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Designed for Action: Making an Impact at York Day Early Learning

February 15, 2023
Jared Townsend in classroom

At York College, students aren’t just reading textbooks and listening to lectures. They’re working on community projects, solving real-world problems, and using their education to effect change. In Designed for Action, we meet the students who are making an impact outside of the classroom.

Jared Townsend ’26 wants to make an impact.

And that’s exactly what he was able to do in Lecturer of Rhetorical Communication Elizabeth Dunham’s FCO 210: Communication in Professional Cultures course this past fall.

Working alongside York Day Early Learning, Jared and his classmates made suggestions to improve the daycare organization’s marketing and advertising efforts. They then presented the ideas to President and CEO Brian Grimm.

“It was an eye-opening experience, because I could make an actual impact on the lives of others,” he says, citing how the suggestions made to Grimm could be implemented in the classroom and beyond.

Forging skills

As a General Business major, FCO 210 is a course Jared, like his cohorts, was required to take. For their final project at the end of the course, students were split into groups of four or five, and helped York Day Early Learning with improving their marketing and online presence. They then presented their ideas to Grimm so he might implement them in future strategy.

“We analyzed their marketing by looking at their website and other ways they advertise,” Jared explains. “Through this, we made suggestions about link placements and what would look more appealing on the website through research and comparisons with other sites. We also brainstormed fundraising ideas as groups, as York Day Early Learning is a nonprofit.”

Professor Dunham has partnered with Grimm and York Day for the past two semesters. There are three main takeaways for students from the course: learning how to interview a business professional by conducting basic research beforehand, improving their critical thinking and problem-solving skills by coming up with sometimes unorthodox solutions, and enhanced autonomy and agency in learning by managing their own projects, Professor Dunham explains.

“My partnership with York Day Early Learning has been wonderful,” she says. “I’m very grateful to Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, [Dean, Center for Community Engagement and Naylor Endowed Professor of Writing Studies] for introducing me to Brian, and I look forward to our continuing partnership in future semesters.”

Walking the path

Overall, Jared learned much from the course, including skills that can be applied to his future classes.

“I learned how to better manage my time,” he says. “This was one of five classes I took during this semester, and there was a decent amount of work required. I learned that writing out my goals and schedule allowed me to be successful.”

He cites his previous education, including his Business and college-level English courses as crucial to his success in Communication in Professional Cultures. 

“One of the best parts of being a General Business major is learning the broader business spectrum and being able to understand most aspects of the business world,” he explains. “Taking classes that range from Supply Chain to Financial Accounting gives different perspectives of business.”

He also credits his professors for providing a helpful learning environment.

“Another amazing part of being a General Business major are the professors you get the opportunity to work with. I have learned so much in the past year and a half from such fantastic professors,” he says. “They do a great job teaching the curriculum with real-world examples. I find myself in an environment where I am constantly being challenged.”

As for the future, Jared wants to continue making an impact on the world around him, just like his learning has done for him. He wants to open a successful gym to help people have the experiences he has, he says.

“Opening a gym will allow me to continue to promote a healthy lifestyle and surround myself with motivated individuals,” he says. “YCP has opened my eyes to ideas and thoughts that I had not previously considered. I want to do the same for others.”