Community Engagement

Addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.

Gheens Community Engagement Mini Grant Program

2023 Awardees Listing 




Description and significance of the potential project

Andreas Stamatis, Molly Gillikin, and Rachel Lifson CEHD, HSS 3000 The project aims to not only acknowledge but also actively respond to the deteriorating state of mental health within a Kentucky high school. By providing concrete, data-driven solutions and resources, we seek to create a safer and more supportive environment for the staff and students. This project is a crucial step towards fostering the well-being and academic success of this community, aligning with the school’s commitment to nurturing the holistic development of its staff and students. 
Brandon Harwood, Mary P. Sheridan Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society 2750 CCHS matches talented UofL students with local Arts and Culture Partners who have projects that push the boundaries of programming offered to the community. This can include centering historically marginalized voices from the archives, reinventing how the public can access and learn from our institutions through digital and open-access means, and creating new templates for historical reenactments and perspectives to inspire current and next generations of museum attendees. Such work materialized conversations about whose stories are told and whose knowledges are valued.  Materializing responses to these conversations highlights engaged problem-solving, a crucial practice for community partners and students alike.

David James Royer, Jenny Hogg, Nick Newton, Amber Priddy Department of Special Education, Early Childhood, and Prevention Science 2964 This project will provide the support rural teachers need to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate a behavior-specific praise intervention to master the strategy. Three UofL College of Education and Human Development doctoral students, supervised by their EDSP 669 Single Subject Research Design professor Dr. David Royer, will collaboratively support three different rural school districts (Bullitt, Greenup, Hardin) to select one school in each district to receive training in the behavior-specific praise strategy. With funding, these three doctoral students will be able to apply what they learned in EDSP 669 in authentic school settings, collaborating not only together but with the rural educators to design a single-case study (e.g., A-B-A-B withdrawal design) to test the effects of behavior-specific praise on the educators’ students. Thus this study not only directly benefits rural communities surrounding UofL (e.g., teachers empowered with behavior-specific praise strategy increase self-efficacy, students improve their academic engagement and decrease their challenging behavior, teachers stay in the profession, student do better in school and in their community), it addresses a critical community need (e.g., teacher retention, student behavior), it engages students in direct outreach with rural community members, it involves students in research that will lead to conference presentations and three scholarly publications in peer-reviewed journals, it requires students to work collaboratively, and strongly contributes to student learning with authentic experiences to apply learnings from class.
Emmanuel Kumah, Philile Dlamini College of Arts and Science 829 This project seeks to explore transitional and lived experiences of non-English speaking African immigrant refugees in Louisville, KY. This qualitative study is important because it will help understand the challenges non-English African immigrant refugees face during their adaptation, job search, and overall life in Louisville and America. 
Erica S. Ranade Dept. of Special Education, Early Childhood, and Prevention Science 994 This study is designed to address gaps in services for immigrant and refugee children whose families are seeking Autism diagnoses by: (1) exploring the needs of clinicians who conduct autism diagnoses for native-born and linguistically diverse individuals in the community, and (2) providing targeted training about special education content based on clinicians’ needs.

The purpose of this project is to provide training about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for clinicians working with families who have children identified with Autism who receive support from community diagnostic centers. The research questions guiding this project are:
1. What resources do community diagnostic centers currently have to discuss special education with clients and what resources are needed?
2. How do clinicians support families whose children are newly diagnosed with autism to learn about the medical, developmental, and educational supports available?
3. What are clinicians’ experiences sharing materials about IDEA with families?
a. What are their experiences sharing materials with diverse families?

