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Independent Study Project

Once you start learning about Chicago’s complex past and current opportunities, you may find that you have more questions than answers.

The independent study project (ISP) gives you the space to explore an aspect of the city that fascinates you with the support of a Chicago Program faculty member. All students on the semester-long Chicago Program complete an ISP.

When designing your ISP, think outside the box and go beyond a traditional research paper. The project gives you the freedom to engage with the community and focus your research on the experiences you have right here in Chicago.

Students have produced music and visual art inspired by the city, written novels and poetry, completed service projects, “followed the money” to investigate how Chicago’s tax system privileges the wealthy, and collaborated with activists throughout the city as a part of their ISPs.

You’ll spend the first few weeks of the program engaging your creativity, exploring a variety of topics, and focusing in on what you’d like to study for your ISP. The second half of the semester gives you the flexibility to self-design your ISP as you learn from experts and connect your project to themes drawn from your seminars and internship.

While every ISP is unique, student projects do tend to fall under three broad categories: art, social justice, and business/entrepreneurship.

Past Projects

Jump to: Arts, Entrepreneurship, or Social Justice and Urban Studies


  • Lake Michigan Fills My Potholes (2013)
    Student developed a multi-media exploration of Lake Michigan, including an embroidered fabric work, a collage, and a video.  The video depicts the artist playing her flute as a tribute to Lake Michigan, a body of water that sustains her and buoys her when she's lacking in other aspects of her life.  The collage uses photocopies of book spines from the Harold Washington Library contrasted with reflected images of Lake Michigan and the embroidery depicts a particularly choppy day on the lake embellished with multi-colored string.  
  • Writing Prompts from Chicago Writers (2013)
    Student focused on experiential exercises and dedicated time to attending book readings and requesting writing prompts. The readings related to Chicago in some meaningful way and then the authors were approached for a request of a writing prompt, which were then used as fodder for a response piece.  
  • Bank on Raining: An Homage to the Chicago Jungle (2013) 
    Student developed a poetry chapbook/zine juxtaposing found text poems and personal narrative prose.  The text was generated by sifting through a copy of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", working in a subtractive method to mine reduced, poetic nuggets from the longer work.  These fragmentary poems were contrasted with short-form prose works exploring the artist's time in Chicago.  
  • Memoirs of Monarch (2013)
    Student created an initial set of non-fiction stories to be developed into a longer form memoir expressing the multiple experiences of being undocumented in the US. Inspired by Chicago sources (Joseph Cornell and Thorne Miniatures, James Lloyd Bright, etc.), the stories grapple with memory, politics, personal narrative, and transformation.  
  • Art, Appropriation, and Mental Health  (2012)
    The student drew inspiration for her creative project from her work with her internship site, where they focus on the relationship between art and mental health.  Student also identified early in the semester that many practitioners in Chicago rely heavily on appropriation techniques.  Ultimately, she presented an 8-minute video at the end of semester arts festival that collaged together a plethora of YouTube clips featuring subjects expounding upon art and mental health issues.  She learned video editing software to cut and re-mix the clips into an engaging video.  She presented the video in tandem with an intimate, personal portrayal of digital support relationships.
  • A Survey of Chicago Public Art (2012)
    The student conducted a research project exploring various types of public art in Chicago and traced their funding sources.  She utilized various library collections and public databases to gather information.  She also attended several community meetings deciding on future commissions and interviewed a variety of subjects at governmental and non-governmental arts institutions.  She ultimately presented her thesis at the end of semester arts festival where she argued for a greater consideration of public art that includes new genre practices alongside traditional, large-scale sculpture.  
  • In Memories Of.....(2012)
     The student created an autobiographical video detailing a particularly traumatic experience in her life and its aftermath.  To tell her story, she ritualistically told the story on camera every day for 6 weeks to try to remember greater detail and obtain a range of emotions.  She also conducted extensive research of  previously unavailable materials and taught herself video editing processes to construct the piece.  The student ultimately presented a 10-minute video to the audience at the end of semester arts festival.
  • Breaking News (2012)
    The student integrated herself deeply into the Chicago poetry community, completing an internship with Young Chicago Authors and performing at many different poetry presentations.  In an attempt to foster greater community and support systems for these artists, she created her own show entitled "Breaking News".  She invited poets, videographers, and musicians to respond to events that occurred in the previous month and present their work to an audience.  The student completely curated, organized, promoted, and executed a live arts show at an established venue.  She hopes to use this experience as a dry run for future iterations of this monthly poetry series.
  • Blue, Bemused and Mystified (2011)
    This student's independent study project included an eight week course at the Old Town School of Folk Music where she learned to play the acoustic guitar.  Her project culminated with her performance during the student-organized Arts Festival of songs she learned to play on the guitar as well as the performance of an original song and spoken word piece.  As inspiration and preparation for her songwriting she attended numerous literary readings, spoken word and poetry slam events around Chicago including the historic Green Mill weekly poetry slam and all of the 2011 season of the renowned Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam series.
  • Looking at the Female Nude:  The Artist, The Viewer and The Woman (2011)
    For her independent study project this student explored the evolution of the female nude from the Renaissance to the beginning of the twentieth century, by studying the work of artists such as Botticelli, Giorgione, Titian, Artemisia Gentileschi, Manet and Paula Modersohn-Becker. Her interest in the representation of the female nude was spurred by the exhibition "Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art" at the Chicago Cultural Center.  She said, “The use of the nude female body by artists such as Marina Abramovic to present a commentary on the position of women in society and violence against women, inspired me to explore the path that had led to a woman using her own body as the subject of art.”  The pioneering nude self-portraits by Modersohn-Becker at the beginning of the twentieth century were the starting point of Mrinalini's research, from which she built her thesis by looking at the evolution of the female nude in painting over the several centuries prior to Modersohn-Becker. Her research paper establishes that Modersohn-Becker’s nude self-portraits heralded a new genre in self-portraiture and changed forever the perception of the female nude in art in the century to follow.  At the culminating, student-organized Arts Festival she presented her paper along with an illustrative PowerPoint presentation. 
  • Elevated Lens (2011)
    Inspired by and wanting to pay homage to a moving photography project created by her father in Chicago the 1970s, this student sought to update his process and filter the imagery through her unique vision.  She created a series of digital photographs of the elevated trains in Chicago.  Her subject connects to her abiding passion for improv theater and performance, for while traveling to and from her improv class at the Playground Theater she came to believe that each train car contains theatrics often over looked by jaded commuters.  Influenced by many performances and exhibitions throughout the semester, she sought to illuminate “the theater of life” in her work and experimented with Photoshop and iPhoto to manipulate some of her images to dramatic effect.  She worked closely with a local digital imaging lab, examining numerous test strips before order the final selection to be printed.  She learned to mount and creatively install the work herself for an exhibition in the student-organized, culminating Arts Festival.    She accompanied her exhibition of photographs with a recording she created of sounds from various train cars and platforms in Chicago.
  • Aggregate Personas (2011)
    For her independent study project, this student explored figure study and portraiture using collage techniques.  With a concentration on self-portraiture she used magazine imagery as a means to both revel in and critique our consumer culture.  She honed her skills of observation and techniques necessary to create the illusion of dimensionality, and also experimented with expressive color and “arbitrary” value.  Bringing to bear her studies in sociology Sarah also began to grapple with artistic issues in portraiture such as the gaze, confrontation versus subjugation, and in her own words, “the truth and falsehood in representation,” as well as, “permanent preservation of the impermanent.”   With a background in contour and line drawing the collage techniques and the larger scale at which she worked afforded her the opportunity to explore something totally new to her and more akin to painting and sculpting.  She exhibited four pieces, three of which were self-portraits, in the student-organized culminating Arts Festival. 
  • Public Record (2011)
    This student's independent study project involved the creation and performance of a series of monologues.  Inspired in part by the class reading and opportunity to see a musical production of Studs Terkel’s Working, during her time in Chicago, she conducted interviews with women of various ages, representing a cross section of life styles and occupations. She sought focused exposure to authentic experiences and voices as well as the idiosyncratic affectations of individual personalities.  Among them was a ten-year-old girl, a prosecutor, a mother of five, an inner city school teacher and former hippie.  She presented during a student-organized, culminating Arts Festival the performance piece she developed which included a selection of four monologues based on the real stories and personalities of the people she interviewed.
  • Creative Writing (2011)
    The student wrote three stories recounting events in her life that have significantly changed the way she sees the world.  Inspired by a poetry workshop on essence and an opportunityto write a "This I Believe" essay, she developed a conviction for verity in writing.  In her writing, she sought to develop a style that reflects "truth."  Her process embodied an effort to attain a deeper understanding and peace about painful events as well as appreciate the joy of kismet in her life.  She aslo practiced reading aloud from her writing to an audience of peers.
  • Experiments in Animation (2010)
    In this ISP, the student completed a seres of short animated films.  She had never made an animated film before, so she had to learn stop-motion technique and taught herself how to edit her films in iMovie and Adobe Premiere.  Her films include a claymation experiment in which a watering can self-waters a flower; an animated choreography of construction paper cut outs dancing to music; a black and white silent film about playing cards in war and a love triangle; an abstract film with images of paper airplanes and flying; and an exploration of the daily routine of the claymation "blob" family. 
  • Speaking in Tones:  A Musical Exploration of the Buildings and Sculptures of Daley Center (2010)
    In this ISP, the student composed music inspired by the buildings and sculptures in and around Chicago's Daley Center.  The piece includes movements about City Hall, Picasso's untitled sculpture, Joan Miro's untitled sculpture, and two movements about the First United Methodist Church Building (a high rise "church" which also includes a bank).  He composed this music using Logic and Sibelius.  He also made a slide show version of the piece which shows images of the architecture/art that inspired each movement.  
  • Retelling (2010)
    This ISP consisted of writing prose and transforming the prose into a screenplay, both of which were collectively entitled "Retelling." The premise for the prose and the screenplay is about Iria, an 18 year old girls who can only form emotional and physical memories through scars on her body; ergo she has to cut herself any time she wants to remember a particular person, moment, place or feeling.  In her own words:  "I wanted to see what the consequences of this phenomena were for Iria and for those around her.  I also wanted to focus on what the repercussions were for Iria in the instances where she does not cut herself - what is it like when she loses a memory and why is it so important for her to keep memories?" As part of this project, the student enrolled in a screenwriting course at Chicago Dramatists, a 16mm film workshop at Chicago Filmmakers, and explored several of the city's museums for inspiration.
