Previous Problem Solver Seed Grant Recipients

In order to promote the use of service learning and undergraduate community-based research as high impact pedagogy, the Center for Teaching and Learning- Service Learning Program supported community partner and faculty collaboration(s) through the funding of mini seed grants. Grants were awarded to faculty and community partner teams working to address social justice issues in Milwaukee as part of service learning courses. Over the last three semesters, the following faculty received Seed Grants for their innovative projects:

Michael Schläppi - Plant Biology

Dr. Schläppi is currently conducting research with Alice’s Garden and is working to create a climate resistant rice variation that could be grown here in Wisconsin. During his work, he heard from community gardeners at Alice’s Garden that that they would like Marquette students to test their soil and help with the harvest. The overall objective of this service learning project was to match each of the 24 Plant Biology (BIO 3406) students of the Fall 2014 semester with an urban gardener to tend plots at Alice’s Garden. Additionally, the students conducted research about one of the garden crops their gardener had planted and provided this information to their gardener to help inform practices for the next growing season. Grant money was used to fund transportation to transport the 24 students to Alice’s Garden during four class periods. The students also collected soil samples and the grant helped fund soil testing to determine nutrient concentrations and toxin levels. This information was presented to Alice’s Garden and the project provided a basis, at least in Alice’s Garden, for intercultural connections that are usually lost in Milwaukee’s segregated neighborhoods. 

Allison Efford - Immigration to the United States

Students from Marquette’s HIST 4120 (Immigration to the United States) assisted a group of St. Anthony’s High School seniors in producing oral histories of migration to Milwaukee. Dr. Efford’s students introduced Michael Derrick’s history students to the concept of collecting oral histories. St. Anthony’s students then set out to capture the stories of their immigrant family members, and together the teams of students conducted historical research to better understand the immigration stories. St. Anthony’s students received support from university professors, students, and staff, and gained research experience. Seed money was used to transport the Marquette students to St. Anthony to work with the students during class time, and to bring the St. Anthony students to campus to conduct research with the MU students.

Beth Godbee - Writing for Social Justice

As part of the community-based learning course “Writing for Social Justice” students created promotional and educational videos for the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin’s Racial Justice Program. These short videos used video footage of interviews with participants of Everytown Wisconsin, a week-long, social justice leadership camp for teens. The videos highlighted participants’ experiences with the camp, information about the camp in the participants’ voices, showcase what they report learning, and help to promote the camp to various stakeholders. In collaboration with community partner Dr. Martha Barry, Director of the YWCA of Southeast Wisconsin’s Racial Justice Program, Dr. Godbee and her students worked to learn more about racial justice and to produce multi-modal texts that can be used in efforts toward eliminating racism. The Seed grant was used to reimburse staff from Marquette’s Raynor Library’s Digital Media studio who helped the students create the high quality videos that will be used for the YWCA’s recruitment efforts.

April Newton – Introduction to Visual Communication

Because of a unique collaboration between the Service Learning Program and the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium, April Newton’s students were able to hone their visual communication skills by creating brochures and marketing material for twelve K-12 Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese. Students were charged with graphic design, photography, typography responsibilities, and the final product allowed the schools to reach new audiences that will hopefully ultimately lead to higher enrollments. Seed grant money provided parking reimbursement for school staff to come to campus twice to work with their communication students.

Albert LaGore – ROTC Naval Science course in Leadership and Management

Students training to be officers in the military through the ROTC were able to put their communication, leadership, and decision making skills, to the test through a building project with Marquette’s Campus Kitchens Project. LaGore’s students built a compost bin, adaptive raised gardens, and garden benches. Campus Kitchens will use their community garden, located next to O’Donnell Hall, to provide fresh produce for the meals they provide throughout the city. Campus Kitchens plans to invite folks with disabilities to help garden this summer. Seed grant money went to building materials and supplies.

Astrida Kaugars – Psychology of the Exceptional Child

Dr. Kaugars received a grant to purchase assessment material and incentives for a research project on the integration of mindfulness curriculum intervention for the kids and parents at Milwaukee Center for Independence’s SEDA School.  Five students from the Exceptional Child class did their service learning, as research assistants with Dr. Kaugars. Initial findings suggest that SEDA students were able to better concentrate and focus after doing mindfulness exercises. Seed grant money was used to purchase assessment material and incentives for research participants.

Angelique Harris – Sociology of Culture, Health, and Illness

Dr. Harris’s project with Central City Churches Outreach Ministry was an innovative community-based research project, where the community identified the issue, and Dr. Harris and her students set out to help them find answers. The pantry was concerned because of the high rates of obesity and diabetes among the folks that utilized their pantry. The study examined food usage among the food pantry recipients, and the students provided this feedback to pantry and to Hunger Task Force, their food source, so that healthier, yet culturally relative food options would be more readily available. The students concluded by conducting cooking demonstrations that highlighted healthy ways of cooking the food available in the pantry. Seed grant funds went to the groceries needed to support the cooking demonstrations.

Barbara Silver Thorn – Biomedical Engineering course in Rehab Engineering, Prosthetics, and Orthotics

Students in Dr. Silver Thorn’s Rehabilitation Engineering class created adaptive and assistive devices for the kids at the Milwaukee Center for Independence SEDA School and Special Care Nursery. Projects included an interactive book/toy for an autistic child, a chair for a wheelchair bound pre K student to facilitate floor seating with peers, a universal stander for children with hip and spine issues who are unable to stand or walk a rocking chair for a child with severe autism, and a modified changing table for disabled pre-school kids.  Seed grant money went to supplies for the equipment.