March 29, 2017

Women’s Civic Institute plans service projects

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Women’s Civic Institute is providing 24 female students, chosen especially for the program, with special opportunities to learn and grow and to help others in the community.

Developed by SIU’s Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism in 2012, the program is designed to promote personal development, enhance civic involvement and promote an understanding of democratic leadership principles. Each fall, students apply and then a committee selects participants for the spring institute on the basis of applications and personal interviews.

The undergraduate and graduate women participate in workshops, discussion panels, community service projects and networking events where they interact with female leaders on campus and beyond. They also visit Springfield where they connect with women legislators, directors and lobbyists and learn about their work with public policy development and implementation and the difficulties and rewards that come with it.

Although women have made progress within business, industry, non-profit organizations and elective office, they hold a significant minority of the leadership roles, despite the fact that they represent more than half of the country’s population, so there is a definite need for the Women’s Civic Institute, according to Mythili Rundblad, coordinator of the Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism.

The 2017 Women’s Civic Institute participants chose community service projects that will enable them to give back to the region in ways of special interest to them. On April 11, Women’s Civic Institute participants who expressed an interest in learning more about children’s health and hunger issues will go to Gum Drops NFP in Carterville. There, they will pack weekend snack packs for children in the area who are at risk of being hungry. Women who have indicated their concerns about environmental issues will work with Green Earth Inc. on April 15, helping with maintenance and improvement efforts, focusing on removing invasive species and upgrading trails, at Green Earth’s nature preserve areas.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the SIU Women’s Civic Institute community service projects taking place this spring. Participants will pack weekend snack packs for children from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on April 11 at Gum Drops NFP, located at 1005 Briarwood Road in Carterville. They will also be helping with maintenance and other work at the Green Earth Inc. Chautauqua Bottoms Nature Preserve, along the north side of Chautauqua Road, between Emerald Lane and Tower Road in Carbondale, from 9 a.m. to noon on April 15. Volunteers will meet at the Freeman Street Trailhead, near the intersection of Freeman Street and Emerald Lane.  

For more information, contact Mythili Rundblad at or by calling 618/453-7520.

Participants in the 2017 Women’s Civic Institute, listed by hometown with major and year, are:



  • Hannah Rae Smothers, political science/pre-law, sophomore


  • Lisa Logterman, psychology and criminology, sophomore
  • Molly Stacks, biomedical sciences/pre-optometry, sophomore


  • Morgan Nickles, professional media and media management, master’s student
  • Frannie Sloss, political science, senior


  • Katherine Decker, criminology and criminal justice, senior


  • Janette Ramirez Baltazar, automotive technology, senior


  • Danielle Lorentz, communication studies/interpersonal communication studies, freshman


  • Gabrielle Will, forestry, junior


  • Hannah Tidwell, paralegal studies, senior

Pleasant Plains

  • Kathryn Hayes, history and paralegal studies, junior


  • Hillary Martinez, geology/zoology, sophomore


  • Grace Collings, counselor education, doctoral student

South Elgin

Kristin Goelter, interior design, senior


  • Corika Coleman, industrial management and applied engineering, junior



  • Cataria C. Davis, health education, doctoral student



  • Wendy Huesca, psychology, senior.



  • Cassondra Walker, physiology/pre-medicine, junior



  • Elizabeth Tristano, zoology, doctoral student



  • Carmen Boey, languages, cultures and international studies, junior



  • Helen Feest, psychology, junior


  • Wei Li, geography, junior



  • Laura Jimenez, mass communication and media arts, doctoral student



  • Jemima C. Suwa, professional media and media management, graduate student