  • Five Generations (2010)
    This student wanted to further her education in uncovering stories and locations from her family's long history in Chicago.  She used a wide array of archival vintage photographs from her family's collection ranging from tintypes of her maternal great great grandfather at the World's Fair in 1893 to letters and advertisements from the early 1900's regarding her paternal great great grandfather's marquee sign company.  She juxtaposed these archival prints with contemporary photographs that she took of herself at each of the sites of the original photos; she developed and printed these photographs herself at the Chicago Photography Center.  In the end, she combined all of these rich resources into a compelling photo essay which she displayed at the public arts festival.  As a secondary project, she enrolled in a series of one-day workshops around the city, learning a bit about glassblowing, cupcake making, photo printing, basket weaving, and much more.
  • Chicago Dinnerware (2010)
    This ISP consisted of a collection of hand-built (as opposed to wheel-thrown) ceramic pieces, each representing a different Chicago icon.  She was inspired by street art for her designs and developed stencil logos that she glazed onto each piece.  The logos included a Chicago Cubs image; a Chicago hot dog; wind turbines to represent Chicago's title of "The Windy City"; a butcher's cleaver because Chicago was once referred to as "The Hog Butcher of the World";  "Juicy Fruit" for Wrigley; matches to represent the Great Chicago fire; a fedora to represent " The Blues Brothers" and street musicians who lay out their hats during performances; and Viagra to represent the Viagra Triangle (which is the name of the neighborhood she lived in during her semester in Chicago).  As a secondary project for this course, the student also embarked on a spiritual exploration of Chicago, visiting a diverse array of spiritual sites in the city from its famous Baha'i temple to a Buddhist temple, an African American gospel service, a church designed by Frank Lloyd Write and many other similar locations.
  • CrowdNoize Designs (2010)
    For this ISP, the student documented the design process of creating work for the start up online business,  CrowdNoize is a web based resource that lists electronic and hiphop events in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis.  The design work that he completed is being used on all four cities websites as well as business cards, promotional material, and soon will be used on t-shirts.  For his ISP presentation, he printed the highlights of this design work and suspended them using carabiners and fishing wire.  On a television screen adjacent to the prints he displayed the home pages of the four CrowdNoize branches.  As part of the project, he also attended a wide variety of live music shows and concerts.
  • Writing a Fantasy Adventure Novel (2009)
    Wrote the first draft of a 50,000 word novel.  Using National Novel Writing Month as a model, this  student spent two months writing the draft. The spiritual fantasy adventure novel follows Jome (later Eshiah, then Elisha) from humble urban roots through school, slavery, and a mystical training under the guidance of the wise Nectsah-Sol, all of which is preparing him for his fate as a modern prophet of God.  The student group provided a safe and supportive environment in which to experiment with unfamiliar writing processes, and he intends to continue revising his novel info a finished draft.
  • Art Installation of Childhood Memories (2009)
    Created an installation featuring a series of childhood memories.  The student’s experience and career goal in the field of art therapy spurred her interest in examining the co-mingling of happy memories from her own childhood with sad memories regarding the absence of her father during much of that time.  On the wall, she displayed a series of images made with photo collage, crayon, marker and construction paper.  Each image depicted a different event or place of significance in her childhood (the park, the zoo, the beach, etc.).  The images were physically connected by the yarn from which each piece was hanging and visually connected by drawings of playground equipment that allowed one image to swing, slide or teeter-totter into the next.  The girl appears in each scene, while a man’s shoes hover on the periphery until finally they’re gone.  On the floor below these pieces she arrayed a smattering of toys and art materials some of which was entangled by a pile formed by the yarn from above contributing to the sense of play, spontaneity and also the intimacy and honesty of a child’s imagination in contract to an adults struggle to make sense of loss.
  • Research Paper on Contemporary Portraiture (2009)
    Researched and wrote a thirty-five page paper entitled, The Other Side: Issues in Contemporary Portraiture, which the student presented with a PowerPoint slide show to an audience during the Festival Exhibition.  In the paper, she examines the art of portraiture throughout history, with a focus on the artists who continue to work in this genre, such as Elizabeth Peyton and Kenhinde Wiley.  She finds that while its prominence has declined among contemporary artists, portraiture remains particularly relevant for artists who cannot take identity for granted, due to their gender, race or sexual orientation.  She writes, “[It] does appear that the contemporary portrait is an attempt to deconstruct identity and that the artists who have had to more often confront their own identity and consider what exactly identity means are more likely drawn to this subject matter.”  She determines, “In fact until all issues of equality, interpersonal tensions, personal psychology, personality and identity are completely deconstructed, and clearly understood the art of the portrait cannot be truly ‘dead.’”
  • Porcelain and Mixed Media Models (2009)
    Created from memory, out of porcelain and mixed media, models of each room of her childhood home.  In this project, the student explored the nature of memory, its pockets of clarity, areas of distortion, as well the awareness of absence of memories.  Much like the process of remembering works, she shaped the places in her mind’s eye, feeling out by hand the dimensions of each room and the placement of the furniture.  Her unglazed forms were ghostly white and distancing yet emphasized light, shadow and spatial relationships.  Proportions were skewed and did not follow logically from room to room.  Most rooms featured a diary like page of paper noting only a few remembered facts about the room, illuminating a reluctance to revisit the emotional content of the memories of this home.  In contrast she also displayed several rooms of a home where she presently finds a good deal of clarity and peace.  The rooms of this second home were less distorted and more detailed in the overall presentation.   Arranged in linear patterns on two tables each series of rooms was accompanied by a floor plan posted on the wall above.   The one for the distant home was hand drawn and somewhat crude while the one for her present home was a professional blue print symbolizing her focus on certainty about the present.   
  • Writing an Action Novel (2009)
    Wrote the first draft of a 50,000 word novel.  Using National Novel Writing Month as a model, she spent two months writing the draft. Her action-packed novel follows two heroes, Theil and Lena, across the country, through the underworld of Malloren, a corporate spy agency, and eventually to discover freedom and their love for each other. The student group provided a safe and supportive environment in which to experiment with unfamiliar writing processes, and she intends to continue revising her novel into a finished draft.
  • Drawings Examining Images of the Black Male (2009)
    Created a suite of three pieces examining images of the black male powerfully using the spare means of only black and red ink on paper.  The central focus was a series of four large-scale drawings hanging side-by-side from ceiling to floor.  Alternating with the two images listing lyrics of popular hip hop songs where the prevalence of “death” is illuminated in red, she placed first a drawing of a lynching victim and then a figure that appears to have fallen due to street violence.  “As we look closely at history and the strife of the present day black male, we begin to see that nothing much has changed,” she states.  In another piece, she used a quote from W.E.B. Dubois’ The Soul of Black Folk and rewrote it over and over, progressively eliminating every other word, working with pattern and repetition, but also leaving the viewer to ponder dangling and lingering words such as “measure” and “man.”   For her third piece, she expressively painted a series of images of old fashion figures in “black face” among historically disparaging quotes about the Black Man, suggesting the jaunty quality of Jazz Age advertisements but belying a painfully marginalized history.
  • Studio Art Installation – “Coffee and Me” (2009)
    Created a studio art installation piece called Coffee and Me. The installation occupied an entire classroom in the ACM office for the last week of the semester. It included a variety of print and sculpture experiments, some of them finished products and others evidence of the processes he used to discover his resourceful technique. After the student decided upon coffee as his primary inspiration, he collaborated with an artist family friend of his to run a series of creative experiments. Ultimately, he decided to create a series of prints using a concentrated coffee sludge and blueberry juice as his ink. By also utilizing a variety of processes including tie-dye, found object printing, and modeling with paper Starbucks cups, He achieved an array of fascinating colors and forms.  He installed his work in the ACM classroom along with dramatic lighting effects, a photo slideshow of his process, ambient coffee shop music, and a pungent aroma of coffee.  He successfully combined nearly every creative principle discussed in the seminar to create his project, including collaboration, free play, observation/abstraction, creative autobiography, and transformation.
  • Development of a Novella – “Arizona Sunsets” (2009)
    Reworked three previously written short stories into an 80-page novella called Arizona Sunsets. The three stories that he started with were (1) a first person narrative about Ryan’s journey through the underworld of Mesa, Arizona’s drug dealing subculture also called Arizona Sunsets, (2) a second person love story about a third-grader’s first romance and his later disillusioned love life called Natalie, and (3) Que Triste, about Ignacio’s experiences working at a Wal-Mart.  The student was interested in using these three stories as a jumping off point to experiment with a large-scale writing project.  He began substantially rewriting and weaving the narratives together, ultimately requiring about 30-40% completely original work.  He substantially expanded the scope of the original Arizona Sunsets, incorporating Judith — a major character from Que Triste — into the narrative. A revised version of Natalie was split in half to serve as a prologue and epilogue to Ryan’s main story. 
  • Creation of a Two-Person Play (2008)
    Wrote, acted, staged, and publicly performed an original short two-person play. In an efficient 30 minutes, the play vividly details the entire lifespan of a romantic relationship. From the moment Stella—an overly confident struggling actor who is a little too well-versed in the relationship game—meets the awkwardly shy and inexperienced Ned at a homosexual commitment ceremony, the play traces the characters’ opposite journeys through their relationship until Ned conjures enough strength to break up with the now bored and cheating Stella, thus leaving her completely broken and disillusioned.  The student and her co-star (a fellow student) collaboratively wrote the first draft of the play by improvising dialogue by typing it directly into the manuscript.  She worked through several revisions of the script and her (and her co-star’s) acting and staging decisions. They premiered the play at the end-of-semester arts festival at the Blue Line Studio.
  • Science Fiction Novel – “The Door” (2008)
    Wrote the first large section (about 30-40 pages) of a science fiction novel called The Door. The novel follows the intertwining stories of 4-6 main characters in the not-too-distant future as they each play their role with NIDA, a private corporation trying to punch a hole from our dimension into the next. The student read a selection of the story at the end of the semester public arts festival at the Blue Line Studio. Though there is a lot of story left to tell in this novel, writing the first major section was a major accomplishment.
  • Creation of an Anthology of Poetry, Photography, and Artwork (2008)
    Created an anthology of her original poetry, photography, and other artwork.  About fifty percent of the anthology consists of new work she completed this semester, while the rest is work from earlier in her college career. She devoted special energy to the layout and design of the book, employing many different artistic processes. She also read several of her poems at our public arts festival at the Blue Line Studio.
