Photo courtesy of Christy Smith)

While she isn’t providing hands-on care, Smith, who in five years at the CDC has also been involved with responses to other viruses such as Ebola and Zika, is still hard at work preparing those who are in direct contact with the travelers to make sure illnesses do not enter the country. With COVID-19, the team has now switched to response mode, meaning those plans are put into action.

“Everybody has been coming together to respond to this pandemic,” Smith said. “All the effort that is being done to carry out these plans has always been there, but it’s magnified now. I’m proud to be part of it, even though it may not be recognized as much. I see it firsthand, and I know that we have extremely talented people doing difficult work.”

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Brenau University website.

Lecture Series at Furman University Aims to Bring People Together in Polarized Times

The novel coronavirus has spent the last three months driving people apart. This summer, Michele Speitz, an associate professor of English literature at Sullivan Foundation partner school Furman University, hopes the humanities can help bring them back together with “Tolle, Lege,” a virtual lecture and discussion series.

“The humanities addresses these fundamental questions of what it means to be human, of what it means to live the good life, and we’ve had everything that feels normal and feels right go out the window,” Speitz, also the director of the Furman Humanities Center, said. “It’s the tools of the humanities that can help us find a clear path forward and take some comfort in what people have done and said before.”

Related: Furman University professor develops life-saving humanitarian drones

A child’s voice chanting “tolle, lege” (Latin for “take, read”) prompted theologian and philosopher Augustine of Hippo to begin reading from his collection of Paul’s epistles, which led to his conversion to Christianity. Influencing religious choice isn’t the aim of the series but opening the door to enlightenment certainly is.

“The driving idea behind this was to connect Furman’s really illustrious humanities professoriate to people when we’re feeling disconnected, using the humanities’ power to heal, to reach audiences within the Furman community and then beyond the Furman community,” Speitz said. “It’s always been very important for us that there wouldn’t be any paywalls and that this could be accessed by anybody.”

To wit, all six lectures are free, open to the public, and available now for viewing on the “Tolle, Lege” website. You can also visit the website to register for the live Q&A sessions, which will be held on the following dates:

“There is a really nice spectrum of topics, from biblical Christian texts to Indian art, and I’m proud that it represents the many different types of varied work that makes Furman such a great place to be faculty and to be a student,” Speitz said.

She noted that her early fears of lack of interest have been assuaged with a surge of signups for the Q&As. “This is kind of beyond our wildest imagination how well this is being received right now.”

Related: Furman University wins award for green buildings

“Tolle, Lege” is a collaboration among Furman faculty representing the departments of English, religion, history, Asian studies, classics, and modern languages and literatures, with support from the Furman Humanities Center and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), under the direction of Nancy Kennedy. The Louis G. Forgione Professor of Classics Chris Blackwell was also instrumental in the process of bringing the lecture series to life.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Furman University website.

Clemson Honors Carly Malcolm, Activist on Behalf of Survivors of Sexual Assault, With Sullivan Award

Carly Malcolm has been awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award at Clemson University for demonstrating Mr. Sullivan’s ideals of heart, mind and conduct as evidenced by “generous and unselfish service to others.”

Malcom was one of two students who received the prestigious Sullivan Award. The other student winner was Dina Altwam. The non-student award went to faculty member Dr. Rhondda Robinson Thomas.

Malcolm majored in language and international health, an integrated degree program that combines studies in health sciences and a language (Spanish). She minored in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. Both her major and minor programs are offered in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

Related: Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recipient Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College prepares for career in ministry

She came to Clemson University from High Point, North Carolina, as one of six National Scholars in 2016. As members of Clemson’s most elite academic merit program, National Scholars receive scholarships that cover tuition, fees and other expenses, in addition to special advising, mentorship and enrichment opportunities, including a funded study-abroad trip after their first year.

Malcolm has combined her interests in health policy and gender equity to improve the Clemson community by addressing issues of sexual assault and domestic violence and support services for survivors. She has gone above and beyond interest and advocacy, taking action on behalf of others, the university stated in a press release.

