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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.
Graduates of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service – who live, work, and serve across the world – will participate in the second annual Global Day of Service on Sunday, August 19 in conjunction with President Bill Clinton’s 72nd birthday.
Organized activities are planned in cities with large Clinton School alumni populations. In others, graduates will participate individually.
Two organized service efforts will take place in Little Rock on Sunday.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital has partnered with Arkansas GardenCorps and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site to establish a community garden at the ACH campus. Fresh produce from the garden will be given directly to the Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock food pantry. Volunteers will assist with harvesting, planting, weeding, and maintaining produce beds.
At Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center, Clinton School graduates will be packaging and inspecting health kits that are sent around the world to victims of natural disasters.
In northwest Arkansas, alums will assist with the final construction of a new community garden at Apple Seeds, a nonprofit for inspiring healthy living through garden-based education.
In Washington, D.C., graduates are encouraged join the Rock Creek Conservancy and National Park Service for a cleanup at Rock Creek Park.
The Clinton School opened in 2004, admitted its first class in 2005, and graduated its first class in 2006. Of the school’s more than 350 graduates, a large percentage of its alumni live and work in central Arkansas, northwest Arkansas, Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco.
More information on each effort is listed below.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Location: 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock, AR 72202
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Project: Gardening to benefit Helping Hands of Greater Little Rock
Contact: Emily Wernsdorfer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center
Location: 1720 Ferncliff Road, Little Rock, AR 72223
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Project: Disaster assistance
Contact: Emily Wernsdorfer (email@example.com)
Location: 2648 North Old Wire Road, Gulley Park, Fayetteville, AR 72703
Time: 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Project: Community garden construction
Contact: Shenan Boit (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rock Creek Park
Location: Washington, D.C. 20008
Time: 10 a.m.-Noon
Project: Park cleanup
Contact: Mara D’Amico (email@example.com)
Kent Broughton has been promoted to the position of Senior Community Relations Manager and Equity Analyst at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service’s Center on Community Philanthropy.
“During his time here, Kent has consistently nurtured existing partnerships while cultivating new collaborations that have improved productivity in the Center on Community Philanthropy and been recognized for outstanding achievement,” said Charlotte Lewellen-Williams, Director of the Center on Community Philanthropy.
Broughton has worked in the Center on Community Philanthropy since August 2017. In his new role, he will continue managing community relationships while adding expanded responsibilities for the overall organizational development of the Center.
A 2015 graduate of the Clinton School, Broughton’s Capstone project was titled, “Community Philanthropy: Building Sustainable Communities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”
He earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where he served as President of the Student Government Association.
Clinton School student Salina Adolph recently concluded her summer International Public Service Project with the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C. A concurrent Juris Doctor student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Adolph worked closely with the ABA’s Commission on Immigration.
“Prior to this project I knew almost nothing about immigration consultant fraud,” Adolph said. “Through this project, I’ve been able to see that this is a widespread and complex issue.”
A graduate of John Brown University, Adolph worked to create a comprehensive report of resources and support for immigrants in the United States who are victims of the unauthorized practice of immigration law, also known as immigration consultant fraud. The report also identifies the gaps in meeting the needs of people who experience this fraud based on the availability of services across the country.
“I talked to so many people, some of whom are the directors of different international and national programs, as well as attorneys and Department of Justice accredited representatives who work in local nonprofits,” Adolph said. “I have also spoken with private attorneys, attorneys in the offices of various state attorney generals, and immigration service providers who are part of committees and state bars across the country.”
This project will begin the process of providing national coordination for immigration lawyers and advocates who seek to assist immigrants who are victims of the unauthorized practice of immigration law.
Prior to this summer, her work experience included a clerkship at the Monterrey Law Firm, an immigration and criminal law firm in Central Arkansas. She credits her classes at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law and the Clinton School of Public Service with helping prepare her for this summer’s work.
“I think my law courses helped me understand the legal language,” she said. “Also, so much of the work I’ve done has been related to Dr. Bavon’s class. I would not have known how to assess needs without that class.”
What has your work been like this summer?
I worked every day from the ABA. Since my project was to gather the perspectives of immigration service providers on this issue of unauthorized immigration consultant fraud, I spent the early part of the summer reaching out to people, trying to recruit them to talk to me and share their perspectives of what’s going on with this issue in their state. Then I would actually conduct the interviews, some over the phone and some in-person. For the past three weeks I’ve been analyzing the conversations and drafting the report.
