J.B. Chun '11 (Economics & History) worked with the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) to advance their core mission of advancing public policy that helps Maine people prosper in a strong, fair and sustainable economy. He was actively involved executing research related to the TABOR and the estate tax initiatives. J.B. also contributed to the State of Working Maine 2009 report and hosted an episode of the State of the State on MPBN featuring other Bowdoin College summer fellows.
"I never imagined the amount of influence politics, numbers, and seemingly minute policy decisions have on people. I’m humbled every day by the genuine passion and talent of those who are involved in this work. They are integral in actively creating more just, equitable, and prosperous lives for all Mainers. It is why my role in advancing MECEP’s goals have been so very eye-opening and tremendously rewarding."
Martha Clarke '11 (Government and Legal Studies) helped the Maine Volunteer Lawyer’s Project (VLP) advance their mission of providing sound legal advice to low income residents of the state. She spent much of her time completing in-depth phone interviews with clients regarding their legal problems and providing one-on-one assistance to clients at the Portland and Lewiston District Courts. Martha also developed her own project in which she explored the recent trend of home foreclosures both nationally and in Maine, and then updated the housing section of VLP's volunteer training manual.
"The justice system can be confusing even for educated and well-off individuals. Poverty makes a complicated system even more difficult to navigate. I now have a greater understanding and appreciation for organizations like VLP that work to lessen the inordinate impact that poverty has on access to the justice system."
Maina Handmaker '11 (Environmental Studies & Visual Arts) spent the summer working with Bowdoin Professor Wiebke Theodore and The Maine Building Materials Exchange on the concept of a year-round farmers’ market space for Brunswick. The project addressed a community need while examining building preservation and fulfilling an environmental responsibility to salvage and reuse building materials. Maina interviewed community members and incorporated their thoughts with her analysis of the site to developed a more unified vision. The program she has put together – for a space in support of small farmers, access to local food, community partnerships, and preserving a piece of Brunswick’s history, can now be used to inform the design and, perhaps eventually, the creation of the market.
"I’ve been taught that design has the power to solve problems – that creation of spaces can bring together community. I’ve spent this summer doing research and building community connections. In talking with Brunswick’s farmers and eaters, developers, planners, teachers, business managers, and organizers I have learned how indispensable community collaboration is to any design decision, or any grassroots change."
Annie Kass '11 (Psychology) spent the summer working with the Oasis Health Network to bring free health care to the low-income and uninsured population of the greater Brunswick area. Throughout her internship she worked one-on-one with patients to help them apply for and obtain MaineCare and various prescription assistance programs. Annie served as staff for the biweekly mental health clinic, spent time researching the availability and standards of care of mental health services at other free clinics, and attended strategic planning meetings with the Board of Directors.
"There is nothing like having the opportunity to give back to the community that has raised you. I met incredible people and heard remarkable stories while helping a part of the Brunswick community that is sometimes overlooked by those of us in the Bowdoin Bubble. I learned something new every day about the needs of the nation’s healthcare programs, the strengths and challenges of a nonprofit, and the different ways there are to serve the members of our community."
Katherine Stewart '12 (undecided) spent the summer working at Preble Street learning about issues of homelessness and hunger in Maine. By assisting with the Breakfast program, she gained valuable insight into the daily lives and struggles of the homeless in Portland. Katy also reorganized the organization’s Clothing Closet, creating a more effective system for getting clothes to those who need them.
"Working at Preble Street, I’ve come to more fully understand and appreciate the everyday trials of homeless men and women. These people face extraordinary obstacles, whether due to socioeconomic status, mental health, or a language barrier, yet they maintain their dignity and are wonderful to know."
Morgan Taggart-Hampton '11 (Africana Studies & Sociology) worked with Bowdoin Professor Craig McEwen and the Brunswick Housing Authority (BHA) to advance the literature surrounding low-income housing. She helped to finish interviews with residents in Perryman Village, a 50-unit public housing complex in Cook’s Corner, Maine. After completing the interviews, Morgan finished a report on the stigma, social support networks, and future housing preferences of the residents, stemming a quantitative analysis of the data collected from the interviews to share with BHA and the members of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"Through my fellowship, I had the opportunity to participate and learn about the practical applications of the information that I have been learning in my sociology classes surrounding the issues facing those in poverty. It helped me focus on figuring out what I may want to do after graduating from Bowdoin concerning issues of low-income housing, health care, and public policy."
Elaine Tsai '10 (Economics) interned at The Mitchell Institute. Dedicated to increasing the likelihood that young people from communities in Maine will aspire, pursue and achieve a college education, the Mitchell Institute provides scholarships and conducts research on the obstacles that may stand between Maine students and higher education. Elaine produced a literature review on workplace education for the Maine Employer’s Initiative, which she presented to the advisory board. She also helped update the “Indicators of Higher Education Attainment in Maine” report for 2009 and began the researching process for the Barriers 3 report.
"At the Mitchell Institute, I was able to experience first-hand the process of policy research with the intention of providing better and more informed advice to policymakers and other programs. This fellowship has allowed me to apply the academic knowledge and research skills learned in the classroom to projects and initiatives that are directly working towards addressing the issues of higher education attainment."
