Shadowing Day Held on March 27

April 22, 2010

The Mount Union College Office of Service-Learning and Community Service and Alliance City Schools' NAVIGATORS after-school program participated in a shadowing day on Tuesday, March 27.

The two programs teamed up to recruit African-American male career professionals to help middle school African-American students focus on learning in the classroom and to aid them in career development.

Students involved in this career day were African-American males who are involved in the 99th Squadron Leadership Program at Alliance Middle School. Each student was matched up with a professional African-American man in the Canton, Akron, Massillon and Alliance region and given the opportunity to shadow the professional for the entire day.

This opportunity exposed students to positive role models in the career world and provided them with an understanding of the relationship between higher education and professional careers.

Dr. Ivory Lyons, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies and director of African-American studies at Mount Union was one of the career professionals chosen to be shadowed. The young man placed with Lyons was interested in becoming an educator. Throughout the day they ate breakfast, lunch, attended two classes and a meeting.

'The experience reinforced the idea that there are students who want to teach in the future,' said Lyons. 'It is so easy to become pessimistic about kids today but after working with him and seeing other students who were participating in the program it gives me hope for the near future.

'I feel that I have accomplished something by being a part of this group. It is my hope that I have opened a door for at least one young man,' Lyons added.

According to Amanda Espenschied-Reilly, director of service-learning and community service at Mount Union, NAVIGATORS director Matt Horning first came up with the idea of organizing a career shadowing day for the 99th Squadron.

'I thought that this was something that Mount Union might be able to help facilitate,' said Espenschied-Reilly. She then approached Randy Clark, assistant professor of communication at Mount Union about the project and he readily agreed to help.

'I feel that we have reached out to provide a good experience for these young men,' said Espenschied-Reilly. 'If this experience and the connections they made get them thinking about future career paths, then this project has been a success. Maybe someday, we will even see some of these fine young men as students here at the College.'

NAVIGATORS is an after-school program that provides a variety of intervention and enrichment activities in a safe, enriching environment after school. A leadership program for high achieving African-American male students, the 99th Squadron is just one of the many components of the NAVIGATORS program.

'Census data shows that few African-American males and females in the Alliance area earn bachelor's degrees,' said Clark. 'Matt Horning and others involved in higher education wanted to expose the 99th Squadron to other African-American role models and show many possibilities are around this area.'

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