Two Purdue University Northwest (PNW) faculty members have been recognized for their Northwest Indiana community partnerships through selection as Scholarship of Engagement Fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Jodi Allen, assistant professor and Family Nursing Practitioner Program coordinator in the College of Nursing, and Shontrai Irving, clinical associate professor of business law in the College of Business, were among 14 faculty members chosen to participate in this year’s program from across the Purdue system.
“I am proud to support the community outreach and engaged scholarship of our colleagues, Dr. Allen and Professor Irving,” states Kenneth C. Holford, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Purdue Northwest. “Their projects highlight the level of engagement and community impact for which Purdue Northwest faculty members have come to be known.”
Allen, a working nurse practitioner, has partnered with Sojourner Truth House in Gary to focus on women who often fall through the cracks once they are housed. “I’m looking to create more touchpoints for these women,” explains Allen. “By establishing regular check-ins, I can make sure they are keeping up on their health appointments, medications and determine what barriers they face.” She suspects transportation may be the biggest factor in their inability to keep doctor’s appointments and will use her fellowship award to purchase bus passes.
Irving, a practicing attorney, has partnered with the Lake County Bar Association and the Kimbrough Bar Association to create a mentorship program for PNW students. “Mentors have always made a huge difference in my professional life,” states Irving, “and I want to provide my students with that same experience.”
Matching students with legal professionals as mentors serves a dual purpose, according to Irving. While students will benefit from having an advocate from which to seek practical advice, encouragement and support, the mentors will gain a new perspective and a sense of fulfillment and personal growth.
Fellows were selected based on their proposed project, assessments and anticipated impact and will work with a panel of senior faculty mentors to develop goals, document and evaluate their project’s impact and complete a scholarly work.