ARC Students Engage With Community
Sept. 25, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Ten Illinois Wesleyan University students had an active summer
this year interning and making contributions to the Bloomington-Normal community.
Katie Rose Brosnan, Veronica Watson, Maggie Maddox, Danielle Jauregui, Celeste Borjas,
Lizzie Egan, Zach Meyer, Matt LaLonde, Cameron Blossom, Mark Gianni participated in IWU's Action Research Center's (ARC)
Community Partnership Program (CPP).
ARC, founded in 2003, by Professor of Sociology James Sikora and Chair of Political
Science James Simeone, provides students with a set of experiences and skills necessary
for applied research projects in the community. According to ARC's website "ARC's
internal research indicated that many IWU students miss or resist the "professional
golden road" of medical school, law school, and the CPA exam. ARC helps capture the
passion of these neglected students by showing them the "civic golden road" of life-long
leadership, whether on not-for profit boards, citizen groups, or firms in the private
Community Partnership Program collaborates with State Farm Insurance and local not-for
profit organizations to help give students an active learning and working experience
outside the IWU community. Students intern at State Farm for three days a week and
work with not-for profit organizations, working in areas of their interests, for two
Katie Rose Brosnan
Brosnan, a senior political science major from Park Ridge, Ill. in speaking of her
experience of working at State Farm Learning Operations subset of the Learning and
Developments Department and for the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Jane Chamberlain,
said, "It was a great opportunity to connect with people and groups. I got to interview
the board members of the YWCA, which basically meant interviewing these amazing women
committed to racial justice."
As part of her work with the YWCA, Brosnan helped develop a training program for early
childhood educators, to prepare them for the culturally diverse group of students
they will be teaching in the future. " By 2020 almost 40 percent of the preschool
children are going to be non-white, where as around 80 percent of the teachers will
continue to be white middle-class women. I worked to develop a program which will
enable these teachers to understand the culturally diverse backgrounds of the students,
which will hopefully make it easier for the students in their educational experience."
Blossom, a senior majoring in business marketing and sociology from Flanagan, Ill,
worked in the Human Resources Employment Activities Department at State Farm and for
the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP). The West Bloomington Business
development project, in collaboration with the Economic Development Council of Bloomington-Normal,
consisted of interviewing 25 business owners in West Bloomington to develop ideas
for consumer attraction, business retention, and business growth in the area. The
project also included a presentation outlining how various stakeholders in the community
could provide support and what can be done to work toward improving the business climate
of the local community.
Blossom has been involved with the WBRP since January 2012 as part of the Board of
Directors. In talking about the project Blossom said, "The ARC project allowed me
to work on something that I could call my own." It provided me with the autonomy to
make my own decisions, and work with community members and students to develop strategies
to make a difference in the community." Blossom will continue the project this semester
through the Action Research Seminar course taught by Deborah Halperin, ARC coordinator.
Jauregui, a senior Hispanic studies and sociology double major from Darien, Ill. who
worked with the American Red Cross of the Heartland, organized the third bilingual
blood-drive for the Hispanic community of Bloomington-Normal, an initiative that was
begun last year by IWU senior and ARC intern Alex Monzón. According to Jauregui, "There
is low participation from Latino blood donors in blood drives, however they are a
highly desirable donor population because so many Latinos have Type O blood (which
is the universal donor that can be given to anyone in an emergency)." She has also
collaborated with the IWU student organization Spanish and Latino Student Association
(SALSA) to arrange a blood drive at IWU in October, during the Hispanic Heritage Month.
Speaking about her experience this summer Jauregui said, " I would recommend interning,
but especially interning through the CPP, because it is a truly unique experience
to be a part of both the corporate world and not for-profit world."
Watson, a junior international studies major from South Elgin, Ill, worked for the
Multicultural Business Development Group of State Farm. Her primary project was the
analysis of cultural competence training for associates and agents. Watson worked
with the not-for-profit organization Marcfirst that helps people with disabilities.
"At Marcfirst the work you do directly impacts and helps people out there," said Watson.
"It was a very humbling experience for me. It made me realize how I want to spend
my future. I want to be somewhere, where I can make change and really help develop
the work that is done."
Watson also helped develop the transition program, which is a program to help adolescents
with developmental disabilities make the transition from high school students to adult
The ARC is now recruiting for the Summer 2013 program, for additional information
visit the ARC website at www.iwu.edu/action.
Contact: Mallika Kavadi '15 (309) 556-3181, firstname.lastname@example.org