(Additional description available in document upon request - text limit reached in form)
Grace De Souza, Paige Akers School of Dentistry 2000 The La Casita Center is a non-profit organization located in Louisville (KY) and accompanying families in the Latinx community.  Their mission is to empower these families, providing a foundation for systemic change with long-term effects. Some consequences of homelessness for women are physical and emotional harms, and lost opportunities for their children. The American Association of Women Dentists of UofL is a branch of a national organization of women dentists – AAWD - focused on overcoming gender gap issues for proper training and access to care across the US. Through this project, AAWD affiliated students and volunteers will join efforts to bring personal hygiene and oral care items to women and children from at least two organizations in Louisville: the Center for Women and Families and the La Casita Center. In addition, students will also design pamphlets with oral hygiene instructions to adults and children, and prepare coloring pages related to personal hygiene to be shared with the children. Our initial goal is to improve the oral health of families supported by those centers. While applying for this grant, we will be actively involved in collecting donations, so that other organizations may be included in this initiative.
John Gibson, Avery Kolers A&S, Department of Philosophy 1000 The Department of Philosophy is partnering with local high schools to host a Philosophy Slam at the Chao Auditorium on November 16th (International Philosophy Day) from 6pm-8pm. The event will use the familiar model of a 'poetry slam' but applied to philosophy,  with (mostly) JCPS students taking the stage to improvise answers, in a fun and accessible way, to core questions concerning the nature of justice, the self, beauty, virtue, and so on. JCPS teachers and parents will be in attendance, and this will help establish a pipeline between local schools and Philosophy at UofL. Our undergraduate students will help moderate the event and award prizes, and the hope is that this will foster a broader sense of philosophical community that will serve both the Philosophy Major and local high schools.

Karen Krigger, Sydney Travers, Kaitlin Abel, Mohammad El-Ezz, Bhoomi Shah, Danial A.Malik Office of Diversity and Inclusion Health Sciences Center  598 Compassion Clinic is a mobile, longitudinal, UL Health Sciences Center (HSC) student run initiative whose goals are to provide basic health screenings and education to disparate populations in the Metro Louisville area. It is housed in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion HSC. Targeted chronic disease screenings will based on reported findings of the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness Health Equity reports. The educational missions of Compassion Clinic include opportunities for Health Science Center students, residents, fellows, staff, and faculty to provide screening services and education in the home resides of patients and to foster a collaborative interdisciplinary medical experience amongst the schools of medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, and the University of Louisville Hospital pharmacy outpatient clinic. Participation in the Compassion Clinic events, and affiliated Office of Diversity and Inclusion HSC offerings will provide opportunities for increased awareness of challenges to patient care medical adherence impacted by poverty, education, and community resources.  The goal of UL Compassion Clinic is to provide a positive, welcoming medical community presence in the metro Louisville area, linking patients to medical homes, if needed, and to provide individualized medical screening and educational opportunities. 
Karlie Brockman Undergraduate, College of Arts and Sciences 500 My service project will be creating an after-school creative writing program for JCPS third through fifth graders, specifically Cochran Elementary or Coral Ridge Elementary. The program will last eight-weeks with up to fifteen students. There will be two eight-week cohorts, in fall 2023 and spring 2024. There will be three to four UofL undergraduate students at each meeting. One will be primary leader for the week, while the others will be there to assist. The role of primary leader will change each week to distribute responsibility. UofL students involved in the service project will also meet weekly to discuss the program's progression.
Laura Krauser, DJ Biddle A&S, Department of Geographic and Environmental Sciences, Center for GIS 2000 In 2023, health disparities in West Louisville are exacerbated by a lack of access to grocery stores, particularly affecting the Black and low-income residents in the area. While new grocery stores are planned for east Louisville, West End neighborhoods, like Russell, continue to struggle with limited fresh food options. West Louisville has only three full-service grocery stores, forcing residents to rely on gas stations, food marts, and dollar stores for their groceries. Compounding factors like overcrowded grocery stores and limited transportation options further hinder access to fresh food (Karthikeyan 2023). High school students from Waggener High School’s Black Student Union (BSU), who come from diverse backgrounds and often reside in areas that are underserved due to Louisville's segregation, have taken notice of these equity issues. The stark differences between the communities where they live and where they attend school in the East End have become increasingly apparent to them. Motivated by these disparities, BSU students initiated geographic inquiry research to investigate the spatial distribution and quality of grocery stores in Louisville. 

