Category: Student Highlight

Junfeng Wu Named Greenleaf Scholar

Junfeng WuJunfeng Wu, a PhD student from the UIC Business Organizational Behavior/Human Resources program, has been selected as a 2016 Greenleaf Scholar by the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Wu will receive financial support from the Greenleaf Center, as well as inclusion in the Center’s Annual International Conference and the National Forum.

Wu, who came to UIC from Renmin University in Beijing, approaches leadership research through the dynamics of shared perspectives among members of a group. His work explores the impact of servant leadership on group creativity and the trade-offs between group coordination and perspectival convergence among individuals.

Wu will join UIC Business alumnus Jeremy Meuser, PhD ’16, who was also selected as a 2016 Greenleaf Scholar. Meuser, whose background includes degrees in engineering and philosophy, will continue his research on differential leader treatment and employee identification.

Learn more about the Greenleaf Center and the 2016 Greenleaf Scholars here.


UIC Education Grad Named White House Fellow

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Warren Morgan, who earned his doctorate in urban education leadership at UIC, was named a 2016-2017 White House Fellow.

A doctoral graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education has been appointed a 2016-2017 White House Fellow and will be assigned to the U.S. Department of Education for the coming year.

Warren Morgan was appointed to the latest class of 16 White House Fellows.

The fellows program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.”

“It’s a great national recognition and is consistent with the quality of the College of Education at UIC and its graduates,” said UIC Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis.

Fellows are involved in an education program focusing on leadership, policy formulation and current affairs. Community service is an important part of the program, according to the White House, and the fellows participate in service programs throughout their year in Washington, D.C.

Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service. Each fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels of the federal government.

Morgan, 32, received his doctorate in urban education leadership at UIC last spring. He is from south suburban Dolton.

From 2012 until 2015, Morgan served as a principal at Manley High School, a public school on the city’s West Side, where he was credited with helping improve the school’s performance. He earned his Illinois principal’s certification while working on his doctorate in UIC’s nationally ranked urban education leadership program, said Steven Tozer, coordinator of the program.

Morgan also served as the Academic Superintendent for Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s turnaround schools. In this role he led principals in common core instructional leadership and collaboration.

In 2009, he was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He received a bachelor of arts in psychology from Butler University, where he served as student body president and was selected a Butler Top 10 student. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Prior to working in education, he worked as an analyst for the Illinois Senate. After working in public policy, he joined Teach for America as a science teacher in St. Louis.

“This prestigious appointment is high-bar recognition of Dr. Warren’s steadfast commitment and advocacy for public education. It’s exciting that the nation will now benefit from Dr. Warren’s leadership,” said Alfred W. Tatum, dean of the UIC College of Education.

More information about the White House Fellows program is online.

By Carlos Sandovi
csadovi@uic.edu


UIC Students Named Schweitzer Fellows

admin-ajaxThe Chicago Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program, which provides yearlong fellowships to graduate health students for public service projects, awarded fellowships to University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry students Gabija Revis and Jessica Williams for 2016-2017.

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program is the local chapter of the Boston, MA-based Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The program also is supported by the Chicago-based Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, an independent policy center that conducts research, educates, and collaborates with other groups to advocate policies and impact health systems to improve people’s health status

The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program is dedicated to developing a corps of emerging health professionals who enter the workforce with the skills and commitment necessary to address unmet health needs.

The program is highly competitive, and chose 31 students from Chicago-area medically related universities as 2016-2017 Schweitzer Fellows.

Revis said that the goal of her Schweitzer project is “to address the underlying health inequities faced by children with complex medical needs.”

These individuals are not only more likely to have serious unmet oral needs, but also are less likely to have access to a permanent dental home.

“My project will create and implement an oral health component for the Almost Home Kids caregiver training program used to teach caregivers of medically-complex children,” Revis explained.

Chicago-based Almost Home Kids is a transition facility for children being transferred out of intensive hospital care, and a site where the families of these children are trained to be caregivers.

“In addition to training caregivers on how to address oral health needs of the medically complex child, I also hope to shed light on the access-to-care issues facing this underserved community,” Revis said. “My ultimate goal is to help these children find permanent dental homes in the Chicagoland area.”

She noted that her experience at Almost Home Kids also will be used to educate dental and medical professionals on-site and at UIC “in hopes of encouraging more providers to consider working directly with children with complex medical needs.”
Williams’ Schweitzer project “will serve low-income older adults throughout the Chicagoland area, at various community centers and nursing homes,” she said.

“I have an overarching goal of improving oral health literacy with a specialized focus on the dynamic relationship between aging, chronic diseases, and oral health,” Williams added.

She will work with underserved older adults to develop a curriculum which promotes oral health literacy.
Williams also will host educational seminars in an effort to address the oral health knowledge gaps of the local senior community.

“I am still in the process of securing all of my sites,” Williams explained. “One of them will include Ravenswood Community Services, an organization which connects the community with basic, but essential resources, including food, screenings, and information about health and life skills.

“I will be providing oral health education to the ‘neighbors’ who participate in RCS’s weekly Community Kitchen dinners,” she added. “I will be volunteering at additional senior centers and homes in addition to RCS.”

“Since 2007, with the exception of one year, the College has had at least one student accepted into this highly competitive and prestigious program,” said Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the College.

For more information about the Schweitzer Fellowship Program, log on to http://www.schweitzerfellowship.org/chapters/chicago/.


Finding Hope After Violence

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Members of the UIC community addressed critical issues concerning gun control, violence, police brutality, racism, campus safety and more during a reflection event. Photo: Vibhu Sreevatsa Rangavasan

Nearly 100 members of the UIC and Chicago communities came together at Student Center East recently to reflect, heal, engage in dialogue and remember the recent victims of violence in an event organized by Student Affairs and campus partners.

The group addressed tragic events — which have happened in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, Falcon Heights, Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge, among others — and discussed critical issues concerning gun control, violence, police brutality, racism, social movements, protests, campus safety and emotional impacts.

“While carrying the burden of pain, we must continue to be shocked and outraged about violence so that we never become desensitized,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Barbara Henley said.

“We must think about it, we must feel it. That is what spurs us to action, that is what brings us together today: to reflect on the precious lives who have departed and to heal.”

Participants shared stories and perspectives with others in the room.

“We’re here to create a safe space,” said Joseph Hoereth, director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement. “Where you can speak from your heart.”

Community partners and representatives from the Gender and Sexuality Center, Counseling Center, UIC Police, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, Latino Cultural Center, African American Academic Network, Office of Medical Advancement, Center for Student Involvement, Campus Auxiliary Services and Office of Sustainability attended to see how their offices could help students, staff and faculty.

“This dialogue speaks to the strong sense of community at UIC,” Hoereth said. “We’re expected to be challenged with what happens next, and we want to figure out how we can respond to it and how to support others.”

“We have a long way to go,” noted Gerardo Nava, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “But today’s conversations were interesting, and it was a nice bit of therapy.”

“We’re just scratching the surface,” Hoereth said near the conclusion of the talk. “But that’s a good starting point for moving forward: hope.”

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Eleven UIC Students Named Schweitzer Fellows

Schweitzer-Logo-without-Tagling-387x258Eleven University of Illinois at Chicago students have been awarded Schweitzer fellowships, a service learning program for health professional students committed to helping Chicago’s underserved.

The students will each design and implement year-long projects to improve health and access to care. Named in honor of humanitarian and Nobel Laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the fellowship encourages exceptional students in health and human service fields to serve the most vulnerable members of society, including the uninsured, immigrants, the homeless, returning veterans, minorities and the working poor.

The 11 UIC award winners will each receive a $2,000 honorarium and perform 200 hours of direct service in a community setting during their year-long project. Since 1996, 524 Schweitzer Fellows have provided more than 104,000 hours of service to Chicago’s vulnerable communities. Thirty-one students were honored for 2016-17.

