DOE selects Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center for next-phase funding

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Original post by UW-Madison news, July 17

Photo: Switchgrass growing in a field

A plot of switchgrass grows in the Great Lake Bioenergy Research Center’s fields at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station in Arlington, Wisconsin. MATTHEW WISNIEWSKI, GLBRC

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) for an additional five years of funding to develop sustainable alternatives to transportation fuels and products currently derived from petroleum. Already the recipient of roughly $267 million in DOE funding, GLBRC represents the largest federal grant ever awarded to UW–Madison.

In this next phase of funding, GLBRC scientists and recently recruited experts will conduct research that enables the sustainable production of specialty biofuels and bio-products using dedicated bioenergy crops such as switchgrass, poplar trees and sorghum. These bioenergy crops will be grown on marginal — or non-agricultural — land, a shift from GLBRC’s previous mission of producing biofuels from crops grown on agricultural land.

Established by the Biological and Environmental Research program in DOE’s Office of Science in 2007, GLBRC is based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Wisconsin Energy Institute and includes a major partnership with Michigan State University (MSU). The cross-disciplinary center draws on the expertise of biologists, chemists, engineers and economists, and employs over 400 researchers, students and staff conducting foundational bioenergy research.

Photo: Tim Donohue

Tim Donohue, GLBRC director and UW–Madison professor of bacteriology. MATTHEW WISNIEWSKI, GLBRC

“Collaboration has been at the core of GLBRC’s efforts from day one, and it will continue to drive the goals of this new center and help us realize our vision of developing bio-based sources of fuels and chemicals,” says Tim Donohue, GLBRC director and UW–Madison professor of bacteriology. “We are in a unique position to not only address a major societal challenge, but to create new revenue sources and economic opportunities for farmers, rural communities and a new generation of bio-refineries, as well as to create new, locally produced and cost-effective products for consumers.”

Today, DOE announced four Bioenergy Research Center selections for fiscal year 2018, with plans to provide five years of funding. Specific funding amounts for 2018 and beyond will be finalized as part of future federal budget processes.

The center will conduct research that enables the sustainable production of specialty biofuels and bio-products using dedicated bioenergy crops such as switchgrass, poplar trees and sorghum.

Over GLBRC’s 10-year history, it has built academic and industrial partnerships that have yielded more than 1,000 scientific publications, 160 patent applications, 80 licenses or options, and five start-up companies.

“Transforming the results of scientific research into new commercial products is a complex process,” says Marsha Mailick, UW–Madison vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “But when universities and companies work in tandem to push the frontiers of knowledge, they become a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth. GLBRC is an excellent example of university researchers and industry working closely together to generate new knowledge and maximize the social and economic benefits of these new ideas.”

Photo: Scientist extracting bacteria sample

GLBRC assistant scientist Kim Lemmer extracts a bacteria sample in the center’s labs at the Wisconsin Energy Institute. JAMES RUNDE, WISCONSIN ENERGY INSTITUTE

“The GLBRC is prolific in its partnership, disclosing dozens of new technologies to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) over the last few years,” says Erik Iverson, managing director of WARF. “These inventions have resulted in several licensing agreements. We are delighted this federal grant will continue this cycle of innovation.”

Building on past accomplishments, GLBRC’s next phase will focus on producing dedicated bioenergy crops on non-agricultural lands, maximizing the production of specialty fuels and bio-products from those crops, and building a comprehensive understanding of the field-to-product pipeline to maximize the sustainability and economic benefits offered by a future cellulosic bio-industry. Together, these efforts have the potential to spur a new bio-refinery industry equipped to create valuable products from as much of a crop’s biomass as possible.

As a university-based DOE Bioenergy Research Center, GLBRC will continue to benefit from the resources, strategic partnerships and world-class research programs at UW–Madison and MSU.

“We are in a unique position to … create new revenue sources and economic opportunities for farmers, rural communities and a new generation of bio-refineries, as well as to create new, locally produced and cost-effective products for consumers.”