Has this experience had an impact on how you plan to pursue your law career?
I knew I wanted to work in immigration law before my internship. I was already interested because I clerked at an immigration firm in Little Rock that provides deportation defense. I knew I was interested, but this really piqued my interest even more. This summer, I talked to many immigration service providers in various capacities across the country, learned so much more about immigration law and policies, and met with detained individuals who are directly impacted by these policies. My experiences have made me realize that this is absolutely what I want to do.
How has the ABA staff been in helping you with your work?
I’ve had such a great experience here almost entirely because of my incredible supervisor, Tanisha Bowens-McCatty, and the other great staff at the Commission on Immigration. They have taken so much time to teach me about immigration policies and how to be a thoughtful, compassionate, and excellent professional.
They’ve also patiently answered all of my questions about immigration-related everything, and they’ve been so intentional about creating and inviting me to experiences that I would have never been able to be part of otherwise. I feel very lucky to have worked under such brilliant and kind people.
Definitely. I’m going to clerk again with the Monterrey Law Firm, and I’m working with Dean DiPippa for my Capstone to assess the legal needs of immigrants in Central Arkansas. I feel like it all coincides.
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will enroll 41 new students in its Master of Public Service (MPS) degree program this fall. Located in downtown Little Rock on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park and in the River Market District, the Clinton School is the nation’s first to offer an MPS degree.
Since opening in 2004, the school has attracted students from more than 40 countries and over 200 universities.
Thirty-five different undergraduate majors and 32 colleges and universities are represented among the students. The incoming students have studied, worked, and served in 21 countries across the world.
Students with armed service experience in the Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army join those who have volunteered with The Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America. Six students in this class will be a part of the concurrent Juris Doctor degree program with the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
Among the many national colleges and universities represented are the London School of Economics, Fudan University (Shanghai, China), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana), Dillard University, Syracuse University, Florida State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Virginia.
Ten different Arkansas colleges and universities are represented in the class.
“We’re very proud to welcome the new Clinton School class. As the nation’s first to offer a Master of Public Service degree, we continue to attract individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and interests, but with a common purpose to uplift others,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. “Over the next two years, the public service projects these students will complete in Arkansas and throughout the world will have a significant positive impact.”
This fall, first-year Clinton School students will begin team-based public service projects with partner organizations in communities across Arkansas. In the classroom, the students will complete core courses in professionalism, social change, and conflict resolution.
Throughout their time at the Clinton School, students will work on three public service projects within their particular public service interests: the team-based Practicum project, the International Public Service Project, and the final individual project known as the Capstone that culminates their degree.
Orientation for the new class begins August 12 and classes start August 20.
Denisse Alanis (Little Rock, Ark.) – Alanis is a graduate of Agnes Scott College with a degree in religion and social justice. She has worked as an English instructor in South Korea and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. She spent time as an AmeriCorps member focusing on job placement of international refugee clients. Her public service interests include the correlation between the domestic and international forced displacement of Congolese communities.
Zach Baumgarten (Monticello, Ark.) – A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a degree in politics, Baumgarten was an infantryman with the United States Army. He was the director of constituent services and campaign field director for congressman Mike Ross. He is pursuing a concurrent Juris Doctor at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. His public service interests include veteran issues and poverty law.
Maggie Benton (Jonesboro, Ark.) – A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with a degree in communication, Benton was the winner of the Miss Arkansas 2017 Scholarship Pageant and served as the UAF Associated Student Government Vice President. Additionally, she is heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her public service interests include the education system, philanthropy, and nonprofit efforts.
Christian Canizales (Jonesboro, Ark.) – Canizales is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in world languages and cultures. He served as president of the ASU Multicultural Center Ambassadors and was the social media manager for the Hispanic Outreach Latino Appreciation Club at ASU. His public service interests include public education (minority student protective policy), LGBT, and women’s rights.
Katie Clark (Flint, Mich.) – A graduate of St. Edward’s University with a degree in political science, Clark has served as a volunteer coordinator with Planned Parenthood and was a Campus Ambassador with the Peace Corps. She previously worked as a Donor Liaison VISTA at Our House. Her public service interests include women’s health.
