Service Learning Faculty Fellows 2017

Deborah Bubela, PhD, PT, PCS
Course: PT 5466 Integrated Clinical Experience, Neuromuscular
Campus: Storrs

About the Course:

The Integrated Clinical Experience course will include students’ participation in a pro-bono student-led clinic. The Boundless Clinic is a student-led, faculty-supervised, pro-bono delivery of physical therapy services that is not bound by:

  • – Clinic walls: Services will be provided wherever a person needs them to be – home, work, community settings, PT gym.
  • – Funding restrictions: Services will be provided as long as the person thinks the service is of benefit and would like to continue to come.)
  • – Person’s ability level: Services will be provided to persons of all ability levels – even when other medical providers have said the person has plateaued.
  • Traditional medical interventions: Services will incorporate evidence-based interventions with activities that are important and interesting to the person.


Julia Cartabiano, MS, Adjunct Faculty FYP&LC, Farm Manager, Spring Valley Student Farm
Course: Just Food! Or Is It? Healing the Planet and Our Communities through Healthy Local Food Production
Campus: Storrs
Community Partners: Sally Milius at GROW Windham; Jiff Martin at UConn Extension; Sarah Munro at UConn Office of Environmental Policy
About the course:

In this class, we will be discussing how the food system affects our environment, society and economy. The service learning opportunity will build on and reinforce the information presented through in class readings, discussion, guest lectures and other sources.

There are three different service learning community partners to choose from, so not all students will experience the same part of the food system. They will share their learning with the rest of the class through bi-weekly group reflection and final small group presentations.

At GROW Windham the group will learn about food justice, food security and how GROW Windham is working with the community to address these issues. Through hands-on garden experience, working with the High School team EcoHouse students will develop a better understanding of the inequities in the current food system.
There are two projects to choose from with Jiff Martin at UConn Extension.

One is expanding the consumer knowledge of the importance of buying CT grown products. The other is working with the Town of Mansfield to develop consumer awareness of where they can purchase local food in Mansfield and helping with the Taste of Mansfield event.

Sarah Munro at Office of Environmental Policy has asked for assistance with developing and installing an edible forest garden as part of their ongoing HEEP project. Through hands-on learning, students will learn about the history of agriculture in New England and be part of creating an improved future for food production at UConn and throughout New England.

The final small group presentations will summarize the complexity of the current food system and show the interactions between all the components that come together to create it. We will specifically focus on what makes a food system sustainable and actions required to achieve it. This current class will continue in spring 2018 with an action class focused on creating community dialogue based on The New England Food Vision.
The students in the spring class will continue to work with the three community partners with any on-going or new projects.

Bronwyn DiPeri, MFA, Adjunct, English Department
Course: Seminar in Writing through Literature, ENGL 1011
Campus: Storrs
Community Partner: Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford

About the course:
The subtitle is “Engaged Citizenship: Practicing Civil Discourse about the Human Condition”. The Service Learning component will be the gathering of Oral Histories from students at Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford. The UConn class is divided into groups/teams and they will each interview, transcribe, and edit stories into a final product (either a simple printed chapbook or a digital story). The ultimate plan is for the UConn students to join the “conversation” about immigration in this country. They are already learning that there has been a long history of discrimination and fear-based policies, and this is leading them to ask questions about human tendencies. This particular group of UConn students is more than half International students from China, so there are many complicated, though interesting, perspectives arising. I am taking the “practicing civil discourse” portion of the course VERY slowly, rather than forcing conversations that students are not yet ready to have. The readings, small group discussions, and the essays themselves are all small steps that build some of the skills need to engage in civil discourse about a very charged topic. These exercises gradually help them expand their perception about who their discourse communities are, and who they can be in the future.


Amanda Durante, Assistant Professor Community Medicine
Course: Practicum in Public Health for Undergraduates
Campus: Farmington Health Center

Dr. Amanda Durante received a Ph.D. in epidemiology and public health (epidemiology of microbial disease) from the Yale School of Public Health and an M.Sc. in health planning from London University.

She brings an extensive history of public health practice to the department. She has worked for the U.K. Health Protection Agency (formerly known as the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre), the City of New Haven Health Department, the Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness and the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program.

Trained in infectious disease epidemiology, much of her work has focused on infectious disease surveillance and control. Recently she has been active in community needs assessment and health improvement planning in Connecticut with a focus on health disparities.

Dr. Durante teaches courses on epidemiology and public health practice.


Darian Spearman, Doctoral Student in Philosophy
Course: Constructing Education Through Community Engagement and Democratic Dialogue
Campus: Storrs
Community Partners: Windham Regional Community Council, Everyday Democracy

About the Course:

Our aim is to reimagine the function of education in America by bridging the gap between the classroom and the community. Though our country promotes itself as an exemplary democracy, we’ve noticed that there are very few opportunities to practice democracy in deep ways. We believe that we can help remedy this problem by constructing an innovative philosophy of education graduate course which partners with the Willimantic community and serves as an experiment in democratic, community oriented learning. We hope that by creating a classroom space dedicated to community collaboration and democratic dialogue we can create a model by which educational institutions can deepen their students’ connection to democracy and gain the dialogical skills it demands when practiced sincerely. We also hope to transform the Windham Regional Community Council into a space in which individuals or organizations doing community work around Willimantic can collaborate with others to strengthen their projects.




Julia Valla, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Bio Engineering
Course: Special Topics in Chemical Engineering (Fuel Processing)
Campus: Storrs

About the Course:
The course is focused on Energy and Fuels resources and processing. This year the students will focus on how we can utilize any waste from the farm to produce energy and even fuels. They will attempt to design noel processes that can turn farm waste (such as corn waste, sunflower waste etc) into biochars, and even power. The outcomes of their study will take us one more step forward in creating a totally sustainable and renewable environment.



Stacey Zackin, Adjunct Faculty, Business
Course: Social Change thru Storytelling: Authoring a Better Future by Narrating the Present
Campus:Waterbury, Hartford
Educational Background:
Ph.D., Dissertation, The Psychology of Hospitality – Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Environments
M.A., Industrial Social Work, USC
M.A., Non-Profit Management, Hebrew Union College
M.A., Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute
B.S., Film & Photography, Ithaca College