  • Creation of a Series of Short Comedic Films (2008)
    Wrote, acted, directed, edited, and publicly screened six short comedic films, about 30 minutes long in total.  To prepare for the project, the student enrolled in an eight-week improvisational acting class at the Annoyance Theatre.  The improv course encouraged him to trust his artistic instincts, helped him to hone in on a specific comedic voice, and inspired him to adopt an organic improvisatory process.  In his words: “I don't think I've ever been as proud of my work as I am of these videos. I'm not timid or overly self-critical about the videos as I have been with nearly everything I have made in the past. I feel like I have a foundation to build upon which I fully intend to do as soon as I finish up this semester. I also feel like I have achieved a general artistic maturity.”
  • Visual Art Display Based on Historic Myths and Nursery Rhymes (2008)
    Conceived an original visual art genre using elements of photography, graphic design, comic book, and mythology. To begin with, the student chose five historic myths/legends/nursery rhymes and came up with a way to contemporize each of the stories. Then she cast her classmates and friends in each of the principal roles and shot photos of them acting out the key moments of her updated mythology. In her sequencing of the images she was highly inspired by Scott McCloud’s urtext on the comic book genre, Understanding Comics. After teaching herself the basics (and not so basics) of Photoshop by reading several books on the subject, she created a unique graphic design style for each series of photos. Finally, she printed and mounted each of her fifty images for display in our end of the semester public arts festival at the Blue Line Studio.


  • Digital Marketing Untangled (2013)
    Student examined the school to career transition in the digital marketing sector within Chicago.  Secondary research was conducted to establish trends and employment within the Chicago-land area along with data collection from online employment sites.  Student interviewed faculty, business owners and recruitment consulting professionals to gain additional insight on the gap between courses and skills required.  To showcase findings the student created a website. 
  • Important in 1893 and Today in Chicago (2013)
    Student wrote a research paper based upon conducting a historical and contemporary research project focusing on five venues that were of importance during the Worlds Columbian Exposition held in Chicago.  Buildings and spaces were analyzed by examining their purpose, architectural style and economic impact both in 1893 and in 2013.  
  • Third Places in the Second City (2013)
    Student examined "Third Places" in Chicago using the framework of urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg to understand the uniqueness of four sites, how they developed and considered common themes.  Student conducted primary research through visiting each location and meeting with individuals deeply connected with the organization as well as conducting secondary research.  To showcase findings the student created a website.
  • Bringing Tourism to Chicago Neighborhoods (2012)
     The student highlighted the benefits of attracting tourism to the neighborhoods of Chicago rather than recycling the same attractions i.e. Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, etc. The student interviewed several tourism bureaus as well as native Chicagoans to gather research. Results showed that by highlighting neighborhoods on the tourism sites, Chicago’s revenue generated would recycle locally providing a greater overall benefit to the City and its residents.
  • Crowdfunding Project for Community TV Network (2013)
     Student's project was to develop a crowdsourcing campaign to benefit a local Chicago non-profit.  This project was designed to focus on researching best practices on platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo and collect images and content that could be used to develop a persuasive package for the organization.  
  • Evaluating Small Business Marketing for a Unique Small Business in Chicago (2013)
    Student conducted primary research and testing of various social media platforms to gauge effectiveness for promoting a small boutique service business in Chicago.  The project included developing a survey, holding a virtual focus group and calculating the impact of incentives on client engagement.   
  • Social Enterprises in Chicago (2013)
    Student wrote a research paper that considered the growing field of social enterprises and the factors that distinguish them from either non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses.  Profiles of four social enterprises based in Chicago were examined and interviews were conducted with representatives of these organizations.  Best practices and common themes were discovered and shared through a public presentation at the end of the semester.  
  • Small Business and Sustainability (2012)
    The student used his experience at his internship as a basis for his ISP. The student examined the impact of green initiatives on sales performance for a group of small business owners.  The goal of the study was to identify the various motivations and outcomes with sustainable practices. The student analyzed responses from business owners through distribution of questionnaires andconducting personal interviews.  While growing their base of customers and increasing sales was important to business owners, the more critical factor was a commitment to community and supporting a sustainable enivronment at the local level. 
  • Craft Beer Renaissance in Chicago (2012)
     In recent years, there has been an explosion in small batch and craft beer production across the US; especially in Chicago. The student was inspired by a class visit to Half Acre Brewing where he later interviewed the owner. The student's ISP examined trends in the craft beer industry to identify why Chicago is experiencing a beer renaissance. For his project, he examined policy, demographics and culture as they pertain to the craft beer segment. The student attempted to identify barriers to entry and predict the future of the craft beer market.
  • Profiling the Sounds of the Loop (2012)
    The student used the area around the ACM campus to explore the culture and sustainability of performing music on the streets of Chicago. The student created a blog-based independent study project meant to Illuminate the street musician profession in Chicago's Loop, profile some of the actors in the street musician community, and culminate in a simplified program to calculate approximate weekly income for interested artists. 
  • Bike Fairy:  An Introduction to Biking in Chicago (2012)
    The student combined personal experience and research at her internship for the foundation of her ISP. The student set out to find what causes the disconnect between Chicago being a bike friendly city and why only a small percentage of Chicagoans use a bicycle for transportation. She found that approximately 60% of non users cite they would like to bike in Chicago but do not feel safe, know where to find information on bike lanes, or know what type of bike to purchase. As a result, the blog Bike Fairy Chicago was created. Bike Fairy Chicago breaks down barriers people have with cycling in the city by providing a non-threatening online source of information about urban cycling that caters to the average citizen. 
  • Understanding Tax Increment Financing (2012)
    The student used her internship as the foundation for her Independent Study Project. Tax Increment Financing is a highly controversial practice in Chicago. The student conducted primary and second research in order to better understand the intricacies of TIF in Chicago.  The student’s final project was a video documentary that investigated the problems surrounding TIF, as well as the ways in which the system is working. The student found that while the theory behind the practice is sound, it falls short in execution.  The City of Chicago has failed to create the transparency and accountability that are vital to gaining public trust in such a powerful economic tool.  Although reform is in the pipeline, few are optimistic about the proposed changes.
  • Exploring Chicago Neighborhoods through Ethnic Cuisine (2012)
    Based on personal interest and the student’s exposure to the many colorful ethnic communities of Chicago, the student created a blog that blended the history of these ethnic neighborhoods and the food which they produce. The blog also contains personal opinions, recommendations as well as photos. The purpose of this blog was to highlight some of the more interesting cultures and cuisines in an attempt to attract more outsiders in order to stimulate economic growth within the neighborhood communities.
  • A Guide for Small Business (2011)
    This student created a magazine highlighting the pros and cons of using Groupon as a part of small business's marketing mix.  Using eight small businesses that have used Groupon, Alicia follows up with an insider's look after the campaign.
  • Financial Education Curriculum for Young Adults (2011)
    This student used her internship at the FDIC as a springboard to create her ISP. She developed a one hour workshop to inform and educate her peers about credit cards, school loans, FICO scores, and other financial products. 
  • Undergound Hip-Hop Scene (2011)
    This edgy and introspective video documentary examines the highly competitive underground hip-hop scene in Chicago. Part cultural commentary, part musicology, she explores segregation and gang life, and the music that is created from the artist’s experience. 
  • Art Gallery Market and Marketing (2011)
    This student created an artful and edgy video documentary examining several different art galleries in Chicago and how each approach marketing. Social media, public relations and networking are emphasized. 
  • Chicago Thrift Romantic Getaways (2011)
    This student explored the vibrant culture of Chicago with its blend of fine arts, modernity and historical significance in her colorful guide to free and low cost romantic getaways. 
  • Crisis and Small Business (2011)
    This student explored the affects of the “Great Recession” on small business in this infozine. She also compares other recent financial crises abroad uncovering how and why they were different. 
  • 16" Softball in Chicago (2011)
    This student was a reporter with ACM News in this entertaining expose’ of 16” Softball. In this video newscast, she interviews hall of fame players and highlights the history and lure of this great Chicago pastime. 
  • Starting a Small Business in Chicago (2011)
    This student created an online blog that includes steps needed to start a business. She highlights tips from successful entrepreneurs and includes essential items that are often overlooked. The blog is a planning guide that helps prepare the first time entrepreneur.
  • Beef: Two Paths to the Windy City (2011)
    A 6th generation cattle farmer, this student compares the organic and factory farming methods of raising and processing beef. He analyzes the economics of each system and offers pros and cons.
  • High Fashion - Low Impact (2010)
    Eco-friendly fashion is a growing trend among Chicago's indepedent designers.  This student created a photo-blog to demonstrate that high fashion can also be sustainable using materials like bamboo and organic cotton. 
  • I Rock Sneakers for a Living (2010)
    This student took her passion for collectible sneakers and created a 30-minute video documentary on the culture of this growing phenomenon.  She interviewed several high profile "sneaker heads" and weaved the fascinating history of sneakers that has evolved from utilitarian footwear to a unique and individual fasion and cultural statement.  
  • Chicago's Haunted Business (2010)
    Chicago has a long history of haunted buildings.  From Biograph Theatre where John Dillinger was gunned down to the 8th floor of Macy's where victims of the Iroquois Theater fire was stored.  The student looked at how the legends impact these establishments and determined that ghosts are indeed good for business.
  • Marketing Plan for Shawnimals (2010)
    This student created a marketing plan and feasibility study for local toy designer, Shawnimals, to enter into the Chinese market.  He used his knowledge of the Chinese market and created a step-by-step plan for this niche company to expand its reach beyond the US.
  • Social Media Magazine for Small Business (2010)
    This student created a colorful and easy-to-understand magazine explaining social media and why small businesses should use these tools.  She explored Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other popular social media.
  • The Art Market in Chicago (2010)
    This student looked at how the downturn in the economy has affected independent artists and the galleries that represent them.  His research paper also explored how independent art is priced and valued.
  • InContext Solutions:  Outsourcing Analysis (2010)
    This student used InContext Solutions (also his internship site) to look at the pros and cons of outsourcing some of their work to an India firm.  He analyzed the actual cost of each of the company's past projects and found there is no benefit or cost savings in outsourcing for InContext Solutions at the current time.  The student's paper also explored the history of outsourcing.
  • InContext Solutions:  Pricing Analysis (2010)
    This student gathered over 8,000 line item entries and developed a spreadsheet to analyze the breakeven point of each of the company's past projects.  Her findings will help InContext Solutions price their work more strategically. 
  • Microbrewing: Chicago (2010)
    There has been a recent explosion in small, high-quality breweries in Chicago.  This student set out to find why this trend is emerging.  In his research paper, he also discusses some of the obstacles that small breweries face when trying to compete with the lager, more established brands like Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors.
