Roxanne Patino is a junior with a double major in human development and family studies, and community health. Over the summer, Roxanne worked with Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center (UNCC) volunteer Beth Hand and School of Social Work professors Kevin Tan and Kate Wegmann to implement and evaluate a social-emotional learning (SEL) program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
The Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center supports the academic and social development of more than 50 kindergarten through twelfth grade students in Urbana School District #116. Beth sees this research collaboration as an opportunity to provide higher-quality direct services to the students at UNCC. “Implementing trauma-informed SEL lessons is an important service at the Center for our youth, many of whom have been disproportionately negatively affected in the areas of social emotional learning, health and mental health over time, and even more so during this epidemic.”
Roxanne had the unique opportunity of delivering the SEL curriculum both online and in-person when UNCC resumed in-person learning in July. Her mentors were impressed with how well Roxanne adapted to the changing circumstances. Beth describes Roxanne’s dedication and flexibility. “She has been willing to work with all the groups at the Center for social and emotional lessons and she is very conscientious in preparing lessons. Not only did she research lessons for in-person implementation, she also researched, adapted, created, and implemented lessons for online.”
For Roxanne, the most meaningful part of the experience was connecting with and making an impact on our local community. “Working on this project has allowed me to be more connected to the Champaign-Urbana community as it has allowed me to interact with the people, and more importantly, the kids that will make up this community in the future.”
Roxanne’s passion for making a lasting impact is clear to all who work with her. When UNCC had an opportunity to hire young people through the COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment program, they thought of Roxanne. In addition to delivering the SEL curriculum, Roxanne taught math to the students. She even had the chance to share her experience during a press conference held by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to celebrate the success of the youth employment program.
Kate and Kevin, Roxanne’s faculty mentors, are excited to see what’s next for her. “We hope that Roxanne continues her passion in advocating for the social and emotional needs of young people, especially the underprivileged and disadvantaged youth in our community. This project ignited her passion, and it is exciting to see her career development from here.”
Learn more about her project by watching Roxanne’s research lighting talk.