Featured Faculty

Ms. Katie Fowler-Córdova

Katie Fowler CordovaKatherine Fowler-Córdova is a leader in service learning at Miami University, co-facilitating a Faculty Learning Committee "Best Practices in Service Learning: Developing and Implementing SL Pedagogy across Disciplines." She is currently Senior Lecturer and the 200-level coordinator in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She received her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and a Certificate in College Teaching from the University of Arizona. While she was pursuing her M.A., she worked as a Spanish Teaching Assistant and as an intern at the Mexican Consulate. Since returning to Ohio in 2003, she has worked in the non-profit and educational fields. She served as the Health Promotion and Education Specialist at Su Casa Hispanic Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she managed their health and education programs. Moreover, she was the Program Assistant for the Latina Girls Health Initiative for Harmony Garden, an independent community research and education center, where she organized Latina groups for pre-adolescent girls and their female caregivers. Since returning to Miami University, she has been involved in service-learning efforts in the department and has worked to develop the Spanish for Heritage Learners course. In addition, she currently co-directs the winter term study abroad program in Perú. In 2016, she received the "Nuestra Familia" award from the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission.

Spanish for Community (Spanish 331)

Spanish for Community (Spanish 331) is a service learning course that prepares students for work in a local organization that serves the Hispanic/Latino community by providing the necessary information and skills to be able to effectively communicate in a culturally-appropriate manner, in Spanish. The course examines the achievements within the local Hispanic/Latino community through an analysis of the development of resources and support for the community with a focus on specific Latino community scholars. Additionally, the course explores challenges to the community, focusing on issues related to language, education, health and immigration at a national and local level.

The community-based projects for this course have consisted of the following:

  • Completing administrative duties.
  • Teaching citizenship classes in Spanish.
  • Providing clients with referral services.
  • Directing a Latino Youth group.
  • Developing a computer literacy curriculum. 
  • Providing workshops on computer literacy to the community.
  • Mentoring school age children.
  • Teaching English as a Second Language. 

Course Details

Community Impact

  • Alleviate work load for site supervisor to complete other tasks.
  • Empower youth and parents.
  • Open more opportunities for families.
  • Foster connections with Miami students.

Student Impact

  • Develop ability to work with those from different cultures.
  • Increase knowledge about local Latino community and enhance intercultural competence.
  • Enhance professional skills and assist with future career choice.
  • Improve Spanish language skills and develop communication and problem-solving skills.

COVID-19 Accommodations

During the spring of 2021, the students engaged in virtual opportunities due to the pandemic restrictions. Students taught school age children remotely with Google Classroom through the Su Casa tutoring program. Furthermore, students developed a website for VEIL and created Spanish-language instructional videos to support its Latino Outreach programs. Finally, students designed a Spanish-language COVID vaccination informational video and brochure for the community that VEIL serves.

As part of the SL course, students complete a 20-hour community-based project in the local area. The community partners for this course have included the Crossroad's WhizKids program, MainStreet Schoolhouse, Vida Eterna-Iglesia Luterana (VEIL) and Su Casa Hispanic Center. 

Dr. Helaine Alessio

helaine-headshotDr. Alessio has been teaching the capstone course KNH 402 Personal and Ecological Health for over 10 years. Students use principles of the Miami Plan and engage in evidence-based learning activities on how to promote personal health, understand how the environment influences human health, and discover how personal and environmental health are interrelated. She brings her current research and national service as a Climate Health Ambassador and member of the American College of Sports Medicine’s ActivEarth task force to the classroom and in the fieldwork. Her collaborative research with Dr. Ann Hagerman (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been funded by the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, and the National Cancer Institute. She also collaborates with Drs. Kathleen Hutchinson and Susan Baker-Brehm on speech, hearing, and exercise research using human models.

sl-students-bikesStudents interact with the Directors of the Hefner Museum of Natural History and learn about the complexities involved in sustaining ecosystems. For example, students learn about the role of healthy activities designed for humans that sometimes harm the environment, which in turn, harm human health. After learning theory and facts related to environmental and individual health, students engage in a service activity that is important to Hueston Woods State Park. Specifically, students learn to develop and maintain recreational trails in an environmentally sustainable way from Mountain Bike Trail Steward, Scott Garver.  Students are given the directions and tools that over the years has resulted in over 24 miles of mountain bike/hiking trails. 

Many students love the class because they can see the trails they helped create and know they will be used by thousands of park visitors for years to come.

Students cleaning up trails in the woods.