Tim Donohue

“GLBRC’s selection demonstrates UW–Madison’s continued excellence in clean energy research,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Our broad expertise in areas such as plant sciences, microbiology, economics and engineering is enabling the development of new and innovative technologies that can bring about American energy sustainability while also strengthening the economy right here at home.”

“MSU has driven much of the sustainability focus of the GLBRC, and we are proud of the many areas of expertise we contribute,” says MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “The research center provides exciting opportunities for us to collaborate across campuses and disciplines, tackling the challenge of bio-based energy solutions with an integrated approach.”

Additional university collaborators include the University of British Columbia, Texas A&M University and Michigan Technological University.


-By Krista Eastman

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Grant Awarded to the School of Nursing to Expand Native American Enrollment

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

MADISON, Wisconsin - Two faculty members at the UW-Madison School of Nursing have received a $1.3 million federal grant to develop a comprehensive system of support services that will help admit, retain and graduate 30 Native American nursing students over the next four years.

Audrey Tluczek, an associate professor of nursing, and Mel Freitag, the school’s director of diversity initiatives, will lead the project, called “Success Through Recruitment/Retention, Engagement, and Mentorship (STREAM) for American Indian Students Pursuing Nursing Careers.” The project aligns with a Wisconsin Center for Nursing goal of expanding the diversity of the nursing workforce to mirror the diversity of the population it serves.

The goal is based on evidence showing that increasing diversity in the nursing workforce improves access to health care and leads to better health outcomes for underrepresented groups, including Native Americans. Currently, the Wisconsin nursing workforce is 94 percent white, while the Wisconsin population is only 79 percent white. About 90 percent of nurses who provide services in Wisconsin tribal health facilities are white; the vast majority of patients are American Indian.

“This project is vital for the state, as we believe it can make a real difference in improving health outcomes within American Indian populations by increasing the number of Native nurses in these communities,” says School of Nursing Dean Linda D. Scott. “This grant validates the important relationships already forged by Dr. Tluczek and Dr. Freitag with Wisconsin American Indian communities. It reflects the UW-Madison School of Nursing’s commitment to admitting, educating and graduating students from diverse backgrounds in an effort to better serve all Wisconsin residents and eliminate the health disparities that many populations experience.”

 All 12 Wisconsin tribes (11 federally recognized and one state-recognized) are federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Areas.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, builds on a previous community-academic partnership project among the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, the UW-Madison School of Nursing, and UW Population Health Institute, which was funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program. One of the objectives of that project, “Increasing Cultural Congruence Among Nurses in Wisconsin,” was to increase the number of American Indian nurses in the state. “This new grant will help us do just that,” Tluczek says.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to collaborate with and learn from tribal communities,” she says. “Working closely with our American Indian partners provided us valuable insights about the need for more Native nurses who can help develop models of health care that combine traditional American Indian healing with western medicine. Doing so holds great potential for improving the health and well-being of tribal communities. That experience also taught us much about the challenges that American Indian students and communities face and the role the University of Wisconsin-Madison can play in supporting these students interested in nursing careers.”

“We have visited tribal communities throughout the state to develop relationships and identify ways the School of Nursing can help expand the Native nursing workforce and access to culturally congruent health care for Native populations,” Freitag says. “We designed this program with our Wisconsin tribal partners to educate Wisconsin students to serve Wisconsin populations. We’ve been saying all along that this is the Wisconsin Idea in action, and it is. It really is.”

The STREAM grant specifically calls for recruiting more students with the help of a nursing-specific online recruitment tool, and yet recruitment is only part of the challenge, Freitag says. The STREAM program will also focus on retention and graduation. This involves providing structured support designed to address the specific challenges and barriers Native students encounter when attending UW-Madison.

Freitag says Native Americans, like many students from underrepresented populations, are more likely to face barriers and challenges on a large, predominantly white campus. Geographic factors also come into play for Native students, as Madison can seem like a very isolating place to them.

“The desire for a sense of belonging, or the lack of a sense of belonging, comes up with our Native students as it does for other underrepresented groups,” Freitag says. “Underrepresented groups are small groups in Madison, and Native Americans are the smallest of the small. It can be difficult for them to find and forge peer groups on campus and certainly within the school.”

