Eight teams of first-year students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will complete public service projects in partnership with public agencies, community initiatives, academic ventures, and nonprofit organizations across Arkansas during the 2021-22 academic year.
As part of the school’s Master of Public Service degree program, the students will earn academic credit for their work on projects that include conducting a needs assessment of legal services across several rural Arkansas counties, developing research to identify the barriers for artists of color to achieving economic equity in Arkansas, and providing recommendations to inform a 10-year master plan on the use of undeveloped land in southwest Little Rock.
"Practicum is the first project where students get to practice what they are learning in the classroom,” said Hilary Trudell, Director of Local Programs and Regional Outreach for the Office of Community Engagement. “This meeting of theory and practice would not be possible without our Practicum partners. We are able to offer a diverse variety of intriguing and challenging projects because of the thought and effort of our partners. The Clinton School field work program could not exist without this community support."
These projects are part of the Clinton School’s Practicum program, the first of three public service projects completed during the two-year master’s degree program.
The Clinton School students will participate in the projects while also completing coursework on topics such as program planning and development, field research, and communication.
Arkansas-based organizations that are interested in partnering with the Clinton School on future projects should contact Hilary Trudell at email@example.com.
2021-22 Practicum Projects:
Students: Haoua Bello Barkire (Niamey, Niger), Micah Beck (Green Bay, Wis.), Robert Stodola (Little Rock, Ark.), Julia Tsisin (West Haven, Conn.)
Supervisors: Nancy Leonhardt, Heather Powell
Students will conduct research to explore the training and curriculum needs of literacy tutors and gauge interest in developing a tutor network to share ideas and best practices among the cohort. Students will also develop plain-speak descriptions of curriculum the tutors use so that non-educational tutors can understand what population and learning types the curriculum best serves.
“Working with a Clinton School Practicum team has been a wonderful experience. The level of professionalism, creativity, and enthusiasm from past teams has encouraged me to apply for a team whenever a need arises. As a small nonprofit, the teams have allowed my organization to research, explore, and create new opportunities that otherwise would have gone untapped. I look forward to the Clinton School Practicum team’s input and research to help us develop a statewide tutor network for our adult literacy councils. This project has been on my mind for many years and I have not had the resources to bring it to fruition with a staff of two. I knew that a Clinton School Practicum team, with their education in research and program planning, design, and evaluation, they would help ALA determine first, if there is a desire for a tutor network, and second, what it should look to meet the needs of our 200+ volunteer tutors around the state.”
– Nancy Leonhardt, Executive Director
Students: Derek Bixler (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Hannah Lang (Bozeman, Mont.), Katie Matthews (Bentonville, Ark.), Sophie Rudder (Hot Springs, Ark.)
Supervisor: Jackie Roach
To support the organization's goal of ending the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs in America's shelters by 2025, students will conduct research to identify challenges of organizations in Little Rock working in animal welfare, analyze gaps in data and present solutions, and build a coalition of animal welfare organizations who can work together collaboratively and to establish grass roots advocacy teams in Pulaski County.
“Best Friends Animal Society is working to achieve a lofty goal to stop the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs in America’s shelters by 2025. In Arkansas, we are making progress, but still estimate that there are nearly 7,000 lives annually that need to be saved. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the information we need to deploy resources and help Arkansas communities and shelters save more lives. This is where the Clinton School can help. We want to take a targeted approach to securing missing information. In addition, we want to better understand each targeted community’s needs beyond just ‘noses in and noses out’ of the animal shelter. If we can identify gaps in municipal support or opportunities in animal codes and ordinances, we can begin to affect change at the root of the problem and make Arkansas a better place for animals.”
– Jackie Roach, Senior Programs Manager
Students: Hayley Cormican (Batesville, Ark.), Araba Eshun (Takoradi, Ghana), Mary Larkin Furlow (Fayetteville, Ark.), Kelly Owen (Little Rock, Ark.)
Supervisors: Dr. Pamela Bax, Dr. Patrice Bax
Students will conduct exploratory research to identify the barriers for artists of color and creative professionals to achieving economic equity in Arkansas. Research will include best practices for building pathways to economic opportunities and generational wealth and achieving economic stability to sustain low-wealth creative professionals of color working in media, film, theater, performing arts and entertainment, visual arts, publishing, photography, production, and music who live and work in Pulaski County, Arkansas.
“We are excited to be selected as a partner organization to host a group of students who will conduct their Practicum project at Brandon House Cultural & Performing Arts Center. We feel the Clinton School students will have the skills-based and theory-based education that is needed to conduct research to identify the barriers that low-wealth creative professionals encounter to achieve economic equity and economic stability to sustain themselves and their families. With the help of the Clinton School students, we are hopeful that the research these students conduct will help Brandon House explore a neighborhood-based creative economy model that has a goal to support culture-based neighborhood revitalization for marginalized Arkansas creative professionals, artists, and musicians.”
– Dr. Pamela Bax, Executive Director, and Dr. Patrice Bax, Director of Programs
Students: Brooke Caraway (Batesville, Ark.), Mia-angel Bennett (Cabot, Ark.), Chase Encalade (Pointe à la Hache, La.), Osaretin Omoregie (Benin City, Nigeria)
Supervisor: Zach Baumgarten
To inform the Center for Arkansas Legal Service’s large-scale strategic plan, students will conduct a community needs assessment of legal services needed in several counties (mostly rural) within the organization's service area. Students will fine-tune and supplement existing surveys targeting potential clients, judges and clerks, community partners who provide direct services, coalition organizations, and pro-bono attorneys. Students will provide recommendations based on survey results that will inform the organization's work moving forward.
“Needs assessments are an important tool for any organization that serves the public. Knowing what our client’s needs are and what issues they are facing is critical for us to be able to properly serve them. When it was decided we should conduct a needs assessment, the Clinton School Practicum program was the first thing we thought of. We know that the Clinton School is great at preparing their students to conduct effective, ethical, and professional assessments. We are confident that the Clinton School Practicum group will be able to help us not only identify partner organizations across our coverage area but also survey those organizations and their clients to find out what civil legal issues people are facing so we can better serve them and get our clients the help they need.”
– Zach Baumgarten, Outreach Coordinator
Students: Lydia Adusei (Kumasi, Ghana), Lucy Burgess (Rochester, Minn.), Brittany Chue (Springdale, Ark.), Van Combs (North Little Rock, Ark.)
Supervisors: James Owen, Kendra Pruitt
In order to inform a framework for sustainable policy development for Little Rock, students will conduct a community assessment on the needs, wants, knowledge, and perceptions of those living in the seven wards of Little Rock concerning sustainability. Themes may include energy use, transportation and green infrastructure, green space, healthy food access, and resiliency.
“Engaging with Clinton School students really increases our capacity to efficiently address problems like sustainability and resiliency from a municipal government perspective. Especially with broad challenges like sustainability, community engagement is important because we know that the topic means various things to various people and their respective communities. Having passionate, community-minded Clinton School students helping with this engagement empowers our office to truly hear more voices across our diverse city and develop the best policy solutions for everyone.”
– James Owen, Policy Analyst
Students: Becca Bona (Little Rock, Ark.), Malicat Chouyouti (Memphis, Tenn.), Gillian Gullett (Little Rock, Ark.), Javier Hernandez (Rogers, Ark.)
Supervisors: Kelly Fleming, Andrea Newton
Students will conduct research and provide recommendations to inform a 10-year master plan on the best use for 36 undeveloped acres in southwest Little Rock. Research will involve community engagement through surveys and/or focus groups, best practices inquiries, and coalition building.
“We have been gifted 36 acres of undeveloped land in southwest Little Rock and our next step is to reach out to the community and ask them to dream with us. We knew this would be a win-win; it is a perfect opportunity for Clinton School students to practice their classroom learning in the field, and it helps us tremendously in moving the project forward. We hope the students will help us determine the best and highest use of our southwest Little Rock property, inspiring residents to dream of a more equitable future, and empowering the community to help lead the way.”
– Kelly Fleming, Executive Director, and Andrea Newton, ReStore & Community Outreach
Students: Kwami Abdul-Bey (Gibson, Ark.), Kate Deegan (Cleveland, Ohio), Camille Watson (Lake Village, Ark.)
Supervisor: Dr. Rebecca Glazier
Students will work with the organization to analyze their findings on research conducted with clergy members regarding their work engaging congregations on race and conversations on race. Students will conduct best practices research to determine evidence-based approaches to engaging congregations on race and recommend 2-3 models for engagement. Students will receive feedback on these models from clergy leaders and congregants, and design a facilitation model based on feedback.
“Our research team at the Little Rock Congregations Study is thrilled to have the opportunity to once again work with the students at the Clinton School of Public Service. This year, we are focusing our research efforts on race and faith. Talking about race relations can be challenging and we look forward to the skill and sensitivity the Clinton School students will bring to community conversations on this topic. We plan to produce faith-based resources that will help congregations who are looking to move their places of worship and their communities forward when it comes to racial justice and reconciliation. We are excited to have the creativity and thoughtfulness of a Clinton School Practicum team in partnership with us as we do so.”
– Dr. Rebecca Glazier, Associate Professor
Students: Nate Young (Fort Smith, Ark.), Adam Williams (Jonesboro, Ark.), Erin Clement (Pine Bluff, Ark.), Ben Fray (Jonesboro, Ark.)
Supervisors: Daniel Bercher, Kristen Alexander
Students will research the implementation of the traumatic brain injury Medicaid waiver in other states, identify key stakeholders to engage, and create an implementation plan for establishing this waiver in AR. This project will give students experience with research that could ultimately lead to health policy change.
“As an alumna of the Clinton School, I know the Practicum teams have the capacity to dig deep into a topic and come at it with varying backgrounds and perspectives. Our organization needs support diving into the process for getting a brain injury Medicaid waiver in Arkansas, and I believe they have the skills to do the networking and information gathering to make this process feel more attainable for our organization.”
– Kristen Alexander, Health Educator
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.