Nichols College News

New Grant Fuels Leadership Training

A three-year grant from the Davis Educational Foundation based in Yarmouth, Maine is helping to fund a Nichols initiative to develop student leadership skills in a range of part-time jobs around campus.

The $47,800 awarded by the foundation for the the project is funding positions for three student Writing Fellows and two Communications Fellows beginning this fall. Each position involves up to 10 hours of work per week and is “scaffolded” so that the student fellows progressively take on more areas of responsibility in future terms.

“The spirit of the grant was to open up new opportunities,” says Mauri Pelto, Nichols professor of environmental science, who wrote the grant.

The new Writing Fellows—sophomores Kimberly Whalen, Stephen Hewston, and Lindsey Lamphere—are already integrated into freshman writing courses as a resource for students. Fellows attend class once a week, serve as contact points for students in the course, and meet weekly with the instructor to discuss writing issues as well as expectations and requirements for upcoming assignments.

Communications Fellows Melanie Gajewski and Jillian Stadig, both seniors, are assisting the marketing efforts of the admissions office.

As promised in the grant proposal, Nichols is funding student jobs in other areas of the college. Most notable is the force of nearly two dozen undergraduates who staff the school’s call center, from which they contact potential students to promote a Nichols education and answer questions. Until this fall, that function was outsourced to a private company.

“There are leadership opportunities on campus,” Pelto emphasizes. “Even if they are entry level jobs, these students can advance.” Teaching leadership is at the core of the Nichols College educational mission, he adds.

The Davis Educational Foundation was created in 1985 by Stanton Davis, the former chairman of the Shaw’s supermarket chain, and his wife Elisabeth. The organization supports initiatives at public and private colleges throughout New England.