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LaKaija Johnson (Class 9) is the recipient of a Community Liaison fellowship with Seventy-Five North Revitalization Corp. in Omaha, Neb. Johnson is a second-year doctoral student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research.
Ross Owyoung (Class 12) was announced as an Event Fundraiser with the UA Little Rock Alumni and Development Office.
Jose Guzzardi (Class 3) accepted a new position with B Lab as its Multinational Account Manager in New York City.
Kent Broughton (Class 8) has been promoted to the position of Senior Community Relations Manager and Equity Analyst at the Clinton School of Public Service’s Center on Community Philanthropy.
Fernando Cutz (Class 6) has accepted a position with The Cohen Group, a global business consulting firm. Cutz has spent the majority of his career in government, including roles with the White House, USAID, and the National Security Council.
Nicholas Hall (Class 4) has been accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.
Lindsey Barnett (Class 4) has founded Advikit, a firm focused on delivering person-centered solutions for government agencies and their partners. Barnett started Advikit to leverage her expertise on IT projects developed from her work with state and federal agencies.
Natalie Ramm’s (Class 12) efforts in her Capstone project helped secure a major grant for Monroe County Children in Trust.
Alumni in the News
Clinton School graduate Nicky Hamilton (Class 6) is the senior associate director of civic engagement at Sewanee – The University of the South, and is currently working with the school’s new Philanthropy Internship Program.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service second-year students Rachel Cole and Beth Quarles have been awarded a grant from the B.A. Rudolph Foundation for their study on teacher leadership in Arkansas.
The B.A. Rudolph Foundation awards sponsorship and grand funds annually to support people, organizations, groups, events, projects, and programs that embody the mission and values of the foundation. Foundation namesake B.A. Rudolph graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in 1978 and was a member of Bill Clinton’s gubernatorial and presidential staffs.
The grant will support Cole and Quarles in developing a landscape analysis and conduct a needs assessment for teacher leadership and pipeline programs in Arkansas.
“Thank you to the B.A. Rudolph Foundation for this generous support,” Cole and Quarles said. “As former teachers we were surprised to discover there are many different teacher leadership programs around the state of Arkansas. This study will offer a valuable resource to women who are underrepresented in K-12 school leadership.”
The study will explore the gender disparity in K-12 school leadership and why the public school teaching force in the United State is 72 percent female but just 14 percent of district superintendents are women. The grant will result in resources for others to use in their search for leadership programs, particularly women and women of color who would like to gain the skills, knowledge, and capacity to serve in leadership roles.
“Like B.A., Beth and Rachel are committed to equity and this project is in service to strengthening and diversifying the leadership pipeline of women in Arkansas schools,” said Mary Bruce, executive director of the B.A. Rudolph Foundation. “We are proud to support Beth and Rachel as rising female leaders in the public sector.”
B.A. was a friend of mine and her legacy of leadership and public service continues through the great work of the foundation,” said Clinton School dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. “I believe B.A. would be thrilled knowing Beth and Rachel have received support for this important study.”
Renee Tyler, a student in the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service’s Executive Master of Public Service degree program, graduated from the American Public Works Association Emerging Leaders Academy on Wednesday.
Tyler, who lives and works in Dubuque, Iowa, was chosen from a national pool to attend the 12-month academy. She and her cohorts worked on issues related to policy, administration, public perception, generational staff issues, and other subjects pertinent to the effective leadership of organizations.
The group presented its project, “Agents of Change,” at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. The project identified four areas that public works and APWA must address moving forward: Perception, Culture, Technology, and Generational.
“It is difficult fighting the good fight but these experiences motivate me and allow me to get up, recharged every day in my quest to contribute to making my community and my world a more inclusive and equitable one for all,” Tyler said.
Tyler has served as the Assistant Public Works Director for the City of Dubuque, Iowa, since 2016. Previously, she worked for the City of Little Rock as a manager of fleet acquisitions, parts and special projects. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social welfare from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service faculty member Nichola Driver’s research article with Cynthia M. Cready from the University of North Texas titled, “Nativity/language, neighborhoods, and teen pregnancy norms among U.S. Hispanics,” will be published in the forthcoming peer-reviewed journal Women & Health.
Additionally, a recently published course reader, “Sociology of Health and Wellness: An Applied Approach,” was co-authored by Driver.
“The research article with Dr. Cready is the culmination of five years of work surrounding the immigrant health advantage and its applicability to reproductive health, which was a major focus of my dissertation,” Driver said. “With the course reader, Dr. Cheun and I aimed to provide something innovative for our own courses that we weren’t finding anywhere else. These two publications represent a piece of the research and publishing agenda that I am excited to bring to my new position at the Clinton School.”
Driver’s research with Cready for Women & Health examines the relation of nativity, language, and neighborhood context to pregnancy norms among Hispanic teens in the United States. The study uses data from a sample of 972 Hispanic females and 960 Hispanic males from Waves I and II (1994-1996) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health collected in 80 high schools and 52 middle schools across the country.
Women & Health is widely accepted as a standard reference for women’s health specialists and contains information useful to researchers, policy planners, and all providers of health care for women.
“Sociology of Health and Wellness: An Applied Approach” takes the study of sociology of health and illness to the next level by inspiring students to connect the dots between theory, policy, and practice. The anthology provides students with applied examples of theoretical concepts which encourages them to challenge the status quo and, in doing so, transform and advance the healthcare industry.
Driver, who earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Texas and master’s degree in sociology from UA Little Rock, teaches Field Research Methods and Program Evaluation at the Clinton School. Her research areas include reproductive health disparities, health policy, and program evaluation and methods.
In a report released on Monday, leaders under the age of 40 from across the state made recommendations to increase positive awareness about Arkansas to those within and outside the state. The report was presented to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and key staff by members of the Under 40 Forum and representatives from the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
The report is the result of the third annual Under 40 Forum, a two-day summit held April 5-6 by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the Clinton School of Public Service on the Institute’s campus atop Petit Jean Mountain. The summit brought together the 2017 Forty Under 40 honorees as designated by Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. More than 30 of the honorees attended and participated in facilitated discussions about “Building a Better Brand” for Arkansas.
Among the highlights of the report are recommendations for a public-private partnership to create an internal marketing campaign; adopting the hashtag #ARHome to highlight what Arkansans believe is unique and special about the state; and a commitment to increasing arts education in public schools to encourage future growth of the creative economy.
“The leaders who participated in the Forum compete with businesses in surrounding states for our region’s best talent,” said Dr. Marta Loyd, executive director of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “The participants told us Arkansas can be a difficult sell, but as soon as people settle here and experience all our state has to offer, they become great ambassadors. During the Forum the Under 40 honorees identified ways Arkansas’s brand can be positive and motivating so young talent inside the state choose to stay, and those outside the state can’t wait to move here.”
Copies of the report are being sent to each member of the Legislature, as well as other government and business leaders across Arkansas.
“Every part of Arkansas, like every part of any state, encounters difficulties and challenges,” said Skip Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service. “The participants brought their criticisms of Arkansas’s current brand to the Forum, but also their ideas for how we can improve upon and possibly change the narrative of our state. Their recommendations touched upon government, private and public institutions, and it will be those far-reaching and collaborative initiatives that can move the needle for Arkansas.”
The report can be downloaded online. Plans for the fourth annual Under 40 Forum have been set for April 2019.
The Arkansas Delta Endowment for Building Community, a fund of the Arkansas Community Foundation, recently announced it has awarded MCCIT with a $40,000 grant over two years. The money will be used to fund a project coordinator position for MCCIT.
“Seeing a program that you’ve helped plan for months actually begin to come to life is very gratifying,” Ramm said. “Receiving this grant allows MCCIT to take the first step in implementing the program and improving lives for children and families in Monroe County.”
The grant writing efforts were part of Ramm’s Capstone project with MCCIT, a multidisciplinary collaborative composed of teachers and administrators from the Clarendon-Holly Grove School District, attorneys from Legal Aid of Arkansas, health professionals from Mid-Delta Health Systems, representatives of nonprofits like Arkansas Access to Justice and Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, faith leaders, and members of the local community.
“Natalie’s commitment to this program and to the residents of Monroe County and the Delta has been such an inspiration,” said Susan Caplener, Outreach Coordinator and Behavioral Health Coach at Mid-Delta Health Center. “With her detailed planning and dependability, she has helped us to implement the MCCIT program in Monroe County. Her tireless efforts in submitting grants and contributing expertise have supported the mission and the implementation of the MCCIT program.”
