S-L Student & Faculty Reflections

#CapturingCommunity: Ileeana Johnson

By S-L Street Team Member JooNa Kim

Name: Ileeana Johnson

Role in Service-Learning: Service-Learning TA

College: College of Arts, Media, & Design

Major: Music

Minors: Psychology and Marketing

Q1: What should everyone know about Service-Learning?

I tell my students that Service-Learning is almost like simultaneously being on a co-op as part of one of your classes. This program is so unique because it really allows students to not only gain experiences and skills relevant to their course as they are learning about it, but also because these are real people and organizations they are getting to work with. It’s not hypothetical; it’s reality. The work these students are doing have real impact and meaning for a community they can actively engage with even beyond the completion of the course.

Q2: What service-learning project are you doing?

I am working with Professor Amir Grinstein and his course Marketing & Society. Students are divided into teams of 5-7 and paired with a community partner that they’ve demonstrated a particular interest in working with for the duration of the semester, leading up to a culminating and detailed marketing plan tailored to the community partner’s needs/interests. These projects range from telehealth clinics, to youth & family programs, to AI-enhanced data collection in rural communities around the world, so students have a wide range of interests to focus on.

Q3: What are some advantages and challenges of Service-Learning being remote?

Something which is both an advantage and a challenge of Service-Learning being remote is everyone needing to rely on virtual meetings in a COVID world. On one hand, students and organizations from all corners of the globe are able to collaborate on projects and in ways they may not have thought of before – encouraging a wide range of backgrounds and thought processes towards one goal. On the other, this has made scheduling difficult (with some parties in particularly challenging time zones) and that “in-person” element is lost. Students have really needed to adapt, but they have done really well given the circumstances. 

Q4: Any recommendations for people who are joining the S-L team during the pandemic?

My Service-Learning Team Manager, Amanda Tompkins, has been an absolute superstar this semester. Utilizing your S-LTM as a resource is so critical in any setting, but especially during the pandemic. Amanda has gone above and beyond making herself available to me for any questions or concerns I’ve had throughout the semester – something which was really appreciated in such weird, uncertain times. And she’s just a great person to talk to in general!

Q5: What are some fun things to do when in quarantine?

Beyond the obvious baking marathons and Netflix binging (*cough* ‘Queen’s Gambit’, if you haven’t watched already), I’ve tried to get back into reading more. I always used never having time as an excuse; but in the world of COVID, I can’t anymore! Something I really enjoyed recently was ‘Stories That Stick’ by Kindra Hall which details “how storytelling can captivate customers, influence audiences, and transform your business”. It’s great advice, not just for the professional world, but I’ve also used a lot of her theories and concepts in my personal life as well!

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