Anthony Davidson//Contributing Writer
Dr. Jerry Faulkner, President of Volunteer State Community College has announced the following students as the new Ambassadors:
Jenny Hernandez of Gallatin; Brenly McDonald of Westmoreland; Brandon Herbert of Mount Juliet; Sarah Cody of Cookeville; KJ Kitchens of Lafayette; Peyton Leach of Hendersonville; Megan Ratliff of Gallatin; Charlotte Masiongale of Byrdstown; Whitney Dickerson of Riddleton; Kristen Dedman of Lebanon; and Allison Goodpaster of Hendersonville.
What exactly is a President’s Ambassador? “Ambassadors do a lot of door holding and other general public services for the community.
“Generally speaking, Ambassadors are very busy.
“We do a lot of tours for incoming students and act as a bridge between the Faculty and newer students. We go around asking ‘Do you need any help; is there anything we can do for you,'” said Ratliff.
Ratliff says that students that wish to become Ambassadors must undergo a rigorous interview process, maintain 20 volunteer hours during the summer courses and the Maymester, and maintain 40 volunteer hours during the Fall and Spring Hours.KJ Kitchens also had some insight to the interview process and a clue to the rigidity in choosing Ambassadors.
“My interviews were really intense. This program is a really big deal because they have to make sure you meet the very precise criteria to represent Vol State as an
Ambassador,” said Kitchens.
Kitchens says “It’s almost impossible to give you a description of what my duties are other than this: Do anything anyone asks you to do.
“We give campus tours, but sometimes our duties could be figuring out how to plug in a crockpot and tape the power chord under a table so people won’t trip over it, holding doors, speaking at an event, or serving food.”
President Faulkner’s own testimony reinforces Ms. Ratliff’s point. “The Ambassadors are chosen through a rigorous process that begins with an application. The process includes both written assessments and face-to-face interviews,” said Faulkner.
Along with this volunteer hour requirement comes a 3.0 GPA academic requirement. “Even if you have your volunteer hours met, you should never be complacent and should continue volunteering,” commented Ratliff.
What does it mean to be an Ambassador?
Ratliff says that being an Ambassador means “giving your 110%. Whenever we don’t do tours we help around the offices and serve at dinner events. You have to give your best at all times, you are the face of the college,” said Ratliff.
Kitchens says “It really means a lot to me to be an Ambassador. I take pride in representing Vol State at all the events and showing it off to perspective students who come on tours.
“It’s sort of scary to think that what I do reflects on Vol State, but this has made me a better person because I love Vol State and I always want to be a good representative for the college.
“Being an Ambassador is a huge honor, and I am so thankful to have this incredible opportunity.
“Being an Ambassador has positively affected my life in more than one way. Being an Ambassador has allowed me to make friends and meet new people that I wouldn’t have met before, as well as becoming a more well-rounded student and person.”
The Settler also interviewed with President Jerry Faulkner.
Faulkner says “The Ambassadors program is a service scholarship program. In return for serving as an ambassador for the college, students receive a scholarship that covers their tuition and fees.
“Money for the scholarship is raised through the Volunteer State College Foundation, a separate non-profit organization that supports the mission of the college.”
Faulkner also says “Ambassadors serve in a variety of ways. They give campus tours to visiting prospective students and represent the college at a variety of events. They help out with both college and foundation functions.
“Very often they are the “face” of our students in very public events. They are often called on to share their personal stories with groups from outside the college.”