Ten teams of students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will complete public service projects in partnership with public agencies, community initiatives, academic ventures, and nonprofit organizations across Arkansas during the 2018-19 academic year.
As part of the school’s Master of Public Service degree program, the students will earn academic credit for their work on the projects that include researching the rebirth of the Argenta Farmer’s Market, assisting Ronald McDonald House with work on a potential capital campaign, creating community-based partnerships in the Little Rock School District, and strengthening community-school partnerships in Tuckerman, Ark.
“What makes the Clinton School unique from other more traditional graduate programs is the field service work,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. “In collaboration with community organizations, our students will help meet some important needs in Arkansas.”
The projects are part of the Clinton School’s Practicum program, the first of three public service projects completed during the two-year master’s degree program.
Forty-one Clinton School students will participate in the projects while also completing in-class coursework on topics such as program planning and development, field research, and communication.
Argenta Downtown Council
Team: Shelby Morrow (Dallas, Texas), Reiko Muranaka (Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa, Japan), Eric Osei (Nkawkaw, Ghana), Sean Street (Hot Springs, Ark.)
The team of Clinton School students will conduct research leading to recommendations to help inform the rebirth of the Argenta Farmer’s Market in downtown North Little Rock.
Students will conduct best practices research on successful farmer’s markets serving food insecure areas, as well as conduct primary research to determine need and fit for the Argenta community.
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
Team: Caleb Denton (Bentonville, Ark.), Molly Emerson (Astoria, N.Y.), Christopher Ogom (Marsabit, Kenya), Damien Powell (Sparta, Mich.), Samantha Sheffield (Austin, Texas)
The Clinton School team will assist the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in exploring opportunities to repurpose two large mobile trailers previously used in energy-efficiency education. Students will help identify uses for these trailers, as well as help to identify communities that may be served by these trailers by conducting a needs assessment of ADEQ and potential communities.
To repurpose these resources, students will work closely with an ADEQ supervisor with an extensive background in environmental outreach and programming. They will be supported by a committee with one representative from each office in ADEQ: Air, Water, Land, Energy, and Operations.
Arkansas Faith-Academic Initiatives for Transforming Health (FAITH) Network
Team: Denisse Alanis (Little Rock, Ark.), Katie Clark (Flint, Mich.), Richmond Osei-Danquah (Nkawkaw, Ghana), Adam Kleinerman (Buffalo Grove, Ill.)
The team will develop a database of evidence-based health promotion and health education currently available in faith-based organizations within the state.
One of the goals of the FAITH Network is to partner with organizations to deliver evidence-based health education programs to communities of faith in Arkansas, and to serve as a hub of educational resources for any faith community interested in improving the health of their congregation and community.
Team: Shandrea Murphy (Little Rock, Ark.), Alexis Pinkston (North Little Rock, Ark.), Cody Styers (North Little Rock, Ark.), Rachel Villafane (St. Louis, Mo.)
Students will conduct interviews with local businesses, industry leaders, community colleges, employment agencies, employment training programs, and universities to identify labor market trends as well as hard and soft skills that employers are looking for in future employees.
Through interviewing key members of the community, the students will provide key information to influence future Children International programs related to employment training and employment opportunities for young adults.
Every Child is Ours
Team: Maggie Benton (Jonesboro, Ark.), Christian Canizales (Jonesboro, Ark.), Lara Farrar (Hot Springs, Ark.), Brady Ruffin (Clinton, Miss.)
The team will conduct an analysis of the community-school partnership between Every Child is Ours and the Tuckerman School District.
Students will collect primary data on student, teacher, and administrator experiences with Every Child is Ours to explore stakeholders’ perceptions of the relationship between the activities of the nonprofit and student performance. Students will also collect test scores from the district to investigate a possible correlation between changes in those scores and the work of Every Child Is Ours.
Team: Andrew Counce (Memphis, Tenn.), Johnisha Graham (Lake Village, Ark.), Jordan Sanders (Little Rock, Ark.), Megan Wallace (Malvern, Ark.)
ForwARd Arkansas plans to build on the work completed by the 2017-18 Clinton School Practicum team that resulted in an implementation toolkit to assist Little Rock School District middle schools in creating community-based partnerships and increase student and teacher engagement.
This year, in collaboration with LRSD, the team of Clinton School students will focus on two middle schools alongside project coordinators identified by respective middle school principals. Students will help determine, with the schools, the best way forward to implement the recommendations in the toolkit.
Literacy Action of Central Arkansas
Team: Bailey Fohr (Nashville, Tenn.), Nathan Keltch (Little Rock, Ark.), Justin Murdock (Conway, Ark.), Jerome Wilson, Jr. (Portsmouth, Va.)
Clinton School students will conduct a needs assessment in the Little Rock community for a family literacy program in central Arkansas. Students will design and conduct surveys and interviews of community stakeholders, conduct best practice research for a family literacy program, identify challenges, and recommend solutions to problems as they arise.
Literacy Action recognizes that there is a collaborative effort throughout Arkansas to get more students reading on level by third grade. It believes there is an essential need for parents to become equipped with reading and English language skills that will allow them to help their child in school.
Team: Megan Grubb (Indianola, Iowa), Logan Hunt (Newport, Ark.), Ben Washington (Jacksonville, Ark.), Andrea Zekis (Little Rock, Ark.)
The Restore Hope Reentry Coordination Office has worked to assist incarcerated individuals become better prepared to reenter the community through individualized case-management services, and is now looking to scale this activity through technology. Clinton School students will play a vital role in the development of this process with the goal of remotely reaching each incarcerated individual across the state of Arkansas.
The team will work closely with the Restore Hope staff and build capacity through research and evaluation, specifically evaluating the current project model, developing readiness assessments for clients, determining how interns could act as remote caseworkers, and assisting in the implementation of this model within Arkansas prisons.
Ronald McDonald House
Team: Christian Scott (Mountain View, Ark.), Corinne Kwapis (Fairview Heights, Ill.), Alex Tingquist (Little Rock, Ark.), Zach Baumgarten (Monticello, Ark.)
Clinton School students will interview current and past donors – including corporations, foundations, and individuals – to learn why they are motivated to donate to Ronald McDonald House.
This information will provide information about perceptions of RMHC among donors as well as help inform the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ future capital campaign, as recommended by the Clinton School’s 2017-18 Practicum team.
Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County
Team: Allison Gent (Orange, Va.), Savanna George (Searcy, Ark.), Robert Morris (Jacksonville, Ark.), Maya Tims (Little Rock, Ark.
The team of Clinton School students will help the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County develop media pieces that tell the story of the organization being “more than a scholarship.”
Students will interview and document personal experiences from SPSF current scholars, alumni, children of recipients, and community partners. This project in an effort to demonstrate the impact the program makes for single-parent families and the community workforce. The project will result in a range of media pieces that can be used in recruitment, networking, and resource-building opportunities for the organization.