2016 McKeen Community Fellows and Their Placements

Evan Baughman '17

Evan Baughman

Evan Baughman '17 (Religion) worked with Immigrant Legal Advocacy Program’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) renewal cases for clients from Honduras and El Salvador. He also assisted clients seeking immigration benefits such as permanent residence and citizenship, and helped during intake appointments by screening clients for eligibility. Evan’s specific duties included reaching out to clients for scheduling, assisting clients in filling out immigration forms, as well as writing cover letters and affidavits explaining more complicated aspects of their immigration history.

"During an election year in which immigration is the most important and divisive issue in America, working at an immigration legal clinic has been immensely informative and rewarding. I have had an incredibly informative opportunity to learn holistically about immigration and the specifics of immigration law in the United States while also assisting Maine’s at-risk immigrant population."

Sophie Cowen '18Sophie Cowen

Sophie Cowen '18 (Sociology and Francophone Studies) worked with the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative this past summer.  In this effort to eradicate food insecurity in Maine, she engaged in outreach projects, conducted research to promote policy change, and supported food programs in schools and communities. Specific projects included Summer Meals site support - such as nutrition education program development, Hunger In Maine survey data collection and entry, and literature review research for the study; and Preble Street programs work, such as Resource Center staffing and Food Programs support at the Food Pantry and Soup Kitchens.

"Working at the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative helped me understand Maine’s food and poverty crisis. I now more fully comprehend the importance of policy change at the state level and the role of nonprofit organizations locally. I spent much of my time at food pantries, soup kitchens, and Summer Meals sites. Through this, I saw the importance of treating those experiencing poverty as individual people, rather than members of dehumanized groups like 'the hungry,' 'the poor,' and 'the homeless.' The Preble Street staff is deeply driven and compassionate, and working with them was enriching and inspiring."

Lindsey Duff '18Lindsey Duff

At the Center for Grieving Children, Lindsey Duff '18 (Psychology) helped advance the Center’s program evaluation project which aims to quantify the Center’s impact on families and identify possible improvements to the services that the Center offers. She refined the Center’s questionnaire, analyzed three years of data collected from participants in the Center’s peer support groups, and made recommendations to the Center by interpreting the results. Lindsey also had the opportunity to be trained as a volunteer facilitator for a weekly peer support group for 7-9 year olds who had lost a relative.

"There is no place quite like the Center—it is so full of comfort and healing. I had the opportunity to work alongside the emotionally intelligent and supportive people who make the organization so special and to explore my interests in program evaluation, data analysis, and child development. Going through volunteer training and facilitating a peer support group were empowering and eye-opening experiences that made me a better listener and a better ally to those who are grieving."

Joyce Kim '18Joyce Kim

As an intern at the Mitchell Institute, Joyce Kim '18 (Government & Legal Studies and Hispanic Studies) worked closely with staff to maintain Mitchell Scholar engagement and implement signature events throughout the summer. Her main projects involved organizing and participating in a Mitchell Institute Leadership Experience (MILE) with a small group of Scholars, and facilitating a college aspirations dialogue with students entering their junior and senior years of high school. In addition, Joyce updated annual reports, conducted research on free tuition at colleges, and helped distribute and collect multiple longitudinal surveys, all of which exposed her to the wide range of educational offerings in Maine.

"Working with the Mitchell Institute helped me confirm my interests in the education system and improving access to education for students of all backgrounds. I especially appreciated the opportunity to interact with students of various ages and gain a better understanding of Maine’s educational setting and the various resources available to its youth while promoting college aspirations."

Lili Ramos '18Lili Ramos

Lili Ramos '18 (Psychology) spent the summer working with children and adults in ArtVan’s Core Neighborhood programs. Following with the organization’s mission of providing free and accessible art therapy to youth in under-resourced communities around Maine, she co-led these programs alongside a licensed Art Therapist and developed and planned for future projects. Lili also helped with the organization’s development and grant-writing process, by attending board meetings, editing and writing pieces of grant proposals and creating a compilation of participants’ testimonials, to use in future grant applications.

"My summer at ArtVan provided a wonderful introduction to the world of nonprofit organizations and the field of art therapy. I was inspired by the passionate and dedicated work the Art Therapists, Teaching Artists, and other staff-members do each day. My experience exposed me to the importance of bringing communities together, encouraging creativity, and providing free social services to those who may not typically have access to these types of programs."