  • Franchising a Chicagoland Institution (2010)
    This student did a feasibility study on franchising his family's 28 year-old restaurant, Frankie's Pizza.  This student explored the building blocks of successful franchises that would become his competition as well as the costs, legal hurdles, and history of franchising.
  • Marketing Plan for the Cambodian History Museum (2010)
    This student created a marketing plan for the Cambodian Museum's new store.  He analyzed the museums current business model and offered several suggestions to increase exposure and visibility through cost-effective tools like social media and signage.  He also gave the store several ideas for new product lines.
  • Green Restaurant Certification Project for Uncommon Ground (2009)
    Assisted one of Chicago’s most innovative and environmentally sustainable restaurants, Uncommon Ground, with their goal to receive the highest rank possible on the Green Restaurant Certification for its two locations.  This project required the student to research the Green Restaurant Association’s criteria for certification and determine the most effective approach to capturing the information within each category of certification such as water efficiency or waste.  She then facilitated the application process with management from both restaurants and developed a timeline for documenting how each restaurant met the criteria for each category and what that translated to in terms of ranking.  In addition, she conducted research regarding Chicago’s green movement to help Uncommon Ground stay at the top the restaurant’s already successful green initiatives. 
  • Community Development Initiatives in Englewood (2009)
    Building upon an internship with Illinois Senator Mattie Hunter’s Office, this student utilized the Asset Based model for Community Development to propose a list of recommendations for Englewood, one of the most challenged neighborhoods in Chicago.   She conducted several in depth interviews with community leaders within Englewood and provided the Senator with priorities and partnerships supported by the primary and secondary research completed through this project.  As a result of this project, she was given the responsibility to organize a Business Expo within Englewood to begin to build collaborative partnerships and alliances within the business community.
  • Community Access to Financial Services (2009)
    Conducted a research project exploring connections between access to financial services, financial literacy and the sub-prime market.  This student profiled two neighborhoods in an effort to illustrate the racial and economic disparities along with the number of traditional versus predatory lending financial institutions present within the community.  He also interviewed leaders of Chicago based Community Development Financial Institutions to explore the innovative ways in which these institutions have worked to create financial democracy. 
  • Website Communication Strategies for the American Bar Association (2009)
    Assisted the American Bar Association (ABA) with evaluating their website communication strategies.  The ABA was specifically concerned with the ways in which their current email confirmations and pop-up messages were impacting member retention.  This student researched best practices in the industry with respect to website communication.  She made a detailed list of recommendations that the ABA can use to improve their website communication in the short and long term. 
  • Communication and Impact in Chicago Social Service Agencies (2009)
    Worked on a consulting project on behalf of Mission Measurement, an organization that helps organizations, corporations, foundations, nonprofits and public entities to measure and improve their social impact.  This project focused on analyzing the competitive climate of a Chicago based social service agency.  The student did a comprehensive evaluation of three social services agencies and how they communicate their outcomes to donors and the community.  She specifically focused on seeing how Social Agency “A” did relative to its competitors and what they could do to improve.   
  • Chicago’s Music Venue Industry (2009)
    Researched the music venue industry and analyzed the competitive forces impacting the environment in Chicago.  One area that the student explored was the relationship between neighborhood identity, demographics and access to transportation as a predictor of success.  He conducted in depth interviews with owners and managers of four Chicago music venues and applied Porter’s Five Forces model to assess the attractiveness of the industry. 
  • Expansion of Micro Lending in Chicago (2009)
    This student built upon her internship, to research and develop a strategic plan designed to assist ACCION Chicago in expanding the number of individuals served.  ACCION Chicago is a non-profit micro lender that provides loans to small businesses that are unable to secure credit from traditional financial institutions.  She worked with ACCION’s management to determine specific vocational fields that have a positive history of being funded, growing in Chicago and have potential partnerships for cross-promotion.  Her project resulted in providing ACCION with strategies for further developing relationships with four vocational partnership organizations, a timeline for implementation and future partners to prioritize for future expansion. 
  • Sustainable Conservation Practices in Chicago’s Restaurant Industry (2009)
    Researched the current state of the restaurant industry and explored the impact of sustainable conservation practices on Chicago’s environment and economy.  This student’s project utilized three small Chicago-land restaurants known for being “green,” as well as the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, which is a local organization committed to making eco-friendly products affordable.  Her project critically examined trends as well as practices and the ways in which individuals and restaurants can create social change.  
  • Grant Proposal for Regional Solar Farming (2009)
    Worked with Rockwell Solar, a locally based Joint Venture, to create a federal grant proposal as part of the Stimulus Package-Renewable Energy Initiative.  The grant proposal was to support a solar farm that will be located in Rockford, IL.  The student was responsible for various parts of the proposal, including estimations of the number of jobs the solar farm would generate along with some of the other ancillary implications of the farm.
  • Start-Up Business Plan for a Regional Airline (2009)
    Created a start-up business plan for his Independent Study Project.  The concept was a start-up regional airline that strategically focuses on underserved markets that do not have direct flights to Chicago.  The comprehensive business plan contained daily flight schedules, maintenance, regulatory compliance, operating budgets and key success factors for the start-up airline.
  • Business Plan for a Kenya-Chicago Non-Profit Organization (2009)
    Focused on the creation of a business plan for a start-up non-profit organization.  The mission of the non-profit is to create partnerships between Kenyan educated professionals that have significant work experience and Chicago-based institutions.  The purpose of the organization is to provide mutually beneficial opportunities for the US firms to receive temporary skilled labor as well as for Kenya to combat the countries talent brain drain. He conducted research on Kenya’s economic climate, completed a feasibility and competitive analysis as well as financial projections for his concept. 
  • Development of a Campus Club Focused On Issues of Racism (2009)
    Focused on the topic of racism in Chicago and providing a space on his home campus for these conversations to take place.  He developed an on-campus club, Beloit Students Against Racism (BSAR), that is designed to expose students to issues surrounding race relations in America.  He created eight separate topical lesson plans for the club that included speakers, readings, and videos, as well as goals and assessments for each.  He drafted a constitution for the club and identified key Beloit students and faculty to serve as officers as well as established an implementation timeline for BSAR.  
  • Micro Lending in Chicago (2009)
    Utilized empirical data from her internship site at ACCION Chicago, a non-profit micro lender that provides loans to small businesses that are unable to secure credit from traditional financial institutions, to conduct an econometric analysis to analyze the determinants of the size of loan amounts granted to small business owners.  Variables that were considered were credit score, home ownership, gender, ethnicity and loan officer characteristics.  The data set contained over 110 observations of which she complemented with individual loan officer interviews to determine if there was any qualitative impact of these attributes on the size of the loans granted at ACCION Chicago.
  • Business Plan for Instructional Cooking Website (2009)
    Created a comprehensive business plan for a start-up online instructional cooking website tailored to young adults that contains videos, recipes and tips.   The business plan included primary research through target market surveys, feasibility and competitive analysis as well as development of pro-forma financial statement and projections.  Special emphasis was placed on establishing a marketing plan for securing advertisers and users of the site.
  • Algerian Exporting Opportunities for Chicago Businesses (2008)
    Building upon their internship with the World Trade Center of Illinois, this student created a detailed user guide for Chicago-based businesses to examine opportunities and challenges in exporting to the country of Algeria.  The guide provided sources of contact as well as research that examined the following aspects of the country; demographics, national climate, the economy, banking system, history, the government, laws and regulations of export and import in Algeria, currency and exchange, types of products needed from the US, religion, education, language, culture, GDP per capita, national GDP, the value of the Dirham, and the current political climate.
  • Start-Up Business in Personal Care Industry (2008)
    Developed a marketing plan for a start-up business in the personal care industry.  The plan included an evaluation of the target market, examination of the current status, establishment of marketing goals and a strategic plan including project timelines.  The ISP project included conducting a survey to test product concept, pricing and preferences.
  • Urban Sustainability in Chicago Neighborhoods (2008)
    Conducted a research project of urban sustainability and the application of the Ten Melbourne Principles of Sustainable Cities to several Chicago neighborhoods.  The student incorporated existing examples of Chicago-based neighborhoods and how they have attempted to make progress towards local level sustainability solutions.  She also evaluated the potential for success by incorporating the model and built a case arguing for more effective local-level approaches.
  • Social Marketing for Start-Up Businesses (2008)
    Examined the opportunities and challenges facing a start-up business in reaching prospective users and sustaining a profitable business model.  The student profiled two separate social marketing success case studies; and by analyzing their strategic position to identifying ways in which could differentiate itself from the competition.

Social Justice and Urban Studies

  • Potholes to Restorative Justice and the Real Cost of Zero Tolerance (2013)
    Student developed a research paper focused on a comparison of zero tolerance policies and restorative justice. The student examined the reasons for either the effective of restorative justice practices in Chicago Public Schools and the difference between policy and practice.  
  • Creating Community for Japenese in Chicago (2013)
    Student wrote a research paper focused on Chicago's role in Japanese American relations after WWII and examined various organizations both formal and informal to determine opportunities for developing community.  Throughout the semester the student met with over 40 individuals and attended several events designed to network with Japanese individuals who are residing in Chicago.  
  • Depression in Public Schools (2013)
    Student developed a research paper examining the extent to which students in Chicago Public Schools experience depression and the role of schools in exacerbating or alleviating mental illnesses in the adolescent student population.  
  • Finding Voice: A Self-Portrait (2013)
    Student constructed a self portrait collage from a series of Chicago based and other life reflections. The theme of the portrait collage was finding voice and healing from a traumatic experience of abuse.  
  • Southside Environmental Swimming Curriculum (2013)
    Student focused on examining how youth are exposed and have the opportunity to learn to swim in Chicago.  For her project she development of a curriculum for adolescents that focuses on water safety, community mapping and environmental stewardship for the Southside YMCA.
  • Frame Anaylsis, the Conflict Perspective and Education in Chicago (2013)
    Student developed a research paper that examined the current state of public school reform in Chicago.  She used the current school closings debate as an illustration of how reform is framed from various perspectives. 
  • What is Beauty and How Can Everyone Feel Beautiful (2013)
    Student was interested in examining the ways in which beauty is experienced, by looking at how women from different populations experience and define beauty. She developed a curriculum related to body image and beauty for leaders and advisors working with young women in Chicago.  
  • The Social Emotional Guide to Sexual Health (2013)
    Student developed a guide and toolkit entitled "The Social and Emotional Guide to Sexual Health". This curriculum based project is geared toward adolescents and seeks to foster effective classroom learning around this topic.  Student presented the toolkit and final product during the ISP Symposium.
