Top 10 Moments from Jackie Robinson Foundation’s New Scholars’ Orientation

September 7, 2017 - Events, News, Scholars

The following post was written by Melissa Bellerjeau, JRF Scholar Class of 2019.

Members of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Class of 2021 traveled to Dallas, Texas to participate in the annual New Scholars’ Orientation. Here are the most valuable takeaways scholars gained from the four day orientation. 

1. Meeting their classmates! 

JRF’s New Scholars’ Orientation (NSO) was the opportunity for the members of the JRF Class of 2021 to gather together for the first time. The Conference, which was held in Dallas, Texas, provided many of the Scholars their first trip to the deep South. It was a new and exciting experience for all involved.

2. Interacting with Resident Assistants (AKA JRF upperclassmen!)

Held on a college campus, NSO gave many JRF Scholars their first taste of dormitory living. JRF upperclassmen serve as Resident Assistants for the conference and enjoyed the opportunity to welcome the new Scholars to the JRF family. The RAs helped the new Scholars navigate the campus, organized evening activities and offered advice on successfully managing this latest chapter in their lives.  This year’s RAs were Riley Jones,‘17, Jamari Selders ‘18, Melissa Bellerjeau ‘19, Staci Shelby ‘19, Madison Johnson ‘20, and Justin Mollison ’20.

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3. Spending time with Scholar Advisory Committee members (their mentors) from across the country 

The new Scholars’ previous interaction with SAC members was during their very formal regional interviews. At NSO, they were able to learn more about the SAC members’ personal and professional journeys and see that they too, know how to have fun!

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4. Perfecting dining etiquette in anticipation of future business lunches

“I really enjoyed the dining etiquette lunch seminar. Dining etiquette has always been something that I’ve been slightly unsure of and having the opportunity to review it has made me feel much more confident that in the future, I can make the most proper and respectable actions while eating with professors, supervisors, or even my sponsor.”- Chloe Benson, Villanova University, Class of 2021

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5. Attending seminars that are designed to enhance the Scholars’ college experience

Seminars on Notetaking and Time Management, Campus Safety, Financial Aid, and Campus Lifestyle gave Scholars tips and techniques for succeeding in the college environment.

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6. Reminder: Take care of yourself! 

“Dr. Michael Selders’ session on mental health and stress was one of the stand out sessions, as it was an important reminder to first take care of myself. Once I’m able to do that, which is often the hardest thing to do, then I’ll be able to succeed in every other aspect of my life.”- Alexa Luckey, Stanford University, Class of 2021

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7. Participating in an enriching cultural experience 

Scholars visited the African American Museum in Dallas. There they toured an exhibit dedicated to Freedman’s Town (an area where freed slaves lived after the Civil War), viewed historical photos of African-Americans, and studied artwork by African and African-American artists.

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8. Living the “Campus Life”

For many of the Scholars, this was their first prolonged stay on a college campus. They experienced dining hall food, dormitory living and long walks – to everything.

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9. Celebrating their achievements and focusing on their goals 

The Conference’s final session included an exercise in which the Scholars wrote letters to themselves. This allowed them to chance to reflect on their past journeys and re-affirm their goals for the future.

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10. Bonding! 

Whether during the nightly basketball games or the final night’s pool party, Scholars had an opportunity to learn more about each other and begin to develop what promises to be lifelong friendships.

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To see a video from the July 13 – 16, 2017 New Scholars’ Orientation, click here. 

For a listing of the Class of 2021, click here. 

For a listing of all current Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars, click here. 


Melissa Bellerjeau is a rising junior at Temple University. An aspiring journalist, she spent the summer as a communications intern at the Jackie Robinson Foundation and served as one of the New Scholar Orientation’s Resident Assistants.


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