Current and Past Recipients

Our current and past fellows and the work they did with our community partner organizations.

2019 McKeen Community Fellows and Their Placements 

Jessica Bae '22Jessia Bae '22 (undeclared)

This summer, Jessica worked at ArtVan, a mobile arts therapy organization dedicated to bringing the arts and art supplies to neighborhoods with little to no arts access. ArtVan focuses on under-resourced communities, specifically youth, and the goal is to allow participants to fully express themselves and their imaginations through different art mediums while also cultivating their self-confidence and identities. ArtVan prioritizes long-term relationship building and consistency, an idea that was emphasized when Jessica assisted at neighborhood and community partnership art-making programs. Jessica also worked on the operational front by performing tasks such as researching for grants and compiling data from the programs.

"It’s easy to highlight the major events, but I was most profoundly impacted by the small moments at ArtVan this summer. Each time I saw a kid’s face light up when their parent joined our art projects, or when they discovered the amazing things they could do with paint, I realized why I enjoyed the work I was doing. I was amazed everyday by the sheer imaginative capacity of both our youth and adult participants, and I will forever be grateful to ArtVan and my amazing supervisors for what has been my most unique, fun learning experience."

Mollie Eisner '21Mollie Eisner '21 (English and Government & Legal Studies)

At Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services, Mollie worked in the legal services department to provide support to immigrants and refugees with their applications and legal questions. Over the course of the summer, she helped clients fill out numerous applications and provided administrative support in the office, teaching staff members about new technological programs, and completing organizational tasks. Mollie researched aspects of immigration law, as well as potential policy changes, while witnessing the vibrant immigrant community in Maine and the individuals who work hard to welcome new Mainers.

"At Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services, I helped to provide immigrants and refugees with legal help. Specifically, I assisted clients with legal documents such as applications for citizenship and petitions for family members. This summer was a crash course in immigration law, and I witnessed first-hand how quickly policies change under the current administration--and how these changes impact communities in Maine. The most rewarding aspect of my work was meeting with our wonderful clients."

Elise Hocking '22Elise Hocking '22 (undeclared)

Elise continued the work that Annie Rose '20 started last year developing Tedford Housing’s volunteer program. She assessed the feasibility of the volunteer roles outlined by Annie and worked to launch the most promising new roles. Elise advanced Tedford’s volunteer recognition protocol. By interviewing the volunteer coordinators of other nonprofits, she looked for effective ways to express volunteer appreciation with the goal of increasing the long-term engagement of volunteers with Tedford. In addition to her work on the volunteer program, Elise volunteered weekly at The Gathering Place and assisted with the planning of the upcoming community book discussions surrounding The Hundred Story Home by Kathy Izard.

Working with Tedford Housing has shifted my understanding of the Brunswick community. During my internship, I was introduced to the realities of food insecurity, mental health issues, substance abuse, and homelessness that are often overlooked due to the presentation of affluence on Main Street. Through ongoing interaction with individuals experiencing homeless, I gained a better understanding of the complexity of homelessness and the network of nonprofits working to end homelessness in the Brunswick community."

Mohamed Kilani '21Mohamed Kilani '21 (Education and Hispanic Studies)

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project advised and represented low-income clients in complex immigration cases where they would likely be unsuccessful without a costly private attorney. The complexity of immigration law means that without a legal representative to advocate on their behalf, many vulnerable immigrants would be forced to navigate the system alone and risk making errors that could lead to losing legal status or being deported. As the summer intern, Mohamed participated in the Forms Clinic program at ILAP. His task was to assist clients with citizenship and permanent residency inquiries, as well as preparing work permit applications and change of address forms for asylum-seeking families in the Portland area.

"I am forever thankful for having the opportunity to participate at ILAP and continue its mission. As a refugee and previous client at ILAP, it is especially heartwarming to be part of a staff that has committed itself to serving those who are often neglected by American society. Core values like social justice, integrity, and respect are the driving forces of such a productive and successful organization. I highly recommend this experience!"

Sarah Bridget Konefal '20Sarah Brigid Konefal '20 (Biology and Gender, Sexuality, and Womens Studies)

Sarah work at Oasis Free Clinics in Brunswick, Maine, primarily with Executive Director, Anita Ruff. She actively practiced Oasis’ mission to provide humanistic care, specifically helping the clinic transition with the implementation of MaineCare expansion. Sarah Brigid also assisted Ms. Ruff in building upon Oasis’ communications through social media and fundraising to ensure that both the clinic’s and the patients’ needs are met and supported.

"There is so much more to Maine past Bowdoin, and connecting with the patients at Oasis has shaped my perspective on the lack of healthcare accessibility in the Brunswick area and beyond. I’ve learned how become an advocate for public health—an important, yet neglected, area of medicine.  I’m thankful for all the invaluable experiences that Oasis has given me and will take it with me going forward as I pursue a career in healthcare."

Anne McKee '20Anne McKee '20 (Environmental Studies and History)

Anne wore many hats in her work for the Merrymeeting Gleaners. She coordinated volunteers "gleaning" each week (harvesting crops to donate to community organizations), conducted interviews with partner organizations, assisted in data collection, strengthened connections with Bath’s LOCAL garden, and expanded food outreach to new towns through the Sharing Table program. Her self-designed project was focused on diversifying the “gleaner” (volunteer harvester) profile – most gleaners are retirees from the Midcoast area – by reaching out to middle/high schools, immigrant communities, and intellectually disabled workers. Lastly, in addition to hosting site visits to farms, Anne collaborated with the Bowdoin fellows from Tedford Housing to organize a community dinner with gleaned produce, and is currently working with the Catholic Charities fellow for immigrant involvement in gleaning.

"Working with Merrymeeting Gleaners this summer opened my eyes to the widespread yet largely invisible problem of food insecurity in Maine. By connecting farms to community organizations, MMG not only increases food access, but mitigates stigma, reduces food waste, and strengthens community. Understanding food security as both environmental and social – with ramifications on both community and global scales – has given new meaning to my identity as a native Mainer and as an environmental studies major at Bowdoin. It was invigorating to work with amazing individuals and witness the power that a community effort can have. I will always remember the kindness of all whom I worked."

Clare Murphy '20Clare Murphy '20 (Governement & Legal Studies and Latin American Studies)

Clare’s major long term project with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program was her participation in the Summer Food Service Program. This included her role as a site supervisor at CML, outreach for the program as a whole, creating and administering a survey on accompanying adult meals, and crafting a proposal for Mobile SFSP sites. Clare also be managed MCHPP’s social media pages.

"I’ve really enjoyed getting to see and experience different aspects of MCHPP’s programs, including talking to clients in the dining room, helping in the pantry, and supervising lunch through the Summer Food Service Program. I’ve learned a lot about the challenges food insecure populations face beyond hunger, and the difficulty of meeting these needs. I’m excited to gather client feedback about our services through administering surveys and to expand outreach efforts through social media."

Archer Thomas '21Archer Thomas '21 (Government & Legal Studies and History)

At Portland Housing Authority, Archer worked in the resident services department, primarily with CHEETA, a youth empowerment program consisting of a cohort of teenagers living in public housing who undertake a variety of service projects based out of PHA’s Study Center system, and emPOWERme, a collection of programs that help residents achieve financial self-sufficiency. With CHEETA, Archer modified service project planning documents, created and implemented a curriculum of activities to help participants think more deeply about their communities, and acted as a liaison between neighborhood cohorts. With emPOWERme, Archer performed a variety of tasks associated with more efficiently delivering social services to participants.

"Working at Portland Housing Authority has given me the opportunity to learn about and directly tackle issues of poverty, housing, and education in an urban setting. Through working with PHA’s youth empowerment program, I have served the community directly. Through working with PHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency program, I have learned about what goes on behind the scene of a social services organization. My experience at PHA has affirmed my interest in public policy and my desire to further social justice."

Lily Tedford '22Lily Tedford '22 (undeclared)

Lily worked with the Publications department at The Telling Room to further their mission of sharing youth voices with the world. She assisted in book distribution and worked to widen the audience for The Telling Room’s books and find new funding sources to support their publications. One of her main projects this summer was contributing to the Read While You Wait project, a Telling Room initiative to place their books in local waiting rooms and other community hubs. She also worked on organizing public author reading events to give local students the chance to read their published work in front of a live audience.

"Working with The Telling Room has given me a deeper understanding of the nonprofit sphere and allowed me to contribute to their mission of sharing youth voices with the world. I’ve seen firsthand the impact that reading youth stories has on the local community. This fellowship has shown me just how empowering creative writing and publishing can be, and I continue to be inspired every day I read the work produced by The Telling Room’s incredible writers."