Julie Lewis ’16 (Glenview, Ill.) will receive $1,500 to implement her idea for the
Westside Bench Project. A blitz-build event planned for May will create 25 benches
to be placed at bus stops on Bloomington’s west side.
Administered through the Action Research Center (ARC), the Zoellick Fellowship was introduced in 2013 through the generosity of Todd
Zoellick ’00 to develop an Illinois Wesleyan student’s idea for an innovative and
creative way to generate positive and sustainable societal change. In addition to
the funding, winners receive assistance from ARC, the Department of Business Administration
and Design, Technology and Entrepreneurship program director Bruno deHarak to launch the idea.
Lewis and three other students presented their business ideas to a panel of judges
that included Chicago-area entrepreneur and alumnus Zoellick in the tradition of the
ABC reality competition program “Shark Tank.” In her proposal, Lewis explained that
students enrolled in the “Action Research Seminar” course attended a town hall meeting
last fall where they learned Bloomington residents expressed a desire for some type
of seating at bus stops. Students then built a prototype bench using tools provided
by the Tool Library and subsequently met with Connect Transit to discuss the possibility of installing
benches. Details need to finalized, but Lewis’s current plan includes local residents
coming together to build benches in a one-day “blitz” in May.
A sociology and Hispanic Studies double major, Lewis has received the Weir Fellowship and an ARC Alumni Fellowship.
She is also director of the Mini Masters program where Illinois Wesleyan students
provide free music lessons to local youth. She has served internships with Conexciones
Latinas de McLean County and the Boys and Girls Club. Lewis is a member of Alpha Kappa
Delta international honor society of sociology and Phi Beta Delta honor society in