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Twelve 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 2014-2015 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, which include efforts to end childhood hunger in Arkansas, enhance health services, eliminate substandard housing, improve education access, and increase Internet bandwidth access for Arkansans, among others.
Organizations partnering with the Clinton School on the projects are located throughout Arkansas including Garland County, Newport, and Pine Bluff. Several of the projects are statewide initiatives, as well.
“Our program is unique because we put our students into the field right away so they can not only make a positive impact, but also learn how to be better public servants,” said Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford. “We are grateful to all of our partner organizations and look forward to seeing the positive results of each project.”
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-six Clinton School students will participate in the projects during their first year while also completing in-class coursework on topics such as program planning and development, field research, and communication.
The 2014-15 Clinton School Practicum Projects include:
Identifying Behavioral Health Services Provided in Arkansas
Partner Organization: Arkansas Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council (http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/dbhs/Pages/abhpac.aspx)
Team: Amanda Cullen (Panama City, Fla.), Henry Karlin (Brooklyn, NY), Ashley-Brooke Moses (Sharpsburg, Ga.), and Andrew Forsman (Mobile, Ala.)
This team will study the adequacy and availability of behavioral health services being provided in the state. The Arkansas Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council will use the information to aid in their efforts to plan and evaluate behavioral health service delivery in Arkansas.
Exploring the Feasibility of Expanding the Arkansas Commitment Program
Partner Organization: Arkansas Commitment (www.arkansascommitment.org)
Team: Dariane Mull (Little Rock, Ark.), Austin Hall (Hot Springs, Ark.), Michael Watson (Washington, DC), and Florence Mueni (Nairobi, Kenya)
This team will explore the feasibility of expanding the Arkansas Commitment program around the state and the region. Arkansas Commitment currently focuses on academically talented African American high school students in Central Arkansas and guides them in becoming leaders in their schools and communities.
Evaluating the Progress of a Statewide Campaign to End Hunger
Partner Organization: Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance (http://www.arhungeralliance.org/)
Team: Abigail Bi (Kumming, Yunnan Province, China), Joyce Ajayi (Lagos, Nigeria), Amber Jackson (Camden, Ark.), and Colin Brineman (Little Rock, Ark.)
This team will evaluate the impact of the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign as the campaign enters its fifth year. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, lead partner for the campaign in Arkansas, will use the results to determine their next steps in reducing food insecurity in the state.
Documenting Key Processes for Asset-Based Neighborhood Development
Partner Organization: City of Pine Bluff, Ark. (http://www.cityofpinebluff.com/pbar/)
Team: Katherine Brown (Canton, Mich.), Helen Grace King (Pine Bluff, Ark.), and Melvin Clayton (Pine Bluff, Ark.)
This team will support the Turtle Creek neighborhood in Pine Bluff, asset-mapping and helping to documenting asset-mapping and collaborative processes that can serve as models for other neighborhoods to identify and mobilize their resources for improvement. These objectives are part of the Pine Bluff Economic and Community Development Department’s efforts to support thriving neighborhoods.
Creating a Healthy Homes Health Impact Assessment
Partner Organization: Clinton Climate Initiative – Home Energy Affordability Loan (HEAL) (http://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-presidential-center/about/heal)
Team: Georgia Genoway (Maryland County, Liberia), Maddy Salzman (Wellesley, Mass.), Austin Harrison (Louisville, Miss.), and Coby MacMaster (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
This team will develop a Health Impact Assessment centered on the creation of a statewide Healthy Homes initiative, examining housing and health data as well as policies on energy efficiency. The results will support HEAL’s efforts to improve the quality of life for Arkansas citizens through healthy, energy-efficient homes.
Supporting the Expansion of Local Food Program
Partner Organization: Farm and Food Innovation Center (http://www.stjosephfarm.com/)
Team: Kerry Furr (Lonsdale, Ark.), Berkeley Schleicher Anderson (Waco, Texas), Brandon Wayerski (Menomonie, Wisc.), and Akaylah Jones (Little Rock, Ark.)
This team will help develop a plan for the Farm and Food Innovation Center to monitor its activities and map its local assets. The results of this project will benefit the center’s mission to increase sustainable agricultural production techniques, provide training and outreach to local communities, and connect local farmers’ products to differentiated markets in service of creating a local food hub.
Exploring Feasibility of Neighborhood Revitalization Program
Partner Organization: Garland County Habitat for Humanity (http://www.garlandcountyhabitat.com/)
Team: Emma McAuley (Glenview, Ill.), Jordan Butler (Jackson, Miss.), Anne Haley (Little Rock, Ark.), and Victoria Vander Schilden (Little Rock, Ark.)
This team will explore the inclusion of the Neighborhood Revitalization Project, focusing on rehabilitation of older homes, in the Park Avenue and Gateway communities near downtown Hot Springs. This project is part of Garland County Habitat for Humanity’s goal to eliminate substandard housing locally and to empower residents to revive their neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life.
Developing English as a Second Language Plan
Partner Organization: Literacy Action of Central Arkansas (http://www.literacylittlerock.org/)
Team: Michelle Perez (Maracaibo, Venezuela), Jennifer Guzman (Hialeah, Fla.), Nicholas Williams (Judsonia, Ark.), and Amanda Mathies (Newport Beach, Calif.)
- This team will create a comprehensive action plan for English as a Second Language programming for Literacy Action of Central Arkansas. This plan will serve as a guideline to assist the organization in creating curriculum to teach the critical English speaking and writing skills that are needed to gain and maintain employment, access healthcare information and services, and to engage in family English literacy activities to the immigrant population of the Central Arkansas region.
Developing Alumni Awareness and Recruitment Strategy
Partner Organization: Newport Economic Development Commission (http://newportarcity.org/economic-development/)
Team: Shanell Ransom (Columbia, SC), Joyce Akidi (Pader, Uganda), and Alex Lanis (Ada, Okla.)
This team will develop an engagement and outreach tool to provide information and resources to citizens and former citizens of Newport. The Newport Economic Development Commission will use this tool to continue to enhance, promote, and create increased innovative opportunities for economic well-being by developing and implementing strategies that will improve quality of life and encourage new investment in Newport and Jackson County.
Researching Best Practices in the Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention of Underrepresented and Disadvantaged Students to Increase the Diversity and Academic Preparedness of Arkansas’s Future Healthcare Workforce Pipeline
Partner Organization: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Center for Diversity Affairs (http://cda.uams.edu/) and Regional Programs (http://ruralhealth.uams.edu/regionalprograms)
Team: Shadeed Dawkins (Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica), Kathryn Baxter (Glenside, Penn.), Eddie Savala (Nairobi, Kenya), and Becky Twamley (Brainerd, Minn.)
This team will research best practices to recruit, enroll, and retain underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students in Arkansas into health professions educational programs. This project will inform UAMS policies to enhance the effectiveness of institutional recruitment efforts, enrichment programs, and related partnerships resulting in a health professions pipeline for Arkansas that is more ethnically and geographically diverse and better prepared to meet the healthcare needs of Arkansans.
Creating a Statewide Asset Map of Services Provided by UAMS
Partner Organization: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (http://www.uams.edu/)
Team: Molly Miller (Sand Springs, Okla.), Sarah Fuchs (Hayward, Calif.), Dustin Smith (Jonesboro, Ark.), and Amy Crain (Hot Springs, Ark.)
This team will identify existing UAMS services and relationships around the state, including direct clinical services, educational programs, research partnerships, and community outreach. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will use this report to continue its strategic work in improving the health, healthcare, and well-being of all Arkansans.
Identifying Barriers to Bandwidth Access
Partner Organization: University of Arkansas System eVersity (http://www.uasys.edu/)
Team: Nathan Watson (Fayetteville, Ark.), Nouroudine Alassane (Bassila, Benin), Kat Short (Hot Springs, Ark.), and Jessica DeLoach Sabin (Little Rock, Ark.)
This team will study barriers to Internet bandwidth access in the state and develop strategies for providing increased access to Arkansans. The results will benefit the University of Arkansas System’s new initiative, eVersity, which will provide high-quality, accessible, affordable, online education relevant to the modern workplace.
*Reserve your seats by emailing email@example.com or calling (501) 683-5239.
“Memphis: The Musical,” a panel discussion
Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre
- Set in the musically-rich Tennessee city, “Memphis” tells the story of a local DJ with a passion for R&B music and an up-and-coming singer that he meets one fateful night on Beale Street. As their careers rise, their relationship is challenged by personal ambition and the pressures and prejudices of the outside world. “Memphis” has received eight Tony Award nominations and won four Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Orchestrations and Best Musical. Panelists will include members of The Rep’s creative team in a conversation about what it’s like to bring this exciting production to life.
“How Do We Keep the Best Teachers in The Delta? Coach ‘em up”
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Jeremy Rogoff is a social entrepreneur and educator. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Rogoff joined Teach for America as a high school teacher and athletic coach. After teaching algebra and Spanish in Clarendon, Arkansas, Rogoff moved to Washington D.C. to join the teaching staff at KIPP DC: College Preparatory, the highest performing open-enrollment school in the district. Rogoff recently took a break from the classroom to explore new approaches to supporting teachers in rural areas through targeted and engaging digital learning communities. At the Clinton School, he will release the findings of a summer pilot program that matched new teachers with remote instructional coaches.
“The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election,” professors John Sides and Lynn Vavreck
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
- In “The Gamble,” professors John Sides and Lynn Vavreck take a look at the 2012 presidential election in the United States. However, they look beyond anecdotes and instead draw on extensive quantitative data about the economy, public opinion, news coverage, and political advertising to separate what was important and what was irrelevant. “The Gamble” looks at the interplay between the candidates’ strategic choices – the ads, speeches, rallies, and debates – and the chance circumstances of the election to provide the most data-driven account of the election possible.
