The 18th year of the Wisconsin Idea Fellowships will feature nine unique undergraduate projects at home and across the world: The closest within 500 feet of campus. The furthest over 7,700 miles away.
The projects, which are all rooted in the concept of addressing needs identified by community partners, range in topic from public health, to agriculture, college-preparedness mentoring, poverty and more. A total of 15 UW-Madison students are part of this year’s projects, sponsored by the Morgridge Center for Public Service.
Wisconsin Idea Fellowships (WIF) are awarded annually to UW-Madison undergraduate projects working to solve issues identified by local or global communities. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student or group of students in collaboration with a community organization and a UW-Madison faculty or staff member.
The WIF selection process is highly competitive, with successful projects receiving both logistical and financial support—up to $7,000. Some projects will begin this summer, and some may last through next May.
The 2016-17 fellowships also feature the brand new Michael Thornton and Nora Medina Social Innovation Award, a special honor made possible by a generous endowment fund for WIF projects targeting the opportunity gap in Madison. Michael Thornton, a professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies, is also a past director of the Morgridge Center.
Some of the undergraduate winners who are featured below are also global health students.
2016-17 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships:
Harnessing Community Ownership and Engagement to Reduce Local Poverty (Dane, Jefferson, Waukesha counties)
Students: Jarjeh Fang (Political Science and Neurobiology) & Swetha Saseedhar (Biology, French and Global Health)
Faculty advisor: Pamela Herd
Community Partner: Community Action Coalition of South Central, WI
This project seeks to strengthen the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin’s (CACSW) programs and services to reduce poverty in Dane, Waukesha, and Jefferson counties. Using the outcomes of a student-driven Community Needs Assessment (CNA), students will develop and implement an action plan that addresses the underlying pathways and mechanisms of poverty, and improves CACSW’s ability to address community needs, and increases community engagement with and ownership of programs and services.
Empowerment of Coastal Communities Through Permanent Water Quality Monitors (Manabí Province, Ecuador)
Students: Amelia Rossa (Conservation Biology Geography), Joshua Kalman (Environmental Studies, Conservation Biology), Caden Lambie (Biology, Spanish, Global Helath)
Faculty advisor: Catherine Woodward
Community Partner: Ceiba Foundation
In Manabí province, a coastal region of Ecuador, Giardia, Cholera, amoebic dysentery, and dengue are common where water quality is often poor. Working alongside the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, students will train others in water quality monitoring techniques, establish permanent water quality monitoring sites, collect water quality data and compose informational materials for community dissemination.
This story was first run on the Morgridge site on April 21, 2016.