Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Driven by Dreams

Madison Scalf is driven. Her ride of choice? Maserati? Lamborghini? Porsche? No way. For Madison, it’s politics, history, and economics. Not long ago, she was stalled on the side of the road. She had dreams, but she’d stopped dreaming them. Then she came to Reynolds, and Madison went from 0 to 60 once she was accepted into the Honors program and got back in the fast lane. 

When she came to Reynolds, Madison didn’t know what she wanted to do. “I’d given up on the things I had always cared about. I’d stopped believing in myself, or in the possibility that good things could happen for me.” Her U-turn was rapid. She rediscovered her love of history and politics during a Western Civilization class in the Spring of 2018, and from there decided to pursue her dream to run for Congress one day.

Her first step was to volunteer for a Congressional Campaign last fall where she got promoted to field organizer for Hanover County. Armed with that experience and her knowledge of what it takes to run a campaign, a chance conversation with another local candidate landed her a job as his Campaign Manager for this election year. “It’s rare to jump from being in the field to becoming a Campaign Manager,” Madison confessed. “I was comfortable being in charge of field, but had a lot to learn about running everything and being the extension of the candidate. I have to hire staff, and manage all the finances, and make important, sometimes difficult decisions.” 

 “You don’t go into politics for the money,” she continued, “You go in to it for a sense of purpose. I live on my own, pay for school on my own, and need to work. But, being a Campaign Manager is the first job I’ve had where I’m doing something I want to do. I’m working for a sense of purpose, rather than just for the money. Also, it’s great preparation for performing under pressure, and the issues I see every day are reinforcing what I learn in my classes.” Money being an issue, Madison also works two other part time jobs, fortunately with flexible hours, to keep a steady paycheck coming in.

How does she keep her schedule organized? “I use an Excel template. But the template only broke down the day in half hour increments so I had to adjust it to suite my needs. I organize my day in 15 minute increments. Everything goes on the spreadsheet, work time, school time, travel time, family and friend time, and most important: rest time. It all gets planned. It has to. That’s the only way to get it all done.”

Now that she has her dreams back, Madison knows “getting it all done” is the key element of achieving those dreams. “When I was a sophomore in high school one of my dreams was to go to William and Mary to study politics and history. Another dream was to become a Marine officer.  I thought I had lost all of those dreams until I came to Reynolds and joined the Honors program.”

Fast lane forward to September 2019: Madison has received her Letter of Intent from William & Mary, and has been accepted for the fall semester in 2020. She also has a Marine adviser who is helping her navigate through her application to the Officer’s Program. Her screening will come next June. True to Madison’s character, she has a plan to prepare herself when the time comes to face the Marines.

Really, who needs a Maserati when your dreams can take you anywhere you want to go? 

Hold tight to the wheel, Madison, you are on your way, and there is no speed limit on your road. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Meet Susan Roach 

Student Service Specialist/Special Accommodations

Where did you grow up and what was it like? 
I grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, which is about one hour drive northeast of Cleveland right on Lake Erie.  I lived there until 1971 as I moved to Norfolk, VA as a Navy wife.  Mom and dad gave us the opportunity to have lots experiences.  I was a girl scout up to high school graduation, belonged to 4-H, worked at the local YMCA as a junior leader from Junior High to gradation and then continued to volunteer. Was a member of the FTA Future teachers of America in high school and had the chance to go to my elementary school and work as a SUB.  

How long have you worked for Reynolds? Have you always worked with students?
I started August of 1999, as a wage employee under the Perkins Grant as a notetaker in classrooms. Then in October, I was hired as the part time wage employee doing what I am still doing today. On 11-24-2004, I went full time as a classified staff still doing the same job, working with students with disabilities.  

You are described as being “very knowledgeable, and the epitome of professional and caring,” and showing, “real warmth with a no-nonsense style.” Were these traits always part of your personality, or did they develop over the years you have worked with students?
This statement would be a compliment to my mom, this is how she lived her life, and she was a nurse and a mom to four of us and had a matter of fact attitude. I have two older sisters and one younger brother and we were raised to care, nurture, and mind your manners. The activities we could be involved in made up for what we did not have in material items. My personality has always been the same treat someone as you would expect to be treated, always do the best you can and if you can have fun while doing your job. 

When my son was born and had complications at birth and was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy my world took a different turn. He is now 39 an alumni of Reynolds Community College and been working since 2003 at the same job and because of him I dove into the world of disabilities. Many of you know my son and see the end results of being able to teach someone how to be proactive and understand the world that they live in. My mom would be very proud us.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
We are very involved with our students and all of the parts of their lives as the disabilities can cross many lines. It is challenging when you help the students make the transition to college but also for many for the first time to try to understand their disability. K-12 does so much of the work for the student that may not be able to communicate what and why they need accommodations.   

What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
Graduation!! I love to see my students cross the stage. I started on the graduation committee in 2003 and have not missed one yet. However, there is a BUT – the friendship you make with your co-workers and my relationships with our faculty are awesome and let you have fun at work.

If you had one extra hour a day, how would you use it?
 To be honest I might just say “Rest” but in the real world to have an extra hour at home every day to enjoy time my family would be great. We moved to King William in 2013 and that gives us a healthy drive. Nevertheless, that drive also means we have turkeys and deer in our front yard that do not mind sharing the yard with us.  

What do you like to do when you are not here on campus helping students?  
Spending time with family and friends does not matter where or what you are doing. You have to appreciate them while you have them and tell them often you care about them.  

What do like most about Richmond? Favorite places to visit? Favorite restaurants?
We like living in Richmond, as you can go either direction and in a matter of hours enjoy very different scenery. Since I grew up on Lake Erie and around boats, it is great that the Bay and Ocean is so close. When I was little my family spent time in the mountains camping. We have a camper and boat near Smith Point at Reedville, VA and enjoy time with family and friends that brings back many childhood memories.

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do with the money?
I would pay off the new cars we bought, travel to visit family in Ohio, West Virginia, and Arizona. Probably add chickens, goat and not sure what else to our property and enjoy being at home. I would also start a few scholarships at Reynolds to support our students with disabilities in the honor of what Reynolds has done for my son.