James Madison swimming and diving junior Shannon Dubay (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) spent her summer volunteering in the Shingwedzi Game Reserve in South Africa.
The project was founded by Anne van Dyke, one of the leading cheetah conservationists in the world, and protects over 60 cheetahs at its ranch.
“I am so thankful that JMU introduced me to this volunteer program, International Student Volunteers, for this amazing opportunity to see an exciting part of the world and help protect the animals,” Dubay said. “I made great friends from all around the world and feel proud knowing I could make a difference.”
Dubay worked primarily on fire-breaking around the cheetah enclosures. Her work helped contain brush fires and is a big effort since brush fires are the most important issue that South Africa faces in its dry season. On her off days, Dubay was able to ride elephants, taunt hippos and rhinos and play with the cheetahs.
“I have always been proud of JMU Athletics in their quest to be great athletically and academically as well as in the community,” Head Swimming and Diving Coach Samantha Smith said. “This is just another example of JMU student-athletes learning, growing and making a difference all over the world. Shannon has been a force for us in the water and she is also an exceptional student. As a coach, it is very rewarding to know that your student-athletes are driven to excel and contribute in all areas.”