Economic Development Fellows (2022-2023)
Russell Star Lack received his BA in History from Carleton College in 2020, where he wrote his senior thesis on housing discrimination and Jewish-black relations in the postwar Twin Cities. During his time in college, he collaborated with the University of Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice project on an award-winning story map, tracking the suburbanization of North Minneapolis’ Jewish community. These experiences, combined with graduating in the midst of a global pandemic and the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, drew his focus to community-based activism and social services relating to issues of affordable housing and racial equity. As a consequence, he served two Americorps terms of service immediately after graduation. The first was at Neighborworks Home Partners, a community development corporation based in St. Paul, while the second was at Chicago Rehab Network, a citywide coalition of neighborhood and community-based development organizations. Following these positions, he joined Spanish Coalition for Housing, a Chicago-based housing counseling agency, as a grant-writer. During his two years in the affordable housing space, he learned that support from community-based housing organizations in the form of housing counseling, rent and mortgage assistance, and affordable housing development in communities most at risk of displacement is crucial, and much more supportive programing and community activism needs to be devoted to erase the fundamental inequities in the housing market faced by these communities.
Amber Wycklendt received her Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering and Management from Marquette University. After graduation, she spent a couple years as a project manager and when the pandemic hit, she decided to serve with FIRST Robotics through AmeriCorps. Through this program, she learned about many of the struggles of underserved communities and decided to continue this education and pursuit of service by enrolling in the Masters of Urban Planning program at UW-Milwaukee. Through her fellowship with the Department of Urban Planning as well as the Department of City Development at the City of Milwaukee, she will be working on researching last-mile solutions (FlexRide Milwaukee in particular) as well as updating zoning codes and assisting with the Homes MKE Program. Through her work, she hopes to better understand the intersection of housing choices, transportation, and access to job opportunities so that she can help the city make more of an impact within the community.
Recent Fellows (2018-2020)
Paul Davidson received his B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from UW-Madison. After graduation, Paul served as a City Year Americorps Member in Milwaukee. Serving with City Year, Paul was a near-peer mentor at Bay View High School, working with ninth grade students on improving their attendance, behavior, and course performance. In this role, Paul also helped his colleagues develop post-service plans, and helped solicit in-kind donations for school programs. At UWM, Paul is pursuing a Master’s in Urban Studies while also working at a City Organization on economic development initiatives. Paul chose UWM for graduate school because there are tremendous opportunities to grow as a student and as a fellow to achieve real progress in the community.
Cortney Dunklin received her a BA in Psychology and BS in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University After graduation, Cortney moved to Milwaukee to serve two years with City Year Milwaukee as an Americorps member and Senior Americorps member. During her first year with City Year, Cortney served as a tutor, mentor, and role model in a seventh grade classroom at Hopkins Lloyd Community School. She created session plans focusing on building students skills in reading, writing, math, attendance, and leadership skills. During year two as a Senior Americorps member, she lead a group of seven young people to tutor and mentor ninth grade students, provide after-school tutoring, and whole school events at South Division High School. Cortney was also able to build on her public speaking skills by speaking about her growth as a leader and her students growth academically and socially at City Year’s annual dinner along with one of her students. At UWM, Cortney is pursuing a Master’s in Urban Studies while also working at The City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development as the Real Estate Fellow. Cortney chose UWM for graduate school because of her affection for Milwaukee, the ability to grow as a leader and learner, and her positive experiences with faculty at UWM.
John Hennessy is a native Milwaukeean who graduated from UWM with a degree in Biological Sciences. He served in the Peace Corps in West Africa, working as an Environment Extension Agent in Mali and an Agroforestry Specialist in Senegal. Following his time in the Peace Corps John pursued a Master’s Degree in International Development at Trinity College Dublin. In Ireland, John also worked for an NGO focused on food security in East Africa. He worked with the Rwanda Development Board and Volcanoes National Park (VNP) to study the role local community based organizations play in conservation efforts. In Ethiopia, John worked with Vita Ireland to research the impact of climate change on farming practices. In 2006, John returned to Milwaukee to take a leadership role in a neighborhood development organization. John is passionate about urban revitalization and the City of Milwaukee. The UWM Urban Planning Program will allow him to build meaningful partnerships with people and organizations in the Milwaukee area. As an Economic Development Fellow John is working for CommonBond Communities Wisconsin as their Partnership Coordinator. CommonBond Communities provides housing and social services for low income individuals and families.
Amy Narr is a Milwaukee native and a graduate of UWM School of Business. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru, 2013-2016) and proud owner of the Peruvian food truck Triciclo Peru MKE with her husband Mario. Her work in sustainable community economic development in Peru allowed her to gain perspective on the dynamic difficulties that much of the global population faces when dealing with poverty and social inequities. Amy is a MIED Fellow (Milwaukee Idea for Economic Development) and will dedicate much of her coursework to KIVA Microfunds, which provides crowd-sourced microlending to small businesses in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Her placement is in partnership with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) where she is able to apply her experience as a small business owner to her work in supporting other entrepreneurs. Amy is pursuing a Master’s in Sustainable Peacebuilding and aims to pursue a career of connecting people to resources. She is motivated to continue her work addressing access to economic opportunities and equality for women and marginalized populations.
Sally Svetic is a Milwaukee native who enjoys exploring Milwaukee’s many beautiful neighborhoods. In the spring of 2017 Sally received a double degree in Urban Studies and Women and Gender Studies from UWM. Her time spent in Public Allies working for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation offered her with a base of knowledge in neighborhood development work. Currently placed at the Department of City Development at the City of Milwaukee, she assists with the $1 Vacant Side Lot Program, which encourages community members to reuse and reinvest in vacant city-owned lots as a way to enhance their own property values and to strengthen their neighborhoods. As she pursues her Master’s in Urban Studies, she is interested in studying strong communities especially providing the tools residents need, and assisting them in identifying and celebrating their assets.