Prospective students, these alumni are happy to share their experiences with you! Please reach out to one person at a time, and also feel free to get in touch with staff at StevensonCenter@IllinoisState.edu or (309) 438-7090.
I am currently the Academic Resource Center Director, Title IX Coordinator, and ADA Coordinator for Newman University in Wichita, KS. Mostly recently I was also a Community Liaison (community engagement, project management, and public relations) for the City Manager's Office of the City of Wichita. My local volunteer experience has been as a board member of the 'Leadership and Athletic Development Foundation,' a leadership team member for 'LOVE Wichita,' and other local community activities. My career includes non-profits, private sector, and the public sector positions. Along with my M.S. in Sociology from Illinois State University, I also hold B.A.'s in Sociology, History, and Psychology. I am currently working towards my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from Baker University. In my spare time I enjoy camping, golf, writing, and serving my church as a Deacon and Youth Group leader. My wife and I are very lucky to also get to spend a lot of our time with our foster kids.
Alyssa came to the Stevenson Center holding two bachelor's degrees in economics and mathematics. She spent time as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis, and as a graduate assistant for the Stevenson Center with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for McLean County. After her year on campus, she completed her professional practice at the Fremont Area Community Foundation in Fremont, MI, and subsequently secured a position there as a Program Officer following her fellowship. Alyssa stated, "Without my experience at the Stevenson Center and my unique placement with the Community Foundation, I would not have discovered some of my true professional interests, gained more confidence as a valuable contributor in any workplace, nor would I have been able to secure a great position with a great organization." Alyssa has recently moved back to her hometown of St. Louis where she has taken a position as Program Manager for the Deaconess Foundation where she manages grant programs focused on social justice and racial equity.
Tim works as the Canvass Director for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) in Des Moines, IA. CCI is a grassroots nonprofit organization that fights for social, economic, and environmental justice. Before joining CCI, Tim worked for Dakota Resource Council on agriculture issues as a community organizer in North Dakota. Tim served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia from 2008-2011. His service focused on working with farmers to implement conservation agriculture practices. He studied Political Science as a Peace Corps Fellow at the Stevenson Center and graduated in 2013.
I am currently a Project Coordinator working with both the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund and Rocket Fiber, a high speed internet company in Detroit, MI. The issues I focus on are closing the digital divide for Detroit's youth through technology access/education and shutting down the blight pipeline through housing rehab programs and tax foreclosure reform initiatives. After graduating from Illinois State University I was accepted to a year long community development professional fellowship called Challenge Detroit. Prior to that, I worked for a year in a group home in Connecticut, served two years in AmeriCorps (in Minnesota and Connecticut) and earned a BS in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. I enjoy weightlifting, motorcycles, reading, soccer, road trips, brewery hopping, and community development.
I am a returned Peace Corps Nicaragua Volunteer originally from small town Michigan. I served in Chinandega with the Small Business Development program in 2009. After my service, I moved to Bloomington into a lovely apartment to start my Master's program with an Economics focus. For my professional practice, I worked at the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) in the Fair Housing division developing a training program on Fair Housing rights and laws. After the program, I took a position at Access Living as a fair housing test coordinator and later again with IDHR developing additional trainings on Federal HUD CDBG requirements as they pertain to Fair Housing Laws for grantees. After completing my contract with IDHR, I took a position with the City of New York on the HUD-funded CDBG-DR grant the City received after Hurricane Sandy to aid in its recovery and develop resiliency to future weather events and climate change. I started as a Policy Analyst on the housing portfolio and now am the head of the unit. I live in Brooklyn, work in Manhattan and enjoy cooking, reading, and seeing live music. Please contact me if you would like to know more about Peace Corps, living in Normal/Bloomington (I can connect you to my old landlord who is the best!), or anything about the master's program. Also, NYC is always hiring so would be happy to assist in making post-degree connections!
