Syracuse University

SU News

Imagining America Engagement Fellows apply undergraduate educations to jobs in Syracuse community

May 03, 2012

Jamie Haft
(315) 443-8765

Thirteen Syracuse University seniors have been selected as 2012-2013 Imagining America Engagement Fellows, a yearlong program of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA). Providing a transition from undergraduate academic study to employment and graduate education, the program offers students assistance in finding a job and, thanks to the generous support of the SU deans, tuition to take graduate courses at SU. The Engagement Fellowship also creates myriad opportunities for professional development and networking through IA’s Publicly Active Graduate Education—Central New York Chapter.

“The program encourages students to find expression for the same idealism that characterizes SU’s vision of Scholarship in Action in beginning careers in their chosen fields in central New York,” says Jan Cohen-Cruz, IA director and University professor. “Building on their publicly engaged undergraduate educations, Engagement Fellows gain support to find and create pathways to publicly engaged professional lives.”

Meeting together throughout the year, the Engagement Fellows expand their sense of the multitude of ways that various disciplines contribute to the public good, and develop cross-disciplinary partnerships along the way.

"Being an Engagement Fellow  has enabled me to stitch together otherwise unrelated opportunities—formal academic research, work experience and creating a nonprofit initiative—into a coherent, yearlong course of study that is made so much stronger by the synergies between these different experiences,” says Nilus Klingel, 2011-12 recipient, who applied his undergraduate education in architecture to urban revitalization efforts in Syracuse, and matriculated into the architecture master’s program. “Without the program, I wouldn't have been able to conceive of such a year, nor had the resources and logistical support to make it happen." 

Students are chosen for the program based on their academic record, faculty or professional recommendation, community engagement experience and desire to contribute to the vitality of central New York.

2012-13 Imagining America Engagement Fellows

John Cardone, B.F.A in sculpture and creative writing who also completed the Renée Crown Honors Program, plans to work with Marion Wilson on the Mobile Literacy Arts Bus, as well as for Say Yes to Education.

Taylor Gibbs, B.F.A. in communications design, will work with SU ArtsEngage.

Samantha Hay, B.A. in biophysical sciences and global political economy, is seeking work in medical research.

Marc Mason, B.S. in communication and rhetorical studies, international relations and Middle Eastern studies, is graduating with honors and hopes to continue with the Near East Foundation. 

Deanna Payson, B.A. in political science and public communications, will implement the second “Life Gets Better Together” conference for LGBTQ youth and intern in public relations with local nonprofits.

David Pittman, B.A. in international relations, hopes to continue his work with La Casita Cultural Center.

Daniel Powell, B.A. in English & textual studies, will work at the SU Photo & Imaging Center.

Olivia Rhinehart, B.A. in English & textual studies, will work at University College with the English Language Institute and pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Lauren Rosenstein, B.S. in social work, will continue in social work and do an internship in the Syracuse community.

Tucker Scherger, B.S. in bioengineering, will work with the Recreation Services Department and hopes to develop more programming for local youth.

Rachel Tjornehoj, B.A. in Spanish and graphic design, hopes to work at the Community Folk Art Center.

Holly Zahn, B.F.A in film, will work with SU ArtsEngage.

Jian Yin Zhong, B.F.A in interior design and psychology, aims to develop public art projects in the Near West Side and in association with Say Yes.

The Engagement Fellows program was launched in 2009 by IA and Enitiative, which supports entrepreneurship and innovation in Syracuse. This year, there are two tracks: Imagining America Engagement Fellows and Kauffman Entrepreneurship Engagement Fellows.

Recent News