Sunday, June 26, 2016

Student Spotlight: Jill (Rollinger) Baranowski

by Ann Abbott

I love hearing from former students. And it's extra special when several years have gone by and so you can see how much their lives have grown in many different directions.

So I was delighted to receive the email below from Jill (Rollinger) Baranowski recently. First of all, I'm so happy to see that she seems happy--and knows what makes her happy. That is the most important thing of all. Always.

Students: I'd love it if you would do the following:
  • Read the first post I wrote about Jill
    • Are you willing to do the networking that I talked about on that post?
  • Read Jill's letter below.
    • Compare where she was in 2010 and where she is now, in 2016, in terms of her career.
    • Note how your beginning doesn't have to be your ending.
    • Really think about your passions, and ask yourself if you are on a path to wed your passion and your career. 
    • If your major or your career doesn't feel like a good fit to you right now, no problem! Just like Jill, your career will have many steps and many doors. Take note of how the path she wants to go down now doesn't negate all the wonderful experiences and learning opportunities that she had in her previous job. 
    • Notice how Spanish can be a part of your personal and professional life years into your future. What can you do right now to keep your Spanish up? Do it! Don't get rusty and insecure in your Spanish.
    • Look at how Jill is using volunteering--and Spanish in her volunteering--to explore and bolster her career plans. How can you do that, too, whether you are still at the U of I or somewhere else?
I'm grateful that Jill contacted me. I hope you will contact me, too!

Hi Ann, 

I have been reminiscing about my years at U of I, and I remembered that you were someone who always took a special interest in me and my career path! Well, I wanted to drop you a note with a little update on my life!

First, let me refresh your would remember me by my maiden name, Jill Rollinger. I took your Spanish for Business class in Fall of 2009. I think you featured me on your blog in the following spring, highlighting my acceptance of a job with Nielsen as an engineer.

As the name-change indicates, I married my high school/college sweetheart in 2011, a year and a half after graduating. We have been living in Tampa, Florida for the last 4 years and I'm very proud to say he is running a successful business as a freelance artist: (Proof that you can make anything into a career if you're passionate enough and willing to put in the work!)

As for me, I worked for Nielsen for 5 years, taking advantage of multiple opportunities to step up into leadership roles! I really did love the work and learned so much in just 5 years. However last summer, I decided to leave Nielsen and come back to school full-time. I have been taking prerequisites for the last year now at the University of South Florida, and I will be applying to Medical School this summer in hopes to begin in Fall 2017. It is a rather drastic shift in career path, but I couldn't be more excited. 

It has been really cool to watch the pieces of my life fit together. If you recall, I studied abroad in Spain before taking your class and have always loved the idea of using Spanish in my career. Well, it was like an epiphany when I realized how valuable Spanish will be in healthcare. I have actually been volunteering for the last 9 months at a free clinic for migrant agricultural workers and their families. The vast majority speak very little English, so I work in multiple roles, conducting intake interviews and paperwork, translating for doctors and the like. I'm still working on picking up appropriate medical terminology, but overall it's been a huge confidence boost to realize I can be pretty functional in Spanish! It has also had a profound impact on me to work with this population. Reaching underserved groups with quality healthcare is one of the biggest reasons I decided to pursue the career change!

I hope you and your family are well. I enjoyed browsing some of your recent blog posts and was reminded of why you inspire me! :-)

Enjoy the beautiful Midwest summer!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Teaching Spanish Community Service Learning Students about Advocacy: Press Release as Example

Teaching Spanish Community Service Learning Students About Advocacy
Let's show students what active citizens and advocates do after a loss.
by Ann Abbott

Do you know about the yesterday's announcement about the Supreme Court's split decision on DAPA and Extended DACA? It is very, very disappointing.

I'm sharing CU Immigration Forum's press release below for a few reasons:


I find that many of my students, especially L2 learners of Spanish, do not have much good information about immigration, immigration policies and comprehensive immigration reform efforts. I will ask them to read this press release.


More and more, I am trying to show my CSL students what they can do beyond volunteering. I like to give them concrete examples of what advocacy looks like. This is one.