I currently work as the Economic Development Coordinator for the Village of Bensenville, Illinois. I manage the business relations for the Village, including all aspects of business attraction and retention, project development, and grant management. I have worked in local economic development in the Chicago metro area since 2014. Prior to studying at the Stevenson Center, I volunteered as a Community Economic Development Volunteer with Peace Corps in Paraguay from 2010-2012. I hold a B.A. in International Business from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, and an M.A. in Applied Economics from Illinois State University.
Cecilia Montesdeoca is a Training & Member Engagement Coordinator with Dakota Resource Council (DRC). Cecilia originally joined DRC for her professional practice through the Stevenson Center. Cecila notes, "The practicum was a very beneficial experience. I worked as a community organizer with people impacted by oil and gas extraction. It was an exceptional time to be organizing on those issues due to the Water is Life movement in protest to the Dakota Access Pipeline. My capstone project, a member feedback initiative, led to me identify opportunities to increase membership engagement by focusing on organizational processes." Cecilia has a B.A. in cultural anthropology and community health education from Illinois State. She is also an alumna of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Summer Congressional Internship program, AmeriCorps Illinois Public Health Association, and AmeriCorps NCCC Southwest Region.
Julia is an Associate Consultant at Advanced Technology Group, a global consulting company that assists enterprises in aligning people, process, and technology resources. Julia holds a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis-Economics from Pomona College and an M.S. in Political Science, Applied Community and Economic Development from Illinois State University. Julia completed two terms of AmeriCorps service in Illinois.
I am a Community & Economic Development Extension Specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have worked for 12 years in public and non-profit positions (domestically and internationally). My areas of expertise include performance measurement, data analysis, project management/evaluation, international relations, extension work, economic development, local government education, and citizen engagement on city boards.
I am an Illinois State University alum who is passionate about community outreach and business development. I have served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two terms in Connecticut and in Illinois. I received a B.A. in International Relations from Roanoke College. I have had wonderful opportunities both personally and professionally to meet and work with exceptional people and to travel to amazing places. ISU has opened so many doors for me- I can't wait to see what's next in my career! For now, I am a Program Manager for a global start-up accelerator.
Currently, I am a Data Steward at IEWC. I was at the Stevenson Center from Fall 2013-Summer 2015. I worked under Dr. Beck both years. I also served in City Year Boston 2012-2013. Working with the Stevenson Center, I volunteered, worked on data management projects, was a business information specialist, and gained a lot of experience working with the local community.
In 2015 I graduated from the Stevenson Center. During my time at Illinois State University I was able to draw from my four years experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama where I worked with eco-tourism development, teaching English, reproductive health, community organizing and environmental conservation. As City Planner with the City of Bloomington I continue to apply the theory and research methods I learned during my master's studies and fellowship with the McLean County Domestic Violence Multidisciplinary Team. I am a Bloomington native and am happy to share my knowledge of the community and its resources.
I currently work as a Grants Management Program Analyst at East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, where I completed my professional practice. Prior to the Stevenson Center I served in two AmeriCorps terms: one as a mentor/tutor to at-risk youth in Waco, Texas, and the other as a part of an emergency response team based out of St. Louis, Missouri. I was in the kinesiology and recreation program at Illinois State University, and completed previous degrees in Park and Recreation Management and Sport Pedagogy.
I served in Peace Corps Ethiopia from 2012-14 as a Community Health Volunteer. While there, I worked with counterparts to conduct garden trainings, youth camps, teach English and focus on HIV/Aids Prevention. I was one of the first two people to go through the kinesiology and recreation track for the Stevenson Center. My research focused on inclusive recreation and sports for development. I did my fellowship with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, where I focused on connecting residents to health resources. I am currently working at the Department of Public Instruction as a Nutrition Program Consultant. Basically, I work with schools in WI that are participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure compliance with USDA regulations. I enjoying sharing my experience with others and would be happy to answer any questions you may have!