Institute graduate assistants contribute to Thriving Communities project

February 17, 2016

Since launching over a year ago, the Thriving Communities, Thriving State project has produced data and insights on issues affecting the state. In addition to relying on the expertise of staff and policy analysts, the Institute hired two graduate assistants to study what makes Indiana communities succeed. Here’s what the IUPUI students had to stay about working on the two-year project.

Jamar Cobb-DennardJamar Cobb-Dennard
Graduate Assistant
IU McKinney School of Law, ‘19

Question: What did you work on for the Thriving Communities, Thriving State project?
Answer: I handled Project Management for the Thriving Communities urban commission, which included session facilitation, written synthesis of discussions, overall program and per session planning, data analysis, and administration of monthly commissioner surveys.

Q. What made you want to be involved with the project?
A. I love our state and I am committed to raising my family and finishing my career here. This was a great opportunity to impact Indiana a generation or two in the future, and create that impact with some of the best thinkers in our state.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?
A. I will continue to run marketing programs in the marketing SaaS industry and also run for public office.

Joti KaurJoti Kaur
Graduate Assistant
Master of Criminal Justice and Public Safety, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, ‘16

Q. What have you done for the Thriving Communities, Thriving State project?i
A. I work closely with the rural commission to gather secondary data and analysis on various issues faced by rural communities throughout Indiana. I also provided assistance to the other two commission with geographic information systems (GIS) and data analysis.

Q. What made you want to be involved with the project?
A. The rural commission was very relatable, since I was born and raised in a rural part of India. Rural communities tend to lag behind and lack access to productive assets and financial resources compared to urban communities at some level, regardless of their geographical location. In parts of rural India, the lack of sufficient and clean water supply is an issue, whereas in Indiana one of the issues is broadband (access and adoption). Both are equally important to the prosperity and longevity of these communities. In order for Indiana to thrive, it is crucial that rural communities are equipped with appropriate resources, and I wanted to help with that.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?
A. I hope to continue to work in research and data analysis and eventually pursue a doctorate in geography with a focus in GIS.