Brenda Milcik

Jul 222013
 

Erin Bradley ’10 is a project coordinator in Chicago with the Digital Learning Research Project of New York University’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change. She co-authored a study, “Teens, Digital Media, and the Chicago Public Library,” published by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. She also co-authored a case study for a MacArthur-funded program, “Hive Fashion: Translating Interest Into Career Opportunity.”

Jun 192013
 

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Janelle Santos’ trek to a four-island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean began when she saw a notice in the Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights.  “I found myself intrigued,” she said. “Here was an opportunity to help promote world peace and friendship.”  For 32 months, Janelle Santos faced constant 86-degree days and a lot of rain without benefit of electricity, gas or hot water.

The Harwood Heights resident returned May 13 from Pohnpei, Micronesia, after serving as a member of the Peace Corps.  The population of the island is 35,000.  “Technically, I was in the federal states of Micronesia, a really small island nation,” she said. “I was an (English as a second language) teacher and community development teacher.   “I taught high school kids how to read and write English.”  In return, the residents of Pohnpei taught Santos to speak Pohnpeian.

Living as the residents live gave Santos the opportunity to become part of community, learning language and the crucial components of their culture.  Her favorite part was the traditional feast, called Kamadipw.  “It’s a huge party where everyone goes to the nahs, the community house, and celebrates the local leaders,” she said.  “Everyone brings a plate of food. There’s ceremonial drink called sakau, more widely known as kava, and they slaughter pigs. And they dance.”

Santos said she learned a lot about herself while in Pohnpei.  “I learned about perseverance, commitment,” she said. “And I learned to love and appreciate the people of Pohnpei.  She becomes wistful thinking of her days in Micronesia.  “I was lucky to have my own room,” she said. “I had a mattress, but not much in the way of utilities.  “There was no hot water, but it was great. It’s all part of the learning experience.  “And I will never forget the welcoming warmth of the Pohnpeian people.”

Santos graduated from Pennoyer Elementary School, Maine South High School and Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington, where she earned degrees in international studies and sociology.  Santos now attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign working on her doctoral degree in social work.

Jun 102013
 

Scott Black ’10 was elected to the Bloomington City Council.  Black, who is currently serving his second term on the McLean County Board, is looking forward to serving the voters on the west-side of Bloomington.  “I’m really excited to get involved,” said Black. “I’m really excited to take on the challenges that the west-side has. I’m open and accessible. I want to hear from residents. I want to hear from constituents. I want to hear what they have to say and any ideas they have to solve our challenges.”

He also is excited about beginning his term with (Tari) Renner at the top.  “It’s going to be great,” he added. ” think with Tari’s leadership we’re going to be able to get things done on the Council. I’m ready to go. Being on the County Board for three years, I have excessive local government experience. I know how to make things happen and Bloomington definitely needs that.”

Black had 60 percent of the vote (447) to defeat Bernie Uszcienski (179) and Ryan Fiala (117).

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Scott Black and Tari Renner