During the Leaders of Distinction dinner on October 10, 2018, Harriett Steinbach, assistant director at the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, was honored as one of the Pantagraph’s 20 under 40.
The 20 under 40 program recognizes young professionals who excel in their careers, are passionate about the community and are making a mark in Central Illinois. Steinbach certainly meets all three criteria.
“Harriett is so deserving of this honor,” said Janet Paterson, interim director of the center. “We have seen her passion for education and community engagement in countless ways since she began working at ISU. Her efforts to create campus and community partnerships have resulted in many new learning opportunities for students while also laying the foundation for an enduring impact on the community for many years to come.”
“I am so honored to be recognized,” Steinbach said of the award. “I know a few people in this year’s class because they are community partners for the center. I get to work with them, and it is an honor to be included with them, too. I also know a number of folks who have received this recognition in the past. These are people I respect and admire for the time they give our community.”
Steinbach has also exhibited strong community involvement, both through her position at Illinois State University and her work within the community. In fact, since joining the University in 2006, Steinbach has spent the majority of her time working with civic engagement, whether that be community service or student engagement with the Town of Normal government. She joined the center when it was established in 2017 and worked through the Dean of Student’s Office prior to that.
In her most recent position as the assistant director for service learning at the center, Steinbach works strategically to establish partnerships between the University and community organizations. She recently created the Community Consulting Board to help inform work and decisions made through the center. Steinbach also provides leadership and oversight of the existing co-curricular programming provided by the center, the majority of which involve existing community partners.
Before starting at Illinois State, Steinbach worked for nonprofit organizations within the community—the Salvation Army and the McLean County Museum of History.
“I think it is important for every person in every community to be engaged,” Steinbach said. “We all have a responsibility to maintain and improve our communities for future generations. I think everyone should find at least one thing they really care about, often times that is an issue they have been personally impacted by, and find a way to engage. That might be fundraising, regular volunteering, serving on a board, or something else. Each of us can find a way to give our time and talents to something we care about.”
Steinbach has volunteered extensively with the Bloomington-Normal Japanese Sister Cities Commission and was even named an honorary citizen of the City of Asahikawa, Japan, in 2017. She served as a board member for the Community Health Care Clinic, and she has also facilitated leadership development sessions for Youth Global Citizen.
Steinbach was also part of the Neighborhood Action Team that received the 2016 Innovation By A Team award from the Division of Student Affairs. The group earned the award for their development of a three-tiered intervention strategy to address student behavior issues in neighborhoods near campus.
In 2015 Steinbach received the Academic Advising Advocate Award through the ISU Academic Advising Council. She received the Outstanding New Professional Award in 2009 from the Division of Student Affairs as well as the Outstanding Staff Member Commitment to Diversity Award from Diversity Advocacy. And in 2011, she was on the Cultural Competence Committee and received the Promotion of Diversity Award from the Division of Student Affairs.
Steinbach also received the Staff Member of the Year Award from Break Away in 2011. She was nominated for this national honor by students she was advising through the Alternative Breaks program.