Opportunities for Growth
First-year student Jamie Rusan is new to Des Moines and Drake, yet he is already making a significant impact on campus and in the community.
Rusan is a member of the Engaged Citizen Corps (ECC). The program combines academic coursework and service-learning experiences to empower members to make a difference in their communities. Through ECC, Rusan has an internship with Children and Family Urban Movement, a Des Moines non-profit organization that offers programming for students K-12.
Rusan also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and serves his fellow students as part of the Student Government Association. Next year, he will work as a residence assistant and plans to participate in the Social Justice Living and Learning Community.
Rusan said he was inspired to give back after his family received support during difficult times.
"I realized in a humble way that service is beautiful," he says. "When my mom lost her job and was sick, we received support from the community, and it warmed my heart. It helped me realize service was an important pillar that everyone should have in life."
Rusan, a pre-pharmacy major from St. Louis, Missouri, selected Drake because of the strong reputation of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He was also drawn to Drake's Crew Scholars program. Crew helps the University attract and retain a highly-qualified and diverse student body.
Students who participate in Crew meet weekly during their first year to discuss their campus experiences. The program provides opportunities for leadership, mentorship, and career development. It also offers scholarship support. Rusan says he particularly appreciates the interactions he's had with upperclassmen and faculty through Crew.
"The Crew Scholars program spoke to me because I knew I would have a community that supported me," says Rusan. "Crew is kind of like a family. You have a group of people who you know are going to help you out with the homesickness and academics and with the lack of diversity on campus. Crew creates an environment where minorities can support each other. It creates a community that supports the potential in everyone."
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