Project Grow: SPEA students develop leadership skills through mentoring program

For students who are underrepresented minorities, mentorship is critical to future success.  Tamra Wright, who serves as SPEA’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, said mentoring opportunities allow women – especially African American women – to develop their own leadership skills and see that others who look like them can rise to the top.

Wright, who currently teaches a SPEA course on career development and diversity, invited her students to apply for Project Grow, a one-year mentoring program aimed at helping young women achieve academic success and develop leadership skills. SPEA undergraduate students Micah Benson and Scherrie Blackwell were accepted to the program and will receive 12 one-hour sessions with professional mentors throughout the country.

“You’ll often find that those who achieve success and end up in leadership positions have had a great mentor by their side,” Wright said. “Unfortunately, when we look at people in leadership, there are very few women and even fewer women of color. Mentorship opportunities are critical in moving the needle toward greater diversity.” (more…)

SPEA course helps students understand regulatory policy for air, water, and hazardous waste

air pollution

By Rod Thompson, Regulatory Toxicologist/Vapor Intrusion Expert at Risk Options, LLC and SPEA Associate Faculty Member

Chemical exposure occurs wherever we are in the world. The outdoor and indoor air we breathe, water we drink, lakes we swim in, and the soil we build on and play in, all have chemical exposure from hundreds of years of industrial manufacturing, energy production, land development, and waste disposal practices.

SPEA-V 311: Natural Resources and Environmental Policy has been redesigned to address the increasing role human health and ecological risk-assessment play in current environmental regulation and sustainability. This is because risk assessment is evolving more broadly into what is known as a risk-based approach to regulation – a practice that leads companies to focus on assessing and responding to risks that may arise. (more…)

Students analyze impact of Indiana placemaking projects in SPEA practicum course

By Doug Noonan, Professor

Photo courtesy of Indiana Dunes Tourism
Photo courtesy of Indiana Dunes Tourism

We are gearing up for another SPEA practicum course this spring, a great opportunity for students to do some original research and inform policy and real-work difference-makers. Interested in adding a course to your fall, with a flexible schedule, a fun topic, and a chance to affect policy? Read on!

When we did this practicum in fall 2015, the results were both fun and valuable – for the students as well as the “client.” The idea started with a request from the Indiana Tourism Association (ITA), who were interested in learning more about how local tourism-related investments benefit the local community and improve “quality of place.” Indiana is chock full of these small-scale investments that also benefit the local community. You know that Indianapolis Cultural Trail you enjoy? Not just for Indy tourists. Whether it’s a local rail-trail or greenspace addition, the aesthetic improvements to a small-town “main street,” the cluster of craft breweries or wineries, or even the big complex of sports fields … all these amenities attract tourists and travelers, but locals enjoy them, too. (more…)

Scholarship spotlight: Zach McClure, BSCJ’16

This month, SPEA IUPUI is sponsoring two teams at the 15th Beyond the Badge 5k Run and Walk. Proceeds from the event benefit SPEA undergraduate students through the Jason Baker Public Safety Scholarship fund. The annual 5k honors public safety heroes and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason M. Baker, who lost his life by gunfire on September 17, 2001.

SPEA sat down with one of last year’s scholarship winners, Zach McClure BSCJ’16, to talk about the impact the scholarship had on him as an undergraduate student at SPEA. (more…)

IU Public Policy Institute study outlines program needs for growing Indiana Latino population

By Rachel Thelin and Dona Sapp, senior policy analysts

September marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and as community leaders around the state come together to recognize and celebrate the many economic, social, and cultural contributions of Indiana’s growing Latino population, they must also recognize challenges facing Indiana Latinos in a number of areas, including income, education, and health.

The Institute recently partnered with the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI) to conduct a study consisting of a range of research activities to help ILI enhance programming and services throughout the state.

As part of this project, we produced a report compiling 1) an in-depth profile of the Indiana Latino population covering general population trends, education, economic, and health indicators based on a comprehensive and detailed examination of publicly available data; and 2) results of the Survey of Organizations Serving the Indiana Latino Community aimed at gathering perspectives from organizations throughout the state involved in providing services to members of the Latino community. (more…)