New community outreach ideas to be showcased Saturday

April 07, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau

Along with creativity and analysis, solutions to challenges facing Grand Canyon University’s neighboring communities will be the focus of the third annual Spring Symposium Showcase Saturday.

The Symposium is a 10-week program designed by the Honors Institute to provide students with a hands-on, real-world application on three essential University themes: ethics, service and leadership. Presentations are scheduled for 2-3:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Student Union.

Breanna Naegeli

“When the program initially set off, we wanted it to be enriching so that students were prepared for graduate school, medical school or their career field,” said Breanna Naegeli, Honors College program manager. “The ideas these students have are unbelievable.”

Honors students’ Spring Symposium projects reflect their individual career interests or passions. For example, a group of NCAA student athletes have explored how to engage local middle school students in physical education and promote team-building activities.

“It’s promoting GCU, it’s encouraging students to come watch and support GCU athletics, and it’s giving them positive role models,” Naegeli said.

Sophomore Mariah Valencia, said being able to volunteer her time at Imagine Camelback Middle School was both eye opening and rewarding.

“We were able to participate in their physical education class and form bonds with the students, and the way the children’s faces lit up when we walked into the room was very humbling,” she said.

The Institute increased its membership from 60 students to nearly 700 during the 2015-16 academic year, and membership is expected to reach 1,200 in 2016-17.

Naegeli said she believes that the program’s growth can be credited to the positive reactions from previous participants and to the excitement of new participants searching for a competitive edge.

The top 11 teams will be presenting in front of a scholarship review panel to compete for 18 available scholarship awards. The prizes are $3,000 per member for first place, $2,000 per member for second and $1,000 per member for third. Based on their performance and contribution, other individual students also will have scholarship opportunities.

“Saturday, every presentation will be different, but we get to listen to the best of the best across the board,” Naegeli said.

Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or

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