A Life-Changing Experience in Chicago
Thank you to all of our supporters for your role in changing student lives during our campaign for the Chicago Semester Fund! These generous gifts have helped raise nearly $19,000, making it possible for students like Ande’Marie Green to grow and flourish in Chicago. Ande’Marie has spent this semester teaching math and science at John A. Walsh Elementary, a Chicago Public School in the Pilsen neighborhood. Her cooperating teacher writes that “Ande’ has seamlessly taken over all three grade-levels’ planning and implementation of instructions… She has been implementing small breakout rooms and providing clear expectations on the assigned tasks in the space.”
Ande’Marie was able to accomplish all of this with support from Chicago Semester faculty, staff and a community of peers- all made possible thanks to you. She will complete her student teaching placement in December, taking this experience and confidence with her as she graduates and pursues a full-time teaching role in Ohio. Your willingness to partner with Chicago Semester is helping Ande’Marie fulfill her dreams.
We are especially grateful that the gifts from this campaign have allowed us to host over 20 students in Chicago this fall for a program tailored to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic. Through a combination of virtual and in-person events, we have been able to support them as they explored the city, immersed themselves in their internships and gained life-changing experiences. We are looking forward to welcoming nearly 60 students in the spring and supporting them as they expand their horizons.
We can’t thank you enough for partnering with us in this meaningful work.
With deep gratitude,
Mackenzi Huyser, PhD
The Chicago Semester Fund
This fund benefits the entire Chicago Semester program with a specific focus on supporting life-changing opportunities for students as they pursue their vocational callings, emerge as professionals and faithfully engage their communities.
How does your gift make a difference?
Your gift contributes to our work with students in three areas.
Chicago Semester walks alongside students as they pursue their vocational callings. While many students’ callings have been nurtured on their home campuses, Chicago Semester provides the opportunity to pursue these callings in a dynamic new context.
- This work begins when Chicago Semester staff connect individually with each student to discuss internship options. Once an internship site has been chosen, Chicago Semester engages students weekly through a professional seminar course that gives opportunities to engage and reflect with peers and professors. With an 11:1 student to faculty ratio, staff were able to host over 500 one-on-one meetings with individual students last year, providing guidance and support for students living out their vocational callings.
- Students also choose from a wide variety of elective courses designed to explore broader perspectives on urban issues, systems and institutions in the city. Students thrive as they explore these perspectives, often leading them to further consider or confirm their vocational callings.
Chicago Semester equips students to emerge as professionals. Each student receives one-on-one mentorship from an internship site supervisor. This supervisor is committed to helping the student develop, guided by student-designed learning goals. In addition, Chicago Semester offers professional development workshops to students on topics including interviewing, networking and job searching skills.
- Over 90% of our alumni last year demonstrated proficiency or excellence in professional qualities that prepare them for success in the workplace, and alumni scored 50% higher than the average college graduate on proficiency in professional skills (based on Chicago Semester internship supervisor scores from 2019-2020 and a national survey of hiring managers commissioned by the Association of American Colleges and Universities).
Chicago Semester prepares students to faithfully engage their communities. Through neighborhood visits, field trips and cultural events, students are encouraged to discover the histories and realities of the city, challenged to recognize injustices and how we perpetuate them, and invited to advocate for and work toward redemptive hope.
- When students first arrive in the city, staff introduce these calls to action through the program’s orientation workshops, posing questions like “What does it mean to be a good neighbor in Chicago?” All students get the opportunity to address this question through the Citizenship Assignment which prompts them to contribute to social justice in their communities and reflect on the experience. Last year 70 students engaged in service learning or volunteerism with organizations such as Breakthrough Urban Ministries, Plant Chicago, Fourth Presbyterian Church and more.
- These assignments and invitations provide students with the opportunity to acknowledge a hopeful narrative of God’s presence in the city and explore how they might continue serving their own communities of place outside of the program.
Read more about how your support impacts Chicago Semester students by reviewing our 2020 Impact Report. Your support makes an impact on every student in Chicago Semester. Join us in this life-changing work today.