After sitting and absorbing what her professors said in her capstone course, West Virginia University senior Brittany Fizer put everything to use when she developed a five-week workplace readiness course for the Secure Female Facility in Hazelton.

In her workplace readiness course, Fizer taught the women about college and job applications, resume, cover letter and thank you note writing and interviewing techniques.

Fizer, a senior from Morgantown is one of many students enrolled in WVU’s Multidisciplinary Studies program.

Students registered in the MDS program get to create their own educational path by selecting three minors from any of the minors offered at WVU. One component of the MDS major is a capstone course where students complete a service-learning project.

“These projects allow students to apply their minors to a real life experience before they graduate,” said Evan Widders, program coordinator for the Multidisciplinary Studies program.

“I learned a great deal about communicating with a diverse group of people and organizational skills,” Fizer said.

With more than 100 community partners, WVU’s Center for Civic Engagement pairs students and community partners together. Students begin by meeting with a worker from the CCE to decide on the appropriate assignment, the decisions are made base on the community partners needs, the student’s skill set and what the student is hoping to gain from the project. Projects range from water sampling at Decker’s Creek and organizing World AIDS Day to tutoring kids through the Kaleidoscope afterschool program and developing Web sites.

“It’s set up like an internship, where students incorporate their three minors while working with community partners to develop their skills in a professional environment,” said Kayla Taylor, graduate assistant for the Center for Civic Engagement.

Students must complete a total of 30 hours in order to finish their projects. The community partners also submit assessments about the students work.

“We want students to gain an appreciation for the difficulties faced by everyday Americans and instill in them a lifelong belief in community volunteerism,” Widders said.

“It was very rewarding to have the opportunity to reach out to someone who may never have had someone before or may never have had a positive role model in their life,” Fizer said. “I knew when I left there each morning after class I had made a difference.”

For more service learning opportunities please visit: .

By Genna Woodyard
WVU News & Information Services



CONTACT: Evan Widders, Multidisciplinary Studies