“The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” author Al From
Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow *In partnership with the Clinton Foundation
- In 1984, Al From organized the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Its mission: to rescue the party from the political wilderness, redefine its message, and, most importantly, win presidential elections. Founded after a series of defeats to the Democratic Party, the DLC provided both the action agenda and the ideas for New Democrats to redefine the center of the Democratic Party. From played a prominent role in the 1992 election of President Bill Clinton and served as Domestic Policy Advisor to the Clinton transition. In “The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” From explores the founding philosophy of the New Democrats and outlines the principles at the heart of the movement, including economic centrism, national security, and entitlement reform.
“Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences,” professor John Hibbing
Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- John Hibbing is a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the co-author of “Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences.” Hibbing claims our biological predispositions are responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that we witness every day. In “Predisposed,” Hibbing presents evidence that people differ politically, not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information, but because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. Hibbing will discuss how these biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics.
“What’s Going On In the Middle East,” professor Dr. Gokhan Bacik
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Gokhan Bacik is a professor of international relations at Ipek University in Ankara, Turkey and the dean of Ipek University School of Government. Dr. Bacik is the author of many books and articles on world politics, international relations and Middle Eastern studies. He is an associate member of Turkish Academy of Sciences and is a contributor to the US German Marshall Fund Turkey’s Series. Dr. Bacik will discuss the current conflicts in the Middle East and possible outcomes.
“Besa: The Promise,” part of The Reel Civil Rights Film Festival
Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Riverdale Theater) *In partnership with the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
- The film “BESA: The Promise” weaves Albania’s heroism in WWII through the journeys of two men. One is Norman Gershman, a renowned Jewish-American photographer determined to document first-person accounts of the Albanian Muslims who rescued Jews during the Holocaust and the other is Rexhep Hoxha, a Muslim-Albanian. With Gershman’s help, Hoxha travels to Bulgaria and Israel to fulfill the promise made to a Jewish family his father rescued during the Holocaust and returns to them a set of Hebrew books they left behind. More than seven years in the making, “Besa: The Promise” a story that that bridges generations and religions, uniting fathers and sons, Muslims and Jews.
Bill Basl, director of AmeriCorps at the Corporation for National Service
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Bill Basl is the director of AmeriCorps, which engages more than 75,000 men and women in intensive service each year at more than 15,000 locations including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. In the 20 years since President Clinton signed the bill into law, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members, including 51 Clinton School students and alumni, have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.
“Cultivating a Better Food System,” Dani Nierenberg, president and founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Danielle Nierenberg is the president of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank and an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. She has written extensively on the spread of factory farming in the developing world, food systems and infrastructure, corporate responsibility, and innovations in sustainable agriculture. Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank in 2013 as an organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, and nourished eaters. Nierenberg will discuss her work at Food Tank as it spotlights environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty, while creating networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.
“One Nation Under Taught: Solving America’s STEM Crisis,” Vince Bertram, president and CEO of Project Lead the Way
Monday, September 29, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- America and its students are facing a crisis of STEM education. By 2018, jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math will grow by 18 percent, nearly double the rate of other occupations. Currently, there simply aren’t enough students in the current pipelines to learn the skills and gain the interest needed to meet America’s economic needs for the future. Vince Bertram of Indiana is the president and CEO of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), which is the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs. PLTW features a world-class curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model that helps students develop the skills necessary to succeed in our global economy. Dr. Bertram will address the educational and economic crisis in STEM education and will discuss ways in which businesses, educators, and communities can work together to ensure a brighter future for local communities, the state of Arkansas, and our country.
“Solving the Dancing Bear Problem”
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with the Little Rock Zoo
- Known in India as the “Bear Man,” Kartick Satyanaran is the co-founder of Wildlife SOS – a non-profit wildlife conservation organization famous for its campaign to rescue the “dancing bear” in India. “Dancing bears” were sloth bears that were used for human exploitation for the past 400 years. Today the organization has evolved to actively work towards protecting the Indian wildlife, conserving habitats, studying biodiversity, conducting research, and creating alternative and sustainable livelihoods for poacher communities. He began the organization with his aunt and fellow animal rights champion Geeta Seshamani in 1995, and since then, they have rescued over 550 bears. The foundation has since expanded to preserve other wildlife such as elephants, reptiles, and leopards.
This article was originally published by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
The ultimate American Dream: The son of a single mother from a rural town in a small, Southern state becomes president of the United States and brings the nation’s only advanced degree in public service to his home state. A place called Hope, indeed, and now that hope is in action. The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is the nation’s first higher education institution to offer a Master of Public Service degree. It’s also the embodiment of President William J. Clinton’s approach to bettering the world: Building our own future by helping others to build theirs.
“I came to the Clinton School with a nonprofit background, but my experiences there made me a stronger and wiser professional, advocate and citizen,” said Kelly Ford, director of development for the Arkansas Arts Center. “The curriculum uses both a global and local lens that provides a real opportunity to explore possibilities for positive change wherever you find yourself.”