To foster community within the school and on campus, STREAM will use traditional American Indian talking circles to provide student peer support. The program will also work to foster confidence by connecting American Indian students with mentors who are Native nurses currently practicing in Wisconsin. The grant proposal also calls for continued efforts to strengthen relationships with tribal communities through yearly Native Nations Nursing Summits, which Tluczek and Freitag have organized since 2015.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Celebrating Independence Across Africa: YALI Fellows Emerencia Nguarambuka, Marcio Brito, and Omari Mahiza reflect on the meaning of Independence

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

This story was originally posted July 10 by the African Studies Program 

Over the 4th of July holiday our 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows joined in the celebration of American independence with a bit of BBQ, baseball, and fireworks. Afterwards, three fellows took a moment to reflect on the commemorations of independence in their home countries and to explain the meaning of these celebrations.

Emerencia Nguarambuka: Celebrating freedom in Namibia on March 21st

Independence is freedom, democracy and growth. It means being able to live peacefully, and coexist in harmony, respect for fellow human beings and fighting for equal rights for all humanity, regardless of sex, creed, race, color, religion, etc. It also means having equal access to resources, closing the inequality and poverty gap.

Independence means a second chance and making use of all opportunities the right way. This is especially important to me because prior to an independent Namibia, we were not allowed education, work, free movement, and so much other social stuff. Now we have a chance to redefine our future, and let our children grow up in a better environment with greater opportunities.

Image submitted by Emerencia Nguarambuka

In Namibia, independence is celebrated on the 21st of March. Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990. We were colonized since the late 19th century. From 1884, Namibia was a German colony known as German South West Africa. After the First World War, South Africa was mandated to administer Namibia as a colony/territory.

To celebrate the holiday, traditional performances and artists provide music and dance throughout the day and after the main event. There are parades by the Defense Force (army), Air Force and the marines, which are inspected by the President and given honors. Previous heroes and heroines are also honored and receive special badges in honor of their role for the fight of independence.

School children also have plays and parades at the Independence Day, which adds more color to the event. At times we also have parachutes as part of the celebrations. The Government will provide small promotional materials such as paper flags and t-shirts to the public for free. Each five year independence (I.e. 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years) is always a bigger celebration held in the capital city Windhoek and the President invites dignitaries and international friends from countries which helped Namibia attain independence.

Image submitted by Emerencia Nguarambuka

WINDHOEK, 22 March 2015 – Young Namibians celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Independence held at Independence Stadium. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

After the big event, other regions can also hold delayed independence celebrations for those people who could not travel all the way to the capital city. Food and entertainment is provided. Normally various Ministers will be assigned to these regions to deliver the President’s independence message.

Free Transport is normally provided to all who want to attend the celebrations in order to attract as many people as possible.

Prior to independence celebrations, all media normally carries news and video articles related to independence, focusing on development in the country, as well as interviewing heroes and heroines who can tell their stories of their time fighting for independence.


Marcio Brito: An independent Cape Verde honors Amilcar Cabral on July 5

Cape Verde received its independence from Portugal on the 5th of July in 1975. On the 4th of July, young people host parties in anticipation of the July 5th holiday, people meet up with family and share meals. There’s also a festival and military parade where the president gives medals to officers. Independence celebrations in Cape Verde are about commemorating the birth of a liberated country. They’re also about celebrating the father of Cape Verde – Amilcar Cabral.

Wall painting honoring Amilcar Cabral

Cabral was born on the 12th of September (another national holiday) in Bafata, Guinea-Bissau and was assassinated in 1973, two years before Cape Verde gained independence. His efforts, along with members of the African Party of Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (P.A.I.G.C.) helped instill dignity in a population who recognized the evident discrimination against them by Portugal, despite the country’s claims that its colonies could “never be separate.”

After the 1974 death of the Portuguese president and dictator and a military coup, the years 1974-1976 marked the independence of the former Portuguese colonies, with Guinea-Bissau being the first nation to receive its independence.

