New Weir Fellows Named
Weir Fellows Kaitie Fancher and Matt Hill
January 7, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Two Illinois Wesleyan University students have been named the
2011 Weir Fellows. Senior Kaitie Fancher of Noblesville, Ind., and junior Matt Hill
of Lake Forest, Ill., were honored for their commitment to community service.
The $2,000 fellowships are distributed through Illinois Wesleyan's Action Research Center (ARC), which links Illinois Wesleyan students with research projects with not-for-profit
organizations. Students chosen as Weir Fellows must have previously worked closely
with community partners and proposed collaborative projects with them. Both fellows
have projects planned with the Western Avenue Community Center, a local not-for-profit
Fancher, a political science major, has worked with ARC over the past year, and held
an internship last summer with a lobbyist for a not-for-profit organization in Washington,
D.C. Her project for the Weir Fellowship will assist eligible community members to
sign up for SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as
food stamps). “There is a misconception that signing up for SNAP is a long, involved
process,” said Fancher. “It really takes about 15 minutes online.” Last year, an ARC-involved
program called Blank Canvas brought computers for several area not-for-profits, including Western Avenue. “The
computer lab is situated right next to the food pantry at Western Avenue,” she added.
“My goal is to help everyone who visits the pantry sign up for SNAP.” Fancher plans
to use her fellowship money to recruit and train volunteers to assist with online
SNAP registration. After graduation, she hopes to attend law school or a graduate
program geared toward working with not-for-profit organizations.
Hill, an accounting major, took part in the ARC/State Farm Insurance Cos. Community Partnership Program last summer. His project for the fellowship involves financial literacy for not-for-profits.
He plans to hold seminars with Western Avenue’s program administrators on budget efficiency.
“These meetings will offer a chance to get together and discuss topics such as allocation,
budget structures and endowments,” said Hill. “It will be an informal setting to talk
about financial issues.” Hill will use his Weir fellowship funds to update the accounting
software at Western Avenue, and train employees to use it. After graduation, Hill
said he will continue to volunteer for not-for-profits in his hometown.
The Weir Fellowship was founded by Elizabeth Weir, a 1950 Illinois Wesleyan graduate
with a degree in sociology, who has been active in community service since her days
with Illinois Wesleyan.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960