Karen Aguirre will develop a pipeline program to promote healthcare careers among low income Latinx high school students from the Back of the Yards neighborhood. A student in the School of Public Health, Aguirre will provide education on current health disparities in communities of color within Chicago, professional development, and healthy behaviors, with the goal of empowering minority students to pursue higher education.

A student in the College of Medicine, Andrew Florin proposes to address early childhood literacy with an after-school program for first, second and third grade children of low-income Latinx families in West Town. The program, to be held in the Erie Neighborhood House, will serve to strengthen reading skills, foster a lifelong passion for reading and provide a positive impact through guidance and mentorship.

Madison Hammett proposes to create a support program for both incarcerated mothers and their children’s caregivers. The program, to be held at the Cabrini Green Legal Aid, will be coupled with referrals to social services and serve to strengthen the communication and relationships between mothers and families, as well as help to prevent recidivism in the criminal legal system. Hammett is a student in the Jane Addams College of Social Work/School of Public Health.

Amy Krischer will implement joint parent-child programming at Family Rescue, an organization dedicated to eliminating domestic violence. The programming will introduce parents and children to meaningful activities they can participate in together to form healthy attachments, as well as create a safe space for parent and child survivors of domestic violence. Krischer is a student in the department of occupational therapy.

College of Medicine student JJ Locquiao will co-direct the Young Doctors Program, a health care pipeline program for children in the Lawndale Christian Family Health Center originally created in 2010 by a Schweitzer Fellow and sustained and expanded by subsequent Schweitzer Fellows and UIC medical students. Locquiao plans to further expand the program to include academic and ACT/SAT tutoring for high school students, as well as advising them with their college application and interviewing process.

Nursing student Wendy Mironov will partner with the grass roots group Salud Sin Papeles to improve health and access to health care for undocumented immigrants, their families and their communities. She will collaborate on educational materials and workshops for undocumented patients and providers based on the experiences, insights, and challenges encountered by undocumented patients in Chicago.

Alyson Moser plans to create and implement an adult literacy and job readiness program at Oakley Square Apartments. The program will focus on helping participants prepare for the GED test, writing resumes and cover letters, and developing career goals. Moser is a student in the School of Public Health and the Jane Addams College of Social Work.

A student in the College of Dentistry and School of Public Health, Gabija Revis will create an oral health component for the extensive training program used to teach caregivers of medically-complex children and health professionals at Almost Home Kids, a facility for children being moved out of a hospital’s intensive care unit.

Alisa Jordan Sheth, a student in disability studies, will work with older adults with intellectual disabilities to collaboratively develop an accessible curriculum and group format to help participants define successful aging for themselves and address future planning needs. The sessions, to be held at Misericordia Heart of Mercy, aims to provide social learning and self-advocacy opportunities around health literacy, aging and other member-identified needs.

College of Nursing student Karie Elizabeth Stewart proposes to initiate prenatal classes and education for pregnant African-American and Hispanic mothers at PCC Wellness Austin Family Health Clinic in the Austin neighborhood. The classes and education will be initiated through the utilization of Centering Pregnancy. Her goal is to increase the number of patients that seek prenatal care earlier in their pregnancy.

Dental student Jessica Williams will work with underserved adults at free medical clinic Ravenswood Community Services to develop a curriculum that promotes oral health literacy. She will host educational seminars in an effort to address the oral health knowledge gaps of the local senior community.

By Sam Hostettler
samhos@uic.edu


UIC biological sciences student Goldwater Scholar

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Deborah Park

A University of Illinois at Chicago undergraduate student focused on cancer research has been recognized for her academic achievement by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence Foundation.

Deborah Park, a senior majoring in biological sciences in the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the latest UIC student to receive the prominent $7,500 scholarship that will cover tuition, books and related fees during the 2016-17 academic year.

More than 250 recipients in mathematics, science and engineering were selected from a field of 1,150 qualified nominees for the Goldwater scholarship, named for the late Republican senator from Arizona.

Park, a member of the UIC Honors College and the Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions (GPPA) in medicine, has conducted research with Dr. Guofei Zhou, assistant professor of pediatrics in the UIC College of Medicine, on biomarkers for early detection of malignant lung cancer and potential treatments for metastatic tumors in lung cancers.