While the students initially relied on Google Maps and photographs, the UofL Center for GIS (ULCGIS) and UofL geography students are in a unique position to enhance their geoinquiry process significantly. Our primary objective at the ULCGIS is to provide support for their central inquiries: 1) Identifying the areas in Louisville predominantly inhabited by Black and economically disadvantaged residents, and 2) Uncovering the extent of resource disparities for these Louisville residents. The ULCGIS will facilitate students in a series of workshops as they explore and analyze spatial data comprehensively, and construct a visually compelling, data-backed narrative that addresses this issue both qualitatively and quantitatively through spatial analysis. We aim to determine where the establishment of a new grocery store would have the most significant positive impact on those currently facing disadvantage and limited access to essential resources. 
Lesley Harris, Andrew Winters, Rebecka Bloomer, Doroty Sato Kent School of Social Work & Family Science 3000 This study will embrace the tenets of community-based participatory action research and arts-based methods (Leavy, 2020) to address key health equity issues within a community of adolescents in Hai Phong, Vietnam. More specifically, the data collection will derive from the adolescents’ creation of art related to health equity (with attention to youth-identified topics) combined with their qualitative descriptions of that art. In 2024, the research team will partner with a local artist, Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Hoa to engage in a therapeutic and creative mixed-media approach. Ms. Nguyen’s approach encourages youth participants to use recycled materials (plastic bottles, plastic bags, bottle caps) to conceptualize their past and present lives and use their artwork to tell their stories and express themselves (Dung, 2021). During the months of May and June, when the adolescents are involved in a summer camp at HHCSC, they will meet three times a week with the on-site research team (Dr. Harris, Dr. Winters, Dr. Bloomer, Mr. Nguyen Duy Thang, and Mrs. Hue Pham Thi). Additionally, the youth will take a day-long field trip to Nuong Village of Yen Tu, where the youth will explore traditional art and craft making (Đông Hồ folk painting, bamboo dragonflies, calligraphy, puppetry, and traditional cake making). Focus groups will document youths’ perceptions of health equity through the use of art-making with recycled materials.
Melanie Gast College of A&S, Sociology 2600 Americana World Community Center (ACC) is a local, non-profit organization, which provides holistic, comprehensive programs to immigrants, refugees, and low-income individuals in Louisville. Dr. Melanie Gast is a current Board member and Program Committee member for ACC, and so she is well connected to the ACC. Dr. Melanie Gast has collaborated and communicated with the Executive Director, Emilie Dyer and Youth Program Coordinator, Rehani Fundi about this SOC 450 course project. This is a community-engaged project where UofL undergraduate students will support and help develop the organizing and outreach for this ACC soccer/mental-health program where local teenagers and young adults from immigrant and refugee families participate in sports (soccer) and develop strategies for focusing on wellness, mental health, and community and social belonging, as part of Dr. Gast’s SOC 450 Immigrants & Identity Spring 2024 course.

Olive Dreckman, Eric Berson Join project with International Service Learning Program (ISLP) and School of Engineering  1400 The International Service Learning Program has had a longstanding partnership with the rural communities in the mountainside of greater Cebu City, Philippines, having visited with UofL students every December for over a decade. This year we would like to take the steps to make a lasting impact on the two schools, Paril National High School, and Vicente B. Cosido Memorial High School, that we have worked so closely with. As small, rural schools located in a difficult to reach mountainous area, access to power, clean water and internet are often difficult to obtain, particularly after major storms. Last year was our first year to return to the Philippines as a University since the pandemic. Upon our arrival, our beloved community friends explained that the Super Typhoon that hit the area in late 2021 had devastated the Visayas, and that at best power was restored in 6 months for some but a few still did not have access to power and water by December of 2022, one full year after the storm. That sparked a conversation between engineering professor Dr. Eric Berson and Travel Coordinator Olive Dreckman about being intentional with our service during our return this year and help provide some much-needed sustainable relief. Our goal is to have participating Speed School students from Louisville work to create one sustainable renewable energy and one water purification project. They will spend the fall semester researching and creating the two projects in conjunction with what they learn in the CHE-594 class. Then we will travel to the Philippines at the end of the fall semester in December and work directly with Paril and Cosido High School students. Our UofL students will present their creations and build them alongside the Filipino students, teaching them not only the science behind the devices but how to repeat it for themselves. Both the energy generator and water purifier can be built with materials they have access to and plugged into the batteries we provide, once these students learn how to create it, they can build more for themselves and for their community. In addition, we will provide each school with one solar panel each so they can begin to store renewable energy into their generators.
Patrick C. Exmeyer Department of Urban and Public Affairs 1500 Between a conservative budget appropriation from the Charlestown Common Council and small number of full-time employees (FTEs) for the Charlestown Parks Department, the formation and provision of an evaluation system design constructed by UofL Master of Public Administration graduate students aims to provide an essential tool for Charlestown Parks Department employees to regularly assess the effectiveness and efficiency of operations for the Arts & Enrichment Center and to better serve community members and organizations which regularly use the facility.  
Rachel Singel, Erica Lewis Department of Fine Arts and Department of Comparative Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences 1000 UofL Art Professor Rachel Singel and UofL Ph.D. student Erica Lewis are working together to plan a community event in collaboration with and hosted by the Portland Museum titled "CeLOUbrate Print." The event will take the traditional, historical medium of printmaking outside of its usual institutions of a university or for-profit print shop in order to teach the community about its history while opening up access to learning the art form itself. CeLOUbrate Print will encompass various stations of events, such as letterpress printing at the Portland Museum’s new community studio Beechgrove Press, live screenprinting t-shirts/posters, and a steamroller to print large carved relief blocks (essentially, very large hand-carved wooden stamps).
Ratchneewan Ross School of Nursing 2750 Objectives: 1) Train healthcare providers in government healthcare facilities in Ghana in screening for depression and identifying predictors of depression in perinatal women (HIV-negative and HIV-positive); and 2) Evaluate the training program based on the CDC’s logic model using mixed methods methodology.

