Friday, February 28, 2014

Hello Readers!

by Sarah H., Panther Blogger

My name is Sarah!  I'm currently enrolled as a sophomore here at Ferrum College and double majoring in Criminal Justice and Social Work.  I was born and raised in Christiansburg, VA and love living in the mountains!  I have quite a big family that lives all over, and they're all a big part of my life. My friends back home and the many friends I've met here at Ferrum have made living away from home so much easier.

At first, I had only heard of Ferrum College once or twice.  After getting a phone call from them regarding a scholarship, I decided to check it, was that worth it!  The moment I arrived on campus, I knew this was the place for me.  It felt so much like home and everyone I met made it just that much more worth it!  My admissions counselor gave me a tour around campus.  At the end of the day, both my mom and I knew that this was the campus for me.  I was ready to spend the next four years here!

My family and I on move-in day!
During the tour, I met Dr. Mead and Dr. Osborne.  While talking to Dr. Mead, I not only found a professor who was familiar with my hometown, but I met an amazing professor who has helped guide me through my first year of college.  When I was applying for college, I had NO IDEA what it was that I wanted to do.  After meeting and talking with Dr. Osborne, I have finally figure it out.  I am now gearing toward becoming a Juvenile Corrections Officer!

Although Ferrum isn't in the middle of a big city, there is much to do on campus!  I stay busy with many different organizations and clubs. I am currently a part of the Criminal Justice Club, Social Work Club, our new Color Guard team, and Journalism.  There is also a shuttle that goes to and from Roanoke, so there's plenty to do!

Best friend & I running Color Me Rad in Blacksburg
Not only do I have a few friends from back home here at Ferrum, I have made so many new friends!  They've all become such a huge part of my life and I always miss them so much over breaks.  The best part is that they're always only a phone call away!

Ferrum has been such a life-changing experience, and I hope you enjoy it as well!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The College Republican Federation of Virginia Convention

by Paige R., Panther Blogger

The most important thing to do (other than go to class and do homework) as a Ferrum College student is to join clubs and get involved on campus.  Since Ferrum is far away from a large town, being involved on campus gives students something to do.  There are community service clubs, clubs that are related to different majors, and even political clubs that students can join.

I am Chair of Ferrum's College Republicans (CR) Club.  The club functions as a way for like-minded college students to discuss their political views.  Club members participate in community service events, campus events, and campaign for candidates.

Ferrum College CRs:  Alex T., Vice Chair Tim L.,
Chair Paige R., and Wes F.
During the weekend of February 8th, three other Ferrum students and I had the opportunity to attend the College Republican Federation of Virginia (CRFV) Convention in Richmond.  The convention included a dinner on Friday evening, a business convention on Saturday, and a social event on Saturday evening.
Ferrum College CR Chair,
Paige R., and Ferrum College
CR Vice Chair, Tim L.
Listening to current representatives such as Senator Warner, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Mullins, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speak reminded me that there are people who care about my generation.  These speakers discussed increasing the number of jobs so that college students can be employed after graduation.  They also discussed working on policies to improve the economic situations of southwest Virginia and to encourage the American dream.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
addressing Virginia CRS
Me with ODU College Republican
secretary, Chelsi K.
At the convention, I had the opportunity to spend time with my fellow CRs and get to know CRs from other schools.  I stayed with CRs from Old Dominion University:  Chelsi K. (secretary), Sarah B. (second vice chair), and Martha C. (the past CRFV secretary).  I built a new bond with the CRs from Ferrum as well as CRs from other schools.

Being a college student with a strong political opinion can be very difficult, regardless of your party affiliation.  Without College Republicans at Ferrum, I would not have found the group of people who have similar views as me, and it would have been much more difficult for me to feel at home on this campus.  Obviously, being a Republican on a college campus is the unpopular opinion.  The majority of people our age have liberal views or choose not to get involved in politics.  Despite having the unpopular opinion, I feel like many of my fellow students and professors are supportive of me and other members of the club because we are active participants in our party.

Finding a Placement

by Rachel W., Panther Blogger

One of the best parts about earning a bachelor's degree in Social Work is that the opportunities after graduation are endless.  One of the most appealing things to me is that I can either start my career immediately after graduation or I can continue my education and earn a master's degree in Social Work.

I think that internships are a vital part of becoming a professional social worker.  The professors here at Ferrum College are amazing, but nothing can compare to the real life experience you earn from taking an internship. I am currently taking a professional preparation class where we talk about what we need to do after graduation and we try to find the best internship to meet our personal and professional needs.