Samantha Waxman '10 (Classics & English) interned with Five Rivers Arts Alliance (FRAA) a nonprofit organization that connects Midcoast artists with the people who live in and visit the region. She used her marketing experience to help FRAA with various membership development projects, including the use of new media and the creation of a membership information packet. She also documented FRAA’s Friday ArtWalks in Brunswick and Bath, led a workshop for children at the Harpswell Festival, and had the opportunity to meet various Midcoast artists and art professionals.
"Working with Five Rivers has given me a snapshot of the challenges and triumphs of running a small nonprofit with ambitious ideas and limited resources. I have gotten to know the truly amazing Midcoast artist community and gained an understanding of the importance of arts advocacy, especially in these troubled economic times."
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."
While working at Tedford Housing, Carolyn Boyle '08 (Government & Legal Studies/Economics) learned about homelessness and affordable housing in MidCoast Maine. In addition to gaining experience in day-to-day non-profit management and researching and writing grants, she was responsible for planning the celebration that accompanied Tedford's opening of the Evergreen Wood Apartments for homeless families in Bath. As part of her research project for Tedford Housing, Carolyn coded the shelter's intake forms to develop a database of characteristics of guests using Tedford shelters as a basis for further study of homelessness in Maine.
"When I return to Bowdoin this fall as a student, I will continue my summer research on homelessness and affordable housing through a class project with Tedford Housing. Through data collection, we hope to get a better picture of the reasons behind homelessness in MidCoast Maine, and then come up with strategies to eliminate homelessness."
Sara Griffin '09 (Art History & Visual Arts/ Latin American Studies) spent the summer with the Five River Arts Alliance, a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect regional arts, culture and heritage through advocacy, education, promotion, and celebration. She was able to contribute to every aspect of the organization's mission - website development, writing for the Artscape publication, and researching for and promoting events. In addition to learning new skills in technology, Sara also was exposed to institutional knowledge that allowed her privileged access into the lively culture of MidCoast Maine.
"This was an invaluable experience, and it has made me a much more aware and active citizen of Maine. My experience at Five Rivers changed the way I think of myself as a student and, in some ways, as a person."
Suzanne Heller '09 (Psycology/Teaching) interned with Independence Association, an organization which provides services for adults and children with developmental disabilities and promotes community inclusion. Suzanne was able to create many new opportunities for Independence Association clients and brought a fresh, new perspective to creating unique programming activities. In addition, Suzanne took on several other tasks including writing a comprehensive report of completed satisfaction surveys; creating a template for an employee newsletter; and planning a camping trip for several interested individuals.
"It is a constant challenge to provide meaningful services that best support an individual's unique needs while still allowing room for new experiences. I will surely use all that I learned at Independence Association as I pursue my studies and a possible career in the field of special education."
Jeana Petillo '09 (Psychology) worked with Volunteer of America Northern New England, an organization that provides a variety of services for youth, adults, families and seniors. Starting the summer with a week as a counselor at camp POSTCARD (Police Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams), Jeana continued to address her interest in serving the needs of youth through the Homeless Youth Outreach program in Lewiston, Maine. The culmination of her summer included organizing the first-ever job fair hosted at the Maine Correctional Women's Center in Windham in which 14 Maine employers participated. The event was such a success that the Maine Department of Corrections hopes to replicate the model across the state.
"The most powerful program I participated in this summer was Homeless Youth Outreach. After spending time with some of the kids and looking for others in need of assistance, I have a new perspective on issues that nearby youth are facing."
The principal mission of the Mitchell Institute is to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to pursue and achieve a college education. Aisha Woodward '08 (Government & Legal Studies/English) began her work with the Mitchell Institute last fall interviewing students and school officials for the Barriers II study. Her fellowship this summer included updating the report with more recent data; organizing school specific data for participating school; and attending the pre-release briefing for the State Department of Education, local press agencies and college presidents. Aisha has continued her work in the academic year by developing programs through which Bowdoin students may imiplement Barriers II recommendations in local high schools.
"An important part of this fellowship experience was recognizing that societal problems, specifically poverty, take away a person's right to make choices that we believe are 'necessary' - like pursuing a postsecondary education, finding affordable housing, or having access to healthcare. I gained awareness of the links between all of the organizations the fellows worked for, and I have a broader understanding of the complex challenges our society faces."
Matt Yantakosol '10 (Government & Legal Studies) spent his summer working with the Town of Brunswick Planning and Development Office. His projects included creating a PowerPoint display of recent building renovations in the historic section of Brunswick; producing two brochures describing walks that he designed for Healthy Maine Walks; and updating the town's 2002 Open Space Map. This last project involved researching easements, subdivision plans, town assessing maps and deeds. Matt also attended a multitude of meetings regarding a range of town topics including transportation, the reuse of the Brunswick Naval Air Station and zoning issues.'10
"Learning about the MidCoast Collaborations for Access to Transportation provided me with a greater understanding of the issues of public transportation at the local level. This fellowship helped me to become more familiar with the overall Brunswick community - realizing resources I never knew existed. Our site visits to conservation properties in particular gave me a greater appreciation for natural resources and the necessity of protecting them."
As part of her fellowship with Independence Association , a non-profit with a mission of assisting those with disabilities in obtaining full and inclusive lives in their community, Lily interviewed parents of children with developmental disabilities about services that would enable the entire family to thrive. She also worked with members of the marketing committee to develop text for the redesigned website and assisted in implementing the Peer-to-Peer Resources Project for Independence Association adult clients interested in sharing their skills with others. In addition, by serving for the summer as an Executive Assistant to the Director, Lily was able to learn the intricacies of running and organization. Lastly, Lily was fortunate to be able to spend time talking with and working alongside artists at Spindleworks, a studio and gallery space for adults with disabilities.
"This fellowship has given me the chance to see the strengths of the Brunswick community. There are countless examples of organizations and individual community members working together for common goals that I never would have noticed without my time at Independence Association."
Michel Bamani spent his fellowship working as an intern with Volunteers of America, whose focus is providing affordable low-income housing for seniors and a variety of services for youth, adults and families. Michel spent his summer conducting data analysis and data collections, as well as interacting with kids. By serving as a counselor at Camp POSTCARD he played outdoors with kids and police officers for three hours a week. Michel was responsible for a survey project on elderly abuse, which included data analysis and interpretation, presenting data at a board meeting and revising the survey to better capture the desired information in the future. Michel also helped collect data regarding the BNAS closing and its possible effects on homelessness in the area, and worked on a project to help VOA strengthen their programs so that they meet their desired outcomes.
"My fellowship taught me the importance of advocacy and the extent of issues that seriously need to be addressed within our society. My experience at Volunteers of America has served as an eye-opener and as a motivator in stimulating my desire to raise awareness and create changes regarding societal issues surrounding youth and elderly abuse as well as people with mental illnesses."
Anna Karass spent her summer at Tedford Shelter, the primary provider of shelter and housing services to residents in the area. Through her work, Karass increased her awareness of homeless issues in the area, as well as gained valuable work experience in the non-profit sector. Her first project at Tedford introduced her to grant writing and provided her with the opportunity to write portions of a federal grant application with guidance from Housing and Resources Director, Giff Jamison. Karass also developed program policies and procedures for an innovative mentoring program designed to provide homeless families and those at risk for homelessness with a caring mentor. Karass’ final project allowed her to experiment with technology by redesigning and updating the Tedford Shelter website.
"My experience working with Tedford Shelter as a Community Action Fellow was invaluable. At Tedford I felt like my projects were meaningful and actually made a difference. I wasn't just another intern who did the photocopying and filed papers."
Sara Schlotterbeck worked at the Oasis Health Center in Brunswick with their Community Prescription Assistance Program (CPAP). The Oasis Health Center is a free clinic that provides quality health care to eligible uninsured adults in the area. CPAP assists both patients of the clinic and patients of providers in the area in obtaining free or low-cost prescriptions through pharmaceutical company programs. Her responsibilities included patient advocacy work, research, answering phones, writing, processing applications for prescription assistance and working with others at Oasis to address situations as they arose.
"I will take the lessons that I learned from co-workers and patients at Oasis with me for the rest of my life. I feel like I have developed a deep understanding of the challenges and vital importance of providing quality health care to all."
Debbie Theodore spent the summer working with Five Rivers Arts Alliance, a non-profit arts organization that seeks to connect the arts, culture and heritage of the mid-coast region. Debbie focused on writing promotional material for Five Rivers events, editing and adding content to the organization’s new website, gathering survey responses from local artists, promoting Five Rivers Arts Alliance at regional festivals, and attending board and committee meetings to learn about the structure of non-profit organizations. She frequently visited arts venues in Brunswick and became familiar with the challenges that local artists, gallery owners and arts and cultural organizations face. She also worked on developing closer ties between Five Rivers Arts Alliance and Bowdoin College by building relationships with the Art and Music Departments.
"Because of this fellowship, I have been able to feel like a member of Brunswick as well as a student at Bowdoin. My experience at Five Rivers Arts Alliance has shown me the energy and creativity within the Brunswick community and has revealed the benefits of building closer ties between Brunswick and Bowdoin."
Alex Weaver worked in the Town of Brunswick Planning and Development Office. Much of Alex’s early work included learning about the major issues in Brunswick, through reading relevant literature and by attending meetings of local committees and organizations. As the summer progressed, Alex took on a number of projects that had a direct impact on the course of these issues throughout the summer. Such projects included compiling a funding spreadsheet for the MidCoast Collaborative of local organizations that should be contacted to make public transportation in Brunswick a reality; creating a photo documentation packet for the Town Council about Bowdoin College’s New Soccer Field project; designing two projects for Bowdoin’s upcoming Common Good Day; and helping write a grant for the Maine Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. In addition, Alex took meeting notes at various meetings, attended site walks to get a first-hand understanding of some of the issues, sat in on small developer meetings, and offered general help around the office.
"To me the most important thing about this fellowship experience was gaining a sense of personal professionalism by being provided the freedom to explore the major issues in Brunswick while at the same time having people around me who could guide me when needed."