Students Focus on Homeless During Summer Enrichment Program

Aug. 14, 2014

SEP group
Students in the Summer Enrichment Program had a paid internship, attended professional development and diversity workshops, and participated in volunteer projects. 
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Shining light on the complexities of homelessness in the Bloomington area was the main project of 12 Illinois Wesleyan University students participating in the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP).

SEP is a 10-week program for current MALANA (Multiracial, African-American, Latino/a, Asian-American and Native American) students that focuses on three major areas: academic, professional and personal growth. This year the program was open to international students for the first time.

The theme for this summer’s SEP program was “Speak Up, Speak Out!” SEP’s main project concentrated on the issue of homelessness in the Bloomington-Normal area. SEP members created a documentary titled “Hope for the Homeless,” and scheduled a series of events for this fall that focus on educating the Illinois Wesleyan community about the problem of homelessness and how members of the community can help address the issue.

“We should do whatever we can to help those who are less fortunate than us,” said biology and chemistry double major Nitesh Kumar. “I hope our SEP project makes a difference in our society and in some way influences others to help the homeless as well.”

During a luncheon Aug. 13 recognizing the students, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall reminded the SEP graduates to pause a moment in the busyness of everyday life and to think about how they have changed and grown through the SEP program.

“Stop doing for a moment,” she said. “Reflect on what it is you have been doing, the journey that you have been on, and what impact SEP has had on you.”

In addition to organizing a group project, each student also had a paid internship, attended professional development and diversity workshops and participated in volunteer projects.

“SEP is an amazing opportunity that I am grateful to have experienced,” said nursing major Sana Shafiuddin. “My internship helped shape my career path, the projects taught me to break out of my comfort zone, and the opportunity to be surrounded by people who are culturally accepting has made me feel more comfortable on campus.”

Following are the SEP 2014 participants with their majors and internship placements:

  • Cristina Cervantes ’16, an international studies major from Schiller Park, Ill., Immigration Project
  • Michelle Dominguez ’15, a psychology major from Chicago, Allied Health Group, Therapy Assistant
  • Brigitta Jakob ’17, an economics and international business double major from Indonesia, Illinois Wesleyan University Economics Department, Research Assistant
  • Nitesh Kumar ’16, a biology and chemistry double major from Mundelein, Ill., Millenium Pain Center, Research Assistant
  • Kimberly Mensah ’16, a psychology major from Bolingbrook, Ill., Planned Parenthood of Central Illinois, Health Services and Community Outreach
  • Thalia Novoa ’16, a psychology major from Marquette Heights, Ill., Immigration Project
  • Ralph Pineda ’15, a business administration major from Gurnee, Ill., Great Plains Media, Promotions and Marketing, and in the Illinois Wesleyan University Student Activities Office, Summer Programming
  • Corin Sengsay ’17, a psychology major from Normal, Ill., Westminster Village
  • Sana Shafiuddin ’17, a nursing major from Streamwood, Ill., The Baby Fold, Nurse
  • Drake Sorensen ’16, a business administration major from Roanoke, Ill., Tafforest Brewer International Inc., Website and Social Media Specialist
  • Ayethaw Tun ’15, a psychology major from Spring Valley, Ill., The Baby Fold, Community Schools, and in the Illinois Wesleyan University Student Activities Office, Summer Programming
  • Monica Villegas ’16, a business administration and psychology double major from Colombia, Great Plains Life Foundation, Project Coordinator

By Danielle Kamp ’15