Last semester, I lost a very close family member. Watching my loved one pass away was one of the hardest experiences of my life.  However, with the help of loving family members, wonderful friends, amazing nurses, and a devoted pastor, I learned that death can be a peaceful good-bye that leaves you with a sense of closure and relief.  Without the help of those around me, I would have never been able to experience such a sad life event and still come out with a positive mindset.  So, I wanted to know if there was a way I could help others through similar life events like this.

That's when I learned about Hospice from Professor West and Professor Bowling.  Hospice care is "a family-centered team approach that includes a doctor, nurse, social worker, counselor, chaplain, home health aide, and trained volunteers.  They work together focusing on the dying person's needs - physical, psychological, social and spiritual."
Me with Professors West (left) and Bowling (right)

At Ferrum College, we have what is called an Experiential Term, or E-Term.  This is a three-week class where you have opportunities to take internships, travel abroad, or even catch up on core classes.  I will be taking an E-Term class this May, and it will be an internship at a local Hospice agency.  I am so excited to experience the career first-hand.  I know that Hospice is something that takes a special person to do, and I am extremely thankful that I will have a "trial run" to see how things work and to see if this would be the right fit for me long-term.

Professor Bowling, the professor in charge of placements, takes a long time to make sure an agency is fully prepared and can provide each student with an educational and skill-developing experience.  She personally meets with those who will supervise students the agencies.  She makes sure that every placement is the best fit and that each student will get the most from this opportunity.

My goal with this internship is to go in with an open mind and find out if a career in Hospice care or something similar is right for me.  I'm excited that I have this opportunity and thankful that I am in a Social Work Program that takes no shortcuts in preparing students for their careers!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Student Learns the Legislative Process in Richmond

by Brenda Bowman, guest blogger

[Brenda Bowman serves as the representative for the Chatham-Blairs District on the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. This article appeared in the Chatham Star Tribune.]

Michaela Bindewald, daughter of Richard and Susan Bindewald of Dry Fork, is a Junior Social Work major at Ferrum College.  In her Social Policies class with Professor West, Michaela is studying about the legislative process and actually advocating for bills being considered currently by legislators.  She has written to all members of the Virginia General Assembly.  One of Michaela's assignments was to track a bill moving through the General Assembly.  A bill Michaela became interested in and supports is Senate Bill 173, presented by Senator Richard Stuart, which allows a court to defer and dismiss a criminal case, other than an act of violence, where the defendant has been diagnosed with autism or an intellectual disability.

When the Bindewalds learned that their supervisor, Brenda Bowman, Chatham-Blairs, was working during the 2014 General Assembly Session in Richmond, Michaela contacted Ms. Bowman and asked if she could visit her at the General Assembly to learn more about the process for this piece of legislation.

Michaela and her mother came to Richmond on Wednesday, February 12th, and interviewed Bowman about her work at the General Assembly and learned about every step that the bill has taken since being introduced.  The legislators were in session and Michaela was not able to meet with Senator Stuart but Bowman took Michaela and her mother to Senator Stuart's office and they were able to discuss the bill with Senator Stuart's Legislative Assistant.

At the time of Michaela's visit, the bill had made it out of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and had passed in the Senate with a vote of 35-5.  It is now before the House of Delegates and has been assigned to the Criminal Law Subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee.

Bowman also took Michaela and her mother to visit the office of Delegate Charles Poindexter, who represents the district in which Ferrum College is located.


by Laken P., Panther Blogger

There is nothing that quite matches the level of excitement college students get at the words "SNOW DAY."  No, seriously - our actions and state of mind are probably equivalent to that of a five-year-old.  The inner child comes out in everyone as soon as the emails hit our inboxes and the texts light up our phones.

The spring semester has been known for its abundance of compressed schedules as the cold weather and snowy storms make it harder for students and professors to get to class on time, but "snow days" (when classes are completely canceled) are a rarity that students truly enjoy. 

There is something special about getting to act like a child and not have to worry about waking up for class the next day.  This past weekend came to students in the form of a four-day break as a foot and a half of snow brought the "Snowpocalypse" to Ferrum.

As the snow began to get deeper, our eyes became brighter as students jumped on the chance to go sledding, build snowmen, and hurl snowballs at each other.  There was even a snowman-building contest on campus sponsored by the school.  Since the weather brought the largest snowstorm many students had ever seen, everyone made sure to enjoy it as much as possible.