The Clinton School’s mission is to educate and prepare professionals in public service who understand, engage and transform complex social, cultural, economic and political systems to ensure equity, challenge oppression and effect positive social change. According to Skip Rutherford, dean of the school, the program gives students the knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer or private sector service.
“It’s a two-year graduate program with a real-world curriculum,” Rutherford said. “It’s different than any other master’s program because a significant portion of instruction is direct field service work. Essentially, the state of Arkansas is our laboratory.”
The Clinton School, which is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, was born from a collaborative decision between President Clinton and Alan Sugg, former president of the University of Arkansas System. While it could have been located anywhere, according to Rutherford, the Clinton School was set at the presidential center and park so students could connect personally and professionally with major worldwide issues and developments. The first year’s enrollment in 2006 totaled 16 students; eight years later, just over 100 students from all over the world are in attendance.
The vision of the Clinton School is its belief in the right of all individuals, without exclusion, to participate fully and democratically in the social, cultural, economic and political systems that affect their lives. Professional public servants must understand, engage and transform these complex systems to ensure equity, eliminate injustice and effect positive social change.
“We believe in the right of all individuals to reach their full potential and to embody the spirit of democracy,” Rutherford said. “These students must join with people who are marginalized so they are advocates for bettering their lives and developing their own communities. We also believe in moral leadership that includes integrity, compassion and a commitment to social justice, and that means the students who graduate from this program and go on to pursue their careers in public service must listen to and learn from diverse groups, compromise and build alliances and take strategic and decisive action to advance the common good. They can learn to do all of this and put it into practice right here in Arkansas.”
Field service promotes the Clinton School vision by emphasizing the “practice” of public service by placing students in challenging environments, ones where they work with community leaders to help build healthy, engaged and vibrant communities, both in Arkansas and around the world.
“There are some distinct advantages to nonprofits located in Arkansas,” Rutherford said. “There is a nucleus of national and international organizations here that already put into practice what public service seeks to accomplish, including Heifer International and Winrock International. We also have nonprofit professionals who already live here and want to stay to build their careers. That’s probably the single largest benefit we boast in the state — a qualified and compassionate labor force.”
The Clinton School builds leadership in civic engagement by enhancing its students’ capacity to work across disciplinary, racial, ethnic and geographical boundaries. Arkansas is unique in that it can offer all of this experience within its borders, and that work ranges from local work in Arkansas communities to international projects on all of the world’s six inhabited continents.
Students are required to complete three courses where they engage in field projects: The practicum, which takes student teams into Arkansas communities, including the Delta, to foster community development and social change in areas such as economic development, environmental awareness, public education, youth leadership development and health improvement; the international public service project, which places students with organizations all over the world that are combating global hunger, fostering educational opportunities for children, promoting corporate responsibility and expanding health care in the third world; and, the final Capstone project, which challenges students to put their skills into action and complete an in-depth public service project to benefit a government or nonprofit agency and, ultimately, lead the student into a career upon graduation.
“The state is small enough that you aren’t just a number,” Rutherford said. “We’re a state where people know each other personally, and hospitality is an art form in Arkansas. The fact we are small does not impact the quality of the work we can do to make a global impact through training the next generation of public servants.”
While the Clinton School’s students come from all backgrounds and experience levels, such as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America and military veterans to medical, business and nonprofit professionals, it will take the right opportunity to keep them here.
“All of these entities recruit our students,” Rutherford said. “But there is a net ‘in-migration’ of students who move here for the program and want to stay here after graduation. In fact, as more people in Arkansas connect with our students, they want to hire them and keep them here. What we need is more opportunity for these leaders to pursue professional and private lives that are fulfilling. If they can find those positions in our state, we can keep them here and benefit from it.”
Marie Lindquist Traded Snow Plows for Public Service
Marie Lindquist moved to Little Rock from Memphis by way of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. As the director of field services for the Clinton School of Public Service, Lindquist is familiar with and skilled at navigating radically different cultures, landscapes and temperatures.
“I worked for nine years at Rhodes College in Memphis, and when the opportunity to work at the Clinton School of Public Service came up, I couldn’t turn it down,” Lindquist said. “I hadn’t been to Arkansas except just over the border in Helena-West Helena so I really didn’t have a concept of what was good or bad about it. I don’t make assumptions about places because, in general, they just aren’t true.
“When I moved here, I was so glad to have the opportunity to move somewhere with such natural beauty. Being from Minnesota, I really missed that. Memphis has a lot of cultural and what might be considered a ‘big city’ vibe, but there really isn’t anywhere to walk or ride or sit amongst nature. Certainly nothing like what is available here.
“Little Rock is such an easy city to live in. It’s easy to get around, and the people are so friendly. In fact, that is one of this city’s best points: The citizens in Arkansas are so accepting and accessible. You can knock on the door of the mayor or any local leader, and they will talk to you. It’s certainly not like that in other cities, and I think it’s a major reason why things get accomplished in the nonprofit industry here.