“Receiving this award is very meaningful to me because it recognizes the importance of improving resources for survivors of sexual violence at Clemson,” Malcolm said. “I have been honored to work alongside many passionate and talented students and staff who are dedicated to serving this community and making Clemson a safer, more equitable environment for all.”

During her time at Clemson, Malcolm was involved in student government, UNICEF and several Honors College programs. She studied in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and visited other cities—such as Durban and Johannesburg—while she was there. In 2018, Malcolm completed a summer internship with the American Public Health Association in Washington. As part of her major, she also studied in Córdoba, Argentina, and completed an internship at a hospital there.

Related: Steffi Kong, recipient of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does”

As a senior, Malcolm took part in a yearlong Creative Inquiry undergraduate research project called “Stories of Refuge, Detention and Hospitality.” In the program led by professors Angela Naimou and Joseph Mai, each student met with someone being held at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, and listened to personal stories about immigration and becoming a refugee. The students later presented their findings at a symposium.

Malcolm said she is especially proud of the work she has done at Clemson as a member of It’s On Us, a student-led movement to end sexual assault on college campuses, and as an interpersonal violence prevention intern in the Office of Access and Equity. As part of her internship, she raised awareness about issues of consent, sexual assault and bystander intervention and helped provide educational programming on those topics.

“As an alumna, I will continue to support the movement to improve survivor resources at Clemson and look forward to seeing the progress that will be made,” Malcolm said.

In the coming months, Malcolm will begin a Lead for North Carolina government fellowship. The program, run by the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, also a Sullivan Foundation partner school, aims to cultivate the next generation of public service leaders. Malcolm will work with the Register of Deeds office in Guilford County, helping develop a new Community Innovators Lab. She described the project as a creativity incubator for planning, developing and delivering knowledge and resources in her hometown.

Eventually Malcolm plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health.

This article has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Clemson University website.

 

Blog: Do Moral Values Exist in Manufacturing?

In the following post, we share a blog from Joe Sprangel, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies at Sullivan Foundation partner school Mary Baldwin University and a principal consultant at Emmanuel Strategic Sustainability. The blog, part of a series, was originally posted here on the Emmanuel website.

Defining Morality
We begin our review of the 17 M’s of manufacturing with “Moral” values. An article by Tranzend Consulting looks at the difference between business ethics and morality, where the latter is a personal perspective of what is right or wrong that will vary for each individual. A company aligned with societal business ethics can still be at odds with the moral values of an individual employee. An example is former employers that would focus on meeting minimum safety requirements mandated by federal and state Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards that are focused only on physical safety. My position was an expectation of a much stronger regard for the overall wellbeing of our workforce to include higher than minimum physical security along with financial, mental, and spiritual elements.

“If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.”—John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO

My Experience
If I were to base the answer to the above blog post title from my experience in manufacturing, I would generally give a “no” answer. I find it interesting that, as I write this content, a stress knot is developing in my chest just thinking about this former aspect of my career. The primary reason I am no longer working in the manufacturing industry is the conflict between both employer expectations and customer practices and my moral values. I felt a failure on the part of the owners of the organizations where I worked and the customers to which we supplied product in fulfilling their moral obligation for me to want to go to work each day.

Hanging Your Moral Values on a Hook
I felt like there was a code in manufacturing to live a different life at work than outside the factory walls. A routine practice was asking employees to lie to customers when quality issues occurred to avoid negative financial chargebacks. Since I see honesty and taking responsibility for wrongdoing as critical moral values, this was at odds for me. If directly asked, I would tell the truth. As you can imagine, this would not put me in good stead with my employer since I was told to do otherwise. However, I would not always share with our customers what I did know about our responsibility for a quality issue, which was still a compromise of what I believe. Owners and executives I reported to would espouse Christian values outside of work but argue that what they asked of me was just business.

