2017 McKeen Community Fellows and Their Placements

Latif Armiyaw '18Abdul-Latif Armiyaw '18 (Biology) worked in Brunswick, ME with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program to coordinate & evaluate USDA Summer Food Service Program and research a pilot program for their mobile food pantry, using GIS training to help find potential sites.

"My time at MCHPP has been nothing short of being extraordinary. Being fully immersed in the daily operations allowed me to acknowledge the nobility and compassion of both staff members and volunteers alike, as they worked together to not only prevent hunger, but to also improve the quality of the lives of their clients in a respectful and dignified manner."

Julianna Burke '18Julianna Burke '18 (Francophone Studies and Sociology) worked in the greater Brunswick area with ArtVan, a mobile arts therapy organization seeking to provide meaningful and fun artistic programming for youth lacking such opportunities. She supported their on site programming and fundraising efforts, and assisted the organization with administrative needs.

"I have loved building relationships with the brilliant kids living in the communities of Lewiston, Bath, Brunswick, Biddeford, and Auburn. These youth have such an infectious, creative energy and a desire to play – it was so rewarding to help them develop their ideas, work together, and build confidence in their abilities as artists and human beings."

Steve Colins '18Steven Colin '18 (Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies) worked in Portland, ME with Preble Street on their USDA Summer Food Service Program to improve Food Supplement Program participation through enrollment & outreach and supported food delivery at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen.

"I’m grateful for this opportunity to affect change at a personal level through the soup kitchen and resource center at Preble Street. It has been fulfilling to use my bilingual skills and cultural understanding to help some of our non English speaking clients and helped me to realize that regardless of race, gender, age and immigration status everyone is entitled to food and housing security."

Miranda Dils '19Miranda Dils '19 (English and Psychology) joined the staff at the The Mitchell Institute and assisted the team in its mission to provide financial and personal support to Maine high school students of all backgrounds seeking higher education. She worked on a variety of projects, including helping to distribute and collect a survey to college students and Mitchell Institute alums, analyzing the survey data in order to expand the current research and improve the scholarship program, developing marketing content for various platforms, and planning signature events for Scholars.

"Through my fellowship I've learned firsthand how a non-profit operates on a daily basis. I appreciated the balance between data and research-focused projects and my direct communication and engagement with students. Hearing from Scholars about how the Mitchell Institute has contributed to their success and witnessing the immense care, thoughtfulness, and expertise that the staff brought to their work inspired me and strengthened my passion for collaborating with others to increase educational access through both individualized support and broader initiatives."

Olivia Giles '20Olivia Giles '20 worked this summer in Brunswick as part of The Gathering Place community. She helped create a database of contacts and resources available in the Midcoast Maine region in order assist guests in finding services that are not currently offered at The Gathering Place. Olivia also helped research and plan programming for the guests in order to improve their visits.

"My experience this summer has completely changed how I look at the state that I call home. I never understood the extent to which homelessness was a problem here. Learning about the roots of poverty in the Midcoast region has made the issue real and has given me a passion for bringing awareness to the rest of the community. I am so thankful for all the people I met that showed me that human worth is not measured in dollar bills."

Bridget Hoke '20Bridget Hoke '20 worked at Portland Housing Authority to support outreach efforts for the community needs assessments and development projects in public housing neighborhoods around the City of Portland. She also supported outreach efforts for our development department and possibly research opportunities, services, programs, and grants to address established needs and make recommendations to the PHA.

"Having been exposed to the immigrant and refugee population of Portland on my Alternative Winter Break, I knew I would love getting to know the community better this summer through my work at PHA. This internship has been incredibly enriching, from running a community needs assessment, to hanging out with the neighborhood kids at the playground or the study center. PHA has given me great independence and support to get to know their non-profit and the population they serve."

Sarah Lim '18Sarah Lim '18 (Government & Legal Studies and Psychology) examined the barriers facing immigrants, refugees, asylees, and low income individuals and families in the greater Portland area with Community Financial Literacy. Financial instability is a mitigating factor that debilitates upward mobility, and the support and empowerment that the CFL provides through financial literacy education is unique and critical for the growing immigrant population in Maine.

"In a small non-profit organization such as CFL, I was able to work with every staff member and see the critical work that each staff member contributes to the organization. The financial empowerment that CFL provides was visible in the classes taught by the CFL staff, many who are immigrants and refugees themselves. The fellowship provided me with the opportunity to understand the diversity of the immigrant communities in Portland and the significant role they play in Maine."

Victoria Lowrie '18Victoria Lowrie '18 (Government & Legal Studies) offered concrete legal assistance to the marginalized population of refugees and immigrants residing in Maine through this fellowship with Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project. By working to address the various legal concerns that an immigrant may face, she expanded individuals' opportunities to comfortably settle and thrive in Maine.

"Working in the Pro Se Clinic at ILAP provided me with in-depth insight into the various complexities of immigration law and how the intersection of immigration status, poverty, race, and other areas of identity can impact families and individuals in Maine and throughout the country. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met and worked with so many inspiring members of immigrant communities in Maine."

Julie Scholes '20Julie Scholes '20 interned at Partners for World Health in Portland shadowws project managers to learn about the specific roles and organization within PWH, analyzed data collected from prior medical missions led by PWH, researched and identified potential grants and funders, and assisted in the organization of fundraising events throughout the summer.

"Working alongside the founder of PWH, I gained a great appreciation for the dedication and passion necessary to run a successful nonprofit. Throughout the summer, I assisted in all aspects of the nonprofit: collecting medical supplies from local hospitals, sorting and packaging the collected supplies, and shipping them to hospitals in Syria and Pakistan. It was rewarding to see how we could use discarded medical items to provide valuable supplies to hospitals in developing countries."

Abby Silsby '20 Through the McKeen Center and Bowdoin Career Planning, Abby Silsby '20 worked with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and the constituents of the West Bath Courthouse to explore the opportunities and issues around legal advocacy in mid coast Maine.

"Interning with the VLP, Bowdoin Career Planning, and the McKeen Center this summer has confirmed my interest in the justice system. The opportunity to not only help establish a Courthouse Assistance Project in West Bath, but to assist many low-income Mainers has been incredible. Beyond teaching me about the many intricacies of family law, my experience demonstrated just how important improving access to justice is for Maine communities."