Eva Sibinga '17Eva Sibinga

Eva Sibinga '17 (English) focused on creating data visualizations to help the Portland Housing Authority tell its story as an organization. This included many maps visualizing Portland’s demographics in relation to the demographic makeup of PHA residents, as well as graphs and maps derived from a survey about resident transportation needs. Eva worked for both the Development Department and the Resident Services office, and spent time working in the PHA office as well as assisting the free summer lunch program at Front Street development. Overall, the experience was largely defined by the joint experience of interactions with residents, and diverse office work aimed at helping those same residents in various direct and indirect ways.

"With two supervisors I often had at least two projects to work on at a time, in addition to getting out of the office to go to a summer lunch program every day. I was given creative freedom and exploration in completing projects independently, as well as the opportunity to meet people who are doing work that is connected or tangential to this work, so the opportunities for career exploration extended far beyond providing public housing."

John Sledge '18John Sledge

John Sledge '18 (Government & Legal Studies) worked with Brunswick Housing Authority, a public housing agency that has needed to confront the challenges of easing an affordable housing crisis at a time of budget cuts and an increased regulatory burden. His work focused on learning more about the financial operation by compiling multiple financial statements, writing a request for a grant to redevelop one of their communities, and learning more about the development process by attending town planning board meetings and conducting bids for site work at a new development in Topsham. Additionally, John worked with children living at one of their communities by assisting two summer enrichment programs.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working at BHA and learning about the different challenges regarding public housing in Brunswick. Ameliorating an affordable housing crisis while operating under budget cuts and more regulation from the federal government is no easy task, but Brunswick Housing remains resilient and steadfast in its commitment. Their belief in the power of collaboration has allowed them to provide their clients a breadth of services. It was a privilege to gain broad exposure to the operation."

Jonah Watt '18Jonah Watt

As a fellow with the Maine Migrant Health Program, Jonah Watt '18 (Latin American Studies) split his time between the Augusta office and time out in the fields working on the program’s mobile medical units. In the office, he worked on preparing the organization’s mobile medical units for the summer’s clinics and developed an online mapping database using GIS. For the month of August, he was based Downeast where the blueberry farms are located. While there, he worked on registration for the clinics and staffed food drops, dental clinics, and other resource fairs in the area, having the chance to interact with clients.

"This summer, I experienced both sides of non-profit organizations: I spent weeks in the office, organizing supplies, and preparing the mobile units for clinics. Then in the field I had the opportunity to see a man walking away with a medication that I had placed on the unit, connecting the work I had done in a full circle. This experience provided me with a greater appreciation for the work done by MMHP and other non-profits to provide necessary services for those in need."

Jack Weiss '17Jack Weiss

At the Maine Center for Economic Policy Jack Weiss '17 (Government and Legal Studies) focused on identifying and quantifying lost federal funding in Maine. Through extensive research, and outreach to the many MECEP partners, he concluded that Maine has lost close to one billion dollars of funding. In addition to this research, Jack wrote articles on the current state of tax expenditure review, the effects of new federal overtime legislation, and the need to support adult post-secondary education. Through these efforts Jack learned the value of effective economic policy and how it influences Mainers everyday.

"Working at MECEP gave me a unique experience engaging in state and local policy making. The lessons I have learned about accurate research, thoughtful analysis, and thorough review will stick with me forever, and have demonstrated that the ability for change begins at an individual level. I am so thankful to the entire MECEP staff for this opportunity to learn and participate, and could not have asked for a better summer. "

Daisy Wislar '18Daisy Wislar

Daisy Wislar '18 (Sociology and Gender, Sexuality & Women Studies) completed a number of projects this summer while working at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. One main focus was researching senior hunger in the Midcoast area, and collaborating with local partner organizations and stakeholders to assess need. She researched the viability of licensing MCHPP’s kitchen as a commercial kitchen to be leased by local food producers. In addition to her research, Daisy completed a comprehensive assessment of volunteer experience—including conducting a series of focus groups, a survey, and analyzing all findings in a series of annual reports for agency review.

"During my time at MCHPP I took on challenging projects, learned new skills, and immersed myself in Brunswick’s local community. Working at the organization allowed me to explore my interests in health and food insecurity as it relates to this area. I am incredibly grateful for the staff at MCHPP, the wisdom they’ve shared with me, and the hard work they do to fight hunger in Maine."