-Hafiz of Shiraz
“There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.”
Emily Shaw, neuroscience major, religious studies minor, from Glenview, Illinois brings an analytical perspective to the community. Through interning at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center and researching in Dr. Katherine White’s Cognition and Aging Laboratory at Rhodes she has become very familiar with the process of research both with patients and unimpaired participants. Through this research, as well as academic classes such as cognitive neuroscience and physiological psychology, she has learned the cognitive processes in the brain which will enhance her understanding of her community members and their lives. Aiding in her understanding of people and communities, Emily gained an appreciation for cultural during her time studying abroad in Italy this past summer. She studied renaissance and medieval history through an exploration of art and culture. Emily also works in the Bryan Campus Life Center as a Rhodes Student Associate where she coordinates the events that take place in the athletic department facilities. She has played a vital role in the initiation and implementationof a new webcasting program for all varsity home events. The organizational skills required for her Student Associate job will be beneficial for her role as the community’s treasurer where she will be responsible for managing the budget and ensuring that community uses the grant money as planned.
Emily contributes to the community in both an engaging and passionate way. She offers a practical facet to the community allowing the Ruka to function more effectively. Her devotion and drive to the Ruka is incomparable, and the community thrives with her commitment and attentiveness. Emily’s desire to develop relationships with others and thoughtful outlook on community is essential for truly fostering an intentional community.
“The needs are great and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
– Mother Teresa
Paula Vasichko, a senior Neuroscience major, will utilize her course work discussing physical mechanisms of the body, specifically the physiology course she is taking this semester, and her volunteer work at the Church Health Center and Texas Children’s Hospital to help serve the Memphis community through the integration of physical knowledge from the classroom and personal contact with community members. Along with these healthcare examples her position as the Healthcare and Hospitals Kinney Coordinator shows her dedication to ensuring healthy lifestyles for people. Her fellowship last summer for Neuroscience research with elderly in Memphis continues to show her commitment to connecting the skills learned in classes at Rhodes College to interactions with people of all ages in the Memphis community.
Paula’s diligent attitude and purposeful approach to the Ruka brings both a sense of organization and rationale. Her commitment to the core values of the Ruka and desire to improve the community enhances both the relationships among members and the community as a whole. Her enthusiasm for the environment keeps the Ruka both accountable and innovative.
Paula serves the Ruka as our Token Environmentalist. The Token Environmentalist is responsible for taking care of the green aspects of the home. She oversees and takes responsibility for recycling, and oversees the monthly utility bill, making sure the Ruka meets their goals for sustainable living. She makes sure community members are using energy saving techniques in simple and practical ways to help protect the environment. It is her sole responsibility to investigate new ways to make the community more sustainable. Paula oversees care of our composting and is responsible for maintaining the overall health of our garden. Additionally, the Environmentalist seeks out opportunities for the community to visit other farms and gardens, working closely with the Ambassador to secure funding for participation in these opportunities. Lastly, she is entirely responsible for maintaining the community’s relationship with the Binghamton community garden and for sending community members to the garden whenever possible, beginning in the spring semester.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis
Shannon Blair is a senior biology major and religious studies minor. Her natural sciences background fuels her desire for environmentally friendly living. In addition, she bridges the gap between these disciplines by equating the need for care of physical bodies with spiritual health and emotional well being. Through her internship at the Church Health Center, Shannon has spent time studying the correlation between health and wealth, particularly in Memphis’ underprivileged neighborhoods (including Binghampton) which has illustrated to her the positive effects of community support and involvement. The experience has provided her the opportunity to view Memphis from a different cultural perspective. This internship has also allowed her to apply academic knowledge form religious studies and psychology courses to practical situations through her interactions there. She also has been greatly influenced by her exposure to community living time as a camp counselor in which the staff both lived and worked together throughout the summer months. It was in this setting that Shannon also had the opportunity to work in outreach ministry serving children which further fueled her passion for service and the lasting effects simply forming relationships with others can provide. Finally, Shannon’s work in the Residence Life office on campus had provided her valuable experiences interacting with the college staff, faculty, students and parents that will serve her well in her ambassador position acting as a liaison for the community and the greater Rhodes campus.
As this year’s ambassador, Shannon will coordinate all events between the Ruka and the greater Rhodes community. She will be responsible for the awareness and continuation of the community through planning and organizing open houses as well as the application process for new candidates. Shannon will work to make the Ruka a resource for Community Living and environmental practices throughout Rhodes’ campus. Also, as liaison, Shannon will coordinate all meals and happenings with Rhodes’ professors and community leaders in the area over the course of the year.
Shannon brings both enthusiasm and compassion to the community. Her zeal and passion for intentional community and dedication to the fellowship creates a reliable mind-set that the rest of the community can depend on. Shannon’s consideration and heart for others makes her a strong-hold of the Ruka and a motivation in serving the greater community and interacting positively with others.