“Part of what I love about Arkansas is the students at the Clinton School want to come here, and when they get here, they stay. The stereotypes about Arkansas do not hold up once you get here. It’s not what people outside its borders think it is. It’s not pretentious in any way, and what I find particularly refreshing is Arkansas is a place that is always working to improve, to get better and be better for its citizens and visitors.”
Dear Clinton is a collection of photographs and letters explaining what public service bridge our students are building. This special collection was produced in partnership with Dear World, an innovative photography venture for social good.
Dear President Clinton,
I envision a world where every woman is safe. This goal is of the utmost importance to global and local development and prosperity, and while its scope is huge and daunting, I also feel that it is feasible.
The word “safe” tends to make us think in terms of physical security. To most people, being safe means being free from physical abuse or injury. Discussions about the safety of women center around little girls being safe to attend school without the fear of being shot or women evacuating countries rife with political instability to start successful businesses.
However, physical safety from violence, while vital, is not the only form of security that women must be given. I dream of a day when women are safe from the persecution, ignorance, discrimination, disdain, scorn, disapproval, and mocking that so often comes along with simply being female.
I want all women to feel safe in every way.
Safe to speak up about injustices or seek aid openly. Safe to refuse participation in practices like female circumcision. Safe to challenge outdated and harmful norms to make autonomous decisions. Safe from being coerced or forced into prostitution. Safe to participate and make meaningful, recognized contributions to their communities. Safe from rape or sexual assault, no matter what they wear, where they walk, or what they drink. Safe to seek medical care when necessary, or to demand access to healthcare when it’s considered secondary for a woman to receive treatment. Safe to seek an education. Safe to have a career. Safe to express opinions that aren’t written off as weak or overly emotional. Safe to love and marry whomever they wish. Safe from the horrors of war and the fear of displacement. Safe to call people out for their problematic ideas of what a woman “should” be.
I want all women to feel safe being strong, resilient, independent, talented, beautiful, capable, world-changing women.
Dear Clinton is a collection of photographs and letters explaining what public service bridge our students are building. This special collection was produced in partnership with Dear World, an innovative photography venture for social good.
Dear President Clinton,
“Closing the achievement gap” is a phrase that has become identified with a particular style of education reform, which defines achievement mostly in terms of test scores. While I support goals related to accountability, there are other methods of measuring achievement and other challenges that deserve attention. These challenges create stratified levels of opportunity for youth – strata that can be delineated by social class as well as by race. Thus, I would like to rephrase my message as “closing the opportunity gap.”
Closing the opportunity gap involves not only bettering the education system; it involves addressing structural poverty, ensuring equitable access to health care, fighting injustice in the courts, developing vibrant communities, and empowering children for engaged citizenship. One of America’s greatest assets is its diversity bonded in unity. This unity remains cracked, however, by structures that protect power and privilege. Through public service, I hope to repair some of these cracks by building a bridge for youth to walk boldly across the gaps that separate them from equitable opportunity.
Dear Clinton is a collection of photographs and letters explaining what public service bridge our students are building. This special collection was produced in partnership with Dear World, an innovative photography venture for social good.
Dear President Clinton,
I want to live in a world where we enable each other, further each other and respect each other. I want a world that doesn’t treat women like second-class citizens—as hollow souls without passions and dreams. As a woman and public servant, I am advocating for change to patriarchal structures that hinder the potential of women. I’m over it. I’m over the acceptance, the perpetuation, the system of use and abuse.
More importantly, I’m here to advocate for particularly vulnerable women’s potential. They are not to be pitied and looked at as sad victims. Rather, the potential in them is what I shine a light on. I enable them to be their best selves and their own agent; able to control their circumstance and do as they would like.
I’m over the many systems that oppress, control, and reinforce vulnerability. I’m over consumer culture that exploits women, children and honest men. I’m over war that displaces 2 million people, international battle cries, rape culture, and misconceived notions of women’s rights; a woman is her best self, so long as she has decided what she is doing, wearing, saying, and acting as and I’m over everyone trying to make a decision for her.
Thank you for building a school that has enabled me to build upon my dreams and taught me how to be HER best advocate.
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will enroll 47 new students in its two year Master of Public Service (MPS) program this fall. Located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in downtown Little Rock, the Clinton School is the nation’s first to offer an MPS degree.
The new students, some of whom will be pursuing concurrent degrees in business administration, law and public health, represent the school’s tenth class. Since the enrollment of its first class in 2005, the Clinton School has grown steadily and has attracted students from 39 states, 35 countries and 205 different colleges and universities. The new class of 2016 includes students from 17 states and 8 countries.
“When it comes to academic achievements and public service commitments, we continue to attract some of the best brightest from Arkansas and bring some of the best and brightest to Arkansas,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III.
This fall, the new Clinton School students will begin group public service projects in partnership with organizations across Arkansas. Second year Clinton students will be returning from international public service projects in 20 countries.