Customer Failure of Fairness
A lack of fairness could have driven an employer impetus for not being upfront with our customer base. Each new job would involve contentious negotiations only agreed upon near the production launch. The supplier in this scenario would have to do upfront product and process development without a settlement. At the last minute, a three-year commitment with built-in ongoing price reductions was reached. Then every six months, the purchasing agent would come back, asking for an even lower per piece price. As a comparatively small company dealing with a behemoth auto manufacturer, the typical response was to comply with the demand begrudgingly. The customer was also putting more responsibility for design engineering and prototyping onto the supplier, creating a further compromised opportunity for profitability.

Key Takeaway
The reality is that not every small to large manufacturing company engages in these contrary practices. However, it happened at several employers over my nearly 30-year industry career. The “win at the cost of others” approach drove me away and likely did the same for many others. If we want people to be attracted to the manufacturing industry, then the heads of companies need to engage with one another differently. Instead of a toxic cycle of distrust, for the sake of a few cents to the bottom line, companies should foster a healthy cycle of mutual benefit, in which moral values and employee buy-in are weighted equally to—or even higher than—fiscal profit.

Taking the First Step
There are few Google results when one searches for moral values in manufacturing, which suggests that this is an area ripe for further exploration. I recommend that each person in manufacturing do a “hat on the hook” assessment. If you do not like the results, then I suggest putting a plan together to make the necessary change to properly align your work life with your moral values.

My Gratitude
To spin from what I saw as the seedy side of the sector to a favorable closing, I am grateful for the story of Barry-Wehmiller told in Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family . Two sentences in the book told me volumes about the way they choose to do business. The first was “a dramatically different approach to leadership that creates off-the-charts morale, loyalty, creativity, and business performance.” The second was “Barry-Wehmiller has evolved into a company that generates significant amounts of cash every year.” The result at the point of the writing of the book was holdings of eighty companies with ten global operating divisions. Maybe “not” hanging your hat on the hook is a better approach to business.

Sneak Peek
The conversation on the 17 M’s of manufacturing will continue next week with a focus on “Mission.”

 

 

Blog: The 17 M’s of Manufacturing

In the following post, we share a blog from Joe Sprangel, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies at Sullivan Foundation partner school Mary Baldwin University and a principal consultant at Emmanuel Strategic Sustainability. The blog was originally posted here on the Emmanuel website.

Setting the Stage
The first 28 years of my career were in a combination of manufacturing plants and machine builders. In my early twenties, I have a memory of laying on my back in a grease-covered stamping press. The plant was very noisy as these machines steadily thumped out automotive components. It was also the middle of the summer, so it was hot and stuffy as well. I clearly remember telling myself that I would need to do something different, as I did not want to be doing the same job when I was in my fifties.

“The skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million manufacturing positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential impact of $2.5 trillion.”—Deloitte

A Manufacturing Hiring Issue
The study results found by Deloitte echoed content in a Forbes article where those needing factory workers are unable to hire enough numbers of middle-skilled manufacturing employees. Both sources align with my personal experience of teaching a management principles course. Each semester I would ask the students how many planned to work in manufacturing upon graduation. I had one student raise her hand out of about a total of 400 students.

How to Fill 2.4 Million Positions
The glory days of the great industrialists like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and J. P. Morgan are gone and replaced by a Top 25 list of desirable jobs in a U.S. News and World Report article dominated by those in the healthcare industry. As baby boomers retire from manufacturing, it will be increasingly difficult to fill the open positions if things do not change. We need to figure out how to fill this shortfall.

A New Approach
Top Japanese quality guru Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa developed the fishbone diagram, also known as a cause and effect diagram. The tool is used by manufacturing teams to investigate production issues to find root causes of quality problems. The initial list was four potential causes that included man, machine, method, and materials. First, in research on this topic, I found articles with up to 10 M’s. Second, I compiled a list of the different M’s found in them. Third, I added those I felt were valuable from my experience. The result is currently 17 M’s, with the potential to add more to the list. These will help shape a proposed new approach to manufacturing with the intent to create a path to making this sector once again desirable. It seemed appropriate to use the fishbone diagram to find the root cause of this issue, and that is the method we will be using over the coming weeks as we look for the root cause of the hiring concerns for this industry sector.

