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Fernando Cutz (‘12) – Cutz serves as a member of the National Security Staff in the White House. As special assistant to the deputy national security advisor, he provides research and advice regarding a wide range of issues and has been tapped for a lead role in an upcoming Brazilian state visit to the White House.
During his final year at the Clinton School, Cutz was selected from a large pool of applicants for a Presidential Management Fellowship, a program in the U.S Office of Personnel Management that helps develop future government leaders. He spent a year with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Office of the Executive Secretariat. He says his Clinton School experience has been key to his success since graduating.
“As a Clinton School student, I was exposed to some of the brightest minds and greatest leaders in the world today through the speaker’s series. Through my field projects, I learned the on-the-ground importance of the policy work that I would go on to do. The academics pragmatically challenged me to excel in the field of public service. All-in-all, the uniqueness and totality of the Clinton School experience prepared and propelled me to follow my dreams into where I am today,” Cutz says.
Clinton School student Veena Rangaswami (’13) partnered with a nonprofit that provides educational opportunities to underprivileged children in Mumbai, India, to build a database of students enrolled in its programs and provide feedback on evaluation and testing processes.
Rangaswami worked closely with staff at Sujaya Foundation to supervise the testing process and to create a central database in which students’ results from across years can be stored.
“Veena did a thorough job after taking inputs from all the relevant people and helped create a testing grid and curriculum, and she also helped supervise the testing,” said Huzan Mistry, administrative trustee for Sujaya. “She subsequently did an excellent job of collating all the data generated and built spreadsheets that the follow up team can use to continue the good work she started.”
The database will allow Sujaya staff, trustees and donors to view a student’s progress during their time enrolled in Sujaya’s programs. Sujaya plans to use this database to create a map to visually demonstrate the student progress.
The feedback provided by Rangaswami will inform Sujaya’s creation of future evaluation tests. Additionally, she created an instruction manual detailing the step-by-step process of creating and administering the evaluation test as well as how to analyze the results and include them in the database.
Rangaswami also worked closely with Sujaya’s teachers to identify the areas in which their students were excelling and which areas needed more attention. This will allow teachers to focus their efforts in specific areas to further help their students advance. (more…)
This map shows all of the international projects done by Clinton School students since 2005. View UACS International Service Locations in a larger map
Forty students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service are traveling to 21 countries on six continents this summer to complete international public service projects.
As part of the curriculum in the Master of Public Service degree program, the students will complete projects related to international development, environmental protection, economic development, health improvement, education and social justice.
Each student is partnering with a government or non-government agency to complete their projects. This year’s partner organizations include CARE International, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, Hope North, Natural Doctors International, the ONE Campaign and Peacework, among others.
Each summer, Clinton School students receive a stipend to utilize in completing their international projects, which fulfill a requirement in the MPS degree. The international project exposes the students to unique challenges across the globe and provide immediate and long-term impact for the students’ organizational partners. Since the Clinton School opened in 2005, students have visited 69 countries to complete more than 200 projects.
“The international project is a major component of the Clinton School experience,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the school. “The students learn so much through preparation, execution and reflection on their international experiences, allowing them to become better trained and more knowledgeable public servants. We are excited about this year’s projects and the positive impact our students will have across the world.”
The international project is one of three public service projects that make up 30 percent of the MPS degree program. They also perform group (Practicum) projects in Arkansas communities and final (Capstone) projects that culminate their Clinton School degree.
The students have worked this spring with faculty members to identify, plan and implement their projects. They are expected to engage in a project that builds on the knowledge and skills gained in the first two semesters of classroom work at the school.
Project locations and host organizations are vetted and approved by Clinton School faculty. Students and faculty will remain in constant contact throughout the summer. (more…)
The United States is projected to become a majority-minority nation for the first time in 2043, a pattern already evident in communities throughout the nation. Whites are expected to remain the largest single group; however, no group will comprise a majority.
This demographic shift will have significant impact on electoral outcomes, according to results from a nationwide academic poll.
Pearl K. Dowe, assistant professor of political science and African American studies at the University of Arkansas, addresses African American public opinion in the latest analysis of results from the Blair Center-Clinton School Poll. The full report was released Wednesday, June 12, and may be found at the poll’s website.
According to poll results, African Americans have a greater sense of political commonality with Latinos than with whites when it comes to issues like political power and representation. African Americans also report a greater sense of overall competition with whites than with Latinos.
“Although African Americans were a significant voting block in 2012, their marginalized existence weakens their political strength thus increasing the need for political coalitions,” said Dowe. “How African Americans view Latinos and whites will be critical to their ability to advance their economic and political agenda.”
When asked about political power and representation, 36 percent of African Americans reported having something in common with whites while 48 percent stated the same in reference to Latinos. Similarly, 44 percent of African American respondents reported little to nothing in common with whites while only 29 percent stating they had little to nothing in common with Latinos.
In responding to questions about a sense of competition with other groups, 71 percent of African Americans reported having some to a lot of competition with whites and 64 percent reported the same sense with Latinos.
To gauge the American political landscape in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election, the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, conducted a comprehensive national poll of political preferences and behaviors among 3,600 respondents. The 2012 Blair Center-Clinton School Poll, with an oversample of African Americans, addresses the serious dearth of data available to politicians and researchers striving to understand this dynamic segment of the American populace.
“African Americans have consistently increased their level of political engagement at the national level when mobilized to do so,” said Dowe. “If the model of mobilization that occurred in 2008 and 2012 continues and expands to local, state and midterm elections there could possibly be a shift in political power within the South and in other areas where there are large concentrations of African Americans.” (more…)
Today, we begin our annual summer series highlighting the great work of Clinton School graduates across Arkansas, the country and the world. We begin with 2011 graduate Anna Strong:
After completing her final Clinton School project with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a nonprofit advocacy organization that aims to give children a voice in the public policy process, Strong was named health care policy director for the organization.
She works to increase access to health care for Arkansas children through strengthening the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health care coverage to low- and middle-income families. She’s also been heavily involved in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Arkansas, working to ensure that children and families have a voice in the process. Strong says she’s proud to have been involved in the state’s decision to expand its Medicaid program during the 2013 legislative session.
“It was wonderful to be able to build relationships and complete meaningful fieldwork during my time at the Clinton School that led to me fulfilling a career dream,” Strong says of her Clinton School experience. “It has also been wonderful to work with my UACS classmates as colleagues here in Arkansas. Our collective efforts are making a difference as we all help each other build bridges that make this world a better place.”
Clinton School student Leslie Harris (’13) partnered with the University of Arkansas Center for Community Engagement to assess the status of service learning at benchmark universities and develop a plan for campus-wide service learning.
Harris found that most benchmark universities have already developed campus-wide service learning efforts, while only a handful of service learning courses are currently available at the University of Arkansas. She also conducted in-depth secondary research about the effectiveness of service learning and successful service learning models.
Service learning is a teaching method that combines classroom learning with purposeful community service and student reflection. Service learning allows students to apply what they are learning by partnering with organizations to meet community needs.
“The university has shown a strong commitment to community service, and we hope to see that commitment expanded into students’ academic work, as well,” said Angela Oxford, director of the Center for Community Engagement. “The university has expressed interest in growing service learning at our campus, and Harris’ research and recommendations can serve as a tremendous resource as the administration makes plans to develop an institutionally supported service learning program at the University of Arkansas.”
Research has shown that students engaged in service learning experience an increase in academic learning, a stronger sense of social responsibility and citizenship, a greater cultural understanding, improved career development and increased community involvement after graduation.
Harris’ report will be used as a springboard for the university’s effort to establish service learning across campus. If adopted, her recommendations will lead to opportunities such as a Service Learning Scholars program for faculty and a Service Learning Certificate program for students. (more…)
Two Clinton School students have earned 2013 Boren Fellowships, which provide stipends to U.S. graduate students to add international and language components to their graduate education.
John Delurey of Winchester, Mass., will study KiSwahili in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Sean O’Keefe of Seattle, Wash., will study Arabic in Tunisia as 2013 Boren Fellows. Both students will complete their final Clinton School Capstone projects as part of their fellowships. They are among 108 Boren Fellows this year.
Delurey will receive $13,600 to develop fluency in KiSwahili while partnering with Barefoot Challenge and the Zanzibar Women’s Empowerment Project to measure the impact of solar energy electrification on women’s empowerment in Zanzibar.
O’Keefe will receive $17,800 to study Arabic and complete a project to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of internationally funded programs for political engagement, youth empowerment and women’s rights in Tunisia.
Boren Fellowships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages and field study important to U.S. national security. The fellowship supports study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.
“We are extremely proud of both John and Sean for their accomplishments, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of their work over the next year,” said Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford. “International exposure and education are key components of the Clinton School program and the Boren Fellowship will dramatically increase the knowledge and impact of both of these students for years to come.” (more…)
Clinton School student Mara D’Amico travels to Washington D.C., this week for the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).
D’Amico, who is president of the Student Government Association at the Clinton School, earned a full scholarship to attend the conference through the organization’s scholarship fund. Below is a press release from NCCWSL and the American Association for University Women, announcing D’Amico’s scholarship:
Mara D’Amico will attend the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) May 30–June 1, 2013, at the University of Maryland, College Park. Hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, NCCWSL is the only national conference that brings together college women to address important and contemporary leadership issues. The conference provides a transformative experience for attendees, preparing students to return home ready to improve their campuses and their communities. In two and a half fast-paced days, women students learn real-world lessons focused on enhancing student leadership.
D’Amico received a full scholarship to attend the conference from the national office of the AAUW through their NCCWSL Scholarship Fund, and is also receiving full support for travel expenses from the Little Rock Chapter of the AAUW.
Since 1985, NCCWSL has provided a platform to help thousands of college and university women develop leadership skills, network with other student leaders, and interact with women who hold leadership positions. The 2013 conference will feature nationally known keynote speakers, the star-studded Women of Distinction Awards ceremony and reception, and more than 50 dynamic workshops. Now in its 28th year, the conference is expected to draw more than 700 campus leaders to the University of Maryland, College Park. (more…)
A large crowd of children and families attended “Home Grown: A Hands On Crafts and Food Fair for Kids,” which was organized by two Clinton School students at the CALS Children Library & Learning Center on Saturday.
The free event was planned by 2013 Clinton School graduates Britney Sink and Dylan Perry for their CGI-U commitment. Children learned about growing vegetables, cookies, canning, making ice cream and other home crafts.
Sink and Perry were assisted by Clinton School alumni including Ashley Bachelder, Greg Cooper, Laura Crosby and Judy Watts along with members from various community organizations.
Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford was among those who attended and adjunct professor Don Ernst is director of the Children’s Library. Clinton School alum Emily Fischer, who is now with the State Department in Washington D.C., helped plan this new children’s library as her Capstone project.