by Peggy Gregory
We want to say thank you to JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair Julie Dodd and Committee member Judy Robinson for their friendship and their extraordinary roles on the committee.
After serving as Mentoring Committee co-chair since its inception in 2007 and fulfilling various roles on the JEA Board for 24 years, Professor Julie Dodd made the difficult decision to step off the Mentoring Committee to say “yes” to other opportunities.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the Mentoring Program, which has been a highlight of my involvement with JEA. Our committee collaboration – with Bill (Flechtner), Mary Anne (McCloud), Judy (Robinson), Nick (Ferentinos) and Steve (O’Donoghue) – has been one of the most productive long-term groups I’ve ever served on,” she said in a resignation email.
In her resignation to the committee, Julie also acknowledged the mentors. “The mentors and the mentees have been appreciative of our efforts, and we know we’ve made a positive difference in the lives of almost 300 mentors and mentees – and thousands of high school students,” she said.
Since her departure, Julie has continued to maintain the JEA mentor website and listserv and has posted material provided by mentors and committee members as well as webinar announcements to jeamentoring.org.
“Julie was and always will be an inspiration to me,” her co-chair Linda Barrington said. “I think the Mentor Program was initially approved because Julie was the one proposing it to the JEA Board. The rest of us helped her make it all happen. As co-chair with me for six years, Julie taught me to think strategically in making decisions and to work collaboratively with other commissions. Her contributions to the Mentor Program cannot be overstated.”
During her tenure in JEA, Julie, the 2001 recipient of the Carl Towley Award, was the Scholastic Press Association liaison, conducting Roundtables at each convention to develop a network for sharing ideas and concerns. She also served as the Nominating Committee chair for four elections, communicating with dozens of potential office holders before each election.
In her resignation letter to the JEA Board, Julie cited her involvement in a number of special JEA initiatives:
- Serving on the first Certification Committee that developed the Certification Program and then serving on the Certification Commission
- Serving on the first Multicultural Committee and then on the Multicultural Commission
- Helping create the JEA Mentoring Program (an idea which budded during a SPA roundtable) and serving on the committee, “such a worthy and important program.”
In addition to her current professional duties, Julie said she now has time to serve on the University of Florida’s Graduate Student Teaching Awards Faculty Selection Committee, which observes the graduate students nominated for this annual award and selects the top 20 from the campus.
“Digital Judy,” a member of the committee since 2009, resigned in December to pursue new ventures in blogging, wood turning and Native American music. (http://judyrobinsondesigns.com)
Judy first introduced technology to mentors via podcasting. She trained and encouraged mentors at the two convention forums beginning in 2009 to create instructive podcasts for their mentees which could be shared on the JEA Mentoring Matters blog, thus increasing the scope of mentors’ knowledge for mentees.
During her session, “Technology for Mentees,” and a follow-up advanced session, Judy previewed the new radio section of the blog where mentors could capture conversations such as a first censorship experience, the value of mentoring, communication strategies and more.
Microphones for recording the podcasts were on loan for two years or longer to the mentors. Robinson instructed mentors on how to download Audacity, a free editing tool for podcasts, or simply send the recordings to her for editing and uploading.
At convention forums, Judy, who also was a member of the JEA Digital Media Committee, updated mentors about various technology tools for staying up-to-date with mentees. Topics included Skype, apps for tablets and smartphones, Photoshop and blogging. At the forums and through email, Judy answered dozens of mentor questions about technology use.
Additionally, Judy set up the first SurveyMonkey mentor report that enabled the committee to collect information about the mentoring program and plan forums based on those reports. She set up a webinar system, coaching mentors and committee members through the webinar process editing and uploading the final productions to YouTube.
In her resignation to the committee, Judy said, “I have enjoyed working with all of you immensely and your valuing of my work during some rough times has been most appreciated….I will be glad to assist in ways that I can at a distance, but am not likely to be at any further conventions….Thank you for having me as part of a very innovative and rare group. I’ve enjoyed working with you all.”