We CU and the Humanities Research Institute, with support from Dan Shin (BS, ’91, biology, and economics) have announced the 2022-2023 cohort of University of Illinois Humanities in Action scholars. The group includes two students from SLCL.

This cohort of scholars was selected from a competitive pool of applicants possessing a variety of leadership, service, and personal experiences to qualify them for this new community engagement program. Originally planned as a cohort of five, the applicant pool was so strong that the selection committee chose seven students to participate in the semester-long program.

This fall, the inaugural cohort of Humanities in Action Scholars will collaborate with a community partner to address a vital area of need in the Champaign-Urbana community. Through participation in We CU, students will attend workshops to strengthen their community partnerships and build connections with like-minded peers. They will also learn more about HRI’s undergraduate and graduate opportunities and be part of the invested community of humanists at Illinois.

In a recorded message that played during the We CU annual celebration and recognition ceremony, HRI Director Antoinette Burton congratulated and welcomed the new cohort. “As students particularly committed to bringing humanities knowledge and values alive in practice, you are uniquely positioned to remind us of how important a liberal arts education is in this challenging world,” she said.

Meet the scholars
Smiling woman in glasses poses in front of cherry blossom tree

Tara Leininger (she/her), a senior, is a Chancellor’s Scholar and a James Scholar pursuing majors in classics and history with a minor in anthropology. Tara spends her time exploring her passions and developing new skills through service. She has volunteered in collections management and virtual exhibit design for the Champaign County History Museum. Tara has also assisted with event planning and tea ceremonies at the Japan House. 

Smiling, dark haired man in suit poses indoors

Paul Rampersaud (he/him) is a junior with a double major in political science and Spanish and a minor in communications. He is president of the Association of Minorities in Political Science. Paul’s interest in immigration issues led him to pursue the legal services internship with the New American Welcome Center at the University YMCA, where he had the opportunity to provide support for a variety of immigration legal matters. He is especially committed to making healthcare more accessible to recent immigrants by addressing the financial and language barriers they can face when seeking care. 

Editor's note: This story first appeared on the We CU website.