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ELKINS, WV -

Alyssa Hanna's new role at Davis & Elkins College involves an activity she's loved all her life: volunteering.

Hanna recently was appointed as Service Learning Coordinator for D&E through the national AmeriCorps VISTA program. She began her duties at the start of the fall semester and will serve for one year with the mission of inspiring students to perform community service in Randolph and surrounding counties. 

"I hope to get more students involved in community service so they can apply the skills they learn in the classroom to real world settings," she says, noting the experiences can be rewarding, provide stress relief and result in personal growth.

Vice President for Student Affairs Scott Goddard notes the program will allow students to have greater access to service learning opportunities.

"The students benefit by learning new skills and expanding their knowledge about a given subject, the community groups benefit by getting assistance with projects, and our communities benefit as a whole from the work completed by these partnerships," Goddard said.

Through her involvement with the Canaan Valley Master Naturalists Hanna already has used her skills to complete two projects with students — helping restore the environment at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and taking part in a Habitat for Humanity project to build a ramp at a home in Marlinton.

Hanna also organized a group of D&E students who assisted the American Association of University Women of Elkins with a voter registration drive. 

Hanna earned her bachelor of arts degree in botany and microbiology in 2004 from Ohio Wesleyan University and is pursuing her Ph.D. in biology from West Virginia University. She has worked as an instructor of biology at Berea College in Berea, Ky., and as a teaching assistant at WVU.