Learning has looked a little different since Chapman transitioned to a remote setup last March.  Many Chapman professors have found creative ways to adjust to the new format.  One of such innovative thinkers is physics professor, Stephanie Bailey, who made it her goal to incorporate learning with service.

Bailey said, “I want my students to be active participants in their own learning and to understand that the goal of that learning is improving the quality of life for people they interact with on a regular basis.”  To accomplish this, Bailey offered extra credit in General Physics for the Life Sciences for writing letters to residents at two local senior-living facilities- Oakmont of Orange and Park Plaza.  

Junior Izze Billet recalls expecting the extra credit assignment to be related to solving physics problems.  “Never was I expecting the opportunity that I was given. Immediately, it made me smile and appreciate the out-of-the-box thinking Dr. Bailey had when assigning this extra credit,” said Billet.  

Twenty-four of Bailey’s students participated in this extra credit assignment, sharing personal experiences and offering uplifting messages to the recipients.  The assignment allowed students to connect science with communication by sharing their trials related to working through difficult concepts from class in their letters.  Students also related their feelings about the pandemic and what they missed most about campus.  Some even included a photo and email address and invited the senior-living residents to connect with them.   

The residents were delighted to receive the student’s letters.  Parks Plaza resident Beverly Weatherill, who graduated from Chapman when it was located in Los Angeles, recalled the welcoming, family feel during her time at Chapman.  She noted, the “spirit of making sure people feel welcome, that was in these letters.”

Bailey’s extra credit assignment proved to be mutually beneficial for both the senior-living residents and the students, fostering meaningful relationships and dedication to service.  

“I have learned that it is so easy to forget about giving service to others in my college years, and it is especially easy to forget to do so during a time like this,” said Billet. “This assignment helped me to remember the importance of service, and how easy it can be.”