  • People's Race Anyone Can Come and Enjoy (2013)
    Student focused her project on examining the mental health and social benefits of running. This student used an ethnographic approach by observing and participating with 4 running clubs in Chicago; all of which were either preparing for the Chicago Marathon or using running to build social and physical skills. In addition to interviews with clubs, she also developed a proposal for a running club in her home community.
  • Females with HIV/AIDS and What We Can Do (2012)
    The student’s ISP grew out of her internship duties at the Cook County CORE Center, a medical facility that serves people who are impacted by HIV and AIDS.  The student used data from the agency to explore demographic and life style patterns in order to determine if and how these patterns impact the risk of contracting HIV/ AIDS. She conducted an in-depth interview with the case management supervisor at the CORE Center and examined factors such as history of physical abuse, sexual abuse and drug use, race, income, living situations and the utilizations of medications, mental health treatment, psychiatric treatment. Her final product was a research paper that she presented to faculty and peers at the Chicago Program ISP poster session.  
  • Causes of Wrongful Convictions (2012)
    The student conducted research on the four major causes of wrongful convictions: eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, use of jailhouse snitches, and ineffective counsel. She reviewed books, legal journals, websites and videos.  In addition, she interviewed a woman whose eye witness testimony sent an innocent man to prison. Her final product was a research paper where she developed four case studies that highlighted flaws in the existing system and discussed the factors that lead to the false convictions.  She presented the cases and her finding to the faculty and peers at the Chicago Program ISP poster session.  
  • Loss of the Working Class:  Robert Taylor Homes (2012)
    The student explored the history of public housing in Chicago, using the Robert Taylor homes as a case study.  He examined the impact that the loss of two parent families had on the decline of high-rise public housing.  He reviewed books on the subject and conducted in-depth interviews with a former public housing resident who is now a resident organizer and a former board member of the Chicago Housing Authority board.  His final product was a research paper.  He presented his finding to faculty and peers at the Chicago Program ISP poster session.
  • Preserving Privilege:  Chicago School Choice (2012)
    The student conducted research on the impact of residential segregation and, economic disparities on school choice for Chicago’s high school students.  He reviewed books and policy reports developed by educational reform agencies and advocates on the CPS system and interviewed a Local School Council member and parent.  His final product was a research paper that he presented to faculty and peers at the Chicago Program ISP poster session.
  • A Guide for Working with Undocumented High School Students (2012)
    The student created a guide intended for high school counselors to enhance their understanding of the range of psychosocial constraints that impact the daily lives of their undocumented students.  The student reviewed scholarly journals and conducted in-depth interviews with two students who are currently undocumented, a high school graduate whose status is undocumented, staff from several agencies serving immigrant populations, principals of two Chicago area high schools, a psychologist whose primary focus is undocumented students and a professor from the University of Chicago, who has done extensive research and writing on this topic.  She presented her process, findings and guide to faculty and peers at the Chicago Program ISP Poster session
  • African Americans in Chicago's Youth Baseball Leagues (2012)
    The student explored the link between the decline of African Americans currently playing for major league baseball and the presence of African American youth currently involved in little league baseball programs in Chicago.  The student conducted research on the historical and current racial patterns of players in the major leagues.  He attended little league baseball games on the North, West and South sides of the city, comparing and contrasting field conditions, race of the players and quality of play.  In addition, he conducted an in-depth interview with a former major league baseball player who is currently the director of the Garfield Park Little League and African American. He presented his findings to faculty and peers and the Chicago Program ISP poster session.
  • A Case of Police Misconduct (2012)
    The student worked on a public action campaign for Rekia Boyd, a young woman who was killed by an off duty police officer. The student attended informational and strategy sessions and a press conference held by family members and community activists.  She conducted primary and secondary research on the case including in-depth interviews with a former member of Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, and Rekia’s brother and mother.   She reviewed news articles, news broadcasts, police and procedure manuals and You Tube videos.  Her final product was a website on the issue.  The student presented her process and public awareness and action campaign website to the faculty and her peers at the Chicago Program ISP poster session.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Empowerment of Women (2012)
    The student explored how small business development and entrepreneurship could be uses as a tool to achieve upward mobility for women in the Chicago area.    She reviewed existing academic research on this topic, reviewed the websites of Chicago agencies whose mission is to provide services in this area.  She conducted an in depth interview with the Program director of a local community development corporation, whose role is to provide technical assistance to local business owners to build capacity and infrastructure.  Her final product was a research paper the provided an analysis of Chicago based agencies that support women and minority entrepreneurs.  Her process and findings were presented to faculty and peers and the Chicago Program ISP Poster session. 
  • The Use of Peace Circles in Restorative Justice (2012)
    The student explored the issue of restorative justice techniques and their use in Chicago with youth.  She reviewed books and articles on restorative justice and the peace circle process, attended a four day training on the circle process, interviewed five trained circle keepers and conducted secondary research on the circle making process and its effectiveness.  Her final product was a ten minute video discussing the use of these practices and highlighting its effectiveness. Her video and process were presented to staff and peers at the Chicago Program ISP poster session. 
  • Intergenerational Programming at the Southeast Senior Center (2011)
    This project consisted of researching grant opportunities for the Southeast Senior Center in Chicago. The student worked with the director of this center to create materials to be used for future grant development opportunities.  A final binder included the guidelines for several local grants, relevant research studies (supporting similar programs) and a chart of dates, deadlines and requirement. The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • The History of Gangs of Chicago (2011)
    This ISP project consisted of research and the writing of a final paper on the history of gangs in Chicago. The focus centered on both the history of gangs from the early 20th century to how gangs currently organize themselves and function.  A major focus of the paper was on the way in which race/ethnicity was a defining feature of gang recruitment and organization. The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • Certified Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Training (2011)
    This student participated in two simultaneous training programs to become certified in Illinois in the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence. Each program required a 40 hr. commitment to receive the Illinois certification.  The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • Street Performers in Chicago (2011)
    This project began as an ethnography of street performers in Chicago, but shifted into a traditional research project/paper on the history of street performers, with a particular focus on Chicago from Maxwell Street to the venues of downtown, the subways and throughout Chicago.  Two brief interviews of street performers were mentioned in the final papers. The project also included a final class presentation.
  • Urban Planning for the Cal Sal Trails (2011)
    The student completed a professional ISP working with the Cal Sag Trails project of the Southern suburban communities along the Calumet River. This project provided him with the opportunity to work in various Urban Planning capacities, from helping to set-up and facilitate meetings with community stakeholders from many suburban regions, to managing the database and developing materials. The project included a final presentation.
  • Finding Safe Space for the Lesbian Community in Chicago (2011)
    This student did both an ethnographic project and research paper on how safe space is/or is not available to the Lesbian community in Chicago. She visited several sites around the city and met with representatives from the lesbian community to discern both the attitudes and availability of safe space for social activities and compared that to the availability of similar venues for the gay population. The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • Peace Circle Training (2011)
    This student completed the four days Peace Circle Training that has become an important component of Restorative Justice.  In addition she wrote a critical reflection on the peace circle process, identifying its strengths and weaknesses and its efficacy for addressing conflict. Her involvement also included participation in a peace circle at the Cook County Juvenile Court. The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • LGBT Coming Out Stories (2011)
    This project was a review of LGBT coming out stories.  The student traced the history of the LGBT movement in the US and the role that public coming out has played in shaping the individuals involved and society’s response. In addition to one informant interview, the paper looked at the psychological and social issues experienced by individuals “coming out”. The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • Client Survey for Hyde Park's Op-Shop (2011)
    The Op-Shop in Hyde Park is a local venue of arts, education and community building. For this project, the student worked with the founder of the Op-Shop in the development of a satisfaction survey of patrons to determine the demographics of the clientele; their interests and involvement in this community project. The focus of the project was to assist the owners in better identifying and marketing their projects, and in determining ways to become more sustainable in the future.  A final report was developed and submitted to the owners. The project included an expert interview and final presentation.
  • BUILD-ING a Healthier Generation of Children (2010)
    This ISP was based on looking at childhood obesity and nutrition plans that have been implemented to try and address the epidemic of childhood obesity.  By looking at the problem and nutrition plans the student was able to draw conclusions of what seems to work and what doesn't.  Based on these conclusions she developed a nutritional plan that could be implemented into any type of education program, but specifically for BUILD (a youth organization)
  • A Look Inside the 10th Annual Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ) Curriculum Fair (2010)
    This ISP focused on the 10th annual TSJ conference held in Chicago in November, 2010.  The student participated in the organizing of the conference, attending seveal planning meetings and staffing the conference itself.  The project also involved taking video footage of the conference and several of its organizers.
  • The Experimental Station After-School Project (2010)
    This ISP focused on the development of a youth project at the Experiential Station in the Hyde Park community.  This student worked with a group of youth and youth leaders to develop an arts and crafts after-school project for youth in this community.  Several projects were completed and documented for on-going replication.  The project culminated in a talent show, organized by the yout at the Experimental Station.  In addition, the student solicited donations form various sources to be made for on-going activities.
  • Making Sense of the 2012 Chicago Mayoral Race:  What should Chicagoans expect and demand of their new leader? (2010)
    This ISP was an examination and exploration of the expectations and demands Chicagoans should have of their next mayor.  The paper is not an argument for one candidate or another; rather, it takes a realistic look at the state of the city in which the next mayor will take office, the problems that it is facing, and which of these problems Chicagoans are demanding that their next mayor respond to.  The two main components of the paper are the scholarly research on the biggest issues facing Chicago right now, and a series of interviews with everyday Chicagoans, alongside interviews with Chicagoans working in the political sphere (to gain a perspective from both everyday Chicagoans and those knowledgeable about Chicago politics).
  • Creating Community Arts Space:  An Exploration of Process and Vision (2010)
    In this ISP, the student used Chicago as a resource to explore community based resources for dance and other local arts programs.  The original proposal involved the development of a dance program at the Experimental State to accompany the youth program.  Her feasibility assessment included looking at factors that would make a program possible at this location.  In the process of looking at several different types of programming, she honed her own vision for a space that one day may be created in her own community.  The final product included a research paper that summarized her findings, including a series of interviews with a variety of programs throughout the city, sharing both the Chicago resources researched and the ways in which she has been influenced by this inquiry.
  • Socialization of Gangs in Chicago (2010)
    This ISP takes an in-depth look at gangs in Chicago.  This information was most effectively presented in the form of a research paper.  The paper is comprised of two main components explaining gang life.  First, is a summary of Chicago's gang history throughout the decades; thus setting the state for a more detailed history of gangs in Chicago to follow.  Secondly, the paper documents factors that lead to gang involvement.  Societal factors explain the emergence of gangs on a larger scale, neighborhood factors explain why gangs are prevalent in specific communities, and individual factors provide reasons why an individual might join a gang.  These components together encompass the Chicago gang experience relating to the composition of those involved. 
