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Eckerd student finds academic credit, purpose at Emergency Operations Center

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published April 13, 2020
Categories: Academics, Community Engagement, Service, Sociology, Students, Theatre
Eckerd student working in emergency operations center

Sophomore Alexa Schein is working at an Emergency Operations Center social media desk.

Alexa Schein was at home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for what felt like minutes when her father offered her the opportunity to join him at work in the Durham County, North Carolina, Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

She jumped at the chance, took an online emergency operations course and was assigned straight to the social media desk.

“I monitor what people are saying and how they are responding to the messages the EOC is putting out,” Alexa said. “There’s a lot of political outrage on both sides. But I’ve seen a ton of people standing up for one another—people posting resources or creating websites with resources to help their neighbors.”

The sophomore sociology student saw the parallels in her new assignment and the Reflective Service-Learning hours she was earning in Theatre Professor Jessica Thonen’s Production class. “I was managing social media and promotion for Heathers: The Musical, and it was sort of similar. So I contacted Professor Thonen and asked if the EOC could take the place of that,” Alexa explained.

Thonen agreed, and now Alexa is on track to earn her required RSL hours for her course, plus more than enough to meet graduation requirements.

“It’s rewarding. I’ll keep going as long as I’m able,” Alexa added. “[Now that classes have started again,] I’ve got to maintain my grades, my parents said. I told them, ‘You can’t hold my grades over my head in these circumstances.’ And they laughed and said, ‘Yes we can.’”

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