Helge Center

Meet the 2023 CAPS Fellows

Serving With Nonprofits Out Of Chicago, Illinois

Nour Alhajjeh International Relations Serving with The Chicago Reporter

I am a current senior majoring in International Relations and minoring in Biology. I serve as the secretary chair of Valparaiso International Student Association and as Fourth-Year Senator on the Diversity, Inclusion, Equity Committee. In the past, I was a Young Global Professional in the Middle East Program at the Atlantic Council, Washington. DC. I also interned for Congressman Frank Mrvan as a Communication and Research Intern. In addition, I interned with Welcome Network, a profit non-organization where I had the opportunity to assist with Immigrants and their settlement process. I am extremely excited to become a Fellow at The Chicago Reporter site to  highlight and advocate various issues in that area while engulfing myself with new experience.

Maiah Deogracias Communications & Digital Media Arts Serving with Concordia Place

I am a rising senior currently double majoring in Communications (with a focus on Public Relations) and Digital Media Arts along with a Humanities minor. After school, I hope to apply for the Orr Fellowship and graduate programs to study either Communications Management or Integrative Design. During my time at Valpo, I have had opportunities to gain professional experience by serving as an Orientation Assistant for two years, working in the Admissions office as a Communications Intern, taking photos for Valpo’s Integrative Marketing and Communications team, and working in Student Life as a Student Engagement Ambassador. Other things I do on-campus outside of campus include playing French horn in the University’s Symphony Orchestra, serving as my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta’s, chapter president, and I will be Valpo Dance Marathon’s Director of PR next year!

Mikayla Flanagan Sociology Serving with The Bridge Teen Center

I am a rising senior at Valparaiso University where I major in Sociology with a Criminology Concentration and have a Political Science minor. In the past at Valpo, I have been involved in Student Senate, Club Softball, Junior Panhellenic, College Mentors, and have attended a spring break service trip. I work at the Christopher Center Library and am in Gamma Phi Beta as well as Order of Omega, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Alpha Kappa Delta. I studied abroad this previous Spring semester in Cambridge, England where I was able to visit different countries in Europe. I enjoy learning new things, going on walks and being in nature, and spending time with friends and family. I am not sure what the future holds for me but I hope through this program I can learn more about myself and what I want to do once I graduate.

Katie Hill Social Work Serving with Community Renewal Society

I am an incoming senior Social Work major with an interest in macro level policy and social justice. Currently, I am a research assistant for the Social Work Department and intern at Porter County Prisoners and Community Together. In addition, I am a facilitator for the Kansha Project and an active member of the JACL. This summer, I will be working remotely with Community Renewal Society as a CAPS Fellow in addition to translating for a Japanese American organization named Densho. My future plans are to complete a masters in social work program within Chicago and work with Japanese Americans and older adults.

Allison Howard International Relations, Chinese & Japanese Studies Serving with Heartland Alliance – Vocational English Language Training

I am a rising senior double majoring in International Relations and Chinese & Japanese Studies. I have been involved with Student Senate, the Black Student Organization and Valpo Pre-Law Society. My plans following graduation are to attend law school and hopefully practice in the areas of International Human Rights, Civil Rights, or Immigration. If I have some time and still have the willpower to take on any more schooling I would like to get my Masters or Ph.D in African American Studies. I will be working with Heartland Alliance in the VELT area. I am hoping to learn more about what it is like to work with the immigrant population as that is an area of advocacy I am considering working in. One of my favorite hobbies is learning languages and I hope to utilize it in my future career.

Camille Jefferson Healthcare Leadership Serving with By The Hand Kids Club

I am an incoming junior Healthcare Leadership major. This summer I will be interning at By the Hand in Chicago, IL. I am very excited for the opportunity as I will be working with kids and adding to my personal development. On campus, I am a part of the Black Student Organization and Alpha Omega (Service Fraternity).