  • Girls in the Game:  Building a Culture of Inclusion (2010)
    This ISP project focused on the creation of an inclusion manual for the recreation staff at the Girls in the Game program.  This manual provides tools and resources for staff to develop more appropriate activities and intervention for girls who have a variety of disabilities which limit their abilities to fully participate in the sports and recreation programs offered by Girls in the Game.  The manual covers a variety of behavioral and cognitive disabilities including ADD/ADHD, Conduct Disorder, learning disabilities and Autism.  It is inclusive of intake and screening procedures, tools for adapting to all learners and behavioral modification techniques.
  • Understanding Mass Incarceration, Wrongful Conviction and the War on Drugs (2010)
    This ISP consisted of the researching of the issue of mass incarceration and wrongful conviction and the creation of a multi-media presentation for a high school population.  It looks at how the "War on Drugs" has impacted the growth in the prison population and its relationship to wrongful convictions.  A series of professional interviews along with scholarly research formed the basis of the information included in the video and guide.  Reviewing Illinois cases served as case study material for this project.
  • Social Media Resources for Chicago High School Counselors (2010)
    This google based website entitled RECOY was developed for counselors throughout Chicago.  The basis of the material in the website includes information related to school success and college, community based services and resource listings, as well as emergency resources which counselors can access easily.  The site will also be interactive, allowing its members and users to seek information and provide comments, serving as a social media source for the counseling community in Chicago.  The site will be maintained by BUILD, Inc., a youth organization in Chicago.
  • Options Counseling for Pregnant Adolescents:  Guidelines to be used at Rush School Based Health Centers (2010)
    This ISP focused on the development of a manual for nursing students who provide options counseling for adolescent pregnant teens at Crane High School.  The manual provides counseling tips and an array of resources to aid these staff members in providing services to this population.
  • Innovation and Independence for Students at North Lawndale College Prep (NLCP) (2010)
    This ISP explores how closely the experiences of students at NLCP, a charter high school, align with the ideals for charter schools described in the rhetoric of charter school advocates.   Focusing on freedom, independence, creativity, and innovation, the student conducted research mainly through interviews with members of the school community to better understand how the freedom and creativity allowed charters at an institutional level, might trickle down to students at a classroom level.  NLCP community has a very clear idea of what distinguishes the school from the rest of CPS, that they many have many ideas for innovative and independent learning experiences, and a few institutional changes could help the school give students even more freedom and creativity in ways that reinforce its overall mission.
  • Sports as a Vehicle for Social Change (2010)
    As part of the research the student conducted an in-depth interview with a board member of Play for Life International, an organization whose goal is to contribute to social growth through sports, especially in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, in which it is located.  The research project took on the form of a class presentation utilizing a power point presentation
  • Chicago Public School Closings (2010)
    Researched the issue of public school closings as formal policy and practice of the Chicago Public School System. The project included an examination of the Renaissance 2010 CPS program and state and local legislation specifically related to charter schools and their relationship to the subsequent policy to close “underperforming or underutilized. “ Her project included a series of interviews with various CPS stakeholders (including CPS administrators, education scholars, community members, teachers and community representatives). The final product resulted in the development of a pod cast of selected and edited interviews for VOCALO, a local public interest radio project of Chicago’s public radio WBEZ. The final product also included a bibliography, expert interview (s), reflection paper and class presentation.Media
  • Imaging of Latino Gangs in Chicago (2010)
    Explored the history of Latino gangs in Chicago from the 60’s to today, examining demographic shifts in Chicago communities and the influence of the media’s portrayal and selling of violence (through video games) on this population as well as the public (at larges) perception of Latinos and Latino gangs.  In addition to a final presentation, a Wiki  was created to catalogue and archive materials displaying the findings and relevant links.
  • Incarcerated Women (2010)
    The project focused around a first person series of interviews with Darlene X, a formerly incarcerated woman, out of which an educational booklet (in story form, with relevant facts) was developed that can be used to educate families and the public about issues of “incarcerated women”.  The medium used is industry relevant, as many advocates for this population testify to the importance of developing this form of literature for low literacy populations to facilitate their understanding of the issues related to incarceration.  This final booklet is being made available for the educational campaign for the Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers.
  • Development of a Celiac Guide for Chicago Area Restaurants (2009)
    Conducted a study of restaurants in the Chicago area that cater to gluten-free needs. The student examined and critiqued four restaurants that provide a gluten-free menu and one bakery that provides gluten-free goods.  She met with educators from a local culinary institute to see how they train chefs to cook dealing with food allergies. In addition, she interviewed individuals with the disease and documented their experience, struggles and ideas.  Her final product was a celiac guide, similar to a restaurant guide.  It contains overall ratings, descriptions, accounts of what is offered and pictures of the restaurant and food. The booklet also contains descriptions of individuals with the disease along with their interviews.  She developed a power point presentation and a food tasting session for the participants and staff of the program.
  • Development of a Guide for the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing (2009)
    Developed a “How To” guide for the Intake Coordinators at the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing.   The guide includes sections on: pre-screening activities, interviewing prospective clients, and writing summaries for each prospective client.  In addition to the guide, the student also developed a handout that will be given to all prospective clients to help explain the eligibility guidelines and the service process.  This project allowed the student to gain an in-depth understanding of the overall processes of the organization through docketing, preparing for the Intake Meetings, participating in and running the Intake Meetings, and contacting rejected clients.
  • Strategic Planning for the Housing and Action Council of Illinois (2009)
    Developed a concept paper that later became an application for the Housing and Action Council of Illinois to obtain AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.  The student’s final project included a strategic plan for the incorporation of the volunteers, as well as general housing facts in Illinois on issues such as homelessness and foreclosure.  It also included memos that will go out to HAI board members, if the application is approved.  The student presented her pitch presentation to the participants and staff of the program.
  • Involvement with the Planning of the “Day of Healing” (2009)
    Explored restorative justice practices and principles and participated and the planning and implementation of the “Day of Healing” that was held in Chicago.  The student provided technical assistance to the sponsor of the day, the Community Justice of Youth Institute.  She worked with the staff of CJYI to create a website that served as the central hub of information and a place for comments and reflection.  The website was viewed over 800 times, and eight individuals subscribed to the blog, receiving e-mails whenever there was a new post.  All of the public Circles were advertised with the time, location, and instructions specific to that Circle through the site.  In addition, a resource guide about Healing Circles was posted in HTML and PDF formats, so that it could be easily read or downloaded for print.  In addition to the website, the student met with restorative justice practitioners in Chicago and sat in on Circles with educators in Pilsen at a fair for teachers for social justice; an elementary school circle in the Bronzeville community; met with Circle Keepers in Back of the Yards and Rogers Park, and met with practitioners involved in the movement for peace in Chicago. She created a presentation on restorative justice practices vs. traditional justice practices. 
  • Public Accessibility for Disabled Individuals in Chicago (2009)
    Examined, illustrated and presented research information about public accessibility for disabled individuals in Chicago. The student’s assessment of both barriers and innovations led to the creation of a website that could be linked through the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The website includes relevant articles and resources useful to individuals with various disabilities, and serves as a resource for clients of the Rehab Institute.
  • Youth Violence in Chicago (2009)
    Examined how and why five Chicago-based organizations structure themselves to address the problem of youth violence.  Additionally, the student’s research included interviews with key leaders in a number of organizations to ascertain their missions and beliefs about youth violence and its causes, and what these structures and programs say about the approaches they have developed. This paper included a review of the literature on youth violence. 
  • The Impact of the DREAM Act (2009)
    Conducted research on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which permits people who are undocumented to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.  The student examined why immigrants who are undocumented and immigrant organizations believe that the immigrant system is one which needs to be adjusted.  She participated in several rallies that were held during the semester, and interviewed youth who were personally impacted by the law.  She created a power point presentation, based on her findings and presented to the participants and staff of the program.
  • Science Curriculum and Achievement Standards in CPS High Schools (2009)
    Examined Schools and Science: Problems faced by several Chicago Public High Schools in their implementations of a Science Curriculum.  The student examined four CPS high schools and their approach to science curriculum and achievement standards.  She found a clear difference between how successful selective enrollment and magnet schools rank on several achievement indicators, compared to their neighborhood counterparts, in areas of both English and science. Her study revealed that the science curriculum reported the lowest scores of all four areas on the standardized test scores. 
  • Development of a Life Skills Curriculum and Guidebook (2009)
    Created a life skills curriculum and guidebook, including sample group sessions for developing youth groups on life skills.  Several areas of focus included job skills, leadership, respect, and responsibility. It includes a large number of resources available to connect the clients to various opportunities, including college tours and support in making plans for completing high school and applying to college.  This guidebook was made available to the Community Human Services.
  • The Role of Intentional Communities in Chicago (2009)
    Explored the role of intentional communities in Chicago.  This student explored why people would chose to live with one another, often in alternative lifestyles, and examined if there was something to be learned about their practices that could work well in terms of social justice or positive social movements.  She conducted academic research on intentional communities and then visited four intentional communities.  A series of questions were asked at each site and the student also shared meals with the community and received tours of their common spaces.  She developed a presentation that was presented to the participants and staff of the program. 
  • Public Defenders in Chicago (2009)
    Conducted a study to determine if citizens who are granted a public defender are receiving an appropriate defense.   The student explored issues of funding, staffing, and case load in order to determine if it was underfunded and/or understaffed.  He worked with and interviewed staff from the Public Defender's Investigations Office, interviewed attorneys, sat in on hearings, and reviewed documents from the Public Defender’s and State’s Attorney’s office.  He presented his results to the participants and staff of the program.
  • Improvement of Communication Structures at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (2009)
    Analyzed the status of office communication at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and created a framework, using Google programs, for improving office communication and documentation.  This student’s work included: applying for and receiving GoogleApps software for Non-Profit organizations; creating a GoogleGroup and website for LCBH; implementing the website with test group; transferring office documents and client folders onto the Google webpage; designing and organizing a search program to retrieve documents; and creating intake forms for clients and intake staff that will be integrated with a comprehensive client spreadsheet.  He created a power point presentation that was presented to members of the program, as well as to the staff of the agency.
