UrbanPlan at IWA
Incarnate Word Academy continued its partnership with the Urban Land Institute to offer two summer sessions of UrbanPlan, an exciting educational initiative designed to teach students about urban growth and development.
After taking a crash course in the workings of local government, land development, and public-private partnerships, the 30 participating students tackled a request for proposal for the revitalization of a hypothetical community. Students formed into development teams and assumed one of five roles: finance director, marketing director, city liaison, neighborhood liaison, or site planner. By responding to the different constituent requests in the proposal and working together representing different aspects of the team, students gained an appreciation for the various forces that affect the land-development process.
Katherine Rose '19 said she found this comprehensive approach to be one of the more valuable aspects of the program: "UrbanPlan was an eye-opening experience for me. It gave me a lot to think about and I'd recommend it to any girl who is still exploring what she wants to study in college. Since there were several specialties to choose from, I got to try different skills and see what came naturally to me."
One of the most beneficial aspects of the program is the professional feedback provided by female mentors. The mentors represented a wide range of careers in the land-development industry including real estate attorneys, environmental consultants, civil engineers, and tourism development officers. Mentors helped students navigate the hypothetical issues with their experiences and encouraged students to consider careers in architecture, city planning, civil engineering, and law.
The project ended with formal presentations by the student development teams to a mock City Council, once again made up of working professionals in the industry. After listening to the students’ presentations, the City Council analyzed each plan for its ability to balance the social, economic, cultural, and political goals of the City and its residents. They asked tough questions and expected balanced, well thought-out answers. Senior Michaela Durrette, the financial analyst for her team, explained: "Those of us who signed up for UrbanPlan wanted to experience something new and challenging in a comfortable environment, and that's exactly what we got."
IWA's Alyssa Caver as a U.S. Senate Page
Alyssa Caver '19 was one of two students chosen from the state of Texas to participate in the prestigious U.S. Senate Page Program in Washington, D.C. Appointed and sponsored by U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Alyssa performed summer page duties including delivering legislative materials within the Congressional complex and preparing the chamber for Senate sessions. We caught up with her before school started again to hear about this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
What was the application process like to be a US page?
The application process consisted of filling out the application which included a 300-500 word essay on why I wanted to be a Senate page. I was later asked for a short phone interview that I was able to do in the office conference room during my lunch period.
Where did you live while you were there?
I lived in the Daniel Webster Senate Page Residence (Webster Hall) named for Daniel Webster. Daniel Webster appointed the first Senate page among a number of other important things. The residence was built specifically for the program and housed not only the dorms but also the Senate page school.
What were your daily duties like?
Our daily duties consisted of running papers to various locations throughout the Capitol and Senate office buildings, holding doors open for votes, being generally available if a senator was to ask a favor, running amendments and roll call votes throughout the Capitol, and most often setting up senators’ desks before they would speak. Each senator had a specific water order and lectern height preference, and some would speak at other senators' desks as to look better on camera! Most of our time not running around the Capitol was spent in either the back lobby reading or sitting on the rostrum in order to be available.
What was the most exciting thing that happened to you while you were there?
What comes to mind is listening in on the Senate floor during votes or watching some really exciting speeches in person and then seeing them on the news later that evening. I particularly enjoyed Senator Corker’s speech on the GOP’s relationship with President Trump and Senator Rubio’s speech on immigration laws regarding families. It was also fantastic to meet my sponsor, Senator Cornyn in addition to brushing shoulders with most of, if not all, the senators–including some recent presidential candidate! We were, understandably, not allowed to approach the senators but Senator Booker from New Jersey would often ask us for jokes and made an effort to ride in the subway car with us if we were going to lunch and I was able to attend a Bible Study with Senator Inhofe from Oklahoma. A small number of the senators would also make a point to talk to us pages, which was always nice. I just barely missed a number of exciting things while I was there. A couple pages rode in an elevator with Chris Pine, some saw Ivanka Trump, and pages on the other shift got to meet Bill Gates, who was a house page when the program existed and likes to take a picture with pages when he visits.
Congratulations on a great experience, Alyssa!
Gold Award Girl Scout!
This summer, Grace Michael '20 earned the Girl Scout Gold Award–the highest honor in Girl Scouting! This award recognizes girls in freshman through senior year who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Grace's Gold Award journey began while taking the Leading with Service class at IWA. It was through this incredible class that her volunteer work with The Summerhouse began. The Summerhouse is a non-profit organization that provides young adults with intellectual disabilities with programs designed to inspire, teach, and help them in the areas of vocation, community involvement, and daily living activities. Grace says that as she learned about The Summerhouse, she decided to focus my Gold AwardTake Action project on creating craft kits for members that would foster growth in key development areas. With assistance and support from members of her Girl Scout troop, school, church, and the community at large, she created 20 pre-made craft kits for each member to enjoy, an accompanying craft resource book, and a craft storage solution. The Executive Director of The Summerhouse was thrilled to have these extra resources available for the members to enjoy. As a result of her Take Action project, present and future members of The Summerhouse now have a fun and relaxing way to interact with each other and grow in confidence and skills as they express themselves in new ways through art. This had previously not been a possibility due to lack of resources. Grace explains that, "through the gift of my Catholic education, I developed and deepened my understanding of the Church’s social teaching regarding life and the dignity of the human person, We are all called to stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to respect all life. Earning my Gold Award is just the beginning of my life of servant leadership and of being an advocate for the sanctity of all human life. We can all make the world a better place. Education can lead to action. Action can lead to great change!."
Congratulations Class of 2018!
Incarnate Word Academy's 80 graduates have been accepted to 125 prestigious colleges and universities across the world and have earned over $7 million in merit-based scholarships. Please join the Sisters of the Incarnate Word & Blessed Sacrament, the IWA Board of Advisors, faculty, and staff in extending congratulations and prayers for the Class of 2018.
Class of 2018 College Acceptances
*Indicates planned attendance
Abilene Christian University