Her professional goal is to be a physician-scientist with an active laboratory in the field of cancer biology with a focus on metastasis, the spread of cancer cells within the body.

“The prospect of uncovering the mechanisms within cancer metastasis in order to develop novel methods for early cancer detection and future therapeutic strategies is captivating,” says Park, a resident of Deerfield, Illinois. “Patients with metastatic cancer have particularly poor survival, making tumor metastasis the leading cause of cancer. If we could uncover the pathways behind cancer metastasis, we could potentially turn a systemic disease into a localized and treatable one.”

Through an internship and the Cancer Research Training Award at the National Institutes of Health, Park is spending the summer studying cancer metastasis alongside Dr. Christina Stuelten at the Center for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

Other notable awards for Park, a 2014 graduate of the Illinois Math and Science Academy, include the Great Lakes National STEM scholarship and the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2016-17 Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Scholar Award for Undergraduate Students.

Park is the recipient of multiple university honors and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Last year, she was among 10 students selected to represent UIC during University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day in Springfield, where students present their research to Illinois lawmakers to demonstrate the importance of undergraduate research.

She serves as chief communications officer for the Journal for Young Investigators, a peer-reviewed online publication featuring undergraduate scientific research from around the world.

By Brian Flood
bflood@uic.edu


Volunteering To Improve Visual Health in Ghana

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“Vision health is paramount to our health in general,” says Mary Otoo, a master’s student in public health who volunteers in Ghana.

Mary Otoo has witnessed what happens when people lose their eyesight and encourages those with good vision to not take it for granted.

“Vision health is paramount to our health in general,” said Otoo, a master’s student in the School of Public Health, who encourages people to check their vision once a year. “So many people wish they could see — even just shadows.”

While volunteering for the Emmanuel Eye Centre in Accra, Ghana, Otoo saw many people in resource-poor areas struggle with vision impairments due to old age, allergies, congenital conditions, environmental factors and physical traumas. “Many in developing countries lose their eyesight at no fault of theirs.”

A substantial amount of that blindness is preventable, said Charlotte Joslin, associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and director of contact lens service at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary. Limited access to health care, lack of funds, inadequate vision health professionals are the common challenges to vision heath delivery in Ghana. There are currently only 74 ophthalmologists serving the entire nation. Patients in developing countries like Ghana sometimes develop conditions so severe that they can cause blindness without medical attention.

Otoo recalled removing a patient’s eye patch a day after her cataract surgery at the Emmanuel Eye Center.

“The woman held my wrist tightly, with tears filling her eyes and shaking, and she looked at me intently and said, ‘I could not see you yesterday but today I can. Thank you!’” Otoo said. “It gives me so much joy and happiness to see faces glow with excitement because they can finally see something again.”

Otoo is going back to Ghana this summer as a Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellow to work with partner eye clinics that bring local medical professionals to villages in the country. The volunteer experience is supported by Unite for Sight, a nonprofit organization that provides cost-effective vision care to 1.9 million people. Cataracts, pyterigium and glaucoma are some of the common conditions that volunteers and clinicians treat and teach about to the impoverished populations in Ghana, India and Honduras.

“Mary gets experience in seeing first-hand what the problems are that people in other parts of the world are having,” Joslin said. “This also allows her to recognize the ways in which we can help.”

During her time there, Otoo hopes to survey mothers to investigate maternal perceptions on child eye health, the focus of her independent research study for the School of Public Health.

“There’s a limited period of time during childhood in which vision needs to be improved; otherwise, patients risk permanent poor vision moving forward in life,” said Joslin, who is Otoo’s mentor.

In addition to her volunteer work, Otoo is fundraising $5,000 to provide free vision care and eye restoring surgeries for the impoverished in Ghana, India and Honduras. She has been able to raise about $2,400 and hopes to reach her goal, $5,000, by the end of July. That amount would fully sponsor 100 cataract surgeries.

