Susan Shearouse Training Scholarship

Jim Meditz, a long time Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS) mentor mediator expressed this to me:

“Susan [Shearouse] is an extraordinary influence on so many people in so many situations.  First and foremost are those who have had the opportunity to take one of her many classes, whether they pursue conflict resolution formally or just want to bring new perspectives, techniques, and skills to every day interactions.”

As the Training Program Manager at NVMS, I am lucky to work with the best and the brightest in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution. In my experience none shine brighter than Susan Shearouse. Her dedication to helping people navigate the emotional rollercoaster of conflict better for it is extraordinary. Susan has a presence in the classroom that is captivating, yet humble.

I fondly remember meeting her for the first time – I had just started interning for NVMS and my supervisor at the time suggested I take Susan’s 24-hour Mediation Skills and Process training. I learned more in those three days with Susan than in my entire college career.  However, what made the most lasting impression on me was how her kind, gentle smile and inviting personality made for a comfortable learning environment.  Other former students have offered similar comments about Susan and her impact on their lives.  For example, NVMS Executive Director Megan Johnston stated, “Susan’s humble approach to learning combined with a deep wealth of experience and a wonderful sense of humor make her one of the most personable and effective professionals in her field.”

Susan holds a MS from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University. She has been a driving force behind NVMS from the beginning when it occupied nothing more than a cramped room in the S-CAR building. Throughout her career, she became a recognized leader and a true inspiration to all those with whom she has collaborated, trained, and coached. Susan has served in a variety of positions in multiple conflict resolution organizations. She is currently the President of Frameworks for Agreement and the author of Conflict 101: A Manager’s Guide to Resolving Problems So Everyone Can Get Back to Work. Her impressive career speaks volumes of her commitment to advancing the field and her passion of helping people address conflict in a constructive manner.

In honor of her 20+ years of service and support for NVMS as a founding member, trainer, mediator, facilitator, coach, consultant, and bringer of good times, NVMS is launching the Susan Shearouse Training Scholarship. This scholarship will be used to provide financial assistance to individuals who may not be able to afford professional, skill-based workshops but share Susan’s passion for learning and sharing conflict management skills in their communities. 

NVMS officially launched the Shearouse Scholarship on April 14, 2013 with a reception at the home of Board Member Marge Bleiweis and her husband John. The reception brought together long-time NVMS community members and staff, as well as Susan’s friends and colleague. The launch was a great success, raising $6135 of the $12,000 needed to endow the scholarship. During her touching speech, Susan had this to say:

“Participating in this scholarship fund is exciting to me when I think of all the lives and relationships each scholarship can affect.  Help resolve one person’s conflict and they may have relief for a day. Teach them to resolve conflicts themselves and you can change their lives forever.  And then that change will ripple out to influence the lives of all those they touch.”

The NVMS staff and Board of Directors are excited by the overwhelming support for this first-time initiative. We are looking forward to offering our first scholarships at the end of summer.

For those who wish to contribute, donations may be made via the PayPal link found on the scholarship webpage at, or checks made out to NVMS and mailed to 4041 University Drive, Suite 101, Fairfax, Virginia 22030 or by contacting our office at 703.865.7272.