Linguistics students rise to Bold Ideas Challenge

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Linguistics students rise to Bold Ideas Challenge

As part of University President Joseph I. Castro’s Bold Ideas Challenge, Fresno State dedicated funds to support the Touch the Community Competition, a community service competition engaging student teams that are addressing significant community challenges.

Across the University, eight teams — consisting of about 60 students total — are working on various challenges designed to impact the community beyond Fresno State. Each team has a faculty or staff supervisor, as well as a community benefit agency supervisor.

One of those eight teams — the only one from the College of Arts and Humanities —engaged students from the Linguistics Department as community English as a second language teaching assistants working with students at Fresno Adult School.

The team includes Dr. Ellen Lipp, the faculty mentor; Tommie Martinez, the Fresno Adult School mentor; and Reagan Clark, the graduate student mentor. Seven student volunteers participated in the fall and eight students are participating this semester.

Three parties benefit from the project:

  • Fresno State students get experience by working hands on.
  • Adult school students receive more level-specific attention.
  • With the class divided into smaller groups, adult school English as a second language teachers are able to manage their responsibilities more effectively.

Fresno Adult School, the Linguistics Club and the teaching assistants project will present a special event from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at Fresno Adult School (2500 Stanislaus St.) Parking is free. Attendees will hear testimonials about the impact of the project and plans to continue it in the future. The event will include music and hors d’oeuvres.

Community members are invited to support the project so it can continue next fall.

Marielena Linares, a senior, is one of the linguistics students who has volunteered with the program. Her experience as an English as a second language (ESL) student gave her a connection to one of the students she worked with.

“I met a young man taking ESL classes because his goal was to attend Fresno State,” Linares said.  “When I told him that growing up I was an ESL student, he got really excited and began asking me all kinds of questions about college. I can tell that he was motivated to continue attending class, and I realized that our jobs as volunteers can have a greater impact than just helping with the material in the classroom. It feels good helping others through their journey.”

The eight Touch the Community Competition teams will present the results of their projects at the President’s Showcase of Excellence from 9 to 11 a.m. on April 21 in the Satellite Student Union on campus. Team projects will be judged on the following criteria:

  • The measurable impact the project had on the community.
  • Overall development, implementation and adaptation of the project plan.
  • Documentation of the project in print and electronic media.
  • Effective use of funds allocated.
  • Ability to raise additional funds, as needed.
  • Ability to raise larger community awareness of the issue and the project.

For more information, contact Lipp at ellenl@mail.fresnostate.edu.