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Student says internships are vital

UVa-Wise News - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 11:42am

Alexander Blankenship, a UVa-Wise senior and Richmond native, is spending his summer working as an intern with the District 18 probation office in the city of Norton.

The Administration of Justice major has always been interested in law enforcement. He enrolled at Richard Bland College after high school and enjoyed the rural setting, which was a refreshing change from the urban atmosphere of Virginia’s capitol. The picturesque UVa-Wise campus in rural Southwest Virginia seemed a natural fit when it came time to transfer to a four-year institution.

At UVa-Wise, Blankenship began his studies at Wise and soon found it was time to pursue an internship as part of the requirement for his degree. He asked Professor Ashley Dickinson for help finding the appropriate internship and she gave him three possibilities. The 22-year-old selected the probation office. He has no regrets.

“I had always thought about being a probation officer,” he said. “Doing this internship has showed me what the field is like, and I found that it is really appealing to me. It’s what I want to do after college.”

Blankenship works closely with Nathan Brooks in the District 18 office. As part of the internship, Blankenship observes how paperwork is done in the program that monitors sex offenders. He also accompanies Brooks on mandatory home visits to monitor the clients.

“We have to go out and meet them in their homes,” Blankenship explained. “I had always thought they would just come to the office. I guess that was the main thing that surprised me.”

While in the homes, Blankenship and Brooks make sure the person is living where they are supposed to reside and that they are following all the probation rules.

His work this summer has convinced him that a career in probation is the right choice. He believes firmly that all students should explore internships in their fields of study in order to see if their career choice will be a good fit.

“I actually completed the academic part of my internship, but I liked it so much that I continue to go in a couple days a week to get more experience,” Blankenship said.

Brooks said working with Blankenship has been a great experience as well. Brooks graduated from UVa-Wise in 2007 with a degree in Administration of Justice.

“It’s been a wonderful experiene from the start,” Brooks said of Blankenship’s time in the department. “He’s dedicated, engaging and interested. He is such a positive young man.”

Brooks said Blankenship is always on time and is committed to his work. He agrees that internships are an important part of a student’s college career. He worked as an intern with the Norton Police Department when he was a student.

After Blankenship receives his diploma, he hopes to land a job in the probation field in the Richmond or Chesapeake areas. In the meantime, he is excited to start the fall semester after a successful internship.

 

 

 

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STAC students test drive tech tools

UVa-Wise News - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 2:59pm

Twelve people of various ages and backgrounds were intently staring at computer screens Tuesday in a Darden Hall classroom at UVa-Wise as part of the Summer Technology and Creativity program.

The students—ranging in age from late teens to early 60s—were using computer programs to modify model rockets using laser cutters, scanners and 3D printers. They had learned to solder in an earlier session, and all were excited to put their personalized touches on the rockets

Daniel Ray, associate professor of computer science, explained that the students begin the STAC class with varied experience with computers and technology. Some grew up using technology, but others may have only recently or reluctantly mastered the basics of computer use. The level of experience does not matter when enrolling in the three-week summer program.

“We begin at scratch,” Ray said. “They learn how electronics work and also the basics of coding. They learn to solder, use the 3-D printer and learn about laser cutting.”

The students were also learning to make a lighted sign, and will also learn to make wearable electronics such as a bag that recharged mobile phones and clothing that lights up.

“When they leave, that will have a better understanding of the technology that is out there to make new things,” Ray said of the free course that comes with three hours of college credit. “They will learn that technology is something they can take control of and use. Basically, they will learn that they can make what is in their imagination.”

The tools used to create items in the class are daunting to the average person, but Ray explained that they are easy to use.

“Most people don’t know these tools exist, or they often think using those tools is outside of their understanding,” Ray said. “In reality, a lot of simple things are stacked on each other. When the students break it down, they see it is easy to build up to more complicated tasks.”

Frances Sturdavant of Wise completed her college education before some of the younger members of the class were born. She read about the STAC class and thought it would be of interest to her husband, a retired engineer. However, in the process of describing the course to her husband, she realized that her interest was growing.

“I’m a nerd, but I’m not a computer nerd,” she said. “Other members of my family are very much into computers. I figured if I can learn some of these things, I can look at them with an interested glint in my eyes.”

Sturdavant enjoys art, and she volunteers with the College’s art department. She thought that learning new skills, especially using tools to make items, could be helpful as she helps with projects such as the annual Christmas bazaar.

She said she often feels she is learning a new language that will open up new pathways.

“It’s not easy,” she said. “I have had to have a brain shift. I go home at night completely exhausted, but it’s a good tired.

Rebekah Shupe, incoming freshmen from Pulaski, Virginia, received an email that outlined the STAC class. She decided to come to campus this summer to take the course and get a feel for campus life.

“I knew it was a good opportunity to get started on college,” she said. “I’m interested in technology, especially 3-D printers and laser cutting.”

Shupe, who plans to major in biochemistry, has learned how to run wires, build and operate a toy motor, and how to solder. She looks forward to the bigger projects that will come toward the end of the class.

Chris Mullins, who works the IT Helpdesk on campus, decided to take the course because he gets more and more questions for assistance with a variety of technology gadgets and tools.

“I’m very interested in the maker movement. I’ve done woodwork and some blacksmithing, but this takes things to a whole new level.”

Mullins enjoys the possibility of using the 3-D printer to make his own trinkets and to explore the many uses of the technology. He hopes to convince his parents to take the class next summer.

Ray is also looking forward to future classes with a new crop of students.

“The College is interested in reaching out to the community and to people of all backgrounds so they can learn more about this technology,” he explained. “They can then take that knowledge and make their communities a better place.”

 

 

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UVA-WISE Basketball Camp 2015

UVa-Wise Calendar - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 5:00am

Seating Chart for Sporting Events

Camp will be on June 15th- 19th. For more information please see the attached camp brochure by clicking the link below. Fill out the attached brochure and mail it in or bring it with you for registration at 8:30 am the 15th of June.

 

2015 Individual Camp Brochure

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UVa-Wise Staff Council awards ninth scholarship

UVa-Wise News - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 3:53pm

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Staff Council has awarded its ninth scholarship to an employee of the College.

The UVa-Wise Staff Scholarship Fund, established by the Staff Council, provides support for tuition, fees and books at the College. The council is working toward establishing an endowment of $10,000.

This year’s recipient is Kimberly Lawson. Lawson is an administration assistant for the UVa-Wise Department of Nursing.

The council relies on contributions by faculty, staff and administration for support. Gifts may be made to the Staff Scholarship fund through the Development Office or online at ww.giving.virginia.edu/wise.

For more information, contact Jessica Necessary at 276-393-0256.

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