  • Creation of a Podcast About Charter Schools in Chicago (2009)
    Created and produced a 45-minute podcast exploring one Chicago neighborhood’s experience with Charter schools.  This student reviewed the history and literature on Charter schools in Chicago, focusing on a case study in the Pilsen community which examined the experience of the Whittier neighborhood school with the United Neighbors Organization (UNO) charter schools. This case study was based in interviews with students, parents, teachers, and administrators from both schools.  She the story of Whittier and UNO was used to frame a greater story about what is happening to neighborhood schools, as a result of the charter school movement.  This research resulted in the production of the final podcast.
  • Military Recruitment in Chicago Public High Schools (2009)
    Examined the role of military recruiters in Chicago Public High Schools.  Working with the American Friends Service Committee, this student explored how the military works in schools, what strategies are used to recruit, and ways in which this impacts selected communities and populations in Chicago. She created a PowerPoint presentation and two YouTube videos for use in high schools about the Delayed Enlistment program and the Poverty Draft.
  • Project on Hearing Impairments in Children (2009)
    Explored the process of assessing a child for a hearing impairment, and examining the resources that are available to parents and the child if there is a hearing impairment.  The student conducted site visits at two Chicago area schools who were known for their innovative programs for deaf and hearing impaired children, and met with the Chicago Public School’s senior advisor for deaf or hearing impaired students.  She created an interactive role-play on the subject that was presented to participants and staff of the program.
  • Research on the Chicago Public School’s “Renaissance 2010” Plan (2009)
    Completed a research paper on Chicago Public School’s “Renaissance 2010” Plan.  This student studied  the relationship between school discipline and school climate.  He examined disciplinary policies, using Dyett High School as an example, and discussed outside influential institutions, such as the Black Star Project, that help in the academic motivation of CPS students.  The student used multiple sources in his research, including: policy reports, news articles, scholarly articles, blogs, literature, and interviews.  In addition, he interviewed the principal of Walter H. Dyett High School, Robert M. McMiller, and the head of the Black Star Project, Phillip Jackson.  He created a power point presentation that was presented to members and  staff of the program.
  • Involvement with the Day of Healing Initiative (2009)
    Worked with staff from the Community Justice For Youth on the Day of Healing.  The Day Of Healing was a citywide initiative focusing on youth violence, through the implementation of peace circles in different communities around Chicago.  The student created organizational materials such as flyers, templates, logos, and the translations from English to Spanish, and also assisted with putting together the Circle Keepers Guide.  
  • Research on Economics and Chicago’s Labor Unions (2009)
    Investigated in a research paper how the city’s changing economics has affected the labor unions, and if that has, in turn, affected the city’s overall sense of justice, political awareness, and activism.  The student also investigated the relationship between community organizations and labor unions, their historic partnerships in Chicago, and examples of successful and/or contentious relationships. This project included significant historical research and many first person interviews and site visits.
  • Creation of a Guide for High Schools Students on Applying to College (2009)
    Created a guide for junior and senior in high school students on how and when to apply for college.  The guide included:  dates of when to start looking for colleges; how to choose which colleges to apply to, based on interests; when and how to start applying for the chosen colleges; and how to write the college application essay.  The student met with students and a high school counselor to get input for the guide and presented the guide and her process to participants in the program.
  • Development of a Resource Packet for Parents with Autistic Children (2009)
    Developed a resource packet for parents with autistic children, for the Easter Seals Society’s autism program. This resource packet includes relevant information on autism, resources available for parents and their children, and ways to resolve day-to-day problems and address many of the developmental disorders faced by families. This resource packet has been presented to doctors in the area, and will be translated into Spanish.
  • Research on the Development of State and Local Date Rape Laws (2009)
    Researched Sexual Assault statistics in Chicago and examined the history and development of rape laws in Illinois and Chicago. The project also included a series of creative writings.
  • Women in Public Policy, Law, and Politics (2009)
    Focused on examining factors that lead women to careers in public policy, law and/or politics. As background for this student’s project, she researched the current status of women in these fields. She also conducted a series of interviews with women lawyers, law students, women elected officials and women in public policy. In addition to the personal interviews, she also conducted observations at a city council meeting, in a variety of courtroom settings, and in a law school classroom.  Her final product took the form of a resource journal documenting the stories of these women, along with background information on these various careers. The final product also included a bibliography, expert interviews, reflection paper, and class presentation.
  • Development of a Mentoring/Tutoring Program (2009)
    Worked with the Volunteers of America (VOA) in the development of a mentoring/tutoring program to better address the educational needs of youth in their foster care program.  Volunteered with VOA researching similar programs in Chicago and developing a full protocol for VOA’s  tutoring/mentoring proposal for such a program. As part of her research, the student met periodically with the program manager, conducted a series of interviews with other organizations and finally compiled a volunteer manual for the program.
  • Health Care Accessibility as a Health Reform Issue (2009)
    Researched the issue of health care accessibility as a health reform issue, comparing sliding scale fees as an indicator of affordability and accessibility, examining comparable communities to the Logan Square community in Chicago.  The student’s research looked at how sliding scale fees are applied to populations with limited or no income.  His research included primary and secondary research and interviews, with a variety of healthcare providers in New York, California and Chicago with comparable demographics.  In addition to researching these practices and policies, he also examined several of the current federal health care proposals under consideration being considered by the current administration, making his own assumptions regarding which healthcare accessibility.
  • Dealing with the Pain: The Untold Stories of Women (2009)
    This project focused on the personal stories of imprisonment and recovery.  The student conducted a series of interviews of formerly incarcerated women at various stages of their recovery, which were complied into a book entitled, Dealing with the Pain: The Untold Stories of Women, for use at the sites she visited.  She did background research documenting the increase, causes, and factors leading to the incarceration of women and their own healing process.  Her final product was developed into a series of stories documenting their lives and recovery process, as well as the role of the various safety net programs in aiding these women.
  • Development of Strategies for Parents of Children with Autism (2009)
    This project focused on the topic of autism and the various skills and everyday parenting strategies useful for parents with autistic children. Through the Easter Seal Society, the student researched day-to-day issues faced by parents, collecting stories from parents about strategies they find helpful in parenting children with special needs.  Her project culminated in a manual entitled, What Works? A parent’s perspective on how to successfully accommodate their children with Autism Spectrums Disorder’s special needs, that included a series of informational guidelines from experts in the field and “tip sheets” for parents, in managing everyday tasks with their children.
  • Chicago Public Schools and the Renaissance 2010 Program (2009)
    Researched the issue of public school closings as formal policy and practice of the Chicago Public School System.  The project included an examination of the Renaissance 2010 CPS program and state and local legislation specifically related to charter schools and their relationship to the subsequent policy to close “underperforming or underutilized. “  The student’s project included a series of interviews with various CPS stakeholders (including CPS administrators, education scholars, community members, teachers and community representatives).  The final product resulted in the development of a podcast of selected and edited interviews for VOCALO, a local public interest radio project of Chicago’s public radio WBEZ.
  • Issues of Prison Reform (2009)
    This project took the form of both experiential and creative, as the student examined the issue of prison and prison reform and participated in a number of activities throughout the semester focusing on this issue.  She interviewed a variety of primary sources involved in prison reform, including formerly incarcerated women, volunteers involved with community programs and local activists. She also volunteered at a local program that sends books to women in prison.  Her final product was the development of a prison reform ZINE that included a ZINE release party where the proceeds were donated to this local project.  She also attended and distributed her ZINE at two local conferences in Chicago.
  • Development of Educational Activities for Engagement of Youth (2009)
    This student spent the semester working with “severe and profound” youth living in the group home at “A Children’s Place”.  While there, she noted the lack of educational or intellectually stimulating activities for these children. To address this issue, she developed a series of educational activities that could both facilitate more learning opportunities, as well as engage theses children more productively throughout the day. These series of activities were compiled in a manual to be used by the center staff.
  • Restoration Practices in Chicago’s Natural Ecosystems (2009)
    Researched the issue of invasive plant species as they relate to the Forest Preserves in the Cook County Region.  This student created an educational PowerPoint that focuses on restoration practices in relation to Chicago's natural ecosystems.  The PowerPoint highlights biodiversity in the Chicago land region, a brief history on restoration, current problems such as development and evasive species, and practices that are used in restoration.  This PowerPoint will be given to Friends of the Parks to use as they see fit.  One of the problems of doing restoration work is that the general public is unaware of these practices, so the goal is to use this presentation to gain the support of community members.  The PowerPoint will be used by various projects and organizations that also work alongside of FoTP.
  • The Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid (2009)
    Researched and analyzed the “Community Benefits Agreement” of the 2016 Chicago Olympics bid submitted to the International Olympics committee.  This student’s research included the history of community involvement in Chicago’s bid, considering both pro and con positions, the development of the formal  “Agreement” itself and statements of impact for the predominant venues to be located in the African American community on Chicago’s south side. Throughout this project, he attended several community meetings, interviewed a number of stakeholders, and developed a significant final paper inclusive of these primary and secondary sources.
  • Involvement with the BUILD Youth Council Annual Gang Conference (2009)
    This project was done in conjunction with the student’s internship at BUILD, Inc.  She worked with the BUILD youth council to plan and execute their annual gang conference, entitled the “Black and Brown Experience.”  Her primary tasks included developing the resource room at the conference, working with the youth council and staff in all planning tasks, with primary responsibility for researching gang issues and creating a resource manual for the conference and on-going community and staff trainings.
  • Development of Analytical Maps for the Healthy Families Sunday Parkways Project (2009)
    Utilized the GIS resources of the Active Transportation Alliance to develop a series of analytical maps for the Healthy Families Sunday Parkways project.  The student’s process for the development of these maps included surveying Westside boulevards and parks to determine safe routes, and inclusive of the boulevards and streets around parks, safe routes to parks by maintaining low traffic speeds.  Survey data included data such as cars, pedestrian traffic, bike lanes, sidewalk conditions, cross-walks, stop signs, and every park-access streets and roads. This will result in the Safe Routes to Parks program of the ATA.
  • The Black Star Project (2008)
    Worked with the Black Star Project, a non-profit committed to eliminating the racial academic achievement gap in Black and Latino communities of Chicago and nationwide.  As part of her work, utilizing a format created by Black Star, she developed and presented a 35-minute lecture based on her own experiences to elementary and high school students to inspire and encourage the students to create life plans and be academically successful.  She made a class presentation on Black Star and her work in the organization.  She also conducted an in-depth interview with the Director of Operations of Black Star Project.    
  • Predatory Lending In Chicago (2008)
    In light of the financial crisis experienced in the city and around the country, this student was interested in both understanding how predatory lending impacts low income people of color in Chicago, and the extent to which some local financial institutions have established proactive policies and programs to address this growing problem.  Her research involved several interviews with a variety of lending institutions (mortgage banks, local credit unions, local banks, and payday loan establishments), as well as secondary research from various academic and public policy source reports.  Her final PowerPoint presentation focused on the background of predatory lending, the work of these institutions, and her conclusions about the extent to which predatory lending is a form of institutional racism.
