Radford University and Shelor Motor Mile collaborate to expand access to education and jobs in the New River Valley
Through the generous support of Shelor Motor Mile, Inc., Radford University has proudly announced a new program available to Highlander students seeking internships and employment in the New River Valley. Driven by a shared mission of serving others and making an impact, Radford University and Shelor Motor Mile have established the Shelor Motor Mile Scholars Program. This program represents a valuable opportunity for Radford University to further expand career-related training and scholarship support for talented students through their studies in four of Radford University’s academic colleges.
The program is a reflection of Shelor Motor Mile’s commitment to the community and an extension of their eight-year-old Growing the Future Program, which currently supports over 50 elementary, middle and high schools across several counties in Southwest Virginia. “We started the Growing the Future Program at the peak of the recession and invited about 20 schools to participate,” said David Hagan, vice president of Shelor Motor Mile. “We knew there would come a day when we would want to expand the program to the colleges in some fashion.”
Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., said, “I am truly inspired by the energy and innovation of the leadership at Shelor Motor Mile and their sense of connection and service to the community. They are daily engaging with our community by investing in valuable programs and making a significant impact on deserving students in the New River Valley.”
The Shelor Motor Mile Scholars Program will benefit students studying in the Artis College of Science and Technology, Davis College of Business and Economics, College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and College of Visual and Performing Arts. Students pursuing degrees in accounting, marketing, finance, information technology, graphic design, public relations and communications will be eligible to participate in the program.
Shelor Scholars will follow a cohort model focused on supporting workforce and pipeline development, coupled with community engagement. Through the Shelor Motor Mile Scholars Program, selected rising seniors at Radford University will have access to internship opportunities, as well as interaction and mentoring with the leadership of Shelor Motor Mile. A total of 20 students will be selected annually as Shelor Scholars and will receive scholarship support to help cover educational costs at Radford University. The new program will provide an opportunity for Radford students to “learn and grow” right here in the New River Valley.
University and college representatives, including students, faculty, staff and administrators, shared their appreciation to Shelor Motor Mile for the newly-established program at a recent reception. Matthew Smith, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, expressed his appreciation for business leaders and dedicated friends in the community for offering critical support of educational opportunities and Radford University, thereby positively impacting the success of deserving students, particularly those from the local region.
“This program will allow us to offer even more opportunities for our students to develop practical applications for the knowledge and skills we teach through our academic programs. We are honored to partner with this pillar of the community to facilitate enriching internship options for our students preparing to join the workforce,” Smith said. “Internships allow students to see the value of what we teach in our courses and experience how the knowledge and skills that they have developed benefit them in workplace settings.”
In addition to the real-world experiences and perspectives that Shelor Scholars will receive through this program, they will also receive funding to offset the cost of higher education and contribute to long-term success. “Even though Radford is consistently ranked as one of the best values in higher education in the region, any college experience is a considerable investment. Scholarship support from our friends and alumni makes a tremendous difference in the lives of our students and keeps the promise of a college education within grasp for many of our most economically disadvantaged students,” Smith said.
Katie Monday, a senior from Southwest Virginia who is pursuing a degree in communication and psychology, emphasized the impact the Shelor Scholars Program will have on the lives of countless students. “Furthering your education comes at a great cost to your wallet. Throughout my time here at Radford, I have been fortunate enough to receive scholarships along the way to help with the cost of higher education. Every scholarship dollar that is donated is helping a future employee here in the New River Valley, as well as all over the nation,” Monday said.
“We have so much success with Radford University graduates,” Hagan said. “Radford University is invested in the community. They have ties to this community.” The strong support from friends of the University, such as that from David Hagan and Shelor Motor Mile, ensures that Radford is able to continue serving the community and advancing its mission by empowering students from diverse backgrounds through transformative educational experiences.