Key Takeaway
Albert Einstein is not responsible for the quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We will not let that stand in the way of using it to describe why manufacturing has lost its luster as a career destination. In the coming weeks we will explore how this industry should change to become appealing once again.

My Gratitude
My first job in the manufacturing sector was an opportunity to complete the training and education that resulted in me attaining journeyman machine repair status. I had the great fortune to learn this skilled trade from my mentor, Dar Aiken. He taught me machine diagnostic and repair skills that have been key to my career success. He long ago departed from this world but is a part of my being. If you have had someone like this in your career and are still able, I encourage you to share your gratitude with them.

Taking the First Step
I recommend those interested in learning more about the fishbone diagram to go to the American Society of Quality’s webpage on this topic. They provide a good overview and links to articles, case studies, and publications.

Sneak Peek
We will begin next week with the first M of moral values.

UK’s Better Nature Becomes World’s First Plastic-Neutral Meat-Alternative Company

Better Nature, a UK-based producer of tempeh, has partnered with rePurpose Global, a plastic credit platform, to become the world’s first plastic-neutral meat-alternative company.

“Due to the relatively complicated food safety aspect of tempeh production, it’s really difficult to remove plastic from its production and packaging,” said Amadeus Driando Ahnan-Winarno, co-founder and head of technology at Better Nature. “It’s something that really frustrates us as a team and we’re constantly working on. We’re particularly looking into how we could use recycled or renewable materials rather than virgin plastic. We’re making progress, but it will take a while to implement, so, in the meantime, offsetting the plastic we produce is a productive step.”

Related: Solving the single-use plastic problem with Emma Rose of FinalStraw

Until the company can reduce its own plastic usage, it’s working with rePurpose Global to contribute to the removal of the same amount of plastic from the environment that it uses. Better Nature makes monetary donations to rePurpose Global based on how much plastic it uses in packaging and shipping materials. That money is sent to rePurpose Global partner Waste4Change, a social enterprise in West Java, Indonesia. Waste4Change develops sustainable waste management systems to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.

By supporting Waste4Change, Better Nature hopes to reduce the overall amount of plastic waste globally and ensure that it’s reused in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Waste4Change also provides jobs for more than 140 waste management workers and their families in West Java.

Related: Oglethorpe University senior has simple solution to better protect Hawaii’s dolphins

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product made from fermented soybeans. It’s a staple protein and a major industry in Java, where it most likely originated centuries ago. Boosting the plastic recycling industry in Indonesia helps protect waste-management employees from inhumane conditions and low wages. The Better Nature initiative boosts these workers’ income by making hard-to-recycle plastics more valuable, the company says, while supporting an experienced recycling social enterprise.

“At Better Nature, our mission is to do things the better way—for people, the planet and animals,” said Elin Roberts, co-founder and head of marketing at Better Nature. “But the better way is not always the perfect way; it’s about making whatever changes we can to get closer to our greater goals. As a start-up, it can be tricky to implement all the changes we want to from the beginning, but we’re working hard to be as sustainable as possible. Going plastic-neutral is a step in the right direction for us, and one we want to encourage more businesses to take.”

Related: University of North Carolina research explains why sea turtles eat plastic

Dewey and Barbara Trogdon, Berenice Fuentes Juarez Honored With Sullivan Awards from Guilford College

Sullivan Foundation partner school Guilford College has presented the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards for 2020 to Dewey and Barbara Trogdon from the Guilford community and Berenice Fuentes Juarez from the student body.

Dewey Trogdon is a Guilford College alumnus who graduated in 1958. He and Barbara, his wife, have lived their lives rooted in working-class values formed as children growing up through the Great Depression and World War II. Those formative years informed their strong work ethic, generosity and focus on family, friends and individuals in need of a hand from time to time. Together, Dewey and Barbara represent grace, giving, friendship and a sense of community, according to a Guilford College press release.

Related: Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College prepares for a career in ministry

Berenice Fuentes Juarez, the oldest daughter of Mexican parents, identifies as Mexican-American and is a first-generation college student—now a Guilford alumna. Raised in Oakland, California, she double majored in public health and biology with a minor in Spanish, all while building an exceptional record of leadership and service at Guilford.