Cylia Srmek Social Work & Sociology Serving with Heartland Alliance Health

Hi, I’m Cylia. I am an incoming senior from Oak Lawn, IL with a Social Work and Sociology major. I am also a Christ College student, and am a member of Alliance and Hooked on Tonics a cappella. I have interned at Dunes Hospice and will be interning with VU Athletics as part of my social work curriculum. Over the summer, I will have the privilege to be working with Heartland Alliance Health, and am excited that my CAPS experience will aid in my professional knowledge in working with the refugee population, and with case managerial, communication, and advocacy skills. This fellowship will allow me an opportunity to feel more confident in my future career in social work and to see what is out there for me.y).

Serving With Nonprofits Out Of Indianapolis, Indiana

Chris Gatlin Computer Science Serving with Kheprw

Hello, I am a rising senior at Valparaiso University who is majoring in Computer Science and has two minors in Math and Social Work. I am currently working as a student engagement ambassador and also a peer educator. I am the treasurer of the black student organization. I am a member of the Phi Kappa Psi and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. I also serve as a mentor and VP of fundraising for College Mentors For Kids. I grew up on the south side of Chicago. I enjoy playing video games and watching anime. I also love to watch the NBA and NFl.

Serving With Nonprofits Out Of Northwest Indiana

Grace Aurand Political Science Serving with Shirley Heinze Land Trust

I am an incoming senior majoring in English and Political Science. This summer, I will be a Policy Engagement Fellow at Shirley Heinze Land Trust in Chesterton, Indiana! At Valpo, I am also a member of the cross country and track & field teams as well as the news editor for The Torch.

Erica Castillo Social Work Serving with Lutheran Summer Music

Hi I’m Erica. I am a junior, soon to be senior, Social Work major with a minor in Art. I am involved with Active Minds as the activities coordinator and fundraising director. I am also in SSWO where I am cohort representative. I always try and put my best foot forward, even when it can be hard. I am a driven and passionate individual towards the many social injustices of our world and I’d like to help in any way I can. Even though I’m not perfect, I am working on being the best emerging professional.

Adam Monette Communications Serving with the American Red Cross – Disaster Cycle Services

I am an incoming junior Communications major with a minor in Leadership Development. I am involved in many things on campus including being a member of Lambda Chi Alpha as the VP of External Affairs, president of UPC, writing for the Torch, being a Co- Vice president of Service for the service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and being the student executive chair for the Honor Council, as well as being a CC scholar. I will be working with The Red Cross as Disaster Services response, and am excited to be learning more about not only the Red Cross, but also about working with the greater Indiana community.

Tytus Ragle Biology and Chemistry Serving with HealthLinc

I am a Biology major with a Chemistry minor on a pre-medical track. I am planning on graduating this December and attending medical school next fall. My placement in the CAPS fellowship program is with HealthLinc in Valpo. After I complete my schooling, I would love to work in a public health setting. Currently, I am a member of the Valpo football team, and I am involved with InterVarsity, a campus ministry program.

Serving With A Nonprofit Out Of Washington, D.C.

Kylie Bowlds Psychology and Sociology Serving with Lutheran Services of America

I am a current senior studying Psychology and Sociology. On campus, I have gotten involved with the office of Campus Recreation and Well-Being and music ministry opportunities during my time at Valpo, and I am excited to hopefully attend graduate school here in the fall working towards my MA  in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In the future, I am interested in working for a non-profit that assists making mental health resources more accessible to different communities, as well as advocating for policy change that provides more mental health aid as a part of health care.

Fox Wilmot Theology & Ministry Serving with City Service Mission

I am an incoming senior with a Theology and Ministry major and Social Work minor. On campus I work as a Peer Minister and as a Tour Guide and I am a leader of Sweetwine Music Ministry and president of the Boxing club. After college I plan on working as a Youth Minister. I am excited to be working with City Service Mission in DC this summer as I am from nearby Maryland and have served with this organization before.

Serving With A Nonprofit Out Of Leavenworth, Washington

Erin Murphy Sociology Serving with Grünewald Guild

I am an incoming senior Sociology major. I have a concentration in criminology as well as a minor in Social Work. I am involved in Alpha Gamma Delta, a social sorority on campus, as well as Sweetwine, a music ministry group. I am also a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the national honors society for Sociology. I hope to go in to community development after I graduate.