I 'd like students to separate out all the individual pieces of advocacy within this press release. (Including the press release itself.) Then put them on a scale of least investment to most investment.


I want to put them in small groups and ask them to take this one long press release and think of as many smaller bits of it that could be used in CU Immigration Forum's marketing efforts. For example: You have five minutes to come up with as many individual tweets as possible. Go! Now, you have five minutes to come up with as many Instagrams as possible. Go! Etc.

SCOTUS Ruling Defers the Dream 
for Millions of Immigrants

The CU Immigration Forum expresses its regret over today’s Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Texas. The court has, in a 4-4 ruling, deferred the implementation of President Obama’s initiatives of expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the CU Immigration Forum still encourages all immigrants looking for an immigration remedy to schedule a legal consultation with The Immigration Project, a non-profit immigration law firm based in Normal, Illinois with an office in Champaign, IL. The Immigration Project’s four licensed immigration attorneys screen immigrants for other forms of immigration relief.

The Immigration Project and the CU Immigration Forum are hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, June 30, 2016 starting at 5:30pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in the fellowship hall (downstairs) at 2200 Philo Road in Urbana, Illinois. Immigrants that are interested in learning about the next steps after the Supreme Court’s decision are encouraged to attend. Free additional parking is available behind the church.  For more information about the meeting, contact the CU Immigration Forum at 217-417-5897.

Additionally, the CU Immigration Forum wants to remind the public that the original DACA program from 2012 is still in effect. It provides the legal permission to work to residents who were brought to the U.S. while under the age of 16, have resided in the U.S. since 2007, were not over the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and have pursued a form of higher education. We encourage all those who meet the requirements to come to the meeting to set up appointments to begin the application process while the 2012 DACA program is still in effect.

"The fight is not over. The Immigration Forum intends to press our elected officials for definitive legislation that will deal once and for all with this country’s longstanding immigration problems," says Tom Garza, President of the CU Immigration Forum. "Until that comes to pass, we will continue to stand with these hard working Immigrant Americans as they struggle with living their lives in the shadows, and join them in their hope for a brighter day when they will be recognized as the full partners in our communities that they have long been."

“These programs had the ability to positively impact the lives of roughly 4.3 million U.S. citizen children,” explains the Executive Director of the Immigration Project, Jasmine McGee.  “Now immigrant families remain in limbo – unauthorized to work legally but unable to leave their children alone in the U.S.  Studies show that a U.S. citizen child growing up in a household with an undocumented parent faces increased stress from the fear of having a parent deported.  In addition these children live in families with lower incomes, inferior housing, and are less likely to take advantage of community services.”

In November 2014, President Obama proposed programs that would provide the legal permission to work and protection from deportation for the parents of U.S. Citizen and lawful permanent resident children. These executive actions expanded the existing DACA from 2012 and created DAPA. Shortly after its introduction, some state governors came forward with a lawsuit and delayed the implementation of these programs. Since then, an estimated 5 million immigrants have been hoping for the start of these programs, but today their dreams for financial and emotional security for their families have been again deferred.

President Obama’s deferred action had the potential to drastically impact the well being of thousands of families in central and southern Illinois. Reports have show that families with an undocumented parent could see a 10% increase in annual income.  Furthermore, according to the Center of American Progress, these two immigration programs could have lead to the creation of almost 2,000 new jobs in Illinois and an almost $8 billion increase in cumulative income of all state residents over the next decade. Additionally, the American Immigration Council has estimated that with these programs, Illinois stood to receive an additional $347 million in tax revenue over the next five years.

In Illinois, there are an estimated 519,000 residents who are undocumented, with a portion living in Champaign County, Illinois. The majority of the undocumented population eligible for DAPA in Central and Southern Illinois have strong roots, strong family ties, and have been residing for more than ten years in the U.S.

The programs considered today by the Supreme Court were meant to alleviate immigrant families from deportation temporarily. The Supreme Court decision should impel Congress to stop putting politics over people and to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Local residents who want to take action should call Congressman Rodney Davis at 202.225.2371 and tell him to support a just and humane immigration bill.

Megan Flowers
Communications Director
La Línea Program Coordinator
University YMCA
P: 217-337-1500
F: 217-337-1533