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Laurence Minter ’21 talks about his trip to Cuba during the 2018 Community Engagement Showcase.

Students recognized for addressing challenges where people live

José Armando Fernandez Guerrero ’18 describes his work in linguistics in Mexico.

The 2018 Community Engagement Showcase, April 16 in Klarman Hall, celebrated undergraduate and graduate students who collaborated with local and international communities this past year to address some of those communities’ pressing challenges. It also recognized two student projects and one faculty member for their community engagement efforts.

Doctoral student Jayme Kilburn from the Department of Performing and Media Arts received the Student and Community Excellence in Engagement award for her domestic project, the Women’s Performance Workshop in Baltimore, Maryland, which uses story circles, improvisation, reflective listening and writing exercises to create public performances based on personal narratives. Osei Boateng ’18, College of Human Ecology, received the Student and Community Excellence in Engagement award for his international project, Project Hope, which builds awareness of hypertension and diabetes in a low-income community in Ghana.

Robin Radcliffe, senior lecturer in wildlife and conservation medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, received the George D. Levy Faculty Award for spearheading a community-engaged course that gives students hands-on experience in the conservation of the endangered Indonesian rhinoceros and the African great ape.

More than 40 student projects, conducted in areas as close to campus as Ithaca and Groton, New York, and as distant as Brazil, Nepal, Kenya, Jordan and India, were highlighted through presentations and posters. They addressed a wide range of concerns, from justice to the arts, food and agriculture to energy and the environment, nutrition, health, law, culture, language, education, youth, seniors, families and economic vitality.

With community engagement, “learning is not a one-way street,” said Yifei Zheng ’21, who worked with a staffer in the Community Learning and Service Partnership program. “I helped the staff member with computer skills, and she shared her life experiences with me,” Zheng said. The experience convinced Zheng that digital education is her passion.

Meera Kattapuram’s ’18 work with a university and hospitals in Ecuador reinforced her career goals in clinical research. To counter dengue fever, she worked with data from 230 patients to further explore how basic low-cost prevention measures, such as good nutrition, can limit the impact and burden of the disease.

Janaki Narayanan ’18 and Nelly Guerra ’18 travelled to India to participate in a rural development project, meeting women entrepreneurs. By generating their own income, the Indian women said they have more say in household decisions. “When you hear them speak, and see where they live, you understand in a way that you cannot grasp just by reading something about them,” Narayanan said.

More than 100 attended the presentation and award celebration at the Community Engagement Showcase.

Laurence Minter ’21 and 10 other students visited a community center in Santiago, Cuba, where they were exposed to various foods and a culture different from their own, while they also shared American culture with Cubans.

Projects highlighted through presentations included teaching local youth self-expression through poetry and writing; an internship with Kenya Connect, which supports rural education; documenting and preserving the formerly nomadic culture of the Penan people in Long Lamai, Borneo; and working in Honduras on the AguaClara project to sustainably treat water.

The Community Engagement Showcase is sponsored by Community Learning and Service Partnership, the education minor, the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, the Office of Engagement Initiatives and the Public Service Center.

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub