Season's Greeting from the EPECC team

It would be easy to look at 2020 and only focus on all the challenges that arose this past year – many unexpected, and as we have all come to learn - unprecedented. But here at the Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center (EPECC), we are all about making connections for what lies ahead, for taking on the challenges and adapting what we do for who we serve, in order to have the best possible outcomes.

Allison Wheeler in the field

Above photo: ISP Fellow Allison Wheeler in a soil pit taking VR photos for a STEAM digital curriculum.

ISP Fellow Allison Wheeler is working with the Department of Innovation and Technology Education Group to provide accessible resources in STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) for students, educators, and their families to close the digital divide. Visit  to learn more.

ISP Fellow Ruth Adekale

As an ISP Fellow Ruth Adekale works with Rep. Camille Lilly and the Illinois Black Caucus Foundation to look at the way public policies relate to health care issues and their impact on underserved Black communities in the Chicagoland area. Ruth's appointment is funded in part by PepisCo and the Office of Government Relations

Ana Paula with the Senator Omar Aquino, Ivan Gonzales his staff and Dr. Layla Suleiman. Also, the founder of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Humboldt Park and his staff. 

Above Photo: Ana Paula with the Senator Omar Aquino, Ivan Gonzales, his staff and Dr. Layla Suleiman. Also, the founder of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Humboldt Park and his staff. 

Diamond Ruffin

As an ISP Program Fellow, Diamond Ruffin is working with 12 Illinois communities awarded funding through the Connect Illinois grant sponsored by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Broadband.

hannah price image

As an ISP Fellow Hannah Price is conducting a workflow measurement project with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, investigating how meat poultry inspection is currently being done to see if there are ways to make the process more efficient, including through online technologies.

Making Connections

It was a now-familiar scene as the small squares started to come to life on the screen, each one filling with the eager faces of the inaugural class of the 2020 Illini Science Policy Program (ISP) fellows. Although they come from diverse backgrounds – crop sciences, management, social work, European studies, and meat sciences – they share a passion for public policy and its impact on communities.