Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Reynolds Student Named Valley Proteins Fellow 

for 4th Consecutive Year



She’s here. She’s there. She’s everywhere. "And that," says Valley Proteins Fellow Janeen McNeish, “is one of the most important keys to student success. You have to be everywhere. You have to be visible. If you want to stand out, you have to give to your school, and to your community. You have to volunteer.”

In her first year on campus Janeen was everywhere, devoting every bit of her time and energy to her studies, her college, and her community. And her philosophy paid off. It has earned her scholarships, the respect of faculty, administration and fellow students, and the latest award: the prestigious designation of Valley Proteins Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Being named a Valley Proteins Fellow is an honor earned by few. 

Consider this: of the more than 250,000 second-year students in the whole Virginia Community College system, only 10 are selected each year to participate in the Valley Proteins Fellowship Program. 

Now consider this: for the fourth consecutive year a Reynolds student has been chosen to be a Valley Proteins Fellow. 

Past Reynolds Valley Proteins Fellows are:  
Grace Swal – 2018-2019 
Donald Cooper – 2017-2018
Angela Graves – 2016 – 2017

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Janeen, she is a second year Nursing student participating in a special partnership with ODU. She will graduate from Reynolds with her associates degree along with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Her plan is to work for a year as an ICU Nurse and then apply to VCU’s Nurse Anesthesiology program so she can ultimately, “put people under.” Her plans were ambitious and rigorous even before being awarded the Fellowship. You can read more about Janeen in a previous post on the Reynolds blog.

With honor comes responsibility. “I don’t expect the Fellowship to make my life easier,” Janeen says, “what I expect it will do is reveal my role, or roles, on campus, in the community, and in my area of interest - Community Health.” While the scholarship has an approximate value of $15,000, which includes professional development, travel, networking opportunities, full tuition, books, fees, and intellectual and cultural activities, there are expectations. To strengthen their leadership skills and develop a strong foundation for future success, Fellows are expected to volunteer for 80 hours of community service during the academic year. At the same time they are required to maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average.

What’s up for Janeen this semester along with the Fellowship? “Med Surg – an important class where you learn all the illnesses, Clinicals, Nursing Information – an online class through ODU, Health Participation, and Chemistry. It’s going to be a busy year.” 

How is it possible to carry such a heavy course load, participate in a Fellowship, and work at VCU as a Care Partner? Janeen takes a deep breath and explains what sustains her.

“I live by my calendar. It doesn’t happen if it isn’t on my calendar. With the big stuff planned I can better handle all the other unexpected stuff that comes up. Like last minute changes to my schedule.”

“Support. I can’t say enough about the support I have gotten from my professors and from the administration at Reynolds. Dr. Pando and Ann Bushey have been in my corner from day one. Every time something good has happened to me, Ann has been there."

"And the professors. They are fabulous. I did not love Chemistry until I came to Reynolds and had a class with Professor S [aka Professor Sinanian]. He is a hard teacher, no doubt, but he always made time to explain everything. I came to see him one day at noon, he set aside his lunch to help me. As long as you applied yourself he would make sure you really got it, and understood Chemistry, and I really needed to understand Chemistry."

"And then there are my classmates, I have made some amazing friends here. Having great people around you can take you to the next level. They share what they know, like the information about applying for the Valley Proteins Fellowship. I tell other students now, if you want to apply, reach out to me, I will help you - you need to be thinking about it now, because now is when you have to do the work, you have to participate, and you have to be VISIBLE.”

“I’ve learned when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to opportunities. I want to do a lot, but I can’t do everything. I have to choose carefully so I have enough time and energy to give 100% to what I do. Also, I invest in myself. I take vacations when I can. Even with a little bit of time, I’ll go watch a movie, or spend time with my family, these small things keep my tank full, too.” 

Our hearty congratulations go out to Janeen McNeish. May your tank always be full.

About the Valley Proteins Fellowship

The Valley Proteins Fellows program is made possible by the generous support of Valley Proteins, Inc., a Winchester-based rendering business operating for almost 70 years throughout the US. Valley Proteins management is committed to outstanding corporate citizenship, excellent customer service, technological innovation and support for the community college mission. 

President of Valley Proteins, Inc. Gerald Smith, Jr., said, “My brother and I are pleased to support the Valley Proteins Fellows program because it provides us with the opportunity to develop a more educated and competitive Virginia.” The Valley Proteins Fellowship Program is administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. Its mission is to help promising, second-year students at Virginia’s community colleges pursue their academic goals and strengthen their leadership skills.