Johanna Phelps-Hillen- 2015 Newman Civic Fellow, University of South Florida

Over the next several weeks, Florida Campus Compact will be highlighting each of the 13 Florida students named as 2015 Newman Civic Fellows. Nominated by their college or university presidents, the Newman Civic Fellows are the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities and creating lasting change. Congratulations to all of these outstanding students!

Today, we’d like to recognize:

Johanna Phelps-Hillen, University of South Florida


Johanna Phelps-Hillen, a 2nd year PhD student at the University of South Florida, works to integrate community engaged pedagogies into the technical writing classroom. As part of her research for her concurrent PhD in Rhetoric and Composition and Master of Public Administration, she examines traditions in service-learning to better understand the ways faculty and nonprofit/community representatives can best build democratic, reciprocal, and impactful curricula to enhance student learning outcomes and meet community determined needs. The purpose of such work is to better facilitate partnered curricula development so that community voices are heard by faculty and implemented in the classroom. This in turn maximizes the efforts of students, nonprofit and government organizations, and faculty to best benefit community members.
-Judy Genshaft, President

While serving as an advocate for rape survivors during my undergraduate career, I knew I wanted to make a commitment to serve my community(ies) throughout my life. After earning my BA, I served for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA working to build more reciprocal relationships between the Ogden, Utah community and their university campus, Weber State University. During these years of intensive, full-time service I realized that serving could be my career. Subsequently, I took a position managing an AmeriCorps program to further support the integration of service programs and higher education. I soon realized that my knowledge and skills would best serve my community(ies) if I went back to school for my PhD and MPA. I view my PhD as providing the theoretical underpinnings and research tools to examine how campuses and communities can build sustainable, strong programs together. My MPA provides the practical insight for analyzing and changing policy to improve communities. Supported by USF’s Office of Community Engagement, I work to address root causes of systemic social issues by crafting and supporting best practices for healthy and productive partnerships between communities and their campuses.  
-Johanna Phelps-Hillen

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