Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Results of Community Based Team Projects

Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott

by Carli Smith & Chris Levine


For our project, we created profiles on past U of I students who are working or have worked in social entrepreneurial careers related to Spanish and the community. Each past student was interviewed with the same set of questions. These questions focused on the positions and roles that they have, how prepared they were from the Spanish program at U of I, and advice for future students looking to follow similar career paths. We were able to contact Nicole Stawiarski and Jessie Faus. To create these profiles, we decided to write blog posts for Ann’s blog that showcased the students’ achievements, along with allowing them to explain what they’re up to, how they’re doing it why they took the path that they did.

So What?

These profiles showcase the strengths of the Spanish program at U of I, specifically Spanish in the Community and Spanish & Entrepreneurship. Each profile displays a different social role that Spanish students can look for after graduating from the University. Through reading these responses and talking to these former students, it is evident that they are applying material from Spanish in the Community, Spanish and Entrepreneurship and the Spanish program at U of I in general. Current and future students now have access to these profiles to aid in their search for possible career paths through the Spanish program at U of I. Given the struggle to find jobs for students currently graduating, it can be intimidating to graduate with such abroad major. These profiles help not only give current students ideas about the possibilities with their Spanish degrees, but to encourage them to do great things similar to what these former students have done.

Now What?

Our project pertains to applying material from Spanish in the Community, Spanish and Entrepreneurship and the Spanish program at UIUC in general to careers and life after graduation for students. Therefore, it seems that the first step from here would be to get more students to go through the Spanish program here and then keep them there. As stated before, it can be intimidating to have a major as broad as Spanish-a lot of current students are not sure which direction to take that knowledge after graduation, and they are not the first. These profiles we have created are one small piece of a solution that guides students to being successful after graduation and finding careers they truly enjoy. We need to make these profiles available to current (and possibly even aspiring!) Spanish students to show them that there are more possibilities out there with a Spanish education than they might think. However, as stated before, these are only one small piece of a solution-we must explore other outlets that can provide current students with ideas, guidance and even reassurance! Maybe we could incorporate the study of Spanish into career fairs. Maybe we could have employers currently working with former students give a presentation or offer advice for current students. The possibilities are endless! Offering all of this guidance to current students will help them feel more comfortable with their path of study, think of different ways to apply everything they’ve learned after graduation and, ultimately, be successful in a career they enjoy.

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