February 2021

Video of the Month

F&Mily Forum: Finding Meaning in this Time of Anxiety and Stress

In case you missed it, the F&M Alumni Association Board gathered some experts and respected leaders from several different religious traditions to discuss finding meaning in these anxious times.

F&Mily Forum: Finding Meaning in this Time of Anxiety and Stress

COVID – the Latest Updates from F&M

Remember to check for the latest Pandemic Operations Information, including any recent updates for students and parents, and to find F&M's COVID-19 Dashboard, updated every Tuesday and Friday.

OSPGD Update

First-Years ASPIRE for Greatness at F&M

The COVID-19 pandemic has called for sacrifices throughout the Franklin & Marshall College community. This fall, the sophomore class studied remotely in an effort to reduce the number of students in on-campus residential halls. Now, it’s the first-year cohort’s turn.

In December with this transition on the horizon, Beth Throne, associate vice president for student and post-graduate development, received notes from parents of first-years expressing concern over a potential lack of structure for their students entering a remote spring semester. Around the same time, the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) noticed an uptick in advising appointments with first years looking for internships and short-term opportunities to occupy their J-Term.

“OSPGD proactively responded and innovated what became the ASPIRE program,” she said.

ASPIRE—which stands for Authentic Success & Possibility in Reach for Every Student—was designed to not only make students aware of the resources available to them and keep them on track as they move to a remote environment, but to set students up for success early at F&M. Held over J-Term, participants explored potential career directions and opportunities; connected with F&M alumni for coaching and mentoring; produced a draft resume, LinkedIn profile, and action plan to develop experience and skills over the coming years; and made connections with similarly minded first-year students. At the end of the program, students earned a certificate and access to additional individualized resources and coaching.

“ASPIRE was the perfect program for an undecided [first-year] who likes to plan ahead and know what to expect,” said first-year Nicole Gilliland. “I not only learned a lot about OSPGD, but myself, too. I would definitely encourage others to take advantage of this program and whatever else OSPGD has to offer.”

First-year students Olivia Schmid and Meredith Mangum felt similarly.

“To say that it has cleared the air of any confusion I had moving forward would be a huge understatement,” Schmid said. “I came into ASPIRE with no resume, no LinkedIn or Handshake [F&M's job and internship database] profile, and no idea where to go with all the opportunities that F&M provides students. After ASPIRE ended, I can now say that I have developed a resume that I am proud of, and LinkedIn and Handshake profiles that can help me network and connect with others later on in my academic career. The overall experience was really priceless and I would 100% take advantage of it again!”

Mangum said ASPIRE not only introduced her to the variety of opportunities and resources provided by OSPGD, but helped her learn more about herself.

“This program was particularly valuable to me as I am currently undecided about my major, and ASPIRE supplied the information I needed to make a plan to explore and find clarity about potential majors and careers,” she said. “Through the program and an individual meeting I scheduled with Beth Throne, I gained a greater understanding of my strengths and how to best put them to use for my own fulfillment and for future success at F&M and beyond.”

Based on the positive feedback received, Throne noted OSPGD is considering holding another version of ASPIRE later this spring and potentially rolling it out more broadly in the fall.

 Commencement 2021

May seems so far away – but it really isn't! Parents of seniors are getting ready for this once-in-a-lifetime event. The planned date is Saturday, May 15. Mark the date on your calendar, and stay tuned for more information.

 Academic Calendar

Just a reminder that the academic calendar will help answer parents’ questions about dates for the end and beginning of modules, and final exams. See it here.

 3-Day Startup Workshop Begins Entrepreneurship Initiative

Forty F&M students brainstormed through a virtual hackathon-style program, focusing on idea generation, testing and implementation. They then pitched their ideas to a panel of five alumni and five professors. See the details here.

First-Generation Students Praise Faculty for Support

A recent panel discussion gave six Franklin & Marshall first-generation students the chance to discuss their successes and struggles during their first semester. They saluted the College’s professors and programs for easing their transition. Read more here.

 Raise our Game

Join us in March for Raise our Game, our annual monthlong campaign for Diplomat Athletics. We are raising our game more than ever before and hope you will raise your game, too. Last year, we raised more than $181,000 from more than 1,000 donors. Help us break records again and support Diplomat Athletics next month. Stay tuned for more details coming your way soon.

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