Nina Mondelli, ’11, and Terrence Daly, ’11, lived worlds apart this summer but engaged in similar work. Both led microenterprise initiatives aimed at teaching people how to run successful, sustainable businesses that will raise their standard of living.

Mondelli, a business entrepreneurship major from Sanibel, Fla., interned with Richmond nonprofit Church Hill Activities and Tutoring, where she launched the microenterprise “Sew New” to teach two 14-year-old girls how to sew purses, quilts, and hair accessories from recycled materials and market their products for a profit.

Daly, an international studies major from Allentown, N.J., interned with the Blantyre Synod Development Commission in Malawi, Africa. He coordinated eight microenterprise projects, many involving farming or other types of food production, for groups of 15–20 people living in a slum in the city of Blantyre.

The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) awarded Mondelli, Daly, and eight other students $4,000 civic fellowships, making it possible for them to pursue otherwise-unpaid internships in the nonprofit sector. In addition to undertaking substantive projects for nonprofits in Richmond and elsewhere, each civic fellow completed complementary academic work under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

“The amazing work that our nine Burhans Civic Fellows and one Marsh Civic Fellow did this summer honors the legacy of philanthropy and community engagement of UR chaplain emeritus David D. Burhans and former Meals-on-Wheels president Deborah L. Marsh,” said Cassie Price, manager of the Civic Fellows Program.

“This program benefits some of the University’s best students by giving them the chance to pursue challenging, meaningful work with clear ties to their academic fields of study,” Price said. “Our nonprofit partners benefit as well because they gain the services of a dedicated employee free of charge for the duration of a 400-hour internship.”

Anthropology major Grace Leonard, ’12, of Sylva, N.C., said she would draw upon her experiences interacting with inner-city children at the Youth Life Foundation of Richmond when she studies abroad this fall in Ghana, where she will learn about local art and its value in the school system.

“I hope to compare what I learned about cultural capital and education in Richmond, Va., to what I will learn about cultural capital and education in Ghana,” Leonard said. She plans to incorporate these contrasting research experiences into her senior thesis.

Similarly, Gabrielle Misiewicz, ’11, applied what she learned about African drumming during her study abroad in Ghana in fall 2009 to her summer internship with the Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering teenage women through the teaching and performing of West African drumming. Misiewicz, a native of Nassau, Bahamas, has crafted an interdisciplinary major focusing on the African diaspora.

“My internship experience has made me think about using music to reach out to the community,” Misiewicz said. “I’d like to go to graduate school to study ethnomusicology, the intersection of music and culture.”

Like Misiewicz, many civic fellows expressed their desire to continue their involvement in community work. For aspiring business entrepreneur Mondelli, that might mean opening her own business in the Church Hill community she has come to love. But first, she’ll focus on completing her senior year.