Purdue-Linked Fellows Spread Across Indiana to Increase Broadband Literacy
January 21, 2022
Margaret Christopherson – Lafayette Journal & Courier
The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD), a client of Purdue’s student-led PR firm Boiler Communication, has sent six of its Fellows across Indiana to increase “broadband and digital literacy” in our mostly remote-work-based world.
As many of those in the work force have learned over the past two years, remote work can be possible and just as effective as in-office work. That is, only if a dependable Wi-Fi connection is available.
“Our administration continues to make broadband investment a priority,” Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said in the release. “The last year taught us high-speed, reliable internet is no longer a luxury, it is essential. New partnerships continue to form to expand broadband services to Hoosiers and these Fellows will help so many leaders continue their collaboration to get this critical infrastructure across our state.”
PCRD’s Fellows, including three previous Purdue students, are set to work in Bloomington, Muncie, Richmond, Terre Haute and Versailles.
“Each fellow is serving two years in the high-urgency area they were placed in,” Haley Agnew, earned media director for Boiler Communication said. “They will be, amongst other things, developing and executing plans, raising awareness for digital literacy, and running workshops and training.”
The six Fellows contributing to these high-urgency include: Emma Woods from Evansville, Ill., Reneisha Rudder of Louisville, Ky., Gary Thompson from Franklin, Ind., as well as three past-Purdue students, Corey Knipp from the Chicagoland area, Olivia Haworth of Terre Haute and Iris O’Donnell Bellisario from Greater Lafayette.
Knipp, Haworth and Bellisario will use their experiences from Purdue and from helping other organizations in their newly relocated regions.
“(Knipp) has supported several non-profits in Chicagoland through his diverse skill set,” the release said. “like providing research for an economic empowerment program on the south side and directing an effort to reduce the use of single-use plastics in Illinois…
“Following (Haworth’s) graduation, she relocated to Terre Haute, where her family has lived since 2018. She hopes to use and improve (her) skills to invest in West Central Indiana’s digital readiness during her time at Thrive.”
Bellisario holds a Purdue degree in natural resources and environmental science with a concentration in environmental policy and economic analysis.
According to the release, “Iris’s pursuit of sharing the effects of climate change with her peers and the community is becoming a reality. Iris passed a climate resolution for the City of West Lafayette in October 2019, Climate Emergency Declaration in 2021, helped establish a youth advisor on the Go Greener Commission in 2021 and has helped spearhead the collaboration between Tippecanoe County, West Lafayette and the city of Lafayette on combined climate efforts.”
These Fellows will have a symbiotic relationship with their respective, designated communities.
“The supporting partners are confident that the Digital Inclusion Fellowship will not only impact Indiana communities, but also the lives of the fellows themselves,” the release states. “As these fellows help develop communities, they too are developing skills and knowledge in digital inclusivity, outreach, public policy, economic development, data analysis, research, and more.”