Community Academic Service Entrepreneur

2006 CASE Competition Winners

Commnunity Academic Service Entrepreneur grants are given to the students through their affiliated institution whose proposal represents the most promising new idea in academic service learning in competition with other students. The winners of these competitive grants are chosen on the basis of their innovative proposals and meeting other grant criteria. In addition to a monetary grant presented to the student's partner, students receive a certificate of merit signed by President and Mrs. Carter and a summary of their proposal is published on and

Chelsea Merriman, Otterbein College, Ohio, and other students worked with at-risk youth in a children's home, and was frustrated in trying to get the residents to be more open with the Otterbein students. Then she heard about a speech where the question was asked: "How do you get at-risk youth to look with hope to the future?" The answer ? "Grow something with them" ? inspired Chelsea to apply for a CASE grant to purchase tools, seeds, fertilizer and related materials to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers a garden at the children's home for sale at a local market. Her goal is to sell enough to buy more seed and continue "growing something" as a way to connect with the youth she serves. The residents of the home will make most decisions and learn about money, balancing a checking account, and how a market economy works, and the biology of garden production.

Liz Nabor, University of South Dakota, was working on improving recycling at the school, which is one of the biggest generators of recyclables in Vermillion, SD. With the CASE grant, she helped create a new committee of the campus service organization, SERVE, to inventory campus recyclable sources, install appropriate containers, publicize the program and monitor collections. Plus, each committee member acted as liaison between a recyclables source on campus, such as computer labs, and a local business as a "sister recycler."

Doug Walton's proposal creates a new mentoring program "Seeds of Hope" as a partnership between John Carroll University, Ohio and the Gallagher Elementary School. Doug recognized that Gallagher students face daunting challenges: violence is a problem in the community, students come largely from low-income families (96% of students are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals), and, English language proficiency is low with 15 other native languages spoken at school. With Doug's CASE program mentors will meet twice a month with students to teach them about nutrition, health, interpersonal relationships and other topics. In addition, mentor-protege matches will take advantage of cultural opportunities at area museums and events at John Carroll University.

Eric Jacuzzi, Kettering University, Michigan works with Kettering Engineers Without Borders to find ways to apply engineering skills in service to the community. With the Flint, MI Disability Network, KEWB will use Eric's CASE grant to study, design, procure materials and build wheelchair ramps at the homes of families that otherwise could not afford them. Students will see classroom theories in practice and learn about "real world" engineering challenges.

Fatima Pina, Oklahoma State University wants to be a certified geriatric nutritionist. In working with the Stillwater, OK Senior Center, she realized that many seniors thought first of medication rather than diet to control conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Fatima devised a special unit class with a professor at OSU to teach nutrition at the senior center by embedding the lessons in cooking classes ? and will use her CASE funds to purchase equipment that the seniors can use and to print personalized recipe books for them that include their favorite foods prepared in healthy ways.

Katherine Polefko, Ursuline College, Ohio, devised "Warming up the Hearts of Cleveland" as her CASE proposal. Using the grant to buy material and equipment, Katherine organized students to produce sweaters, blankets and scarves for low income residents in the community. She connected the activity to learning by recruiting fashion merchandising majors to help with design, business majors to help with budgeting and sociology majors to help connecting the activity to the needs of the disadvantaged in the community. Katherine further extended the impact of the program with letters and visits to engage local businesses to donate some needed materials and to recruit students from a local high school to help sew the garments.

Robert B. Rainbow, an enrolled member of the Turule Mountain Band of Chippewa and a student at the University of North Dakota, proposed bringing Native American elders into an after-school project with Native American youth to teach the skills and significance of traditional crafts and culture. This project will teach the youth about their heritage, engage and honor the tribal elders and enrich Robert's educational experience.

Jamie Finfrock at Schoolcraft College, a two year institution in Livonia, Michigan, will use the CASE grant to recruit and train both students and practicing accountants to staff the Accounting Aid Society's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to help low-income workers file tax returns. In addition to accounting students who will learn about the "real world" of taxpayer situations, Jamie plans to use CASE to recruit and train non-accounting majors, such as education and sociology majors, to participate. While more training and supervision would be needed in these cases, these non-accounting majors will learn more about the challenges faced by the families they will serve in later careers than would be possible in classroom case studies.