In addition to her grant writing work, Ramm developed a strategy for addressing adverse childhood experiences and improving health in Monroe County. She researched best practices for addressing ACEs in medical, legal, and school environments. A graduate of Hendrix College, Ramm’s work included creating an organizational guide featuring recommendations for implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and sustainability.
The Arkansas Delta Endowment for Building Community was established through a gift to the Community Foundation from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grant program is focused on supporting networks and collaborations to improve social and economic conditions for children and families in the Arkansas Delta region.
In addition to her experiences at the Clinton School, Ramm will graduate from the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law with a concurrent juris doctor in December 2018.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service graduate Lindsey Barnett has founded Advikit, a firm focused on delivering person-centered solutions for government agencies and their partners. Barnett started Advikit to leverage her expertise on IT projects developed from her work with state and federal agencies.
Barnett, who has worked on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the local, state and national level, realized that many agencies struggle to maintain daily operations and build federally compliant enterprise eligibility systems – the systems that determine a person’s eligibility for SNAP, Medicaid, and other programs.
“These systems are more important than people realize,” Barnett said. “In some counties in Arkansas, as many as one in three people receive SNAP. The average is one in seven Arkansans get assistance. That includes working households, children, and seniors. If these systems don’t work, people are faced with hard choices and their health suffers.”
She sees Advikit as way to bridge the gap between technology and its users. People are Advikit’s ultimate focus. “That’s why the company is named Advikit,” Barnett said. “Sure, it’s about the clients who receive help, but it’s also about the caseworkers who have to use these systems day in and day out.”
Barnett majored in anthropology at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. With a smile she says “chicken poop” first led her to public service.
“After undergrad, I helped administer a few federal grants to protect watersheds from poultry litter. I got to see how these projects connect Hmong poultry farmers, to truckers, to other farmers, and to the university to get this waste out of sensitive watersheds. It was really meaningful to see different groups of people work together and how the government facilitated it all.”
Her work with SNAP began as a caseworker with the Arkansas Department of Human Services. She knew the job wasn’t for her, but “fell in love with the program” and it inspired her to go back to school.
As she started to look at graduate degrees, she chose the Clinton School of Public Service in part because of its educational diversity, because “why would you want to go to school where everybody wants to do exactly the same thing as you?”
Barnett’s field service at the Clinton School included team work with Heifer International in Little Rock and an international project with a clean water initiative in Belize. Working again with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, her Capstone project developed a SNAP outreach campaign for older Arkansans. That work eventually led her to a national fellowship on SNAP policy with the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C.
Barnett started Advikit in September 2017 and went full-time in June 2018.
Do you think of what you are doing now as entrepreneurship?
The entrepreneurial part of it is having to come up with my business model. Asking, what is the value to my customers? Who are my customers? My customers are the state and federal agencies, but it can also be the big vendors. They hire Advikit to keep their projects moving.
Another part I’m excited about is the Federal Government’s small business innovation and research grants. I have ideas for software I’d like Advikit to develop, something that would make the federal regulations easier to use for both the Feds and the states, and even the public if it went that route. It’s super exciting.
Was it intimidating to do this without having a formal education in business or technology?
It’s not intimidating; it can be frustrating to be a woman in technology. Oftentimes, I’ll go to a meeting or even a presentation on IT and I’m the only woman there. Part of the reason I started Advikit was to make more space for women in this industry.
But the business part, no. There are some excellent resources in Arkansas for small businesses. The Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center helps small businesses get federal and state contracts. The Arkansas Women’s Business Center through Winrock International has been great. They have a consultant who met with me and helped develop Advikit’s consulting practice.
What I might lack in formal education in business or tech, I make up for with real-world experience, vision, and my team.
What are some things you learned from the Clinton School that help you?
Developing consensus. Within the group projects, being able to take a step back and figure out what the actual question is. Communication is probably the most-needed skill in IT projects, getting everyone on the same page and understanding where everybody is coming from.
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 (email@example.com)
Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center
Location: 1720 Ferncliff Road, Little Rock, AR 72223
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Project: Disaster assistance
Contact: Emily Wernsdorfer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.com)
Rock Creek Park
Location: Washington, D.C. 20008
Time: 10 a.m.-Noon
Project: Park cleanup
Contact: Mara D’Amico (firstname.lastname@example.org)