Juarez worked with Soy un Lider, an annual college preparation and empowerment conference for Latinx and refugee students hosted by Guilford College, and Latinx Impact, a community-based program for high-school students, as well as campus organization Hispanos Unidos de Guilford. She also served as a research assistant for 200- and 300-level biology courses taught by Professor Melanie Lee-Brown.

Dewey and Barbara Trogdon
Dewey Trogdon is the former CEO and chairman of Cone Mills and past president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. He has been a mentor to many in the business world.

He also is an amateur historian on two counts: about the former Atlantic and Yadkin Railway and the town of Summerfield, N.C., where he and Barbara were born. As a young volunteer firefighter, Dewey used his mechanical skills to help build many of the original fire trucks for the Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department. He also served as an assistant chief of the department and provided care for people injured in accidents and fires when emergency services were scarce.

Related: Steffi Kong, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does.”

In a letter to the editor of the Greensboro News and Record in 2000, Dewey, a Korean War veteran, wrote: “For me, Korea was the beginning of an aversion toward shedding our blood and national wealth and committing young Americans to oblivion as a result of uncertain national goals.”

Dewey graduated from Guilford with a bachelor’s degree in economics and completed additional study at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia. He has received Guilford’s Alumni Excellence Award and Charles C. Hendricks ’40 Distinguished Service Award. He and Barbara have been loyal benefactors to Guilford College and are members of the Macon Society (total gifts of more than $1 million) and Francis T. King Society (with a planned gift). Dewey served as a member of the Guilford College Board of Trustees from 1980 to 2004 and has been a Trustee Emeritus since then.

Barbara and Dewey Trogdon, community recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for 2020 at Guilford College.

When reflecting on contributions both of his parents have made to Guilford and the larger Triad community, their son Mark Trogdon, a 1983 graduate, said their acts of service have followed “a basic tenant of, it’s what you do to help others/organizations because you believe it is necessary to help them.”

Mark added that for decades his mother Barbara “has provided financial support to numerous hard-working people striving to create a sustainable existence and promising future for themselves and their families. She has done this without fanfare, driven by a genuine goal of simply helping others while maintaining their dignity and integrity … not drawing attention upon herself or those in need,” he said. “She did this when we had minimal family resources and later on in life when they (my parents) had more to share.”

“I am extraordinarily proud of my parents and (of) Guilford for recognizing them,” he said.

Berenice Fuentes Juarez
In 2019, Juarez was honored by the N.C. Campus Compact with its annual Community Impact Service Award, given to students who demonstrate a deep commitment to community involvement and an ability to inspire their peers. Juarez was one of only 22 students statewide to receive the Community Impact Service Award last year, first presented by the Campus Compact in 2006.

The fact that Juarez has received that kind of recognition, including this year’s Sullivan Award, is no surprise to her biology professor, Dr. Melanie Lee-Brown. Lee-Brown met and first taught Juarez when, in her sophomore year, Juarez enrolled in her Scientific Inquiry: Bioterrorism class. At that time, the Scientific Inquiry course was part of core course work for biology majors, Lee-Brown said. She described the class as the “first introduction to self-generated research” for students in the major.

Related: Davidson College bestows Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on student with a heart for the homeless

Typically, students in the class are organized in groups of four to design a research project around a prompt from the professor. “She (Juarez) did really well,” Lee-Brown said.  “[W]ithin her group, I recognized that she was a leader. She was one that was always working towards them setting goals and getting those goals accomplished within their group. And beyond that, she was somebody that really seemed to care about the folks in her group.”

Juarez is not only “very service-minded,” but also a broad thinker, Lee-Brown said. She is someone with the ability to bring people of different backgrounds together and “help to get people excited about the work. That was both inside and outside the classroom,” Lee-Brown said, whether Juarez was rallying classmates to volunteer with a Soy un Lider conference or ensuring biology students had access to extra lab time and other resources they needed.

