In honor of the 2019 National Student Employee Appreciation (NSEA) Week (April 15-19), the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement (OCE) is recognizing the hard work of our students that serve as scholars, interns, mentors, tutors, and graduate assistants.
“OCE student employees are amazing! Our student interns, scholars, mentors, tutors, and graduate assistants contribute in many ways – through their expertise, ideas, and the way they represent OCE to the community,” says Teresa Bennett, Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Office of Community Engagement.
“These young professionals are not only earning and learning from their employment. They make OCE better especially in the way they interact with our many constituencies,” Bennett says.
Let us take a moment to introduce you to some of our students:
Nouran Amin is a graduate student working on a master’s degree in biology at the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI, and serves as a graduate assistant for the Office of Community Engagement. Nouran is responsible for tracking the variety of ways IUPUI faculty, staff, and students are engaged in and with the community in order to advance IUPUI’s Strategic Plan.
During her undergraduate studies, Nouran was a Sam H. Jones, participating in ongoing service learning projects that addressed environmental challenges in the Indianapolis community. She was also an intern at the Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES), involved in science outreach activities promoting STEM literacy and environmental education.
“My experiences with service learning are what encouraged me to join the Office of Community Engagement where I continue to build on my background in community involvement,” says Nouran.
Zaidara (Zee) Bischoff is a sophomore majoring in Business Management and International Studies at the IU Kelley School of Business. She is expecting to graduate early in May of 2020. Zee is a Program Coordinator and Client Support intern for the Professional Development and Corporate Education division of the Office of Community Engagement.
Zee says, “I am responsible for providing assistance to the OCE staff with regards to professional development related activities which include community relations, scheduling and planning contracted trainings, researching relevant newsletter content, and helping to provide resources to the community.”
She has a passion for animal care and recently started volunteering at an animal shelter.
“I am planning on going into higher education upon graduation and plan on getting my Master of Science degree in entrepreneurship and innovation,” says Zee.
Kristina Gill is a senior majoring in biology at the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI. She serves as a math, science and English tutor for the IU Indiana Kids tutoring and mentoring program where she works on-site at three schools (two middle and one high school). She is also an online tutor for the after-school program through Indiana Kids.
“I’ve been tutoring students since I was in high school and it’s something I really enjoy doing,” says Kristina. “I especially love the Indiana Kids program because it allows us to give back to the Indianapolis community. I also really enjoy the mentoring aspect of it and being a positive impact in students’ lives.”
Kristina hopes to attend graduate school to study botany, specifically plant pathology. She grew up in Florida, which is what she says influenced her decision to study biology and plants.
She is also a two-time cancer survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I love cats, spending time in nature, hanging out with my friends, eating new foods and traveling to warm places,” says Kristina.
Kelsey Herber is a sophomore majoring in Art Education at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. She serves as an on-site tutor for the IU Indiana Kids program where she tutors sixth to eighth grade students at the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) William Penn School 49, as well as an online tutor and mentor for the after-school program through Indiana Kids.
She tutors “newcomers” (non-English-speaking students) in the English language.
“I hope to teach a class or two at Herron as a graduate student, and either continue teaching art at the collegiate level or at the high school level,” says Kelsey.
Kevin Hillman is a second year doctoral student in the Urban Education Studies program at the IUPUI School of Education. He is a graduate assistant for the Family, Schools and Neighborhood Engagement division within the Office of Community Engagement.
Kevin serves as a student editor for a soon to be released journal, focusing on community engagement. He also assists with some of the programmatic aspects of the IU Indiana Kids program, and participates in a community engaged research group.
Kevin currently holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Purdue University and a Master of Arts degree in Training and Development from Roosevelt University.
He says, “If you had asked me 10 years ago or even 5 years ago if I thought about pursuing a doctorate I would have laughed, especially one in education.”
He is currently working to “land on an awesome research topic” for his dissertation, complete course work and pass his qualifying exams. Kevin says his future goals include: “successfully defending my dissertation, operating my non-profit organization and influencing career & technical education and workforce development preparation for adults and youth of color.”
Kara Keller is a junior majoring in construction management at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Kara serves as an on-site elementary and middle school tutor at the IPS William Penn School 49 in addition to her role as an online tutor for the IU Indiana Kids program.
Kara says this semester has been a little challenging because she is taking a full load of 18 credit hours. In addition to having a full load academically and serving as a full-time tutor, she also works as an officer in her construction club. She has been able to balance her workload and responsibilities in order to maintain a high grade point average (GPA) throughout this semester.
In the future, Kara plans to work her way up to owning her own residential construction company that has a dog training facility attached to it.
She explains, “I know those two are complete opposites, but what can I say, I love dogs.”
Andrea Ruvalcaba is a sophomore in the School of Social Work at IUPUI. She serves as a tutor and mentor of kindergarten to twelfth grade students for the IU Indiana Kids program both onsite and online.
She came to Indianapolis from East Chicago, Indiana.
“Being a first-generation scholar and coming from an underrepresented community has had various challenges,” Andrea says. Such challenges are what has motivated her to want to help other students succeed, and is why she says she is a part of the Indiana Kids program.
“This program has allowed me to be a resource and support system for children in the Indianapolis area,” she says. “During the rest of my time here at IUPUI, my goal is to continue involving myself with programs that will allow me to give back to underrepresented communities.”
And a big thank you to all of our students; we appreciate you!
Seedie Hawbaker, Family, School and Neighborhood Scholar, focusing on university/community school partnerships
Josie Johnson, Family, School and Neighborhood Scholar, focusing on tutoring, mentoring, college and career programming
Latosha Rowley, Family, School and Neighborhood Scholar, focusing on strategic neighborhood alliances for P-20 education
Nina Ustymchuk, Family, School and Neighborhood Scholar, focusing on community engaged research
Cierra Venable, Communication Intern for the Office of Community Engagement
Shannon Wagner, Family, School and Neighborhood Scholar, focusing on community partnerships
Matt Watkings, Family, School and Neighborhood Scholar, focusing on workforce readiness and program development
And a host of tutors and mentors serving in the IU Indiana Kids tutoring and mentoring program.