  • POW WOW Documentary (2008)
    Involved his coordination of the 55th Annual Native American POW WOW held in November at the University of Illinois Pavilion and the production of a video documentary focusing upon the history and significance of the POW WOW.  His video documentary incorporated specific aspects of the POW WOW (dancing and drumming); their relevance and ceremonial meaning as well as interviews of several members of the staff and organizing group (many of whom also were participants in the POW WOW).  His accompanying PowerPoint presentation served as an education attachment to the video.   
  • A Historical Perspective of Chicago Gangs (2008)
    Examined the history of how gangs came into being in Chicago, and in particular, gangs which emerged from the 1960’s to today.  In addition to looking at the organizational structure of gangs, this student’s research also examined (as he postulated) how gangs moved from “an organization of empowerment to one of oppression”, and the influences of both drugs and police in shaping gangs and their social networks.  His project involved traditional research as well as a series of interviews with former gang members, a local violence prevention organization, and a young Latino male critical of the gangs influence in his own particular community.  His project took the form of a traditional research paper.
  • Latino Gangs and the Media (2008)
    Looked at the role of the media in imaging Latino gangs in Chicago.  This student explored the history of Latino gangs in Chicago from the 60’s to today, examining demographic shifts in Chicago communities and the influence of the media’s portrayal and selling of violence (through video games) on this population as well as the public (at larges) perception of Latinos and Latino gangs.  In addition to her final presentation, she created a Wiki to catalogue and archive materials displaying her findings and relevant links.
  • Latinos in the Military (2008)
    Examined the extent and reasons why Latinos join the military, exploring the relationship between educational factors, military recruiting in Chicago and actual military service of Latinos.  This student’s research involved both primary and secondary research, exploring such issues as the “Latino male self-image”, educational success, failure and its relationships to the “heightened” interested of Latinos to service in the military.  Her project took the form of a traditional research paper.
  • Diversity in the Hyde Park Community (2008)
    Examined the question of whether the diversity in the Hyde Park community creates a need for these businesses or the businesses help promote the diversity in the community by speaking with community members.  This student documented his work as a collage in the form of a menu about the food venues on 53rd street in Hyde Park.  He made a class presentation utilizing his “menu” and conducted an in-depth interview with the Vice-President of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference     
  • Promotional Strategies for the Latino Union (2008)
    This student did her ISP in conjunction with her internship assignment at the Latino Union (a Latino day labor advocacy and support organization).  Her specific project was to develop a promotional strategy and plan for the Latino Union that could be used to solicit financial support, as well as work, for the day labor pool that the Latino Union supports.  This project involved meeting with a collection of stakeholders including the day laborers themselves, local community representative and businesses to identify their needs to solicit their input.  She also focused her research and outreach on local and citywide religious institutions and successfully engaged the interest of the Presbytery of Chicago and several of its member churches.  Her final product was the development of a promotions handbook with sample templates and documents for use by the Union itself.  As part of her promotional activities, she also worked on their 10th annual event which involved all planning aspects of this event, from securing the site, organizing volunteers, developing the ad book, writing press releases, soliciting donations and staffing the event itself.  Much of this work was incorporated into the promotions handbook as well.
  • Newsletter for the Pan African Association (2008)
    Created the template and content for a newsletter for the Pan African Association (PAC).  PAC provides support and services to Chicago's African refugees and immigrants to enable them to become more self-reliant and improve their lives and to come work together as a cohesive and supportive group. The template will continue to be used by PAC to publish the newsletter quarterly.  The newsletter will be produced in hard, paper copies and will be available online as well.  The newsletter includes information about upcoming workshops, a piece on volunteer recruitment, a book review, a feature article on a refugee, and an article on Pan-African Night, the organizations’ fundraiser that took place in the fall.  The student made a class presentation regarding the newsletter and conducted an in-depth interview of a Somali refugee as part of the project.
  • Incarcerated Mothers (2008)
    Did a creative project around the topic of incarcerated mothers.  The student did a first person series of interviews with Darlene X, a formerly incarcerated woman, out of which she developed an educational booklet (in story form, with relevant facts) that can be used to educate families and the public about issues of “incarcerated women”.  The medium used is industry relevant, as many advocates for this population testify to the importance of developing this form of literature for low literacy populations to facilitate their understanding of the issues related to incarceration.  This final booklet is being made available for the educational campaign for the Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers.
  • Radio Arte and the Latino Community (2008)
    Looked at the impact of Radio Arte, a local non-profit radio station, on the community. Radio Arte is located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. It is the first Latino youth-driven radio station in the country, which focuses on issues of social justice specific to the community it serves. As part of her project, assisted with grant proposals including creating a survey that the station could use to empirically document their impact on alumni that have graduated from the station’s training program.  Made a class presentation including power point, scenarios simulating the training of Radio Arte and video.  She also conducted an in-depth interview with the director of Youth Training at the radio station. 
  • Development of a Lecture Series for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (2008)
    This student did her ISP in conjunction with her internship site, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  Her project was the development of a quarterly lecture series for the volunteer department of RIC geared towards their volunteers.  Her project included developing the first of these series of four lectures and creating a template of her work for future sessions.  The project also involved her developing and executing a survey with current volunteers (determining both their interests and needs), creating a volunteer database, researching various topics of interests, developing outreach materials for the initial session, room set-up, meeting with presenters for the first session, and coordinating each aspect of this first quarterly in-service.
  • Sports as a Vehicle for Social Change (2008)
    Researched the use of sports as a vehicle for social change and then made a class presentation on the topic utilizing a power point presentation created by him.  As part of his research, the student did an in-depth interview with a board member of Play for Life International, an organization whose goal is to contribute to social growth through sports, especially in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, in which it is located.
  • Mural at the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School (2008)
    Worked with students and the art teacher at the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School (YWLCS) to create a mural to be place in the entrance of the school.  The student documented the entire process from idea to execution, which she made into a power point for a class presentation.  She interviewed students working on the mural and conducted an in-depth interview with the art teacher at YWLCS.  
  • Vicarious Trauma for Advocates of Rape Survivors (2008)
    Researched vicarious trauma in counselors, telephone counselors, and other advocates for rape survivors.  As part of the research , the student interviewed telephone counselors on the YWCA Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline and a medical advocate also at YWCA Chicago. Her personal experiences with vicarious trauma throughout a 52-hour hotline volunteer training program and 12 hours of volunteering on the hotline were also included. Additionally, she did an in-depth interview with the supervisor of the Rape Crisis Hotline.  The responses of the interviewees and the student’s research were compared to the research on vicarious trauma and self-care methods.  She then provided the YWCA Chicago with her findings, including suggestions offered through the interviews.  She made a class presentation on the topic utilizing power point.
  • Immigration Challenges of Undocumented Immigrants (2008)
    This student focused her ISP research on the question of immigration and the challenges faced by undocumented immigrants in the United States who are waiting for a definitive immigration policy by the United States government.  She examined the Dream Act (a proposal to allow in-state tuition for undocumented college students), the Guest worker proposal (a labor proposal), and its impact on undocumented workers, and the challenges of families (faced with quasi immigration status amongst some of its members).  Her research involved both primary and secondary research, as well as volunteering on several occasions with workers from the Latino Union at local day labor sites in the city, to understand (first hand) the experiences of day laborers that seek work in oftentimes-hostile circumstances.  Her final project included the development of a fact sheet website to serve as the foundation for a documentary which she plans to finalize as part of a senior project.
  • Tax Increment Financing in Chicago (2008)
    Examined the history, role and effectiveness of the Tax Increment Financing tool as a means of stimulating local community economic development in areas defined by Chicago as “blighted”.  The student researched the Kedzie-Lawrence TIF in the Albany Park community in Chicago assessing its cost-benefit to the community as well as the degree to which there is community input and involvement in the decision-making process and implementation.  Developed a PowerPoint presentation on TIF’s (in general) for stakeholders of the Albany park community, with a focus on the Kedzie-Lawrence TIF.  His research involved both primary and secondary research and included a substantial interview with Jackie Leavy, formerly of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group.  He also developed a critical appraisal of this financing tool from other sources: such as Ben Joravsky (investigative reporter of the Chicago Reader), City of Chicago Department of Planning, local elected officials and community members.
  • Creation of a Course Unit on LGBTQA Issues (2008)
    Researched resources and ideas to create a course unit on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQA) issues.  It focuses on the controversy surrounding the proposal for a gay friendly high school, originally proposed under the name “Pride Campus.”  It offers a number of different sources to provide a diverse background of information including videos, articles, editorials, legal documents and excerpts from a play.  Made a class presentation about the school proposal and conducted an in-depth interview with the Education and Outreach Director of About Face Youth Theater, who was a key figure in the school proposal.
  • Creation of a Pamphlet for Lawyers Committee for Better Housing (2008)
    Researched the content and designed a handout for Lawyers Committee for Better Housing (LCBH), a non-profit dedicated promoting the right of all persons to safe, decent, and affordable housing on a non-discriminatory basis, that can be given out to anyone who comes into LCBH regardless of eligibility to receive services.  This pamphlet can easily be utilized to find different social and supportive services.  Made a class presentation including using scenarios and the pamphlet. She also conducted and in-depth interview with the Director of Social Services at LCBH.
  • The Role of Race in the Obama Presidental Campaign (2008)
    Worked in the correspondence department of the national headquarters for the “Barack Obama for President” campaign.  Out of this involvement grew his interest in how the issue of race played out in the actual election, analyzing it in relationship to the “Bradley Effect” (which concluded that race had been a factor in the gubernatorial race of Mayor Thomas Bradley of California).  In this research project, compared issues of race as a factor in the final outcome of the election as indicated by election polling and voter turnout in both the Bradley and Obama contests to determine the extent to which race played a significant or negligent role.  The student analyzed four theories of how race impacted the final outcome of the election to support his thesis.  His final paper and class presentation involved a PowerPoint presentation and discussion on these four theories.
  • The Role of Community Grocery Stores in Chicago Neighborhoods (2008)
    Examined how privately owned, community grocery stores could reveal the nature of a particular neighborhood and what differences and commonalities they would have with one another.  The student looked at stores in four neighborhoods along the Chicago Transit Authority Red Line, from the northernmost to the most southernmost stops.  He documented his work in a book of interviews, photos products and prices. He made a class presentation on his exploration and findings and did an in-depth interview with the owner of a food mart in Chatham, a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.