Orientation for the new class begins August 17 and classes begin August 25.
The class of 2016 includes:
Olajumoke Joyce Ajayi (Lagos, Nigeria) – Ajayi is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and holds a Law Degree from The Nigerian Law School. She is a former practicing attorney in Nigeria and the founder of Hope & Repairs, a project that helps young women who are victims of rape and violence-related conflicts. Ajayi’s public service interests include the empowerment of young men and women, political engagement, and sustainable environmental development.
Joyce Akidi (Pader, Uganda) – Akidi is a graduate of Makerere University with a degree in Education, and holds a postgraduate degree in Human Resources Management from the Uganda Management Institute. She is a former primary school teacher in Uganda, the former treasurer of the Murchison Bay Women Development project and served as the human rights chairperson for the Murchison Bay Primary School. Akidi’s public service interests include poverty eradication in Uganda and education.
Nouroudine Alassane (Bassila, Benin) – Alassane is a graduate of Universite d’Abomey Calavi in Benin with a degree in African Studies. He has experience with Caesar Pac in Kuwait City, Kuwait and at the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas with Heifer International. Alassane’s public service interests include youth empowerment and the use of technology to enhance development of communities around the world.
Berkeley Anderson (Waco, Texas) – Anderson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with degrees in Physics and History. She is the former executive director of the McLennan County Democratic Party, senior staff writer at the Arkansas Traveler Newspaper, and has previous experience with the Texas Hunger Initiative. Anderson’s public service interests include women’s rights, international aid programs, and science-related service.
Kathryn Baxter (Glenside, Penn.) – Baxter is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in Public Communications. She is a former public policy associate with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, a policy officer with Immigration Equality, and a former White House intern. Baxter’s public service interests include LGBTQ equality and women’s rights.
Abigail Bi (Kunming, Yunnan Province, China) – Bi is a graduate of Northwest Agriculture and Forestry Technology University in China with a degree in Grass Science. She is a former program director of the Anti-domestic Violence Network and program officer of Women’s Watch-China. Bi’s public service interests include gender equality in the workplace, corporate-social responsibility, and women’s economic empowerment.
Colin Brineman (Little Rock, Ark.) – Brineman is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana with a degree in Philosophy and Economics. He is the former vice president of Centenary’s Multicultural Student Association and volunteer at Renzi Education & Art Center in Shreveport, La. Brineman’s public service interests include criminal justice reform and immigrants’ rights.
Katherine Brown (Canton, Mich.) – Brown is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Science. She is a former AmeriCorps member for Little Traverse Conservancy as a stewardship technician and has experience with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Brown’s public service interests include protecting natural resources by supportive policies, initiatives, and programs.
Jordan Butler (Jackson, Miss.) – Butler is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South with a degree in Art History and Education. She has experience with working for a public charter school in the Arkansas Delta, assisting struggling middle school students. Butler’s public service interests include education, rural economic development, and mental health care.
Melvin Clayton (Pine Bluff, Ark.) – Clayton is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a degree in English. He has experience working with U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) in their respective Washington, D.C. offices, and was an intern with the Congressional Black Caucus. Clayton’s public service interests include food security, poverty alleviation, and political engagement.
Amy Crain (Hot Springs, Ark.) – Crain is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in Communications. She was Miss Arkansas 2013, the former catering director at the University of Arkansas, and she started Arkansas Bully Awareness month. Crain’s public service interests include youth empowerment and educational development.
Amanda Cullen (Panama City, Fla.) – Cullen is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a B.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology and an M.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology. She is a former instructor of record at the University of West Florida, and has experience with Escambia County Florida Extension Services, conducting research on rural health. Cullen’s public service interests include public health and LGBTQ equality.
Shadeed Dawkins (Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica) – Dawkins is a graduate of University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) with a degree in Political Science and is currently enrolled at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law. He has experience with the African American Male Initiative at UALR and the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood. Dawkins’ public service interests include education, poverty, and political engagement.
Andrew Forsman (Mobile, Ala.) – Forsman is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Psychology. He has experience working as a mental health case manager in southern Mississippi. Forsman’s public service interests include program evaluation and macro-level solutions.
Sarah Fuchs (Hayward, Calif.) – Fuchs is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Sociology. She has experience with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Indiana Democratic Party, and is a former AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Indiana Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Fuch’s public service interests include social justice and poverty alleviation.
Kerry Furr (Lonsdale, Ark.) – Furr is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a degree in Public Relations. He is a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, has experience with the Arkansas Department of Correction, Heifer International, and Lighthouse for the Blind. Furr’s public service interests include NGO’s, governmental emergency and crisis management, and policy evaluation.
Georgia Genoway (Maryland County, Liberia) – Genoway is a graduate of African Methodist Episcopal University with a degree in Communication and English. She has experience in social work and with volunteering for the Liberian National Red Cross and Gbowee Peace Foundation working with young people on health advocacy issues. Genoway’s public service interests include peace and security for women and youth empowerment.
