Tune in to our Stevenson Center student-produced podcasts, featuring Fellows as they report from their second-year field placements. Listen to learn more about their service experiences, impressions of Stevenson Center curriculum, life during placements, and more!
Note for Peace Corps Volunteers and others who may experience issues with streaming: please write to StevensonCenter@ilstu.edu to request copies of audio-only files.
The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development features an interdisciplinary approach, intensive coursework and professional 11-month internship, powerful career development opportunities, and a financial package including 100% tuition waiver plus stipend for all students. Listen to this preview video which showcases Fellows' perspectives, and then tune in to their full-length podcasts below.
Music: "A Perceptible Shift" by Andy G. Cohen, Released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
Episode 1: Lauren Troxtel (Peace Corps Fellow, Kinesiology and Recreation)
Lauren Troxtel is a master's student in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation with a focus on community and economic development. She is also working on her Women's and Gender Studies Certificate. Lauren served in Peace Corps Ethiopia as a Community Health Volunteer. While in Ethiopia, Lauren worked with her local community to host project design and management trainings, permagarden (small scale gardens) trainings and other projects involving youth development and health. She is currently completing her professional practice with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee as the health liaison in the CHOICE Neighborhood Initiative. This is a "$30 million locally-driven, comprehensive strategy to transform Westlawn (public housing) and the surrounding neighborhood into an inclusive community of opportunity with quality housing, schools, businesses, services, and amenities where people want to live, learn, work, shop, and play". Lauren's main goals are to connect residents within the 3 mile radius to health and recreational resources.
Episode 2: Nick Canfield (Peace Corps Fellow, Political Science)
I am currently a Peace Corps Fellow in the Stevenson Center Program at Illinois State University getting my Master's in Political Science and Applied Community Development. In Micronesia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I taught English, trained teachers in English teaching techniques, and engaged in other projects like coaching a long distance track team. Currently I am in my professional practicum working in Washington, D.C. for two financial service non-profits called Credit Builders Alliance and Center for Financial Services Innovation. I mostly work on large scale financial research projects and data management for both organizations.
Episode 3: Cecilia Montesdeoca (ACED Fellow, Anthropology)
Cecilia Montesdeoca is a graduate Applied Community and Economic Development Fellow at Illinois State University studying anthropology. Her previous service experience includes working as a project manager for a non-profit in Peru, and serving terms with AmeriCorps through Illinois Public Health Association AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps NCCC in Denver, CO as a Team Leader. Cecilia is currently in her second year of her graduate studies completing her field practicum in North Dakota. Her 11-month field placement is with Dakota Resource Council where she is a community organizer with communities impacted by oil and gas extraction to help shape public opinion and influence public policy.
Episode 4: Andrew Kuka (ACED Fellow, Sociology) and Derek Conley (Peace Corps Fellow, Applied Economics)
Two Stevenson Center Fellows, Andrew Kuka and Derek Conley, discuss their backgrounds in service, their graduate experience at Illinois State University, and their current professional practices.
Andrew is a master's student in sociology and an ACED Fellow at Illinois State University. He served two years in AmeriCorps and is interested in solving housing issues in the U.S. He is currently completing his professional practice at Housing Action Illinois where he manages a HUD intermediary, and helps to provide capacity-building services to housing counseling agencies in Illinois, and a few in Missouri and Indiana. Andrew's capstone project is an autoethnography of city walking, which will illuminate social theories surrounding pedestrianism, automobility, and the built environment through a first person perspective of walking in contemporary Chicagoland.
Derek is a master's student in applied economics and a Peace Corps Fellow at ISU. He served two years in Peace Corps Costa Rica and is interested in community and economic development efforts. He is currently completing his professional practice at Invest Aurora, an economic development organization, where he manages communications between the EDO and the public, and organizes development deals with business owners.
Episode 5: Eliud Uresti (ACED Fellow, Political Science)
I am a 25-year old graduate student at Illinois State University, currently completing the professional practice portion of my degree requirements in Missoula, Montana. I am majoring in political science. Previously, I graduated with a BA in Psychology from Texas State University. In between my studies, I served two 10-month terms with AmeriCorps in Texas, one in South Texas as a College Adviser, followed by the second term in Austin, Texas, where I served as an Early Childhood Literacy Tutor.
Episode 6: Melissa Johnston-Gross (ACED Fellow, Applied Economics)
Melissa is a student at Illinois State University's Stevenson Center. She is completing a Master's in Applied Economics. This podcast describes her experiences before the Stevenson Center, her academic career at ISU and professional practice at United Way of McLean County.
Episode 7: Kirk Richardson (Peace Corps Fellow, Political Science)
Kirk Douglas Richardson is a Fellow in the Stevenson Center for Applied Community and Economic Development and a graduate student in the Politics and Government Department at Illinois State University. Previously he served as an English Education and Community Development Peace Corps volunteer in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. He currently works at a CDFI in Missoula, Montana doing marketing and business development.
Episode 8: Bryan Titzler (ACED Fellow, Applied Economics)
Bryan Titzler is currently pursuing a M.S. in Applied Economics from Illinois State University. His prior service experience includes a 10-month AmeriCorps term as the Housing Liaison at Central Arizona Shelter Services. While at Central Arizona Shelter Services he managed a caseload of low income and homeless individuals to help them secure permanent, sustainable housing. In his current role as Development and Sustainability Specialist at the Community Development Commission of Mendocino County, he is involved with several activities related to community development and energy efficiency through the Mendo-Lake Energy Watch.