The Shannon Rinaldo scholarship is awarded annually to undergraduate students who are involved in research.
McDonald, who is the United Supermarkets Professor of Marketing at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, viewed the students' fundraising accomplishment as an incredible success.
“Considering that this was the first in-person semester in a year and a half and many people and business were still taking strict Covid-precautions, I was not expecting this kind of success,” said McDonald. “I am so proud of my students. They are amazing. They keep reminding me that Red Raiders are special."
Each semester that McDonald teaches Personal Selling, he works with a community partner for his course's service learning project. McDonald has been incorporating service learning into his classes since 2005. His goal is to provide students hands-on experience outside of class lectures or textbook readings.
Rather than simply analyze past examples or work in hypotheticals, students completing a service learning project work with a community partner to solve a problem and apply lessons from their course. A large component of service learning projects is critical reflection, which provides students time to reflect on what they've learned and accomplished.
In the past, McDonald had primarily worked with organizations from the external community, but decided to turn his attention this year to an internal need within Rawls College. That led him to the Shannon Rinaldo Scholarship Endowment.
The Shannon Rinaldo Scholarship Endowment was founded after the passing of Shannon Rinaldo, an associate professor of marketing in Rawls College who lost her battle to glioblastoma brain cancer in 2020. The scholarship helps undergraduate students who are interested in conducting research, a passion of Rinaldo's.
McDonald's decision to have his students fundraise for a non-profit was also intentional.
“Success in sales begins with understanding the customer's needs and wants and then showing how you will provide value to address those needs and wants,” said McDonald. “In a fundraising assignment, finding that value is a challenge.”
This challenge was something that McDonald's students frequently noted in their evaluations, with some even saying this was the hardest, but most rewarding challenge of their collegiate career so far.
“Anyone who has worked in sales or in the nonprofit sector will tell you that fundraising is the most challenging selling job they have encountered, “said McDonald. “When my students accomplish their goal, it gives them tremendous confidence in their abilities as they start their careers.”
McDonald sees the service learning project of his course as a valuable component and encourages other faculty to incorporate similar projects into their classes.
“Service learning can be applied to many different courses,” said McDonald. “It can help students learn many different skills and provide many useful services to the community. Many of my colleagues in Rawls College and at TTU use this pedagogy.”
For spring 2022, McDonald and his Personal Selling students will continue to fundraise for the Shannon Rinaldo Scholarship Endowment. Anyone interested in making a donations to the students' service learning project can email McDonald.
For more information on service learning, please visit the Texas Tech University Service Learning Program's page.
Donating to the Shannon Rinaldo, Ph.D. Scholarship Endowment
Anyone interested in contributing to the Shannon Rinaldo, Ph.D. Scholarship Endowment can make a donation through one of the methods below.
Check should be addressed to "Texas Tech Foundation Inc." and include "Shannon Rinaldo, Ph.D. Honorarium Fund" in the memo.
Rawls College of Business Office of Development
Box 42101, Lubbock, TX 79409-2101
Contributions can be made online.