Overall Activities: Using the CDC logic model (CDC, 2018), the team has engaged stakeholders (4 healthcare facilities in Ghana), planned for depression screening training activities, designed evaluation methods, and planned to gather credible quantitative and qualitative data along with data analysis and data dissemination.

Sri Mokshagundam, Beth Ackerman Department of Medicine 600 The Compassion Clinic and the Redeemer Lutheran Church will host the Annual Block Party and Health Fair. The event includes multiple health screenings including screenings for prediabetes and diabetes.  Attendees who choose to participate will have a Hemoglobin A1c test completed.  This test will give an immediate result with interpretation from a medical student.  The attendee can take the result to his/her next provider visit for further review or follow up testing. 
Tamara Sluss The Graduate School, Urban and Public Affairs 2000 Louisville Grows’ Urban Agriculture program is designed to build capacity in community gardens by
providing technical assistance, education and infrastructure. Healthy House programs, workshops and
classes center on healthy living, healthy eating, environmental education or environmental equity. They
are dedicated to restoring the urban tree canopy and providing environmental education opportunities
that will lead to ending health disparities in our community. Louisville Grows’ outreach extends to all of
Jefferson County and Southern Indiana. However, the focus audience is on serving 21 neighborhoods in
west and south Louisville. These neighborhoods are most impacted by the Urban Heat Island Effect due
to the loss of their tree canopy and are experiencing food apartheid.
For this specific project students in Urban Agriculture will help grow and distribute plants to the local
community, review community garden grant proposals, and collaborate to build infrastructure for an
awarded community garden in need. Data will be collected on student learning before and after the
proposed activities, number of plant giveaways, and student reflections.
Tiffany McPheeters, Grace De Souza University of Louisville College of Dentistry 2975 Dental health care providers rarely visit patients’ homes. Thus, homebound patients have less access to care than patients who are mobile (Ohara et al 2020). In Japan, dental hygienists are allowed to visit the home of homebound patients for oral health management services for up to four visits per month (Ohara 2020). In the US, family caregivers, home nurses, and home health aides provide the majority of the daily support for oral health care. Therefore, it is of primary importance to professionally train and follow up with the patients care team, ensuring that disabled and medically compromised patients receive adequate oral care, thus giving them a better quality of life. With funding from this mini grant, our team will collect oral hygiene products and materials, and create audiovisual resources to pilot the training of home care providers on providing oral hygiene to homebound patients.

