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Duquesne's School of Education Selected as Top Junior Achievement Volunteer

From a network of more than 3,000 volunteers stretching across 33 counties, Junior Achievement (JA) of Western Pennsylvania has selected Duquesne University's School of Education as its Volunteer of the Year for 2014.

First-year undergraduates enrolled in the teacher preparation program at Duquesne work with area JA students as their initial field experience, said Dean Olga Welch.

In the 2013-2014 school year, 137 Duquesne students visited 11 different schools, bringing the hands-on business learning that bolsters students' classroom work and teaches entrepreneurial skills to approximately 1,500 students.

"These are kids who wouldn't have JA if Duquesne weren't involved," said JA Education Program Manager Jessica Minsterman.

"Being recognized by an organization like Junior Achievement is a singular honor," Welch said. "Certainly, to be selected out of more than 3,000 volunteers speaks to the commitment of the school to the goals of Junior Achievement."

Besides sharing skills with the community, Welch said first-year students have the opportunity to work with children outside the classroom, setting the stage for their career development, multiplying the impact of this work.

Duquesne was chosen for this top honor, among volunteers in Pittsburgh, Erie and Johnstown, "because everybody in the office knows they're easy to work with and because of their great willingness to help, as well as the sheer number of volunteers they provide," Minsterman said.

The award, presented June 24, was received by Maisha Johnson, director of student teaching and field placement.

In addition to the Volunteer of the Year Award, the school also received an Educational Leadership Award, which recognizes organizations with 10 or more JA volunteers. Dr. James Henderson, who retired from the University this past year, also was recognized for his long and distinguished service to JA.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.