Spring 2019 Community and Economic Development Fellowship

The Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) at the University of Central Arkansas has selected undergraduate students Javier Hernandez of Rogers, Katie Weaver of Wynne, Marco Ramirez of Bentonville and Ra’Shan Stubbs of Nassau, Bahamas for the spring Community and Economic Development (CED) Fellowship.

The mission of the CED fellowship is to expose students to a variety of community or economic development careers and provide networking, coaching and mentoring to enhance student career preparedness.

During the program, fellows attend site visits that showcase community and economic development activities at the local and state levels of government and in the nonprofit sector. The fellows participate in activities such as job shadowing, organization tours, mock interviews and mentorship from CCED staff. Fellows also have the opportunity to join the Arkansas Community Development Society and attend the 2019 Community Development Institute. Fellowship activities are customized to fit students’ interests and needs.

“I applied to be a CED fellow because I love my community and want to better serve it. The fellowship is the perfect way to integrate my love of serving with my future career goals,” said Weaver, a sophomore psychology and criminology major.

Stubbs, a senior management information systems major, said she applied for the fellowship because she wants to gain experience in the field of community and economic development. She is also looking forward to mentorship opportunities from the CCED staff.

The spring 2019 fellowship will run February through April, with a site visit to a community and economic development organization occurring each month. The fellows will visit the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Haven House.

“I want exposure and experience in different careers in public policy,” shared Hernandez, a sophomore environmental science and political science major. “I hope to take away valuable skills and knowledge that will help me in my future career.”

Ramirez, a junior communication and public relations major, said, “Through the fellowship, I want to become more connected and established with professionals throughout the central Arkansas region. I am excited about the networking opportunities.”

“This group of Community and Economic Development Fellows is our most diverse yet. We are interacting with students from an assortment of programs here on campus,” said Shelby Fiegel, managing director of the Center for Community and Economic Development. “Our team believes that the field of community and economic development is a career path students from a variety of academic programs can pursue. Our job is to introduce them to different sectors within the field of community and economic development and mentor them as they prepare to enter the workforce.”








Do you know a University of Central Arkansas student or recent graduate looking for opportunities to expand their network and explore the field of community and economic development?

Applications are now open for our summer and fall 2019 Community and Economic Development Fellowship!

Apply at fellowship/

Questions? Contact Shelby Fiegel at or 501-450-5269.

Marketing on a Dime

University of Central Arkansas undergraduate student Lauren McLemore recently attended “Marketing on a Dime” presented by our very own Shelby Fiegel at UCA Downtown as part of the Nonprofit Workshop Series. Lauren is a Journalism student at UCA and wrote an article about the class. She was gracious enough to share the article with us and gave us permission to share it on our blog. You can read her article below:

Braving the cold rain, approximately 40 people filled the space at UCA Downtown from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, to attend and engage in UCA Outreach and Community Engagement‘s (Outreach) free class “Marketing on a Dime.” It is the first event in Outreach’s Nonprofit Workshop Series.

Shelby Fiegel, Managing Director for University of Central Arkansas’ (UCA) Center for Community and Economic Development, instructed the workshop.

Fiegel explained which social media is best to use for specific types of content, what to include in posts, and how to use other types of marketing outside of media (such as stickers and sidewalk chalk.) The techniques she explained were catered to nonprofit organizations, emphasizing low cost options they can use to get their message out.

“Nonprofits have so many different things that they’re doing in the community, and their programs take up most of their time. They don’t have a lot of budget dollars to spend on advertising,” Fiegel said.

The presentation aimed to demonstrate to nonprofit organizations various ways they can create awareness of their mission, generate a volunteer network, and appeal to the donors they depend on for support. Along with nonprofit leaders, some private business owners, a representative from Central Baptist College, and others attended the class.  Kate Carnahan, project manager at local graphic design company Silverlake Design Studio was in attendance. Carnahan is also an owner of downtown Conway’s The Studio, which is a coworking space she describes as “the modern day alternative to working from coffee shops or working from your house.”

During the presentation, Carnahan sat a table with a woman who had been a client of Silverlake’s. At one point, Carnahan looked proud as the client explained to a woman at another table about a website structuring concept she had learned by working with the designers at Silverlake.

“Nonprofits make up about 50 percent of [Silverlake’s] client base,” Carnahan said. “I [came to] see the best way that we could serve our clients and see if there’s any new information out there in marketing.”

There are many different aspects to making sure a community is functioning the way it should. Without effective marketing, the vital process of communication doesn’t work as well, leaving organizations out of touch with their clients and partners.

“Once you start working with communities, you really understand how important every single person is to creating a vibrant and healthy community,” Fiegel said.

The presenters of the Nonprofit Workshop Series are passionate about sharing their expertise. Fiegel said that she enjoys giving presentations and wanted to be a part of Thursday’s class because she wants to support local nonprofits.

The Nonprofit Workshop Series, although tailored to government and nonprofit officials, is open to the public.

For more information about attending future classes, visit

If you would like to have Shelby speak at your upcoming event, please contact her at or 501-450-5269.

Welcome New CDI Advisory Board Members!

Our team at the Community Development Institute (CDI) is pleased to announce the appointment of five new advisory board members, as well as two reappointments to the board.

The five new members include: Shaneil Ealy, associate vice president of UCA Outreach & Community Engagement; Stacey Neal, director of Community Competitiveness at Louisiana Economic Development; Shelley Mehl, executive director at the Faulkner County Community Foundation; Patty Methvin, president of the Arkansas Community Development Society; and Matt Twyford, Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED), senior manager of community development at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The two reappointed board members are Sasha Grist, PCED, executive director of the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District and Samantha Evans, PCED, community development advisor, Workforce Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Our full 2019 CDI Advisory Board can be found at

Individuals are invited to join the CDI Advisory Board based on their experience and knowledge and desire to work with the board for the purpose of advancing community and economic development practices in Arkansas and surrounding states. Advisory Board members work in conjunction with the staff at the UCA Center for Community and Economic Development to provide marketing assistance, coordinate activities and identify speakers for CDI.

Amy Whitehead, assistant vice president of community and workforce development at UCA Outreach, said, “Since the institute’s inception, the CDI Advisory Board has played a critical role in the program’s success. The knowledge and expertise of our board members are of the highest caliber. We are excited to work with all of our new and existing board members over the coming year.”

We look forward to working with all of our CDI Advisory Board members to develop a fantastic program for CDI 2019!

Fall 2018 Community and Economic Development Fellowship

Our staff at the Center for Community and Economic Development is excited to share that undergraduate students Hawa Nouhou Abarchi of Niamey, Niger, and Margaret (Greta) Hacker of Jonesboro, Arkansas, have been selected for the fall Community and Economic Development (CED) Fellowship! The fellowship seeks to expose students to a variety of community and economic development careers while enhancing career preparedness through networking, coaching and mentoring. The program allows fellows to participate in site visits to showcase community and economic development at the local and state levels of government and in the nonprofit sector.

Fellows engage in activities customized to their needs and interests such as job shadowing, organization tours and mock interviews. Fellows will have the opportunity to join the Arkansas Community Development Society and attend the 2019 Community Development Institute.

The fellowship will run through November with site visits to organizations including the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, Arkansas Community Foundation, Arkansas Farm Bureau, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, Heifer International and Winrock International. Our team looks forward to working closely with Hawa and Greta throughout the fall 2018 semester (and beyond)!


    Hawa Nouhou Abarchi                                       Greta Hacker 


Do you know a University of Central Arkansas student or recent graduate looking for opportunities to expand their network and explore the field of community and economic development?

Applications are now open for our spring 2019 Community and Economic Development Fellowship! The application deadline is November 9.

Apply at fellowship/

Questions? Contact Shelby Fiegel at or 501-450-5269.

CDI 2018: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Our 32nd annual CDI has come to an end! CDI 2018 was a “boat load” of fun, and brought with it new connections, insights, and memories for our participants, partners, speakers and staff. Each day was packed full of top-notch speakers and thought-provoking simulations and activities (you can view the schedule here).

Highlights from this year’s CDI include: Charles “Chuck” Marohn (founder and president of community-development nonprofit organization Strong Towns) as our keynote speaker, Newtonia, the Poverty Simulation, StrengthsQuest assessment, Miller County Simulation, Somerset Simulation, Blue Sky, tours of downtown Conway, the Arkansas Innovation Hub, SOMA and much more. Members of the CDI Advanced Year class, who apply their training in local communities after they graduate CDI, worked directly with the city of Sheridan to assist in its future community and economic development efforts.

Pictured: Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns in McCastlain Ballroom during the CDI 2018 Keynote presentation “Curbside Chat.”

At the conclusion of CDI 2018 was our closing session and awards ceremony. Forty participants in the CDI Year 3 class graduated from CDI, and the Bill Miller Award, Friend of CDI Award, Ernest Whitelaw Award, and Year 1 and Year 2 Champions were awarded. Duane Bullard, retired community and economic developer from Ripley, Mississippi, was recognized with the Bill Miller Award for his long-standing leadership and support of CDI, which includes many years of service as a CDI Advisory Board member, CDI class director and advocate. The Arkansas Municipal League was honored with the Friend of the Community Development Institute Award, offered each year to an individual or organization that demonstrates strong support for community development and CDI.

The Ernest Whitelaw Award was given to Dennis Williamson II, WIOA Administrator at the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District. This award is bestowed upon an individual in the CDI Year 3 graduating class by their peers for dedication to professional community development practice, willingness to assume leadership roles and a spirit of caring, inclusion and integrity. Year 1 and Year 2 Champions were also chosen by their peers: Jessica Hemingway of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce was selected for Year 1 and Alicia Gillen of the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce for Year 2.

Each class also reported out on their #CDIcentral experience. Jeff Matthews of Conway Corp shared that the Year 1 class now recognizes how important human resources (everyone in our communities) are to making our cities better places. The Year 2 class “celebrated good times” and the Year 3 class shared a poem reflecting upon their three years at CDI.

You can watch the Year 2 class report here:

You can watch the Year 3 class report here:

CDI ended with CDI Poet Laurette and Year 2 Class Director Debra Banks sharing her CDI 2018 poem entitled “Making My Mark.” You can listen to the poem here:

For more information about CDI, visit, or contact Shelby Fiegel at (501) 450-5269 or You can view photos of CDI 2018 on our Facebook page at

Community and Economic Development Fellowship

Our staff at the Center is extremely excited at the success of our new program the Community and Economic Development Fellowship, designed to prepare UCA graduate and undergraduate students for careers in the field of community and economic development!

The mission of the CCED Fellowship is to expose UCA students to a variety of community or economic development careers and provide networking, coaching and mentoring to enhance career preparedness.

During the program, fellows participate in three site visits that showcase community and economic development activities at the local and state levels of government and in the nonprofit sector. Activities include job shadowing, organization tours, mock interviews and mentorship from CCED staff. Fellows also have the opportunity to join the Arkansas Community Development Society and attend the 2018 Community Development Institute free of charge.

Students are selected for the program through a competitive application process. The fellowship program will be held in both the spring, summer and fall semesters.

The five students were selected for this spring’s program: Danny Baxter of Clarksville, Jacob Holland of Cabot, Jordan Johnson of Jacksonville, Brittany Lutz of Montclair, Virginia, and Ellen McKinnie of Cabot.

Alexandra Taylor of Conway was selected as the summer 2018 Fellow.

For more information on the CCED Fellowship, visit or call Shelby Fiegel at 501-450-5269.

UCA Student Poverty Simulation: A New Perspective

Featured on the CCED blog is our new intern for spring 2018 Brittany Lutz, a Master of Community and Economic Development student! Brittany participated in the UCA Student Poverty Simulation our team hosted on February 1 in McCastlain Ballroom on UCA’s campus. Brittany shared her experience as follows:

On Thursday, February 1st UCA’s Center for Community and Economic Development held Living on the Edge: A Poverty Simulation open to students who wanted to engage in a first-hand experience of what it is like to have to live in the daily system of poverty. The program was set up so each student was either a member of a family or a single adult, with certain circumstances that they had to overcome. There were about 25 volunteers, and around 50 students that participated, which made for around 15 family groups. Each family was given a sheet of paper that outlined the duties and roles of each member as well as all of the situational aspects of their lives. These aspects began with any governmental assistance such as food stamps and TANF benefits, and went on to list any job positions, earnings, housing and transportation resources, and school and college. For example, some families had incarcerated members, some had disabled members, and some had unemployed heads of households.

The simulation was divided into four fifteen minute “weeks” and four five minute “weekends.” There were numerous community services available around the room including social services, a homeless shelter, a childcare service, a food bank and grocer, a pawn shop, an inter-faith service, a community action group, both a juvenile and an adult detention center, a public school and college, the rent and mortgage center, bank, utilities office, and a hospital which also acted as the general employer. The simulation began as an entire group with about fifteen minutes of training from the supervisor, Monieca West with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, where she gave instructions and explained each document that the participants had received. The families then had about ten minutes of preparation amongst themselves, where conversations of budgets and strategies could be heard.

There were many obstacles and rules that UCA students had to endure, such as having to pay for each trip they take in transportation passes (which had to be purchased from the bank). These passes ended up leaving a heavy burden upon the wallets of some of the families. Services were closed on the weekends. Working individuals could also not be more than five real-time minutes late to work, otherwise they would not be paid. Children could also not be left at home without supervision, or else they would be put in the juvenile detention center. There was also a thief who was allowed to walk around and steal from participants. Monieca also acted as a God character, randomly handing out ‘green cards,’ which were a laminated form of stress that illustrated different scenarios that negatively affected your family’s situation, such as being robbed or arrested.

After the last week had ended, there was a debriefing where all of the participants sat in a seminar-style circle and talked about the experience and feelings about the poverty simulation. Monieca went around the circle, asking questions and facilitating the discussion. Some students came forward to speak about their family’s story and experiences. One girl played the guardian of her grandchildren because her daughter was in jail, but the problem was that she was disabled so she could not work. While she received social service benefits, it was still hard to make ends meet and keep all of the kids in school. Another girl came forward and spoke about how she had to basically drop out of college to take care of her baby as well as many other family affairs. Another girl noted how the school system was flawed, which reminded us about the declining public school system that we have in many places in this country. A lot of students brought up how many houses got evicted. There were probably only two or three left by the end of the simulation. One student spoke about how with careful planning, he was able to keep his house, but his family had to go hungry for two weeks. As a nutrition major he was well aware that there is a difference between food and nutrition, and he was not sure to what degree his family was getting the right nutrition they needed even when they did finally get food.

After we talked about our families, we then moved on to talking about our feelings and observations. There were heavy emotions in the room by this time. A lot of health, education, psychology, and communications majors spoke up and explained how they will use this experience to accommodate and communicate with people from a background of poverty in their future careers, because no one really knows what people are dealing with at home. Monieca then shared a few enlightening words with us when she said that to help those who are less fortunate than us, one does not always have to donate large sums of money and volunteer all of their time, but sometimes all it takes is a conversation and a little compassion, because relationships are a currency in society. It is easy to be an ally, and it is something that we should all realize. It is a mantra that people should always try to live their lives by.

This simulation teaches people that those in poverty are not in that position because they do not work hard enough. Nobody in their right mind would wish that kind of stress and suffering on themselves. So often we ignore the cries of help coming from those in poverty and dismiss them as lazy and/or entitled. If we actually stop to think about what it would be like to live like that day after day, feel what it feels like to not have any money, to be unsure if your family will be able to eat this week, or have a place to sleep tonight, then perhaps things would change. If people would put themselves in the shoes of someone in poverty, then maybe they would have a little more compassion for them. I challenge all of us to take part in this simulation, or better yet, live in poverty for a month, and see how you feel afterwards.

View photos of the UCA Student Poverty Simulation on our Facebook page.

UCA Poverty Simulation: December 2017

On December 5th our team at CCED partnered with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program to host a community-based poverty simulation.

Over 50 community members (consisting of UCA faculty/staff, local non-profits, and elected officials) came out to participate in Living on the Edge: A Poverty Simulation held at UCA. Participants were challenged to think critically about the harsh realities of poverty and the potential solutions communities can implement to address the problem. The simulation provided a comprehensive, engaging experience that allowed participants to better understand how poverty affects our students, coworkers, and the community as a whole.

You can learn more about the simulation through these news stories:

Thank you to our other partners: Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Schedler Honors College, Housing & Residence Life, Student Government Association, Social Justice League, Center for Leadership Development, University Training, Office of Diversity, and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

We will also be hosting a simulation for UCA students on Thursday, February 1. More information can be found here:

Pictures from the December simulation can be found here.

November Training Events: Hot Spring County and Community Development Basics

November is one of the busiest times of the year. Our team is balancing training events and projects across the state while preparing to wrap up the 2017 year as the holidays approach. And even though our hands are full, we made time to host two of our biggest events the first week of November: Hot Spring County Conversations and Community Development Basics.

Hot Spring County Conversations was an event hosted by Hot Spring County, with the support of County Judge Dennis Thornton, in partnership with Entergy Arkansas, West Central Arkansas Planning and Development, Hot Spring County Economic Development Corporation, Malvern/Hot Spring County Chamber of Commerce, College of the Ouachitas, and our team at the Center. This event brought over 100 Hot Spring County community leaders together to hear community and economic development professionals from across the state and offer a forum for conversation to build a brighter future for the county. Jon Chadwell of the Newport Economic Development Commission and Russell Carey of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation shared how to engage young families and leaders and information related to Arkansas’ current and future workforce needs. Attendees also discussed the future of Hot Spring County, and were issued a challenge from the county judge.

You can view photos from Hot Spring County Conversations here.

Right after completing Hot Spring County Conversations, our team hosted Community Development Basics. This event was a one-day training session on (you guessed it!) the basics of community and economic development. The purpose of this session was to educate community leaders on the basics of community and economic development in an effort to strengthen Arkansas communities. Participants explored topics such as community and economic development, community capital, how data relates to community and economic development, cross sector collaboration and integrative leadership. Speakers included representatives from the UCA PhD Leadership program, Arkansas Center for Research in Economics, Arkansas Community Foundation, Arkansas Economic Development Institute, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and the Jack Welch Institute for Management.

There is no cost to attend either of these training sessions. They were made possible through the Moving the Needle Grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

If you are interested in hosting a community and economic development training event in your community or if you need assistance with a program or project in you community, please reach out to our staff through our assistance form:

Kick Start Alma September Meeting

Kick Start Alma held its first public meeting on September 19th at the Alma community center. Over 60 people attended, including representatives from city government, local and state elected officials, Alma School District personnel, utility company representatives, the Alma Chamber, Alma Visionary Committee, Chaffee Crossing and the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District.

During the meeting, printed copies of the Community Development Institute (CDI) assessment report were made available. A summary of the report was also given. At this link you will find a shorter version that serves as an executive summary of the findings, and you will also find a more detailed report if you are interested in reviewing a more in-depth document.

The results of the community survey were also unveiled. Based on the survey results, five action teams are being formed to identify short and long term goals for the community. These action teams are: Arts and Culture, Job Creation, Downtown Revitalization, Beautification and Recreation, and Branding and Marketing.

The attached power point provides an overview of the assessment report,survey results, and action team descriptions.

During the meeting, the public voted on the core values that they believe should guide Kick Start Alma. The top three core values, as selected by the public, are:
– Being pro-active, with a can-do attitude
– Creativity, seeking breakthroughs that move us forward
– Serving as a catalyst that brings people together to make things happen

The next Kick Start Alma public meeting will be on October 23rd at 5:15 pm at the community center. At this meeting, the public will be asked to give input on each of the action team areas that are listed above. Individuals will also be able to sign up to serve on an action team.

Follow the Kick Start Alma Facebook page to keep up-to-date on upcoming meetings and information for the initiative at