Donations can be made through July 30.

For more information, email Otoo at motoo3@uic.edu

By Francisca Corona

 


Hispanic Student Dental Association Wins Big

X.HSDA4_.29.16image1-002The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry’s Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA) Chapter was named the Hispanic Dental Association’s (HDA) 2016 National Student Chapter of the Year at the HDA’s recent Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. This award recognizes the chapter for outstanding efforts to provide service, education, advocacy and leadership in Hispanic oral health.

Selected by a committee consisting of HDA National Office staff members and invited jurors, the chapter stood out among affiliate dental student chapters across the nation.

“We won due to our excellence in community outreach and activity this past year,” Jacqueline Magallanes, President of the UIC HSDA, explained. “Chapter of the Year guidelines look at community outreach, membership growth, and overall activity. We participated in dozens of community outreach events where we provided oral hygiene instruction, patient education, and free dental services in underserved communities with minority populations.”

Magallanes added, “We also boosted our student membership by nearly 100%, and hosted Spanish classes with an average of 30-40 students each session. We also have a very close partnership with our parent chapter, the regional Greater Chicago HAD, through which we participate in CE courses, seminars, and social activities.”

The award benefits the College and its HSDA chapter “because it highlights the diversity that represents UIC, and sheds light on the needs of our minority communities. We are helping to improve the general and oral health of one of the most afflicted communities in our city: the Hispanic population. It speaks to UIC’s mission of improving oral health, and HSDA’s mission of helping the underserved. Winning this award celebrates the hard work and dedication of HSDA’s board and members.”

Magallanes added that “HSDA celebrates diversity, and that by embracing our differences, we come together as a community with a common goal: to improve the oral and general health of our patients. Also, HSDA is very thankful to UIC’s Urban Health Program for sponsoring a couple of students to attend the conference, and especially thankful to our parent chapter, the Greater Chicago HAD, for sponsoring six students to attend the conference.

She offered special thanks to alumni Dr. Marcela Escobar, Dr. Carla Delafuente, and Dr. Genaro Romo of the Greater Chicago HDA for their support of the UIC HSDA.


UIC Students, New Alumni Awarded Fulbright Grants

Fulbright ProgramEight students and recent graduates of the University of Illinois at Chicago have received Fulbright grants to teach or conduct research abroad beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries.

Recipients are selected for their academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

John Albright, a senior in teaching of chemistry, was awarded an English teaching assistantship from the Fulbright Fellowship U.S. Student Program to teach in Spain for nine months beginning in September. While based in the autonomous community of Galicia, north of Portugal, he will serve as a teaching assistant at plurilingual high schools.

Albright, a native of Evanston, Illinois, will return to UIC to complete his student teaching before pursuing a career either teaching English abroad or science and math in the U.S.

Prior to attending UIC, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from DePaul University, where he was in the Honors College.

Daniel Bunn, of Calumet City, Illinois, was awarded an English teaching assistantship to teach in Laos for approximately one year beginning in July. His exact destination is yet to be determined.

At UIC, he is pursuing a graduate degree in computer science in the College of Engineering. His thesis work focuses on helping English as a Second Language individuals improve their listening skills through the aid of computer software.

Bunn earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, with a minor in business management, from Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Jinit Desai, a UIC School of Public Health graduate student in Community Health Sciences, will travel to Cali, Colombia, in August for a 10-month English teaching fellowship at La Universidad del Valle.

Desai, a resident of Lisle, Illinois, has previously traveled to Chile and Costa Rica for study abroad and volunteer opportunities. In 2015, he conducted intensive foreign language study in Jaipur, India, supported by the U.S. State Department’s Critical Languages Scholarship.

Before embarking upon the Fulbright assignment, he will complete his master’s degree and apply to medical school, which he hopes to enter upon his return. His career plans include global health affairs in Latin America and India.

He is a 2015 UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate in neuroscience and philosophy and was in the Honors College.

Daniel Dunson, a 2016 UIC graduate in art history, was awarded a Fulbright research grant to survey the visual culture of cemeteries in Ghana.

