By Alex Blevins — The suffix “Con” as it is used in the names of conventions may sometimes prove inadequate to break through and gain attention in an era where “Comic Con” has become a household name. For four Jewell students, this summer presented the opportunity to attend a “Con” less brought up in everyday conversation, and until now, known little of on the Jewell campus – ScholarCon.
In May, Dr. Kelli Schutte, Chair of the Department of Business and Leadership, approached Juniors Carter Quirk, Allie Harbaugh, Jordan McMurray, and Alex Holden with the opportunity to attend ScholarCon, a four-day convention held in Orlando, Florida during the month of July. The conference is held yearly and features speakers who build a platform for scholars to “create a community driven by bold ideas and inspired action.” One of this year’s presenters, Anthony Shop, a Jewell alumni and entrepreneur, contacted Schutte with an invitation to bring Jewell students to the conference and experience the collaboration of young business leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and forward thinkers in a modern, social and tech-driven environment.
Shop, a 2005 Jewell graduate is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Social Driver in Washington, D.C. Social Driver is a fast growing business that creates approaches to social media for various organizations by going beyond standard content, working to create campaigns that are cross functional through strategy, design, research, and execution in a manner that drives results. It is young leaders in their respective fields, like Shop, who build the basis for ScholarCon’s goal of providing students with new thought processes, ideas, and innovative execution that will drive the world of tomorrow.
Innovation, a theme that has never been more present than now in Jewell’s Department of Business and Leadership, makes ScholarCon an opportunity for Jewell students with parallels to curriculum and connection opportunities. Carter Quirk, a Business Administration, History, and ACT-In major, said ScholarCon was an invaluable experience. Quirk said that he and the other students were given the opportunity to “attend workshops and seminars that suited our interests and were aligned with our personal goals.” Goal orientation is a huge part of ScholarCon in the way it brings young people together with other young innovators who are making their goals realities. The students also participated in question and answer sessions and other forums in which discussion and personal sharing were encouraged among the conference attendees and presenters. This one-on-one communication provided for networking and internship opportunities.
Returning from the conference, the students were also exposed to an organization not present on the Jewell campus. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, NSCS, is an honor society for high achieving students in their academic fields of study. The program is a sponsor of ScholarCon and also gives students a portal to career and graduate school exposure, as well as scholarship opportunities. Quirk, Harbaugh, McMurray, and Holden are currently working to bring an NSCS chapter to Jewell. Dr. Schutte said that the Department was happy to offer the students attendance to ScholarCon and looks forward to seeing more students attend in July, 2016.