Once all the fun was over and the snow had melted away, we still had the memories of our 2 a.m. sledding adventures as we looked forward to our next strain of wintery weather.  Trudging all the way across campus in snow up to my knees just to take advantage of the biggest hills sounds like a crazy idea, but it will always be considered one of my favorite Ferrum memories.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow Days Welcomed!

by Sam B., Panther Blogger

The amount of snow that Ferrum received was certainly a shock.  News reports during the weeks before the actual storm continued to change the dates that it was supposed to hit, so no one actually knew when it would come.  I guess that's why no one was prepared for it.  Fortunately for me, I have seen that much snow before.  A lot of my friends, however, had not.  Over the two days that we were out of school, my friends and I had a multitude of snowball fights, we wrestled in the snow, and we went around destroying snowmen.  People we didn't even know started some of the snowball fights!  That made the fights even better!

This unscheduled break from classes could not have come at a better time. Midterms are rapidly approaching and it was great to have a chance to blow off some steam and relieve some stress. Even though we had to work harder in the beginning of this week to catch up, it was totally worth it. On Friday evening, I helped a couple of my friends get their cars out of the snow since they had never driven in it.  Being from Floyd County, I've had to brave the weather for the three years that I've been driving. On Friday evening, I was even able to leave Ferrum and make it back to Floyd!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Criminal Profiling & Other Criminal Justice Classes

by Victoria B., Panther Blogger

Ferrum's Criminal Justice program offers a variety of different and interesting classes.  My favorite class that I am currently taking is Criminal Profiling.  I took this class because I love to watch shows like Criminal Minds.  This class makes you think differently than other criminal justice classes.  You learn about trying to solve crimes by using psychological means.  I am interested in this class because I also have Psychology and Sociology minors.

The Criminal Justice program offers different classes for students who wish to go into the different areas of the Criminal Justice field.  There are classes in Forensic Science, Police Administration, Juvenile Justice, and many others.  This is a great advantage because the program offers students the opportunity to learn about many different topics in the criminal justice fields.

If you are planning on coming to Ferrum to major or minor in Criminal Justice, I suggest taking as many different classes in the subject as you can. The idea of what you want to do after you graduate from college may change many times throughout your years here, so having knowledge in many areas can help you determine which area you want to pursue.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Visit from My Best Friend!

by Jessa K., Panther Blogger

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to have my mom come and stay with me for the weekend.  A few classmates asked me on Friday what I would be doing and I could not help but giggle at their faces when I told them.  I am pretty sure they thought I was crazy to actually want to spend the entire weekend with my mom.  My case, however, is a little bit different.  My mom is my best friend.  In fact, the hardest part of being at school is not having her around.  Being able to spend this time together was something that was really special for both of us.

While most students look forward to visits from their parents because that means they will finally have groceries, I was looking forward to catching up with my closest friend.  Mom and I spent the weekend walking around campus, shopping, and watching movies.  It was not a big to-do and we did not even stay up past 11, but it was one of the best weekends I have had at Ferrum.  I was able to show Mom all of the places that I spend my time.  From the cafe to Britt Hall, she got to see everything.  On Sunday morning, we ate at 77's and she was able to get a bit of a taste for the town of Ferrum as well, literally and figuratively.

Ferrum is my home away from home and I have known that since my first day on campus, but for me, my true home has always been where my mom was.  Through a divorce and a marriage, Mom and I have moved quite a few times, but as long as we have been together, we have been "home."  Being able to have home at home this past weekend was awesome!  As a freshman last year, my biggest fear about moving to Ferrum was how in the world I was going to make it without Mom there every day.  Not to wake me up or do my laundry, but just to give me the support I needed.  While nobody will ever replace her in my life, I feel so blessed to know that I have friends and professors who come pretty close to par with Mom through their friendship and support!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crazy Weather at Ferrum!

by Dannica B., Panther Blogger

The weather here at Ferrum College is ridiculous, but it wouldn't be Ferrum without it!  One day, it could be 64 degrees, sunny, and people will be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt.  Then the next day, it's snowing, below freezing and everyone looks like they're wearing every piece of clothing item they own.  I promise I'm not exaggerating!  Just last week, we had an instance where it was snowing one day, and two days later, I walked outside and the sun was beaming down on me. 

My best advice is to just be prepared!  If you have any evening classes or want a hot pepperoni pizza late at night, just take a jacket because temperatures tend to drop tremendously when it hits around 8 p.m.  Also, if it does snow, don't be surprised if classes don't get canceled.  Sometimes your classes may be canceled if your professors live further away from campus and can't get to class, but the college rarely cancels classes.  We often just get a compressed schedule, which is awesome because not only do we get to sleep in, but classes are shorter too, which means more time for SNOWBALL FIGHTS! 

Just remember, if you live off campus and simply can't make it to class, just email your professors and they will be more than willing to work with you. Also, if you do have a car on campus and it's snowing, don't drive!  You've probably already been told a million times not to drive in the snow unless you have four-wheel drive, but a few of my friends got into small fender benders because they wanted to drive in the snow. I promise you, it's really not worth it. Long story short, snow is fun and comes with lots of exciting activities to do, but just please be safe and stay warm!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chilling Out and Having Fun!

by Blake S., Panther Blogger

Since the beginning of this Spring semester, I have set a goal to relax a little more and spend some quality time with my friends here at Ferrum College.  Fortunately, this semester's course load has been considerably easier and more enjoyable than some of my past semesters.  This is perhaps due to most of my classes focusing on my minors, which are chemistry and forensic science, both of which I find to be fascinating.  Since I am able to thoroughly enjoy my classes and the assigned work for them, I have been able to budget a little more of my time to having fun!

We have already been able to enjoy a great number of activities here on campus this semester, all of which were free!  A few of the things that we have done include going to the bowling alley, having movie and game nights with friends, and (my personal favorite) glow-in-the-dark dodgeball! 

Taking a break from the competition at the Black Light
Dodgeball Tournament
Enjoying the snow at Ferrum College!
The glow in the dark dodgeball was an event put on by the campus in which students were able to form teams and compete in a dodgeball tournament..all of which was under black lights.  We had a great time going up against other teams, and our team came in 4th place out of a total of 12 teams!  Not too shabby, if you ask me! 

I am excited for the other events that are coming up here on the Ferrum College campus, and in fact, we have another free bowling event coming up soon.  Being able to participate in the free events that are put on by the campus and spending time with my friends are definitely some of my favorite things about being a student at Ferrum College!

My Last Semester!

by Chris L., Panther Blogger

Hey everyone!

I am back at Ferrum for my last semester!  I went home to Ireland during the Christmas break as I was feeling pretty homesick.  It was great to be home and see all my family and friends!  While I was home, I managed to get some time and go to watch my favourite rugby team play!  Ulster is one of the most successful rugby teams in Europe and are from my province in Ireland.

I was excited to come back to Ferrum and continue on this Study Abroad experience, however, I am sad as I only have around 12 weeks left in the USA before my VISA expires.  I hope to make this semester as enjoyable as possible.  This semester, I have continued along the business line of classes as they are compulsory for me. I am taking Business Communication, Microeconomics, Personal Finance, Advance Computer Applications, and my elective is Ecotourism.  I hope these classes are as enjoyable as the ones I took last semester!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hello from New Panther Blogger Rachel!

by Rachel W., Panther Blogger

Hello, my name is Rachel and I am a junior at Ferrum College.  I am originally from a small town in Carroll County, Virginia.  I am majoring in Social Work and will be interning at the Franklin County Hospice this summer!  The wonderful thing about earning a Social Work degree is that there are so many different agencies I can work with, so I'm not sure where I'll end up after graduation.

I am President of the Social Work Club, an active member in the Ferrum College Lions Branch Club, a Leadership Fellow, a Peer Assisted Learning Tutor, an admissions ambassador, and the E-term student assistant.  When I'm not busy with school and organizations, I love working with photography and typing for my personal blog.

When I was a senior in high school, I met Tiffany Gordon, one of Ferrum's admissions counselors, at a college fair.  She was telling me about Ferrum and it sounded like an awesome school. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to major in Social Work, and Tiffany told me about how great Ferrum's program was. After I visited Ferrum's campus for the first time, I knew this was where I would be spending the next four years of my life.  What truly attracted me to Ferrum was the sense of community, and the small class sizes.  Coming from a small high school, it was extremely important for me to know that each of my professors would know me on a first name basis.

Dogwood tree on campus
Another thing I really love about Ferrum is that it is multicultural. I've learned a ton about other cultures from my peers and professors!  There are specific classes to help you learn about other cultures as well as study abroad opportunities.

I would recommend Ferrum to anyone who was looking for a very personalized education. Here at Ferrum, you know your professors personally, and there are a ton of majors and minors you can earn.  Ferrum offers a lot of academic resources to help their students succeed as well.  Between professors being able to help you one-on-one and the peer tutoring that is offered, there is always help available.  Ferrum also has a writing center and a math center where professors help you with papers or your math homework.  It's extremely helpful and helps boost your grade!  These are great resources and the best part is that they are all completely free for students to use, which is very rare to find in a college or university.

