The first year of the innovative new Principal Community Scholars Program ended with successful outcomes for the student involved and those impacted by their community projects. All 20 of the selected scholars from across Iowa and California successfully completed the program, the goal of which was to build their leadership skills, confidence and efficacy and help them to see themselves as community leaders.
In post-program surveys, students agreed that they would not be more likely to involved themselves in community service in the future. They also increased their understanding of how to use their knowledge and skills to make a difference.
“This project has boosted my confidence times ten!” said Miranda Hammes, a student at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids. “Presentations, conversations, and answering difficult questions pertaining to this project has made me a better communicator and more confident as a young professional.”
Another goal of the program was to support the students accomplishing successful projects to meet community needs. Projects ranged from completing program evaluations for nonprofits working in STEM, to raising funds for cancer research, to building a new mentoring program for local entrepreneurs.
“This experience has prepared me with an array of skills that set me up for success to carry on Sights on STEM programming as well as my career,” said Drake University student Lauren Oreto. “It exercised my ability to communicate, write business forms concisely and even budget funds necessary for executing the action plan.”
Each student completed a video reflection on their project at the end of the program. We showcase a few clips from these videos below. You can also see the full playlist on YouTube.
The program, funded by Principal, also had the goal of increasing the student’s knowledge of Principal’s commitment to community engagement and potential career opportunities there. In a recent Des Moines Business Record article on the program (Principal Scholars spurs student community projects) Lindsay Moser,
Principal’s university relations and recruiting manager said that one of the foundational pieces for Principal was finding students interested in this type of work culture.
“I think there is a strong interest in the type of culture that Principal looks for — helping to build a community where you live, work and play. This program will help them build skills to be more career-ready, and will help them understand the importance of community engagement from a community perspective. And I do hope it has opened a door for these students as they look for internships or long-term employment” said Moser.
The program was a pilot year and discussions are ongoing about how best to continue the partnership. We hope to open applications for a new group of students in Fall 2017.