Scholar Q and A: Jeff Goodwin '10
Sam McCann (a class of 2012 journalism major from Alexandria, Virginia) spoke with Jeff Goodwin (a class of 2010 television-radio major from Essex, Vermont) about the impact the Park Scholar Award has had on Goodwin’s college career.
Sam: You’re a few weeks away from graduating. How has the Park Scholar Award prepared you for the “real world”?
Jeff: The experiences that I’ve had while being a Park scholar and while being an Ithaca College student are what I’m really going to take away from Ithaca. Every organization you work with, every leadership opportunity you assume, you’re working with groups, you’re learning group dynamics, you’re learning how to get things done—and those are skills that you can apply anywhere.
Sam: Can you talk a bit about those experiences? What have you been able to do as a Park scholar?
Jeff: The Park Scholar Program and the Park School have been amazing to me. I’ve been incredibly fortunate with the opportunities that have presented themselves.
In terms of service involvement, it was awesome to work with my fellow Park scholars this year in helping to plan “An Evening to Remember,” a fund-raising gala for the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York. And last year it was great to work with Megaphone Media Productions on a project with the Child Development Council. I would not have been able to work on those projects outside of [the Park Scholar Program]. I’ve also been able to work in an extracurricular capacity with Student Government Association (SGA) this year. In the past, I’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity and Bureau of Concerts, and some Park organizations like the Ithacan and ICTV. The classes and activities complement each other in terms of what we are learning.
Sam: One of the main things that you do is serve as SGA president. How has the Park Scholar Program helped you in that role?
Jeff: My vice president of communications is Will Mathewson, a fellow senior Park Scholar; I probably wouldn’t have known him if it weren’t for the Park Scholar Program. I also work with Luke Elmers, another senior Park scholar, so the program connects me with incredibly qualified and dedicated individuals. It’s a great network that allows me to succeed. I couldn’t do any of this on my own. The Park scholars themselves have helped in almost every extracurricular organization that I’ve worked with.
Sam: Could you talk a little bit more about the community?
Jeff: There is such a connection amongst the scholars as a whole. You know if you’re ever looking for any opportunity or assistance, it’s just a phone call away. With almost 70 scholars now, there’s always someone doing a project that she or he needs help with, and it’s evident just by the e-mails that say things such as, “Hey, can you come help me with this,” or, “If you have 10 minutes free this Saturday, I’m going down here.” There are so many opportunities that it is definitely hard to say no, and it’s really inspiring to be around people who are so dedicated.
Sam: You were among the first recipients of the Park Scholar Rising Junior Award. What was it like entering the program after two years at Ithaca College?
Jeff: Although I would never have passed up a four-year award if that opportunity presented itself, in many ways I’m happy to come in as a rising junior. While there are many benefits to the [Park Scholar] Rising Junior Award, the greatest benefit is that it’s a reward as well as an award—it is validation for what you have accomplished during your first two years at Ithaca College and in the Park School.
It also helped that I had worked in many capacities with a lot of the current scholars and that I was already friends with many of the scholars in my class, so I didn’t feel like an outsider at all. Program director Matt Fee and everyone in the program are so welcoming to everyone, but especially to the rising juniors.
Sam: One of the pillars of the program is service. In what ways have you been able to give back to the community through the Park Scholar Award?
Jeff: My biggest mark within community service has probably been through my connection with Habitat for Humanity. I started in my sophomore year and have participated in almost every single break on a trip somewhere, and for many of those trips, I’ve taken on a leadership position.
The Park Scholar Program’s small grants initiative has provided support for every trip that I have participated in since becoming a Park scholar. It’s just one less thing to have to worry about. [Because of] the financial freedom and peace of mind that comes along with the award, you don’t have to worry about going home and making money on those breaks instead.
Sam: What’s your favorite memory—what’s something that you’re going to take away from the program?
Jeff: I think it’s really just the memories that I have with the other scholars. For me, it’s those other seniors and the other students in the program that I’ve had the pleasure of working with who are engaged and involved.
Sam: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Jeff: I remember coming in freshman year and thinking to myself, “What an amazing scholarship,” and how much I wished that I would be able to partake of some of the opportunities that the program provides. I’m so thankful that the Park Foundation, program director Matt Fee, and former dean Dianne Lynch established these rising junior awards. It truly shows their dedication to the school and the students here. They understand the importance of bringing additional people into the community, rewarding people who have made a difference, and standing by the same values that the Park Scholar Program is all about.