Focusing on grave markings with figurative and iconic symbols of the dead, he will study the hybrid traditions that allow for the placement of royal grave markings alongside symbols of Christianity and Islam. He will be based in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, and spend time in the central and Ashanti regions of the country.

Dunson, a resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, will work under the guidance of researchers at the University of Ghana in Accra and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Earlier this year, Dunson was awarded the U.S. State Department’s Gilman scholarship to study abroad in Rabat, Morocco. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in art history with a focus on the arts of the Black Atlantic.

Aldo Foe, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, received a Fulbright grant for his dissertation research exploring the possible social, political and economic reasons for Islamic conversion on the Indonesian islands from the late 7th century to the late 13th century. He will be based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for 10 months through an affiliation with Gadjah Mada University.

Foe hopes that ceramic analysis and archival research tracing the movement of Islam across the archipelago will lead to future excavation sites where he can gain macro-regional and micro-local perspective on the Islamization process.

Foe, who studies through the UIC-Field Museum Collaborative Program, is from Queens, New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Queens College and a master’s in anthropology from UIC.

Bridget Hansen, a 2016 UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dual-degree graduate in anthropology and classical studies and a former Honors College member, was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Bahrain for 10 months beginning this fall.

She will instruct students in their first, or “foundation year,” of medical school at Arabian Gulf University in Manama.

Hansen, a resident of McHenry, Illinois, previously studied abroad in Oman and Jordan after receiving two U.S. State Department scholarships – Critical Languages in 2014, and a Gilman in 2015. In fall 2017, she will begin doctoral studies in cultural anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta.

Alexis Reisch, a 2016 UIC graduate in neuroscience and former Honors College member, received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant for neuroscience research in Sweden.

Reisch will spend 10 months working on a project to examine how childhood abuse affects emotional regulation in adulthood. Her research at Linköping University’s Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience begins in September.

The native of La Grange Highlands, Illinois, participated in UIC’s Undergraduate Research Experience and worked in a cognitive neuroscience lab in the UIC College of Medicine. She also served as president and co-founder of UIC’s chapter of the National Honors Society in Neuroscience.

Tiffany Wilson, a doctoral candidate concentrating in central European history, will use her Fulbright research grant in support of her dissertation research on the history of Polish miners between 1926 and 1939. Beginning in October, she will spend nine months conducting research via state archive materials in Katowice, Poland.

She will examine the miners’ growing participation in government, foreign management through the Anaconda Mining Company, and how personal interactions between the employer and employees influenced global politics. Her research will be sponsored by the University of Silesia.

A native of Laramie, Wyoming, Wilson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Wyoming.


Rima Nimri Selected As 2016 Newman Civic Fellow

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Rima Nimri, a graduate student in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, was named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Rima Nimri, a graduate student in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, was chosen as a 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award recipient.

The fellowship program is administered by Campus Compact, a national nonprofit coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities, dedicated to campus-based civic engagement. It honors students who are “proven leaders, with both the motivation and ability to make substantial contributions toward public problem-solving,” according to the Campus Compact website.

Nimri is a public and financial policy management major from Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood. She has worked on several civic engagement projects, both at UIC and in the community, with organizations such as Illinois Campus Compact, AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America, and the UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement.

“In these roles she has taken on progressive responsibilities and proven herself to be a strong leader who works to motivate others,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, who nominated Nimri for the award.

As part of AmericaCorps VISTA, Nimri spent a year working on behalf of the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service at Governors State University. She worked with faculty, students and staff to coordinate and lead various community outreach and partnership projects. She was later promoted to a VISTA leader position to recruit and coach project teams.

Nimri, who received her bachelor’s degree in communication from UIC in 2011, will represent the university in a national group of student leaders as part of the Newman Civic Fellows online network and also participate in statewide activities.

The Newman Civic Fellows Awards, which are named in tribute to Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, are made possible through support from the KPMG Foundation and the Newman’s Own Foundation.

By Brian Flood
bflood@uic.edu