Gheens Community Engagement Mini Grant Program 


The Office of Community Engagement invites proposals from faculty, staff, and students to apply for mini grants that will directly impact the community. This initiative entails providing small, one-time mini grants to faculty, staff, and Resident Student Organizations (RSO) for research, teaching, service provision, or outreach with partners in the community, both locally and globally, and especially with historically underrepresented communities. The identified project needs to be one that will directly benefit the community, whether through direct service, research, or outreach, including non-partisan advocacy, and must identify the role of the community partner as a true collaborator in the initiative. The projects should be in collaboration with underrepresented communities such as west and south Louisville, the immigrant and refugee community, rural communities, or the international community. They should directly benefit members of the identified community. 

The project must either (a) contribute to student learning or experiences in civic engagement, (b) involve student research toward a scholarly product (publications, presentations, externally presented reports, media, grant applications, etc.), or (c) engage students in direct outreach with community members.



  • Include research, teaching, service, or outreach 
  • Course affiliated projects must be led by faculty, and student projects led by a faculty or staff mentor
  • Include students working collaboratively on the project 
  • Project must either involve an external partner organization or clearly be in service to an external community  
  • Project must demonstrate it is addressing a critical community need/issue 
  • Project must be with underrepresented communities, which include immigrant/refugee, rural communities 
  • Presentation on project at the spring Engaged Scholarship Symposium or the spring Undergraduate Arts & Research Showcase. 


  • Course connected grants may be in the $1000-$3000 range.  
  • Student RSO grants may range from $250 to $1000. 


  • Announcement of call for proposal August 8
  • Deadline to submit proposals September 15
  • Decision made, mid October
  • Announcement of grant awards Friday, October 30 11:30-1:00
  • Project implementation late fall 2023 to early spring 2024 
  • Presentation at Engaged Scholarship Symposium March, 2024 
  • Presentation at Undergraduate Arts & Research Showcase spring 2024 


Grant recipients must submit a project report due to the Office of Community Engagement end of summer to early fall 2024

SLIDESHOW: Oct. 14 Awards Ceremony at the 2022 Community Engagement Luncheon

2022 UofL Office of Community Engagement INVEST 3 Engaged Learning Mini Grants Luncheon

In fall 2022 The Office of Community Engagement invited proposals from faculty, staff, and students to apply for mini grants that will directly impact the community. The awarded projects will directly benefit the community through direct service, research, or outreach in collaboration with community partners. Priority was given to projects in collaboration with underrepresented communities such as west and south Louisville, the immigrant and refugee community, rural communities, or the international community. These Mini Grants were made possible through the generous support of the Gheens Foundation. 

Congratulations to the 2022 Awardees and their collaborators. 

Awardee Name Unit Collaborators 
Alexandra Howard  Libraries
Ashley Triplett Digital Transformation Center 
Becky Antle Social Work  Emma Sterrett-Hong, Jennifer Kendrick
Cara Snyder A&S WGST Savannah Quach, Lyrah Fosl 
David Johnson SPHIS Angela Storey, Lauren Heberle
Fannie M Cox Libraries
Geneva Stark CEHD Nystrand Center
Jamie Lynn Young  Medicine Luz Huntington-Moskos 
Kendria Kelly-Taylor  SPHIS Felicia Pugh,  Madeline Tomlinson
Kristi King CEHD Seth Eckler, Ime Okpokho, Geneva Stark, Ashley Shelton
La-Tisha Frazier  Medicine Edward Miller, MD 
Lora D. Haynes A&S Psychology Hailey Culp, Denise Simmel
Melanie Gast A&S Sociology Aishia Brown, Rebecka Bloomer, Cat Alexander & James Joyce
Nicole Adams CEHD
Nile Rowe and Angel Okorie  Engage Lead Serve Board
Nina Vasavada Panchal Medicine Rosemary Ouseph
Patrick Pössel CEHD Hayley Seely
Randy Whetstone, Jr. CEHD Malcolm Muhamma
Sarah Emery A&S Biology Julia Kachanova
Shelby Pumphrey A&S WGST
Stephanie Boone SPHIS Richard Baumgartner
Tammi Alvey Thomas SPHIS Megan Adams
William Scott Gunter A&S Geography Megan Poole
Community Engagement

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6026

Office Hours

M-F 8:30am to 5:00pm

No holiday hours

About us