Social Work Conference
The Social Work Program is awesome here at Ferrum!  I know that no matter where I end up after graduation, I will be fully prepared for graduate school or for a career.  Jennie and Martha, the two main Social Work professors, are highly skilled and knowledgeable about the field.  Both of them take a lot of time to find the perfect internship for each student and they offer an excellent hands-on learning environment.

Enjoying the snow at the farm at Ferrum!
This semester is going to be super-busy for me!  The Social Work Club is planning on visiting kids at an after-school center, adults at the local nursing home, and the homeless at the local homeless shelter.  The Lions Branch Club is participating in Read Across America and a diabetes awareness day.  And that's just the beginning!

I'm excited to be a Panther Blogger and I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences here at Ferrum College!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Opportunities at Hand During My Last Semester

by Brittany G., Panther Blogger

After four years of college, I am finally looking forward to graduating this May. As my last semester has started, the work load has increased, but there is nothing more satisfying than continuing my education and having a few rare opportunities presented to me.  I currently have four lab classes, which definitely require several hours work outside of class, but one of the best classes I have is Biotechnology.

This class presented me with one of the rare opportunities as an undergraduate student to be able to get published through the science community at the end of the semester.  The course of action for this class involves an afternoon lab in which we have extracted DNA from plants located in the Ferrum Greenhouse, and we will run several tests to amplify the GAPDH, or glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and clone it to obtain genetic information of those plant samples.  As an upper level class, it requires steady and strict laboratory skills in order to produce the results that we want to obtain. At this point, I have extracted the DNA and will continue to work the rest of the semester to copy this GAPDH and write a paper which will be combined with the other students' samples in the class to be peer-reviewed and published!

Finally, another amazing opportunity was presented to me late last semester by several of the science department faculty members. It is something that many of my age and education would not expect to receive, but I have accepted this opportunity and will be traveling to Zambia, Africa with another student to participate in a mobile medical mission.  We are traveling during our mid-summer (their winter) and will be in that area for two weeks to set up clinics where we can see at least 4,000 patients and provide them with the medical attention that they need.  Zambia does not have all of the modern medications that we have here in the United States.  No case is too large for this team to handle, and from the stories I have heard from the previous two students who went, it is going to be life-changing in the case of what we want to do once we graduate.

I am pleased to have these opportunities and it should be an inspiration for everyone to work hard in school to get these types of chances.  No matter what classes someone takes or the type of degree there is, each program has its own perks for working hard once the professors have seen how well someone does in their program.  I cannot thank my professors enough for noticing the hard work and dedication I have to getting the best possible grades and results out of my classes, and for allowing me to continue participating in a variety of things not only to better myself but to represent the college.

If there was one piece of advice I could tell an interested high school student and incoming freshman or transfer, it would be to never give up and always try your best.  The professors will always be there and help you through everything while challenging you because they want to make you a better and stronger student. Everything you learn at Ferrum College and the work that you do will always benefit you in the long run, so keep pushing strong and there will be doors opening for you in the future.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hello from New Panther Blogger Sam!

by Sam B., Panther Blogger

I am a small town boy from Floyd County, Virginia.  I plan on earning a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology.  I want to be a police officer in Richmond for 3-5 years when I will apply for federal jobs.  I hope to work for the Secret Service.

My sister, Rachel, went to Ferrum during my senior year of high school.  Ferrum's tennis coach came to Floyd to watch me play and did his best to recruit me.  I decided to come to a Panther Preview and I loved it.  The idea of Ferrum being a small community really appealed to me.

The best part about Ferrum is that the teachers actually care about the students and how they are doing in classes and even outside of class.  Being from a small town, this was very important for me. Ferrum has done a great job by providing me with opportunities to listen to professionals speak about the field I would like to enter; these professionals give myself and other CJU majors some tips on how to get to where we want to go.

I am involved in as many activities as my schedule can possibly handle.  I am in the Boone Honors Program, a Lions Branch Club member, a Ferrum tennis player, a member of the Honors Advisory Council, an Admissions Ambassador, just recently a Panther Blogger, and I participated in the Freshman Scholars Program.  I also have a work-study job at the Ferrum YMCA, where I was recently awarded Employee of the Month after my first month of work there.  The only other activity that I plan on joining next year is the Criminal Justice Club.

I already have many great memories with my friends and teammates at Ferrum.  My favorite memory was traveling and playing in my first tennis match as a collegiate player during my first fall semester.

- Sam