“She faced a lot of adversity in her personal life on top of all of this,” Lee-Brown noted, “so it’s even more amazing what she ended up accomplishing in her time here.”

“She’s been through a lot and she has a lot of strength,” the professor added. “I think she has a lot more strength than she thinks she does at some points.”

After reflecting on Juarez’s growth during her studies at Guilford—as a leader, a female scientist and a young woman of color juggling many responsibilities—Lee-Brown summed up her thoughts about her former student and advisee: “She’s an excellent combination of strength and softness, and outward responsibility, and caring and maturity. “This (Sullivan) award was perfect for her, because it did highlight so much that is Berenice.”

If the academic year had concluded as planned for Guilford’s Class of 2020, the graduates would have been joined in celebration on the campus quad last month by this year’s Sullivan Award recipients. Instead, with spring commencement plans halted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, current plans call for all three 2020 Sullivan Award honorees to be recognized at Guilford’s 2021 commencement.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Guilford College website.

 

Veteran Seeks to Help Injured Soldiers Regain Full Strength

When Brooks Herring decided to give college a try after serving in the U.S. Navy and working for the Army, he had one goal in mind: Creating a physical therapy program that would help wounded service members get back to the level of strength and activity they had before their injury.

All during his undergraduate years at Sullivan Foundation partner school University of South Carolina, the self-described Gamecock for life says he took every opportunity to have a typical college student experience while never losing sight of his ultimate goal.

Related: Winthrop University freshman leads charity supporting veterans

“I doubted myself coming back to school after all those years,” said Herring, who graduated summa cum laude and with leadership distinction in 2018 with a major in exercise science and a minor in business. “Once I made it through that first semester with a 4.0, I knew I would be OK.”

Herring is in his second year of the doctor of physical therapy program at the university’s Arnold School of Public Health. After that, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in exercise science, focusing on his goal of using research-based evidence to help improve the lives of wounded veterans.

Brooks Herring in 2018, the year he earned his degree in exercise science at the University of South Carolina

Herring served in the Navy from 2005 to 2011 and deployed to Iraq and Africa. He was an Army civilian from 2011 to 2013 and deployed to Afghanistan. He made a commitment to give back to others who have sacrificed while serving their country. “I came home with all 10 fingers and toes, and I feel guilty about that,” Herring said.

“I recognized after I started as a student that there was a need for advocacy on campus. My personality type just doesn’t let me sleep knowing (there’s that need for veterans) unless I’m doing something about it,” added Herring, who was born on an Air Force base in Louisiana and raised in Conway, South Carolina.

He has created Run Phase, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has partnerships in place waiting for him to finish his doctorate so he can begin working with veterans. Herring is working with professors in his graduate program to learn as much as he can about the human body and to use best practices to create a program that will help a variety of injuries.

“A lot of the work that needs to be done will come after graduation,” Herring said. “It will be a clinic with a different approach.”

The goal of much physical therapy is to get the patient able to handle daily tasks needed for independent living, such as being able to get around or take care of personal needs inside the home. What Herring envisions is more like the physical therapy that high-performance athletes undergo to rehab an injury.

“This is a young, physically fit, active and motivated population that has gone from a very high level of performance to a very low level,” Herring says of soldiers who have suffered a traumatic injury, such as the loss of a limb, a severe burn or brain injury associated with improvised explosive devices seen so much during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“You couple that with combat trauma and you’re adding a psychological component that often isn’t even considered during PT,” Herring says. “Our current therapy regimens are getting them nowhere near where they were.”

Herring’s program would take over where traditional physical therapy leaves off — “for those that want to get to the next level of rehab.”

The clinical component for now will require funding because that is not the goal of federally funded physical therapy for service members. But Herring hopes that once he has completed his second doctorate, which will allow him to focus on research, he will be able to show the value of the higher level of rehab so it will be paid for by veterans’ benefits.

“I am able-bodied enough to benefit those who weren’t as lucky as I was,” Herring says. “I know the benefits of physical activity and I want to bring that experience home to others.”

This story was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the University of South Carolina website with additional material from this article.