Andrew Counce (Memphis, Tenn.) – A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with a degree in biology, Counce was the UAF Associated Student Government President as a senior. He volunteered at a local Boys and Girls Club in Fayetteville, and has worked as director of sports and recreation at a summer camp in Bolivar, Tenn. His public service interests include education and health.
Caleb Denton (Booneville, Ark.) – Denton graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in environmental science. He worked as an intern at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and, as an undergraduate, collaborated with Central Arkansas Water to care for newly reforesting fields. His public service interests include environmental aid, alternative energy, humanitarian aid, and immigrant rights.
Molly Emerson (Astoria, New York) – Emerson graduated from Wright State University with a degree in musical theater. She has worked as a professional actress with Actors Equity Association, performing on national tours, cruise ships, and regional theaters. Additionally, she was a Fellows Leader with Organizing for Action. Her public service interests include environmental protection and education.
Lara Farrar (Hot Springs, Ark.) – A graduate of Boston University with a degree in journalism, Farrar went on to earn master’s degrees in global media from the London School of Economics and Fudan University. She has worked as a reporter in Boston and London and spent time as a foreign correspondent in China. Her public service interests include human rights, women and children, media, and development.
Bailey Fohr (Nashville, Tenn.) – Fohr graduated from Florida State University with a degree in international affairs and political science. She has spent time as a marketing and evaluations intern with Awamaki, a Peruvian nonprofit. Her public service interests include immigrant rights, disaster response and emergency preparedness, urban planning in developing countries, and issues facing the Latin American and Caribbean region.
Allison Gent (Orange, Va.) – A graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in sociology, Gent spent two years with City Year Little Rock as both a corps member and a team leader working alongside students and communities in southwest Little Rock. She previously volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. Her public service interests include youth empowerment, community development, education, and housing.
Savanna George (Searcy, Ark.) – A graduate of Harding University with a degree in social work, George has worked as a client advocate for White County Domestic Violence Prevention, Inc., and case manager with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. She is a charter member of the Harding University Likewise Taskforce. Her public service interests include public safety, rehabilitation, and social justice.
Johnisha Graham (Lake Village, Ark.) – A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in family and consumer sciences, Graham served as the program coordinator for the Little Rock School District, Title I Sheltered Tutoring and Enrichment Program for Success (S.T.E.P.S). She served two years as a City Year AmeriCorps member. Her public service interests include education and poverty.
Megan Grubb (Indianola, Iowa) – Grubb graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in international studies and Spanish. She was an AmeriCorps member with the Greater Des Moines Partnership and was an ESL instructor for the Ministry of Education in Colombia. Her volunteer experience includes the United Nations Association, Iowa City Chapter. Her public service interests include international development.
Logan Hunt (Newport, Ark.) – A graduate of Lyon College as a double major in history and religion and philosophy, Hunt served as a liaison between the school and Our Father’s Table, a local soup kitchen. His work at the kitchen involved delivering food and recruiting and organizing volunteers. His public service interests include conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Nathan Keltch (Little Rock, Ark.) – Keltch earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at UA Little Rock. He was the director of Recycle Bikes for Kids, a member of the Bicycle Friendly Community Committee, and a board member at Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas. His public service interests include mass incarceration, transportation, climate change, and the future of jobs.
Adam Kleinerman (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) – A graduate from the University of Missouri with a degree in history, Kleinerman has worked with the Global Repair Group and spent time in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps member. His public service interests include HIV/AIDS prevention and birth control.
Corinne Kwapis (Fairview Heights, Ill.) – Kwapis is a graduate of Marquette University with a degree in women and gender studies. She is pursuing a concurrent Juris Doctor at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Her work experience includes time with the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis. Her public service interests include government and legal aid.
Robert Morris (Jacksonville, Ark.) – A graduate of Arkansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication, Morris has worked as a marketing intern for the United Way of Northeast Arkansas and the Downtown Jonesboro Association. He was an executive board member for St. Jude Up ’til Dawn. His public service interests include fundraising and philanthropic efforts, nonprofit work, and program development.
Shelby Morrow (Dallas, Texas) – A graduate of Hendrix College with a degree in anthropology, Morrow recently finished a year of service as a Development VISTA at Our House. She previously worked as a Youth Program AmeriCorps member at Our Club. Her public service interests include human rights, community and economic development, and climate change.