Allison Ziehm's CASE proposal extends a partnership between Lourdes College, Ohio and First Book to provide books to children who do not have any. The Lourdes Campus Advisory Board currently provides reading mentors for a low-income neighborhood school. The CASE grant will enable the partnership to reach 200 new children with 400 books.

Lauren Burianek, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will use the CASE grant to expand UNC-Chapel Hill's partnership with Boomerang, an alternative-to-suspension program at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA. Instead of unstructured, unsupervised absence from school, Boomerangs engage in educational and life lessons activities at the "Y." With the CASE award, Lauren will partner with the Circle K chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill to establish and maintain a self-sustaining garden within Boomerang to provide lessons about biology, agriculture, aesthetics, responsibility and respect. Lauren's service-learning will include conducting research, designing lesson plans and creating educational materials for participants.

Deepti Vanguri and Brigid Belko, at NC State University, will use CASE grant to expand a partnership between NC State and Operation Sharehouse from Stop Hunger Now. Sharehouse tackles global hunger with volunteers who package dehydrated, fortified rice-soy meals specially formulated for the severely undernourished with 20 vitamins and minerals. The meals are vacuum-sealed in plastic for storage in Stop Hunger Now warehouses before shipment around the world. Deepti and Brigid will use the grant funds to integrate Sharehouse with NC State's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Challenge (sponsored by the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service). Most important, NC State students will work alongside local inner-city middle school students who are candidate proteges for NCS mentors. The event also includes learning and reflection about the impact of hunger and related issues such as poverty and AIDS. Both applicants are enrolled in courses that will bring service-learning into project planning and implementation.

Amanda Vande Zande, University of South Dakota, learned while working with the Vermillion Area Arts Council that students who begin music instruction in middle school years lacked a basic understanding of pitch and beat, which can be mastered even by five year olds. So, to get ahead of this deficiency, Amada used the CASE grant to buy bells, rhythm sticks and other basic instruments, and design Vermillion SD's first introduction to music for four and five year-olds. The program was advertised to social service agencies throughout the community to ensure that income was not a barrier to participation. As the program unfolds, other USD students can be engaged as teachers.

Andrew Hawkins, Oklahoma State University was working with the Mission of Hope Homeless Shelter, realized that not all homeless people had crippling emotional or psychiatric problems. Many were otherwise economically viable individuals or family units that had hit a financial snag the cost them a place to live. So, Andrew adapted a financial literacy program from junior high school to the circumstances of homelessness, and is using the CASE funds to create workbooks, templates, reference binders and other materials. Also included is development of a presenter package so the program can be multiplied with other students and in other locations.

Alexis D'Angelo, worked with her classmates at Wayne State University, Mchigan, during ASBD: Alternative Spring Break in Detroit. But, she felt the school's student leadership needed to know the city better to design better ASBD projects. Alexis partnered with the Detroit Orientation Institute to create LOUD: Leadership Orientation for Urban Detroit, a one day immersion experience for student leaders with community leaders, institutions, neighborhoods and residents throughout Detroit. The CASE grant will create workbooks for homework assignments, notes and follow-up action lists, and pay for transportation and a pre- and post- event evaluation exercise for students and community participants.

Meghan Griffith's CASE project will take a partnership between Marietta College, Ohio and the Ely Chapman Education Foundation (ECEF) in a new direction. Working with other Marietta College students in the ECEF middle school program, Meghan recognized the need for West African cultural awareness in the neighborhood of the school. So, Meghan's project will partner middle school students with Marietta mentors to prepare a West African Art and Artifacts Museum for an open house for visitors from all over the Mid-Ohio Valley, each November, February, March and April. Middle school students will research, document and prepare displays for artifacts. This educational component will benefit the students directly; the impact, however, will extend beyond into the greater community as they visit the museum.

Angie Kent at the University of South Dakota wanted to interest disabled persons in adaptive skiing as a therapeutic recreation strategy. Two groups needed to participate to make this work: Ski instructors and USD students interested in rehabilitation, either from nursing or the school's therapeutic recreation program. Angie used the CASE grant to get local ski instructors trained in adaptive skiing, and then to train students as assistants. She recruited local sponsors to pay for the equipment. Then all three groups, instructors, assistants and disabled skiing novices, began making the dream come true for some disabled people who thought they could never participate in skiing.