Jennifer Guzman (Hialeah, Fla.) – Guzman is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in French and International Studies. She is a former French and Spanish teacher at Forest Park Elementary School. Guzman’s public service interests include education, hunger relief, and international security policy.
Anne Haley (Little Rock, Ark.) – Haley is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Women’s College with a degree in Political Science and Studio Art. She is a communications specialist at the Arkansas Health Connector with the Arkansas Insurance Department, a former field organizer for the Human Rights Campaign, and former deputy finance director for U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Haley’s public service interests include empowerment of women and children through education and LGBTQ advocacy.
Austin Hall (Hot Springs, Ark.) – Hall is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Political Science. He has worked as a development coordinator at Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and project coordinator for Leadership Development at the University of Central Arkansas. Hall’s public service interests include fine arts development, LGBTQ equality, and political engagement.
Austin Harrison (Louisville, Miss.) – Harrison is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in Public Policy Leadership and is currently enrolled in the concurrent degree program with the University of Arkansas William H. Bowen School of Law, seeking a Juris Doctorate. He has experience as a legislative assistant with U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), and helped establish the first on-campus food bank at the University of Mississippi. Harrison’s public service interests include international development and environmental efficiency.
Amber Jackson (Camden, Ark.) – Jackson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Social Work. She is a former intern with the Office of the Public Guardian at the Department for Human Services and Citizens First Congress. Jackson’s public service interests include poverty alleviation, economic and social equality, and social policy development.
Akaylah Jones (Little Rock, Ark.) – Jones is a graduate of Henderson State University with a degree in Music and Sociology. She has experience in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in the southwest United States. Jones’ public service interests include education, youth development, and sustainability.
Henry Karlin (Brooklyn, NY) – Karlin is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a degree in Psychology and a D.D.S. degree from the New York University College of Dentistry. His experience includes five years of National Health Service Corps and almost 30 years of private practice dentistry in the Caribbean. Karlin’s public service interests include cultural competence and health care.
Helen Grace King (Pine Bluff, Ark.) – King is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with degrees in English and Psychology. She has experience with Heart of Arkansas United Way as an account manager and the American Heart Association as a heart walk coordinator. King’s public service interests include social justice, equality, and civil rights.
Alex Lanis (Ada, Okla.) – Lanis is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in International Business. He has experience working in Brazil, France, and most recently, working in Haiti as a manager for The Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti. Lanis’ public service interests include international economic development and education.
Coby MacMaster (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) – MacMaster is a graduate of Aquinas College with a degree in Public Administration, Community Leadership, and Business Administration. He has experience with Local First of West Michigan, West Grand Neighborhood Organization, and Environmental Political Interactive Change. MacMaster’s public service interests include educational attainment, environmental sustainability, and political engagement.
Ayden Maher (Coral Springs, Fla.) – Maher is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Political Science. He has experience as a legislative assistant in the Florida House of Representatives. Maher’s public service interests include international relations and development.
Amanda Mathies (Newport Beach, Calif.) – Mathies is a graduate of the University of San Diego with a degree in Political Science and Peace and Justice Studies. She has experience working internationally teaching English in Thailand, working for Sharing to Learn in South Africa, and volunteering for Invisible Children. Mathies’ public service interests include civil rights, environmental sustainability, and empowering communities in developing nations.
Emma McAuley (Glenview, Ill.) – McAuley is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies. She has experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps with Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Pittsburgh Health Corps. McAuley’s public service interests include health care access, education, and nature awareness and appreciation.
Molly Miller (Sand Springs, Okla.) – Miller is a graduate of Hendrix College with a degree in Politics and is currently enrolled in the concurrent degree program with the University of Arkansas of Medical Sciences College of Public Health, seeking a Master’s in Public Health. She has experience with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Arkansas Public Policy Panel, and numerous political campaigns around Arkansas. Miller’s public service interests include health care, sustainable communities, and the arts.
Ashley-Brooke Moses (Sharpsburg, Ga.) – Moses is a graduate of Wesleyan College with a degree in Psychology and Studio Art. She is a former City Year Little Rock Corps Member, field team leader with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, and has previous experience with Our House, Habitat for Humanity, and Women’s and Children’s Shelter. Moses’ public service interests include youth development and empowerment, community engagement, and national service advocacy.
Florence Mueni (Nairobi, Kenya) – Mueni is a graduate of Kenyatta University with a degree in Sociology and the University of Nairobi with a Master’s Degree in Sociology. She has 20 years of experience as a probation officer and child and adolescent counselor, and has served as national secretary of the Kenya National Association of Probation Officers. Mueni’s public service interests include children and juvenile justice system and counseling services.
Dariane Mull (Little Rock, Ark.) – Mull is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Theatre Arts. She has experience with the Central Arkansas Library system, Pulaski County Youth, and is the founder of UALR Support Our Sistahs. Mull’s public service interests include arts in education and literacy and community development.
Michelle Perez (Maracaibo, Venezuela) – Perez is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University with a degree in Political Science and Business Administration. She has experience working with the Organization of American States, Children Village in Zimbabwe, an orphanage in Honduras, and working as a translator for medical teams in Venezuela. Perez’s public service interests include women’s empowerment and sustainable economic development in Latin American countries.
Shanell Ransom (Columbia, SC) – Ransom is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Sociology and Crime, Law, and Society. She has experience with AmeriCorps VISTA with the City of Atlanta and is a former program coordinator with the College of Charleston Center for Civic Engagement. Ransom’s public service interests include community development, education, food insecurity, and poverty.
Jessica DeLoach Sabin (El Dorado, Ark.) – Sabin is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Political Science, Liberal Arts, and Theatre Arts. She has experience working as a political and non-profit consultant, a political analyst and strategist for media outlets, and serves as weekly columnist for Sync Magazine and the Southwest Arkansas News. Sabin’s public service interests include political and civic engagement, income inequality, social justice, and civil liberties.
Maddy Salzman (Wellesley, Mass.) – Salzman is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Environmental Studies and Architecture. She has experience with the Sierra Club as a community organizer and the Beyond Coal Campaign, and co-founded a fossil fuel divestment campaign at Washington University. Salzman’s public service interests include environmental and energy issues as they intersect with social justice and developmental opportunity.
Eddie Savala (Nairobi, Kenya) – Savala is a graduate of Kenya Highlands Bible College with a degree in Theology and Business. He has experience as a discipleship coordinator and youth pastor, high school teacher, and as a volunteer with World Vision as a field facilitator. Savala’s public service interests include health and disease prevention, social justice, and poverty alleviation.
Kat Short (Hot Springs, Ark.) – Short is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in History. She has experience with the American Red Cross in Houston, Texas as a Regional Recovery Specialist, and is a former AmeriCorps FEMACorps team leader. Short’s public service interests include emergency management and disaster relief services.
Dustin Smith (Jonesboro, Ark.) – Smith is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in Economics. He has experience working as a construction system developer at Beaches Habitat for Humanity in Atlantic Beach, Fla. and is a cross-country cyclist with Bike & Build, a non-profit that raises awareness for affordable housing projects. Smith’s public service interests include housing and community redevelopment issues.
Becky Twamley (Brainerd, Minn.) – Twamley is a graduate of North Dakota State University with a degree in Pharmacy. She has 30 years of experience as a pharmacist, is the founding member of the local grassroots group Friends for Choice, and is a Pharmacy Forward fellow through Pacific Women’s Institute of Health. Twamley’s public service interests include poverty, food insecurity, health care and reproductive health issues.
Victoria Vander Schilden (Little Rock, Ark.) – Vander Schilden is a graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in Africana Studies. She has experience with Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids in Little Rock, Ark., Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, and Everglades Outpost in Florida. Vander Schilden’s public service interests include wildlife and habitat conservation, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability.
Michael Watson (Washington, D.C.) – Watson is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia. He has experience as a legislative fellow for the Senate Special Committee on Aging and as a legislative intern for U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). Watson’s public service interest includes international education.
Nathan Watson (Fayetteville, Ark.) – Watson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in Journalism, Public Relations, and Advertising. He has experience working with U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and has participated in the Oral History of the Arkansas Delta Project. Watson’s public service interests include access to education and economic development.
Brandon Wayerski (Menomonie, Wisc.) – Wayerski is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Business Administration. He is the former Stout Student Association vice president and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Wayerski’s public service interests include both NGO’s and governmental development.
Nic Williams (Judsonia, Ark.) – Williams is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and is currently enrolled in the concurrent degree program with the University of Arkansas William H. Bowen School of Law, seeking a Juris Doctorate. He has experience with the Faulkner County Juvenile Court, Keep a Child Alive Foundation, and March of Dimes. Williams’ public service interest includes consumer advocacy, LGBTQ equality, and political engagement.
The Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Awards recognize outstanding City Year alumni who are continuing their commitment to strengthening community, inspiring, mobilizing, and empowering others, creating and developing sustainable solutions for social change and who exemplify the core values of City Year.
Jay Thompson City Year Philadelphia ’03
For his inspiring leadership in building the beloved community and expanding the national service movement across the country and the world for more than a decade. Whether mentoring corps members, building relationships with external champions or leading City Year’s expansion into a new community, Jay’s influence is felt at all levels of the organization. In leadership roles that span Deputy Director of Program and Service, Start Up Director, Interim Executive Director and Senior Director of New Site Operations, he has inspired dedicated champions and led staff and corps members to establish four new sites – three US sites in Milwaukee, Jacksonville and Tulsa, and City Year’s second international affiliate in London, UK. As the Interim Executive Director for City Year Jacksonville, Jay manages a $2M budget, drives strategic partnerships, leads the site board and oversees Development, Operations, Program and Service departments. He personifies dedication to a cause greater than self and his commitment to excellence stems from his passion for students to be prepared to learn every day.