Reiko Muranaka (Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa, Japan) – A graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in economics and finance, Muranaka has worked as an internal business IT consultant in Daikin Industries, Ltd. She has experience as a Food Donation Volunteer for Main Street Mission. Her public service interests include international development and human rights.
Justin Murdock (Conway, Ark.) – Murdock is a graduate of Hendrix College with degrees in chemistry and Spanish. His service experience includes time as an AmeriCorps member at City Year Miami and City Year Little Rock. He was a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Uruguay. His public service interests include educational equity both in the U.S. and abroad, youth development, international education, and environmental sustainability.
Shandrea Murphy (Little Rock, Ark.) – A graduate of UA Little Rock with a degree in anthropology, Murphy has worked in multiple roles within the City of Little Rock Department of Community Programs. Most recently, she was a Family Engagement VISTA with Our House. Her public service interests include social and economic equity, education reform, social justice, and policy reform.
Christopher Ogom (Marsabit, Kenya) – Ogom is a graduate of Catholic University of Eastern Africa with a degree in commerce and finance. He worked as a procurement, logistics, and administration consultant at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries. He volunteered at Kargi Catholic Dispensary as a health educator. His public service interests include poverty eradication, provision of quality education, good governance, and health care.
Richmond Osei-Danquah (Nkawkaw, Ghana) – Osei-Danquah graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a degree in policy planning. His work experience includes times as an assistant development planning officer with West Akim Municipal Assembly in Asamankese and a child development officer with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection. His public service interests include health and education.
Eric Osei (Sunyani, Ghana) – Osei is a graduate of the University for Development Studies with a bachelor’s degree in Planning and Rural Development and the Institute of Local Government Studies with a master’s degree in local government administration and organization. He has worked for the Ghana Education Service and the Department of Community Development. His public service interests include education policies, poverty reduction, waste management, and emergency services.
Alexis Pinkston (North Little Rock, Ark.) – A graduate of Lyon College with a degree in English and Spanish, Pinkston is pursuing a concurrent Juris Doctor at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. She previously served at City Year Little Rock through AmeriCorps. Her public service interests include international relations, education, and criminal justice system reform.
Damien Powell (Sparta, Mich.) – Powell graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in cultural and global studies. He spent six years as a United States Air Force Intelligence analyst and is pursuing a concurrent Juris Doctor at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. His recent work experience includes time with Vets for American Ideals and Human Rights First as a National Security Outreach Intern. His public service interests include international development law, human rights, and civil rights.
Brady Ruffin (Clinton, Miss.) – A graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in integrated marketing communications, Ruffin worked for the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement. He served as coordinator for the McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. His public service interests include youth empowerment, racial reconciliation, civic engagement, and juvenile justice.
Jordan Sanders (Little Rock, Ark.) – A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in communication, Sanders has worked with The Wallace Center at Winrock International on its Community Based Food Systems project. Her public service interests include youth development, food justice, and social equity.
Christian Scott (Mountain View, Ark.) – A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in history, Scott is pursuing a concurrent Juris Doctor at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. She has worked as a law clerk at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and a licensure analyst for the Arkansas Department of Education. Her public service interests include civil rights, human rights, and women’s rights.
Samantha Sheffield (Austin, Texas) – Sheffield graduated from Texas State University with a degree in public relations. She worked with College Forward as an AmeriCorps volunteer. During her final year at Texas State, she served as communications director for her church in Austin. Her public service interests include civic engagement, youth development, education, and environmental sustainability.
Sean Street (Hot Springs, Ark.) – Street is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration. He has held internships with LyondellBasell Industries in Houston and Chicago and Wishfin in Delhi, India. His public service interests include community development, social entrepreneurship, and microlending.
Cody Styers (North Little Rock, Ark.) – A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in family and consumer science, Styers has been involved with the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council since high school. He volunteers with Canvas Community Church. His public service interests include homeless or low-income people.
Maya Tims (Little Rock, Ark.) – Tims graduated from Dillard University with a degree in English. She has volunteered with City Year as a ninth-grade English tutor and was a literacy teacher with the Peace Corps in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Her public service interests include development of communities of color, civil rights, and education.
Alex Tingquist (Little Rock, Ark.) – Tingquist is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville with a degree in social work. His AmeriCorps experience includes time as a VISTA at Our House and a state member at Trinity Center in Austin, Texas. He has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and the University of Texas Poverty Simulation. His public service interests include homelessness and housing stability.
Rachel Villafane (St. Louis, Mo.) – A graduate of Truman State University with a degree in psychology, Villafane taught math in the Little Rock School District through Teach for America. Her public service interests include youth engagement.
Megan Wallace (Malvern, Ark.) – Wallace graduated from the University of the Ozarks with a degree in mathematics. As an AmeriCorps member, she worked at Joseph Pfeifer Kiwanis Camp. Her public service interests include educational systems, environmental protection, and health care.
Ben Washington (Jacksonville, Ark.) – Washington graduated from UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. His work experience includes time with Our House and AmeriCorps, and he has volunteered with Literacy Action of Arkansas and Harmony Health Clinic. His public service interests include prison and education, refugee/migrant rights, and human rights and welfare.
Jerome Wilson, Jr. (Portsmouth, Va.) – Wilson graduated from UA Little Rock with a degree in political science and is pursuing a concurrent Juris Doctor at the William H. Bowen School of Law. He became a staff sergeant following nine years of active duty service in the United States Marine Corps. His public service interests include access to justice, access to education, and access to healthy food choices.
Andrea Zekis (Little Rock, Ark.) – Zekis has graduated of the University of Evansville with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, Syracuse University with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism, and the University of Central Arkansas with a master’s degree in geographic information systems. Her service experience focused on LGBTQ rights. Her interests include applying GIS and spatial thinking to policy, community building, economic justice and sustainability efforts.
Clinton School alumni Jack Lofton has continued to make public service a priority after graduating with an MPS and concurrent law degree in 2013, whether it’s through his work as a consumer advocacy attorney, documentarian, filmmaker, or efforts on the board of the Arkansas Cinema Society.
“My primary job is working with the Johnson Firm and Attorney Group,” Lofton said. “That’s the law firm and consumer advocacy organization that helps those who are injured by other people’s actions – primarily mass torts. At its core, my practice is about helping people. And helping people who have been injured by a drug or medical device, and might not otherwise have access to justice, is a particularly important opportunity for service.”
In addition to his legal work in Little Rock, Lofton owns and operates his own film company, Mudroom Films. His roots in cinema run deep – Lofton was an Executive Director of the Little Rock Film Festival and currently sits on the board of the Arkansas Cinema Society, founded by filmmakers Jeff Nichols and Kathryn Tucker.
Born in Memphis, Tenn., Lofton spent most of the first 10 years of his life in Dallas, Texas. His father worked in real estate before moving the family back to Hughes, Ark., after inheriting a family farm. The move was positive, Lofton said, as it balanced his early life in Dallas – a city with a metropolitan population of more than a million – with life in a small Arkansas community.
“I had to learn how to communicate with people from different backgrounds,” he said. “The people and personal skills from the totally different environments helped me, in addition to the values and cultures of the two areas. And as a kid at the time, I was in heaven. I got to shoot my BB gun when I wanted and fireworks!”
One interest that preceded the move was theater. He acted in his first play, “The Wizard of Oz,” as a second-grader in Dallas. By the time he had moved to Hughes just a couple years later, he and his five sisters were writing and acting in their own plays on their family’s farm.
His first real taste of the stage came from a community theatre just 30 minutes away in West Memphis, Ark. Performing in musicals and plays like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Our Town,” he was allowed to explore a natural curiosity and step into his character’s shoes.
“I enjoyed the process,” Lofton said of what initially drew him to the stage. “You have to understand the story of the play – the different acts, what happens, what each character is thinking and doing – and then you have to look at your own character and see how they are a part of the overall story.”
His passion for theater continued into high school, and eventually paved his way to college. Lofton attended Lyon College on an acting theater scholarship, graduating as a double-major in theater and political science with plans of becoming an entertainment lawyer and agent.
Those plans were put on hold, temporarily, when shortly after graduation he and his sister were cast as stand-ins on Walk the Line, the Academy Award-winning film about the life of country music legend Johnny Cash that was shot in Memphis.
