Rebecca Gibson is the new director of Shenandoah University’s Center for Civic Engagement.
Gibson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Virginia, comes to Shenandoah after being a Spanish teacher and small business owner. Most recently, she served as program director for Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area, where she often advocated for adult learners and connected them to services throughout the Winchester area. “Because of these connections, I find that I am equipped to help foster community partnerships and forge relationships between the university and those just outside of the campus,” she said.
Gibson, who said she has always been committed to serving her community, says the most exciting part about her role at Shenandoah is the opportunity to collaborate “with the younger members of the community to help them create opportunities for themselves and their peers to serve others and be civically engaged.”
She intends to continue the center’s mission of preparing Shenandoah students “to be participants in society by providing them with opportunities for service learning, civic dialogue and engagement through volunteer work and community partnerships.” Additionally, she said she “would love for the center to be seen as a resource for faculty members who are seeking to connect their students to community members and organizations in order to include service learning in the curriculum. Our Shenandoah students have so much to offer to the Winchester area, and these experiences will be mutually beneficial to them and to those they serve.”
Civic engagement is important because it not only helps people develop knowledge, skills and values but also motivates them to make a difference in communities. “Young people are at a perfect place in their lives to explore what civic engagement is and what being a community member means to them,” she added. “Providing them with these opportunities is a wonderful way to enhance their growth and inspire them to cultivate their civic awareness and sense of responsibility.”