Hello! My name is Rebecca Jacobsen and I’m the new Civic Engagement Fellow for the 2016-2017 school year. I’m taking the place of Jennifer Roach ’14, the most recent in an esteemed list of recent grads to hold this position. You can find me at my desk in the OCS Lounge (room 318) in Allbritton, behind the bookshelves.
What does the Civic Engagement Fellow do? I work with the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships (JCCP), the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE), the Office of Community Service (OCS), the service-learning program, the Civic Engagement Certificate, and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life on everything you can imagine that’s related to civic engagement. I send out a weekly newsletter, called ENGAGE, which has all sorts of great information, like newsworthy content from Wes alums involved in the civic engagement and social entrepreneurship fields, upcoming events of interest on campus and off, and jobs, internships, and funding opportunities. I work with the Patricelli Center Fellows and the Allbritton Fellows on their exciting projects and coordinate events for the cohort of students involved at the Allbritton Center, endearingly named the “Alls.” I also maintain the ENGAGE blog, which is a great resource for anyone looking to read and learn more about the work we do.
Unlike some of my predecessors, I am someone who was not extremely involved at Allbritton as a student. But, don’t be alarmed, I’ve since learned so much about the different centers and the incredible work that gets done here by staff and students alike. So I think I can be a great resource for you, whether you’re already deeply involved with programs through Allbritton and looking for specific help, or you’ve only stepped foot in this building to get free coffee from Espwesso but you’re interested in learning more and maybe getting involved.
I graduated from Wesleyan in May, where I double-majored in Chemistry and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry. While a student, I was a TA for several classes, a women’s clinic escort, (briefly) a member of the club sailing team, and a peer tutor. I also ran two marathons in college, read a few books, and watched a LOT of Netflix. I’m working as the Fellow this year and plan on entering medical school next fall. My dream is to work in an underserved area with community leaders to help improve access (physical and financial) to healthy foods, while also providing high-quality medical care.
With all of this science in my background, why am I the Civic Engagement Fellow, you might ask? (People always ask). Well, I took The Health of Communities (a service-learning course) with Peggy Carey Best my junior year where my interest in service-learning really began. Along with another student, I worked with Middletown’s Community Health Center to research, develop, and implement an incentivized smoking cessation program for adolescents at New Britain High School. I was then a TA for Rob Rosenthal’s Community Research Seminar (also a service-learning course) my senior year, where I had the opportunity to work with some of Wesleyan’s community partners and got a taste for civic engagement work. Both of these classes opened my eyes to the world of service-learning and civic engagement and showed me how interdisciplinary my interests actually are. So here I am!
If you’re looking to get involved on campus or in the Middletown community, if you want to learn more about civic engagement or social entrepreneurship (or even what those things actually mean and how they’re relevant to your life), if you’re looking for a job or internship opportunity in either of these realms, or if you just have an idea about something and want a listening ear, then I’m your gal. If you’re having a stressful day and want to sit down and have a cup of tea on a comfy couch, I’m also your gal! You can find me in the OCS Lounge behind the bookshelves (Allbritton 318) or email me at email@example.com. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and working with you this year!