Department of Communications adjunct instructor MaryAnne Shults was awarded the Journalism Association of Community Colleges Volunteer of the Year for 2018-19. Shults was recognized by the JACC Board of Directors and the award was announced at the state convention in Sacramento in March.
“I didn’t expect it,” said Shults, who also got her B.A. (2011) and M.A. (2014) at CSU Fullerton. “I was extremely honored but it was a complete surprise. I couldn’t go to the convention this year because our daughter was getting married that following weekend so [JACC President] Judy House used her cell phone to take a video, went around the room and everyone congratulated me. And that was how I found out. So I had no idea that it was coming. I was completely surprised.”
JACC depends on volunteers to operate many of the activities of the organization. The Volunteer of the Year Award is meant to recognized an outstanding volunteer for their work during the school year. Volunteer of the Year is one of seven special awards announced, which includes JACC scholarships, Distinguished Service Award, First Amendment Award, Pascetter Award, Editor Recognition Award and the Outstanding Instructor Award. In 2007 CSUF played a small part in leading her to get involved at JACC.
“[I] went to [a] regional conference at CSUF and state convention. I saw the value of the organization from the perspective of both a student, adviser and workshop presenter,” says Shults. “In between, I also served as a convention volunteer when I was a student at CSUF with some of my fellow Daily Titan staffers and that escalated my motivation to teach.”
Shults was selected for the Volunteer of the Year Award because of the work she’s done with the organizations website in addition to her work structuring and judging the convention’s On-The-Spot Social Media Contest remotely. The Mission Viejo native (check) first became involved with JACC while a student at Saddleback College where she became a convention volunteer and workshop facilitator/presenter after starting graduate school at CSU Fullerton. She finished her B.A. at CSUF with honors (Cum Laude) and was a member of Kappa Tau Alpha. She is glad that she got an opportunity to teach at CSUF.
“I went to Jason [Shepard, the Department of Communications Chair] and asked if I could teach,” says Shults. “I started at Saddleback and I never really left. I was on the staff there and even if I transferred I came back and helped. I help with the website obviously because that’s what my skillset was. But I helped with the layout, I helped with the teaching side of it.”
Shults credits her professors at CSUF for being an example of how to transition into teaching in a college classroom.
“I have to compliment all my professors at CSUF, both during my undergrad and graduate education, because they never lowered the bar and they demanded students push harder to be the best they can be,” says Shults. “It’s often not what you learn from a book, but from putting yourself out there and stepping outside your comfort zone. I kept a stencil pad that has a line down the middle of ‘I wanna be just like this person,’ or ‘I wanna have the traits of this professor.’ I did not have a professor I didn’t like at Cal State Fullerton. They all were unique and they all had their own value of what they gave me. I say that from the bottom of my heart. It’s not a PR pitch. I really feel they gave me the individual attention that I needed. Especially being a non-traditional student.”