Since its independence, Cape Verde has grown from having a population where 80% of its citizens were unschooled to its current place as a nation with an educated population of 95% gaining access to a basic right that had been denied by the imperial Portuguese powers.

UN Mission in the Cape Verde Islands

Omari Mahiza: From two countries to one independent Tanzania on December 9th

I am from Tanzania. My independence day is on the 9th of December. Before Independence day – before Tanzania – there were two different counties. One is an island, that is Zanzibar and the other one is the mainland, that was called Tanganyika. So these two places came together and together (in 1964) they formed the country now that is known as Tanzania. So, that day these two countries came together – that’s called Union Day. It’s usually on the 26th of April. But, there is another date that is known as Revolution Day, which is celebrated in Zanzibar. They went through a revolution before their independence. This is known as Revolution Day which is on the 12th of January.

Cloth commemorating the life of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. African Studies Collection.

Starting with Independence day, usually there’s a big parade, usually there is an announcement of where the year’s celebration is going to take place so we all know where we need to gather. Usually, it takes place in the National Stadium in Dar el Salaam. Recently it’s been moved around so it can be anywhere, really. People go dressed in flags. You find that all the armed forces are there – the police, army, the navy – everyone will be there. There’ll be a parade, where all those forces pass in front of the president. They salute the president and put on a show for everyone. It’s free, so everyone can attend.

There’s a speech from the president who might wait a whole year to say something specifically for Independence day with regards to workers rights or something which is big. Usually it’s just a celebration of where we’ve been, so we remind ourselves where we were – we got our independence in 1961 from the British. So usually we remind ourselves where we were, where we are right now, and where we want to go.

Fifty-something years after independence I think we’re still struggling with the same things that we were struggling with like fifty years ago. Some of the issues have actually become worse than they were fifty years ago, if you can imagine that. So, what independence means to me, is at least, more freedom of expression these days. I think mostly it means the freedom of expression – people can say I am this – and most of the time not being persecuted. It’s still a challenge, there are certain issues where we are not there yet, but you can see that we are trying. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression is what independence should be.

4th of July Mallards game. Photo by Meagan Doll

Emerencia Nguarambuka (Namibia) is an Executive Assistant to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and does her own charity work in her community by assisting poor, young vulnerable women and children through donations of basic items.

Márcio Brito (Cabo Verde) works in the ‘Rádio e Tecnologias Educativas ‘ RTE’ where he produces and presents a daily program from 8 to 11 o’clock in the morning from Monday to Friday.

Omari Mahiza (Tanzania) is a doctor employed by the government to work at Amana Hospital in the pediatrics department.

-by Hiwot Adilow

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

UW-Madison selected to host Young African Leaders in summer 2017

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Mandela Fellows Apolmida Tsammani and Abigail Nedziwe pose for a photo after receiving their certificates of completion of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship. (Photo by Meagan Doll.)

This story appeared first on the UW-Madison International Division website.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will again host 25 of Africa’s emerging leaders in in June for a six-week public management academic and leadership institute, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

UW–Madison is among 38 universities selected to host the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). For the second time, UW-Madison’s African Studies Program will organize the institute, aimed at empowering young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking to promote peace and prosperity on the African continent.

Of over 64,000 applications, the Mandela Washington Fellows at UW–Madison are among 1,000 fellows coming to institutions across the United States. At the end of their program, all of the fellows will gather in Washington, D.C., for a closing summit.

“Hosting a group of fellows last summer was a fantastic experience; it was a pleasure to engage with such a dynamic group of entrepreneurial global leaders,” said Aleia McCord, associate director of the African Studies Program. “We look forward to welcoming another cohort of Africa’s best and brightest to Wisconsin.”

2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship at UW-Madison from African Studies at UW-Madison on Vimeo.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, UW–Madison has designed a 2017 institute with programming to both challenge and empower the young African leaders. Fellows will not only participate in academic sessions hosted by university faculty experts, but will also volunteer with local nonprofit organizations, meet with federal and state officials, and explore the meaning of public management and local governance in communities around Wisconsin.

The 2016 fellows forged lasting relationships with the Wisconsinites they met, leading to several sustained collaborations, McCord said, pointing specifically to several ongoing initiatives.

Rashida Nakabuga, a 2016 fellow from Uganda, worked with UW-Madison’s International Internship Program (IIP) to cultivate a Uganda-based production and marketing internship for UW undergraduate students. Nakabuga helped establish the internship with National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises Limited (NUCAFE), and the first UW student will participate this summer.

“The Mandela fellows are ambitious, successful and very well-connected in their home countries,” said Carly Stingl, IIP advisor and program coordinator. “Rashida is very interested in continuing the cultural collaboration she began in Madison. We are also very excited about this opportunity and hope to keep working together to potentially develop more.”

2016 Nigerian fellow and medical doctor Obinna Ebirim met Brad Paul, an associate scientist at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, at a community reception during the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Today, they are working to implement a program evaluation approach in Nigeria’s primary health sector. The approach, first implemented by Paul during agriculture research Mozambique, is called “Field Diaries” and features the daily journals as a tool to measure needs and development impact.

Ebirim recommended this type of mutual collaboration as an especially rewarding part of the larger Mandela Washington Fellowship, advising future fellows to “pick a project you’re trying to implement and take advantage of the opportunities around you.”

More recently, Sicily Mburu, a 2016 fellow from Kenya, partnered with UW Hospital nurse clinician Susan Gold to secure a Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange Award. The award grants up to $5,000 in funding to support projects between fellows and American professionals they met during the fellowship. In the coming year, Mburu and Gold will together provide training through a developed curriculum on HIV/AIDS to nearly 60 young people in Kenya.

These lasting connections illustrate the value of the Mandela Washington Fellowship by facilitating local-global understanding, McCord said.

“The Mandela Washington Fellowship is really an opportunity to invest in international cooperation,” McCord said. “And we are excited to be a part of that venture a second time.”

The African Studies Program is seeking volunteers to engage with fellows, as well as local organizations interesting in offering tours or other collaborative ventures. To learn more or get involved, contact Meagan Doll at

The African Studies Program is a Title VI National Resource Center within UW-Madison’s Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS). IRIS is a unit of the International Division at UW–Madison.


IREX/U.S. State Department Press Release:

2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship video:

General 2016 MWF Flickr album:

2016 MWF Columbus, Wis. Visit album:

By Steven Barcus, International Division/ February 17, 2017    

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

UW students lead comprehensive study on poverty in southern Wisconsin

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

This story was posted first on the Morgridge Center for Public Service website.

Swetha Saseedhar spent a large part of the last year talking with dozens of people in southern Wisconsin struggling against poverty. And as she listened intently, her mind also went to her own family’s story half a world away.

The UW-Madison senior is an immigrant from India. Before coming to America, Saseedhar says her parents and grandparents all lived in a one-bedroom home as they worked to make ends meet—which sounded like many stories she was now hearing in southern Wisconsin.

Over the last 18 months, Saseedhar has been part of a team of UW-Madison students assembling a Community Needs Assessment for the Community Action Coalition (CAC) of Southern Wisconsin — a community action agency serving Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties. The team met with over 275 people in communities across the three counties to better understand economic struggles and what policy solutions might help.

But despite the many layers of difficulty Saseedhar and her team uncovered, she says just like her own family, she found that people refuse to give up.

“A lot of them talked about their stories of resilience,” said Saseedhar, a Biology, French and Global Health sudent. “That really sticks with me, because I’m an immigrant from India. And my family had been struggling economically until a few years ago, so that was a connection I have with them.”

Community action agencies are organizations established under the Economic Opportunity Act of of 1964 to fight America’s “War on Poverty.” Every three years, these organizations (about 1,000 across the country) are required to complete a community needs assessment.

UW-Madison senior Jarjeh Fang led the student team completing the CAC’s Community Needs Assessment. His junior year, he had sent an email to the CAC’s executive director asking if there were any volunteer opportunities. Fang, who’s studying Neurobiology and Political Science, got a response back that they had a needs assessment that needed to get done.

“And I said, that sounds gruesome and grueling,” said Fang. “I don’t have any background in community-based research, and this is really not something I have expertise in.” But he couldn’t shake the idea.

“A week later I came back and said, no, I’d really like I think to do this.”

Fang, Saseedhar, three other undergraduate students and two graduate students formed the assessment team. They set out to learn more about poverty in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties. But they also knew they wanted the assessment to be more than a document on a shelf.

“We wanted to sort of push that a little bit,” said Fan. “Try to do something with it.”

So Fang and Saseedhar applied for and were awarded a Wisconsin Idea Fellowshipby the Morgridge Center for Public Service to support the development of an action plan based on the assessment’s findings.

“People share their stories with you with the expectation that things will change and that you’ll do something with it,” Fang said. “And when that doesn’t happen, the relationship becomes exploitative, and we wanted to avoid that.”

Before they could develop solutions though, they had to better understand the issues. The team drove across the three counties, holding 20 focus groups and asking people to share deeply personal stories about economic struggles.

“A lot of these people were really willing to help, and they cared a lot about their communities,” said Saseedhar. “And they shared these very personal stories with us and trusted us to use these stories to actually create change.”

Although poverty is down overall in Wisconsin since the end of the Great Recession, the poverty rate in Dane County still stands at 11.4%, in Jefferson County: 9.3% and in Waukesha County: 4.5%. And those numbers all represent thousands of real stories.

“They have a preconceived idea of who I am. They judge me with one glance… it holds you back,” a woman experiencing homelessness in Waukesha County told the group.

Many shared how poverty impacted their children and the time they were able to give to their children.

“All I do is work, but if I don’t work, we don’t make it. And there isn’t enough time for them,” confided one Dane County mother, through tears.

One man had recently found permanent housing, but now said her felt isolated from the community he had when homeless. His isolation, a common thread for many in the focus groups, had led to despair. The man said his dog was his only companion and once his dog died, he didn’t think he would have the will to keep living.

“On the car ride back, all of us sort of sat in silence because we didn’t really know what to do with that information,” said Fang, reflecting.


When focus group interviews concluded, the team used the qualitative data as well as additional quantitative data to put together a list of seven key findings on poverty in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha Counties:

  1. Housing system favors landlords and tenants with higher incomes
  2. Participants face difficulty reaching jobs and community resources because of limited transportation options
  3. Those facing hardship are socially isolated and excluded from the broader community
  4. There’s a Lack of awareness or access to programs and services for which they are eligible
  5. Hardship has led to mental illness and substance abuse
  6. Low wages and insufficient work hours prevented people from making ends meet
  7. Children became the focus of nearly every conversation

But gathering information wasn’t enough. Fang says many participants let them know they felt like they only ever saw people asking about their lives once every three years; Many said they never saw solutions to their problems.

The team published a 62-page Community Needs Assessment that included a list of recommendations, a foundation for Fang and Saseedhar’s action plan. Recommended programs and policies include:

  • Peer-navigator groups
  • Establish year-round outreach efforts
  • Strengthen coordination and data-sharing between partners
  • Update CAC’s internal data collection
  • Continue CAC Clothing Center
  • Continue providing housing-related service

Using funding from their Wisconsin Idea Fellowship, Fang and Saseedhar are particularly interested in working with groups of community leaders to develop a model for peer navigator groups.

The cohort-based model supports people who have themselves experienced poverty to act as navigators for others facing similar difficulties. The navigators guide others through the often complicated systems, identify available programs and create a community of support.

Fang and Saseedhar also recently presented the assessment to US Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office.

The pair, who will both graduate this spring, say the assessment was both challenging and rewarding. And their hope is the effort of their team and the hundreds who shared their stories in focus groups can catalyze new solutions and policies.

“It was important for us to show that this wasn’t going to be just a one-time thing,” said Saseedhar. “That this research project was actually going to hopefully turn into a bigger project that would involve these communities.”

By Mark Bennett, Morgridge Center for Public Service/ February 15, 2017

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone