iSchool undergraduates selected as 2024 Community Academic Scholars

The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI), in partnership with the Center for Social and Behavioral Science and with support from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, has selected BSIS students Sophie Chiewtrakoon and Madisen LeShoure as 2024 Community-Academic Scholars. The 17 scholars in this cohort represent seven colleges and schools and encompass a diverse array of fields of study, from community health to education to industrial design.  

The cohort of scholars was selected from a competitive pool of applicants possessing the skills needed to work on their selected projects, their personal connections to and passion for the issues their projects address, and for the many ways they have already made an impact on campus and in the community. Many students work in labs across campus, volunteer in the community, and serve in leadership roles in student organizations.

Sophie Chiewtrakoon

Chiewtrakoon is majoring in information sciences and sociology. She is a James Scholar, president of the Rural Area Student Initiative, and a member of Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity. After graduation, Chiewtrakoon plans to study law, with a focus on technology's role in the justice system and how it could be used to address societal inequalities. Chiewtrakoon is working with graduate student Anna Barkley, exploring how first-generation college students conceptualize college readiness. Her upbringing in rural Arkansas fuels her passion for providing educational opportunities and uplifting future generations. She will work with College of Applied Health Sciences Assistant Professor Meaghan McKenna and Danville Public Schools to introduce and evaluate a writing intervention for students kindergarten to second grade. Learn more about the project.

Madisen LeShoure

LeShoure is majoring in information sciences with a focus on data and society. She is a member of the Black Business Network and is currently interested in a career in information technology or as an information research scientist/data specialist. LeShoure is working on a research project with Associate Professor Anita Chan and the Community Data Clinic that investigates the social implications of Automatic License Plate Readers in Champaign County and on an independent study project with Teaching Assistant Professor Brandon Batzloff that examines the relationship between residential segregation and educational outcomes in Champaign-Urbana. LeShoure is also working with fellow scholar Eryck Wiles, Human Development and Family Studies and African American Studies Associate Professor Shardé Smith, and Driven to Reach Excellence & Academic Achievement for Males (DREAAM) to design a community strengths assessment (CSA) to inform the development of culturally relevant programs and services for Black youth and families in Champaign and Urbana. Learn more about the project.

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