“I want to seek creative ways to solve problems that our communities face,” said Kenyetta McGowens. “I choose the Stevenson Center at Illinois State University because I liked the well-roundedness of the program.” The center will soon welcome McGowens as an Applied Community and Economic Development Fellow in anthropology.
McGowens majored in communication and international studies at Western Carolina University. She explained: “I have an interest in people, our differences and similarities, and the way those have shaped our history, our habits, and the ways we interact with one another. …I am very interested in people and the cultures we create. I believe the answers to some of our current problems can be found by studying different groups of people.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree, McGowens served as a support team leader for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Her responsibilities included assisting teams in the field, planning and executing morale-building, and learning activities for their return to the NCCC campus in Iowa, and filling in for other team leaders on leave.
As she looks ahead to graduate school, McGowens wants “to learn how to use research to support or find new solutions to help others.” Because she loves working with children and young adults, she hopes after graduaition to help young women travel “around the world to open their eyes to new experiences and cultures as a way to build their self-esteem and develop a global citizen mindset.”
Through its applied, interdisciplinary graduate programs, the Stevenson Center cultivates leaders in public service. The center welcomes those who have at least one year of full-time experience in community development or social services, whether through employment or programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. The Stevenson Center also manages the Peace Corps Prep program for undergraduate students interested in Peace Corps service or careers in the public sector.
Shaylin Quaid is the Stevenson Center’s public relations intern.