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Service-Learning Advocate Highlight: Nikki Frisz

Nikki is a returning SLA, and is a native Californian from Orange County.  She is a Sophomore, studying Communications and Marketing. Heavily involved in many aspects of APU life, Nikki can always be counted on to exude life and excitement. Her bold and outgoing personality suits her well in her role as the undergraduate SLA in charge of the Fall 2011 semester’s C.H.A.M.P. program, which stands for College Headed and Mighty Proud.

Each year, the College Headed and Mighty Proud (C.H.A.M.P.) semester-long program introduces the idea of college to around 700 fourth graders from six local schools in the Azusa Unified School District through various activities. The C.H.A.M.P. program is a service-learning experience for APU students enrolled in EDLS 405 Diversity in the Classroom. This education course is designed to engage prospective teachers with issues such as race and culture in the educational setting. Each semester, APU partners with three elementary schools from the Azusa Unified School District. APU students are assigned to classrooms at the designated school sites to serve as college mentors to groups of five to seven fourth grade students. The APU students facilitate activities that correspond to the C.H.A.M.P. curriculum, covering such topics as college admission, financial aid, and career exploration.

Nikki and Amanda, the graduate assistant in charge of C.H.A.M.P., work with the professors, APU students, and school partners to make sure everything runs smoothly. They also run Visit Days, where they take the fourth grade students around campus, showing them places such as the cafeteria, dorms, classrooms, and other locations, in order to give them a feel for what college life is really like. At the end of the semester, they host a graduation ceremony where all the fourth grade participating students come to graduate from the program and declare to their parents, teachers, and fellow classmates what major and career they desire to pursue.

Visit Days are Nikki’s favorite event. Having to contact the different school departments and schedule all the different components has helped to enhance her professional development within the realms of her own career goals. Nikki hopes to continue learning how to plan and implement effective programming as well as working with children. She has a heart for reaching out to others and keeping a focus on God at the center of all her endeavors.

This spring, Nikki will be spending a semester abroad in South Africa. She will be facilitating the Service-Learning component for all the APU students who are a part of this South Africa semester abroad program. She hopes to continue her professional development, giving life and energy wherever she is placed. Nikki’s top strengths are Woo, Positivity, Activator, Includer, and Communication. With this combination of strengths, it is easy to see what a great asset she is to the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research, as well as a vibrant and active APU student.

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Mary C. Pearce is the Graduate Assistant Coordinator for Student Professional Development and Program Support  at the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research, Working on a Masters of Science in College Counseling and Student Development