2008 Community Action Fellows and Their Placements
Interning at Independence Association, Caroline Burns '09 (Psychology) had the opportunity to learn about the type of services available for children and adults with disabilities in Midcoast Maine. She assisted Independence Association by researching and writing narratives describing treatment methods available for children with autism and helped edit a resource book that lists family-friendly and handicap accessible activities in the greater Brunswick area. Caroline also advised several adult clients through the process of applying to serve as elected members to local boards to represent elderly and disabled community members.
"Through my work at Independence Association I gained a lot of knowledge about people with disabilities and developed a desire to assist these individuals in leading a more inclusive life while helping others see their capabilities and all they have to offer the community. My internship at IA allowed me to see the Brunswick community from a different angle and to gain a deeper understanding of its diversity."
Seth Kelley '10 (Visual Arts) spent the summer with the Five Rivers Arts Alliance researching and writing for the ArtScape publication, contributing to the website, providing publicity and promotion for summer programs, and increasing volunteer accessibility. Seth attended board and committee meetings, and a meeting of the Maine Arts Commission. He lent his graphic design skills to the creation of a new poster and brochure for the 3rd Friday ArtWalks in Bath, and spent time connecting with the arts community in the Five Rivers Area.
"Prior to working with the Five Rivers Arts Alliance, my connection to Maine was solely as a Bowdoin student. Now, having had the opportunity to explore the communities of the Midcoast Area and meet many of the artists who contribute to its cultural vibrancy, I feel like I belong here in a broader sense. This fellowship has not just given me insight into Maine's community, it's made me a part of it."
While at the Town of Brunswick Office of Planning and Development, Niko Kubota '10 (Sociology) attended Planning Board meetings, Conservation Committee site walks, and meetings on the redevelopment plan for the Brunswick Naval Air Station. He worked on a number of projects including creating computer models of buildings in downtown Brunswick visible on Google Earth; photo documenting the demolition of Beta Theta Phi Fraternity House; and research on gateway zoning in other towns to assist the Planning Board in considering a change to the Zoning Ordinance.
"Working for the Town of Brunswick was a great opportunity to experience first hand examples of the tensions between development, conservation, and community. By attending town meetings, I was able to hear the presentations of developers and the concerns of citizens and see how they were addressed by the Planning Board. This fellowship allowed me to spend my summer doing research that reinforced my academic interests while learning about the town I live in."
Jamie Nadeau '10 (Government & Legal Studies) worked with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) in Portland. Dedicated to providing legal services to low-income Maine citizens, VLP provides free information, assistance, and pro bono representation through trained community members and legal professionals. Having volunteered with VLP over the course of the past academic year, the summer placement allowed Jamie to deepen his understanding of Maine legal needs through court observations, listening to various legal presentations, and interviewing clients to ascertain their needs.
"Aside from teaching me about the intricacies of civil law, my experience has shown me just how severely poverty in Maine impacts access to justice. However, it has also taught me that there is reason to be optimistic, for there are extensive efforts being made to combat this injustice."
Sarah Richards '10 (Economics) worked with the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), helping to advance the organization’s mission of attaining a strong and sustainable Maine economy. She worked on a wide range of projects, including conducting data analysis, writing an op-ed about recent health care legislation and hosting an episode of MECEP’s “State of the State” show. Sarah culminated her summer by writing a draft of MECEP’s annual update on Maine’s economy, the State of Working Maine report.
"Through my fellowship, I’ve had an opportunity to apply tools learned from my economics courses to analyze and help address some of Maine’s economic advancement issues. The experience has made me want to stay involved in the topics of health care coverage and fair taxation systems."
Allison Ruane '09 (Economics) spent her summer at the Mitchell Institute in Portland, an organization whose core mission is to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue and achieve a college education. During her time there, she helped update the “Indicators of Higher Education Attainment in Maine” Report for 2008 and organized data received from one-hundred schools across the state. Allison also attended two symposiums over the course of the summer where she was able to experience firsthand the education community and its advocacy for Maine students.
"This fellowship instilled in me a sense of how important non-profits like the Mitchell Institute are to our society. The enthusiasm and dedication of my coworkers were contagious and my experience was invaluable. I know now that I would love to continue working towards increased college aspirations in Maine after Bowdoin."
Jason Spector '09 (Government & Legal Studies) spent the summer working with Volunteers of America Northern New England, an organization which provides housing, youth and mental health services, corrections, and transitional programs. He began at Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. (Police Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams) working with at-risk children from all sixteen Maine counties. Jason also helped to organize a job fair for the residents at the Women’s Re-entry Center in Bangor, engaged in the management of the bidding process for Women Building Futures program, and involved himself in homeless youth street outreach in Lewiston.
"The most powerful moment of my summer came on the final day of Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. when the state troopers and police officers, who had spent the week volunteering as group leaders, marched out in uniform. Watching the campers’ faces as they registered that their counselor was a person in uniform, I realized that in one week we had managed to change many childrens’ perception of law enforcement officials."