“My sister and I went to the audition, both of us got called back without them knowing we were brother and sister, me as the stand in for Joaquin Phoenix and she as the stand in for Reese Witherspoon,” he said. “It was a great experience for both of us.”
Lofton moved to Los Angeles shortly thereafter and tapped into the network he established while on set for Walk the Line, finding work on several independent films. It was there he noticed his skill for finding talent or stories and helping to get them made and began to tap into his skills as a filmmaker.
He returned to Little Rock to attend the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and pursue a career in entertainment law. The plan was to spend a year in Little Rock and transfer to the University of Southern California or New York University, two law schools with concentrations in entertainment law.
It was then that he first learned about the Clinton School of Public Service, becoming one of the school’s first students to pursue a concurrent degree.
He credits the Clinton School with advancing his sense of service and duty to others, noting, “… it helped me find myself and find certain ideals that interest me.” He passed on numerous local law clerkships to help build the Little Rock Film Festival because “that’s where my interests were.”
“That’s what I was passionate about,” Lofton said. “I was helping create a local industry about art and film culture, a lot of which we didn’t have in Little Rock at the time.
Serving as the festival’s first executive director, Lofton championed much of the major expansion and big-picture ideas, including branding the event as a southern festival. He left the Little Rock Film Festival in 2011 and made “All About Ann,” an HBO documentary about the former Texas governor featuring interviews with President Bill Clinton, Willie Nelson, Tom Brokaw, and Nancy Pelosi among others.
Currently, he is working on a pair of documentaries: “The ‘Vous” about a world-famous Memphis barbecue restaurant, and “Kings of Tort,” which showcases big-league trial attorneys and mass torts players who wage battles against corporations for consumers.
Both documentaries contain a sense of his education in public service. “The ‘Vous” touches on the social issues of the restaurant, which opened in the 1940s, and serves as a history for the city of Memphis as a whole. “Kings of Tort” looks to showcase the personalities and talents of the attorneys advocating for consumer justice. By showcasing the attorneys as people, “… You’ll likely see the importance of embracing consumer rights,” he said. “These are the Davids fighting every day against the Goliaths.”
Lofton is active in the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice. He is an Arkansas Business “40 under 40” honoree and has been listed as a “Top 40 under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers.
Kristen Raney (Class 9) will start the Ph.D. program in business administration with a management concentration at Arizona State University in the fall. Raney has worked as as assistant director of MBA Programs at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, since December 2015, where she has been instrumental in implementing the Clinton School’s concurrent MPS-MBA degree program.
Zack Huffman (Class 12) has been announced as the new director of development with Teach For America Greater Delta – Arkansas.
Evan Brown (Class 11) is now working at Heifer International as a Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning (MEL) Field Analytics Lead.
Ashley Brooke Moses (Class 10) and Eric Rietschier celebrated the birth of their daughter, Althea Cole Rietschier.
Jay Thompson (Class 3) has worked for City Year, an organization dedicated to helping students and schools succeed, for 14 years. Thompson has served as a Regional Vice President for City Year since November 2014.
Marsha Scullark (Class 11) is pursuing her interests in public health and policy in a position with the American Lung Association. As a Health Promotions Specialist for the American Lung Association in Arkansas, Scullark provides technical assistance with policy writing in addition to providing education and resources on tobacco cessation products.
Tatiana Riddle Hendrix (Class 9) currently works in Washington, D.C., as a Program Officer focusing on combating wildlife trafficking for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Hendrix’s position with USFWS, which she calls her “dream job,” is the latest stop in a life’s worth of interest in wildlife conservation.
Alumni in the News
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently took a look at the opening of ScholarMade Achievement Place, where Clinton School graduate Derrick Rainey (Class 6) will serve as director of Ivy Hill Academy of Scholarship for grades K-2.
The Miami Herald offered a look at a United States operation that included work from Clinton School graduate Fernando Cutz (Class 6), who spent last year working at the White House. Cutz was recently announced as Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for USAID, and was previously senior director at the National Security Council.
The Jackson Free Press profiles the work of Jordan Butler (Class 10) as a project leader with Refill Cafe, a nonprofit workforce development cafe opening in Jackson, Miss.
The Honors College Path Program at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, led by Clinton School graduate Xochitl Delgado-Solorzano (Class 11), announced 22 new students for its program in July.
The Center on Community Philanthropy at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service has received a major grant totaling $600,000 over three years from the Racial Equity in Philanthropy (REP) Fund. The REP Fund, based at Borealis Philanthropy, was created by the Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation to catalyze a strategy for advancing intersectional racial equity throughout the philanthropic sector.
“We believe this will further the work of the Center to assist individuals, institutions, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations to understand that strengthening communities requires a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Dr. Charlotte Williams, Director of the Center on Community Philanthropy. “We are excited about the partnership with Borealis Philanthropy, Ford Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We know this work is challenging, but the rewards are well worth the investment.”
This funding comes as a part of the ongoing effort of The Center to prioritize and promote philanthropic approaches that stem from leader assets, emphasizing concepts that often are misunderstood, ignored or mishandled such as race, privilege and implicit bias.
“We very much appreciate the support from the REP Fund to enhance the work of the Center on Community Philanthropy,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. “The work of our Center educates and inspires individuals on how they can contribute to change in their communities and within their organizations.”
Racial Equity in Philanthropy (REP) The REP Fund is a donor collaborative based at Borealis Philanthropy and currently includes support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The REP Fund builds upon the work of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Strong and Effective Sector portfolio and the Ford Foundation’s Philanthropy portfolio with its own grantmaking strategy.
Launched in 2007, the Clinton School Center on Community Philanthropy is a groundbreaking venture focusing its teaching, research and leadership development exclusively on the emerging field of sharing and giving in a community context.
“One of my passions is health policy and health advocacy,” Scullark said. “Getting people access to care to prevent chronic disease and controlling chronic disease have always been passions of mine.”
As a Health Promotions Specialist for the American Lung Association in Arkansas, Scullark provides technical assistance with policy writing in addition to providing education and resources on tobacco cessation products.
Currently, she is helping to implement a new policy from the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) banning smoking in public housing nationwide. The HUD rule was published on December 5, 2016, and became effective on February 3, 2017.The policy goes into effect July 31. It states that no smoking will be allowed within 25 feet of any public housing or inside any buildings.
“I’ve been traveling all around, meeting with residents, informing them about the policy and educating them on tobacco cessation,” Scullark said. “I jump in where I am assigned. Our big focus is tobacco.”
The federal ban will save public agencies an estimated $153 million in annual costs related to health care due to secondhand smoke, as well as repairs and losses from preventable fires, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Along with promoting the health benefits of not smoking, HUD hopes the new rule will also “create healthy environments that encourage people who smoke to quit or attempt to reduce smoking,” the agency said.
Scullark is a self-described “tobacco wonk,” and maintaining a working knowledge on Arkansas’ tobacco regulations is an integral part of her position. She also stays in close contact with the Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.
“I have to understand how to draft a policy, what a policy means,” she said. “Just helping people in the community decipher what it means to be smoke-free, what it means to be tobacco-free.”
For Scullark, health education and promotion are deep issues of concern. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a teenager. From that point forward, she was always interested in disease and “helping people get better.”
“I helped her with understanding what it meant to have breast cancer. We grocery shopped together and I gave input on the right foods to eat to keep herself healthy and active at that time. She succumbed to her disease,” Scullark said. “That’s what sparked my interest in public health and health in general.”
Scullark graduated from Hendrix College with a degree in biology. At one time she considered a career in medicine but was more interested in public policy by the time she graduated from the Clinton School. She says she still uses skills learned from the Clinton School in her current job.
“We did a project in Dr. Standerfer’s class and I was the lead facilitator for a couple of our groups,” Scullark said. “Going out in the public, I’m now more comfortable with public speaking and giving people a chance to give me feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. I can definitely see how those skills I learned in her classes translate into what I’m doing professionally now.”
Her field service experience at the Clinton School included work with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance (Practicum), evaluating the impact of the Arkansas Meals for Achievement Pilot Grant program. Her capstone project evaluated how religion fosters community philanthropy.
Her International Public Service Project took her to Liverpool, Australia, to work with the Center for Health Equity Training, Research, and Evaluation (CHETRE) to create an evaluation plan to analyze the impact and results of CHETRE’s Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement for Australia.
Scullark originally chose the Clinton School because of her interest in public service and desire for career development.
“I have friends who completed the Clinton School before me. I knew you could do so much with it. I went into it with the mindset of being open. I knew I wanted to advance my career.”