The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development has partnered with the School of Kinesiology and Recreation along with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology to provide graduate students with new learning opportunities.
In 2015 the Stevenson Center added two new degree programs to the Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) Fellows Program and to the Peace Corps Fellows Program. In addition to applied economics, political science, and sociology, Fellows can now pursue master’s degrees in anthropology or kinesiology and recreation.
The Stevenson Center trains students for a lifetime of public service and global understanding. The center serves communities and organizations around the world, but most importantly, the center provides students with the tools they need for successful careers in community and economic development and related fields.
Cecilia Montesdeoca ’13, a current anthropology ACED Fellow, completed her undergraduate degree at Illinois State. She then served with the Illinois Public Health Association AmeriCorps program before becoming a team leader with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. After two years with AmeriCorps, Montesdeoca chose the center for the unique Fellows programs and integration of multiple degree options.
“The Stevenson Center is a fantastic program. The staff, faculty, curriculum, and cohort have all contributed to me having a great experience,” Montesdeoca said.
A Michigan native, Lauren Troxtel was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tigray, a northern region of Ethiopia. As a community health volunteer, she worked with a disabilities association to create a permaculture garden, among other projects. She returned to the United States and is now pursuing a master’s degree in kinesiology and recreation.
“The School of Kinesiology and Recreation fits into the Peace Corps Fellows Program because it allows students to understand how recreation and health play a beneficial role in community development,” Troxtel said. “A healthy community is a happy community.”
Each program takes two years to complete. The first year is spent on campus taking classes, and the second year Fellows are placed in community and economic development internships across the U.S. Montesdeoca is working with the Dakota Resource Council as a community organizer and believes that her placement “is ideal for an anthropologist.” Troxtel is a health liaison for the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.
“My internship has provided me with an incredible amount of opportunities to network and absorb as much as I can about how the community works in regards to housing from a federal, national, local, and nonprofit perspective,” Troxtel said.
Stevenson Center alumni go on to work in a wide variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and in local, state, and federal government. The combination of training, research, and hands-on experience positions students to be uniquely competitive in the job market.
With the addition of anthropology and kinesiology and recreation as degree options, the Stevenson Center is attracting more students who strive every day to give back to their communities.
If you are interested in learning more about the Stevenson Center’s graduate study options and ways to serve communities in need, visit the Stevenson Center today!
Kaitlin Pavsner is the Stevenson Center’s public relations intern.