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May 8, 2014

Three Employees Surprised with Staff Dream Fund Awards

topstory6-lgDream Fund award recipient Dan Campbell and September Sanderlin, vice president for human resources
topstory6-lgBDream Fund award recipient Shawnda English and Sanderlin
topstory6-lgCSanderlin and Dream Fund award recipient Alison Schoew

The dreams of three Old Dominion employees will be realized in the coming year, thanks to the ODU Staff Dream Fund.

Established in 2008 to help deserving employees realize a long-held dream, the special fund will help make the very different dreams of these three employees come true. This year's recipients learned about their selection via surprise announcements in their workplace, surrounded by colleagues and members of the Dream Fund selection committee.

For Dan Campbell, the dream is to continue his lifelong pursuit of "unique music-related experiences" by attending a Tedeschi Trucks Band concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver. For Shawnda English, it's to realize the dream of visiting Paris (with the help of funds she and her husband set aside for travel that had to be put on hold). And for Alison Schoew, the dream is to attend a five-day writing workshop led by Nancy Slone Aronie, whose teaching of the craft has inspired her.

The endowed Dream Fund, which is administered by the Department of Human Resources, provides monetary awards and up to five days of paid time off for staff members to fulfill their dream - which could be anything from pursuing studies in an area unrelated to work, to traveling to another country, to visiting family far away, to pursuing the varied dreams of this year's winners. The 2014 winners can receive up to $2,000 to help them live out their dreams.

In excerpts from their Staff Dream Fund applications below, Campbell, English and Schoew talk about their dreams.

Dan Campbell

Director of constituent relations, Office of Alumni Relations

"I consider seeing a concert at Red Rocks to be a dream because without something like the Dream Fund award, it wouldn't be possible. Some of my best memories from my high school, college and young adult years are music-related experiences. From digging through the rack at the local music store to heading out on the road to check out a favorite band, they all revolve around a love and passion for seeking out unique music experiences."

"It represents a chance to see a place that is rich in U.S. and natural history and to have a one-of-a-kind musical experience as well."

"The chance to take my wife with me on a traveling music excursion would be an unbelievable opportunity. The demands of two careers, kids and family do not leave much time or chance for out-of-the-ordinary experiences. A trip and concert at Red Rocks would give us the chance to have a memorable experience at both the show and exploring the park itself."

Shawnda English

Capital budget analyst, Budget Office

"My dream is to go to Paris, France, because I was denied the chance to go there in elementary school. It was a school-sponsored trip and the fee per student was very small. However, my parents were both schoolteachers and did not make much money... . Therefore, while much of the school went to Paris, I had to stay at home. Having the opportunity to go with the assistance of the Staff Dream Fund would fulfill a dream that I have had ever since that time, which was in the 1970s."

"I have done quite a bit of research on Paris and it is an ideal place to spend a wonderfully romantic vacation with my husband. They say that Virginia is for lovers, well so is Paris."

Alison Schoew

Technical writer, Center for Learning and Teaching

"I've always been a creative writer. But at ODU, I teach grammar many semesters (diagramming sentences! It's a fussy science that I really enjoy) to teacher candidates and speech pathology majors, I manage the Provost's Conversations on Teaching and Learning, and I edit technical materials for use by ODU's faculty at the Center for Learning and Teaching. After several years, I began to worry that my ability to write a truly creative sentence - one that engaged mine and my readers' heart - was getting lost amid all of the technical, pedagogical, and linguistic jargon that I worked with, each day."

"We write what we know. I have discovered that it's my odd (and rich) upbringing as a Catholic kid living in a predominantly German‐Jewish neighborhood in New York City that comes up frequently in my writing. I seem to channel so many old friends from that era - the nuns in their old‐fashioned habits, my neighbors with the accents and the numbers on their arms, the local grocers and shoe repairmen, and my classmates (who came from all over the world). I treasure hearing their voices again in my writings."

"I would so love the chance to have a week - just one week spent writing with someone whose teaching of the craft has so inspired me."