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Two students viewing a city plan standing on sidewalk.
ULIP participants discover big cities and big opportunities.

The City and Me: A Love Story

Urban Leadership Internship Program

The companies and organizations ULIP participants chose to work with reflect the diversity of their interests. Here’s a sample:

Chicago

University of Chicago Medical
    Center
Pepsi Co
Chicago Youth Centers
Chicago Botanic Garden Green
    Youth Farm
Macromunity
Archi-Treasures
Pui Tak Center

Cleveland

Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Metropolitan School
    District
LAND Studio
Youth Outdoors
Cleveland Boys & Girls Clubs
Nueva Luz Urban Resource
    Center

Dayton

Center for Global Health
Catholic Services of the
    Miami Valley

Erika Strong
Erika Strong

"Drop that trash. Now."

Erika Strong has certainly seen her share of grumpy neighbors, but this situation was of a particularly delicate nature.

"I said. Drop. That. Trash. It's Ours. We put it there."

The Miami University junior had collected a pile of stray wrappers and plastic scraps by the time she reached this particular home in Dayton’s East End, smile on and community survey in hand. That is, until one perturbed woman threatened Strong with her snarling dogs if she did not leave the neighborhood immediately.

Time to go.

"Have a nice day ma'am." Strong waved in reply, without the slightest trace of sarcasm.

Ripples in the Water

Some see East End as a community in the trenches, crumbling under the weight of foreclosure, addiction and unrest. Some see the progress of revitalization efforts being made to rebuild the neighborhood from the ground up.

Strong chooses to stand among the optimists.

But for most of her life, Strong had no desire to step one foot inside Dayton city limits. It was, after all, the place where addiction gripped her parents – the place that whispered of the life she lived being raised by her step-grandparents. She could have taken the same road.

"I didn't want to mess up. I didn't want to fail. I didn't want to become my parents," Strong said. Instead, here she was, willfully volunteering her time and enthusiasm to empower others in East End.

Strong discovered the perfect outlet to contribute to her community through Miami's Urban Leadership Internship Program (ULIP). Once accepted, applicants find both an internship and service site in Chicago, Cleveland, or Dayton, where they may choose to live for the duration of the 10-week summer program.

Through ULIP, Strong tailored an experience that catered both to her individualized major in urban design and her longstanding history with East End. At CityWide Development Corp, she worked with project manager Nicole Steele, herself a ULIP alumna from the 1990s, to gather feedback on what community members would like to see improved (though in several instances "improvement" was translated to "intrusion"). For the service aspect of ULIP, Strong worked with at-risk youth, gave community surveys, followed prostitution cases through the court watch program and helped in the community garden as part of her work with East End Community Services.

Urban Immersion

Interning in a big city can be a wallet buster, but ULIP eases that financial burden with a stipend for each participant. The program is funded by an endowment.

"This gives the students a lot of leeway in designing an internship and service experience that meets their interests and possibly professional goals as well," says program coordinator Katie Egart.

In the spring semester, Egart leads the 18-20 students in a 10-week sprint course designed to help them have a meaningful and educational experience. On an individual level, students examine their goals, research internship opportunities, and practice written reflection, resume writing and interview skills. They are also prepared for the urban issues they may encounter during the internship.

Mind on the Matter

Above all, Egart wants students to have a holistic educational experience – an experience that stresses active community engagement, professional practice and focused reflection. Students sign a learning contract with their supervisors to set goals; they write weekly reflective journals; they participate in group reflections with Egart (who visits each student twice over the summer). In short, it’s all about becoming reflective practitioners.

“I love being the coordinator of this program because it´s such a unique educational experience, and I really love to see the change that happens in the students over the 10-week internship,” Egart said.

And change they do.

This past summer, senior Bobby Knurek gained confidence in his public speaking abilities through educating young people at Cleveland´s Great Lakes Science Center. Junior Nancy Odero realized her career calling in global supply chain management by working with Dayton´s Montgomery County (purchasing and central services) and Refugee Resettlement through Catholic Services of the Miami Valley. Writing a weekly reflective journal allowed senior Jordan Carlson to examine the world, others and herself through the lens of her experience at Chicago´s Redmoon Theater and Urban Art Retreat – just a few of ULIP’s 300 plus success stories in the last 21 years.

A Life Worth Living, a Story Worth Telling

Strong knows a thing or two about success stories – she is one. But building a successful community is another matter. It takes time. Effort. Cooperation. So she waves hello to the bedraggled man with a cardboard sign on a busy corner downtown. She stops to chat with folks hanging out on their front lawns in East End. She puts a smile unto the world so that maybe one day, everyone will love his or her story as much as she loves hers.

Written by Alicia Auhagen (Miami ’16), student intern, University Communications and Marketing

Published October 2013

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Lisa Chiu does research at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Lisa Chiu does research at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Maddie Sabatelli discusses interior design plans at STR Partners LLC in Chicago.

Maddie Sabatelli discusses interior design plans at STR Partners LLC in Chicago.

Surveys are part of Erika Strong’s work in East End.

Surveys are part of Erika Strong’s work in East End.

ULIP coordinator Katie Egart visits Maddie Sabatelli at her internship.

ULIP coordinator Katie Egart visits Maddie Sabatelli at her internship.

Erika Strong conducts a survey.

Erika Strong conducts a survey.

At Chicago Youth Centers, Lisa Chiu plays a game of pick-up-sticks with the children.

At Chicago Youth Centers, Lisa Chiu plays a game of pick-up-sticks with the children.

Erika Strong in East End.

Erika Strong in East End.

Sung Eon Kim interning with Chicago’s Macromunity, a nonprofit that brings college students into companies to work as consultants.

Sung Eon Kim interning with Chicago’s Macromunity, a nonprofit that brings college students into companies to work as consultants.

Urban Leadership Internship Program

The companies and organizations ULIP participants chose to work with reflect the diversity of their interests. Here’s a sample:

Chicago

University of Chicago Medical
    Center
Pepsi Co
Chicago Youth Centers
Chicago Botanic Garden Green
    Youth Farm
Macromunity
Archi-Treasures
Pui Tak Center

Cleveland

Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Metropolitan School
    District
LAND Studio
Youth Outdoors
Cleveland Boys & Girls Clubs
Nueva Luz Urban Resource
    Center

Dayton

Center for Global Health
Catholic Services of the
    Miami Valley

Locations
Luxembourg
West Chester
Middletown
Hamilton
Oxford
  • Luxembourg
    Luxembourg

    John E. Dolibois European Center, Luxembourg

    One of Miami's oldest continuous study abroad programs, the Miami University John E. Dolibois Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg offers students the opportunity to enroll in Miami classes taught by European-based and Ohio-based Miami faculty. Students enjoy a unique combination of first-class academics, engagement in the local community, and various faculty-guided and independent travel opportunities.

    Contact and emergency information for the Luxembourg Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    Château de Differdange
    1, Impasse du Château
    L-4524 Differdange
    Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    luxembourg@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/luxembourg

    217-222 MacMillan Hall
    531 E. Spring Street
    Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA

    Directions

    Main Operator: 011-352-582222-1
    Oxford-based Coordinator: 513-529-5050
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • West Chester
    West Chester

    Voice of America Learning Center

    Located midway between Cincinnati and Dayton along I-75, the Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) offers undergraduate and graduate courses and programs drawn from Miami's Regional and Oxford campuses. Home to Miami's MBA program, the Learning Center provides ready access to graduate programs for area educators and courses leading to the BIS degree for undergraduates.

    Contact and emergency information for the Voice of America Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    7847 VOA Park Dr.
    (Corner of VOA Park Dr. and Cox Rd.)
    West Chester, OH 45069
     
    voalc@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/voalc

    Printable Floor Plan
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-895-8862
    (From Middletown) 513-217-8862
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Middletown
    Middletown

    Middletown Regional Campus

    Nestled on 141 acres near I-75, Miami University Middletown offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Nearby Greentree Health Science Academy immerses Miami's nursing and health information technology students in the health care experience while taking classes.

    Contact and emergency information for the Middletown Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

     4200 N. University Blvd.
    Middletown, OH 45042
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-727-3200
    (Toll-free) 1-86-MIAMI-MID
    Office of Admission: 513-727-3216
    Campus Status Line: 513-727-3477
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Hamilton
    Hamilton

    Hamilton Regional Campus

    A compact, friendly, commuter campus, Miami Hamilton offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Small class sizes, on-site child care, and flexible scheduling make Miami Hamilton attractive to students at all stages of life and career.

    Contact and emergency information for the Hamilton Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    1601 University Blvd.
    Hamilton, OH 45011
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-785-3000
    Office of Admission: 513-785-3111
    Campus Status Line: 513-785-3077
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Oxford
    Oxford

    Miami University, Oxford Ohio

    Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. With a student body of 16,000, Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with faculty who love to teach and the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.

    Contact and emergency information for the Oxford Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    501 E. High St.
    Oxford, OH 45056

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-529-1809
    Office of Admission: 513-529-2531
    Vine Hotline: 513-529-6400
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency