Jenna is a graduate student in Urban Planning and Policy at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), specializing in community economic development. She is committed to the intersection of cultural, communal, and civic infrastructure.
She is a graduate research assistant for Dr. Stacey Sutton and the Solidarity Economy Research, Policy & Law Project; and for the UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE).
She was recently a Community Researcher at Borderless Workshop for their ongoing Creative Grounds project, Researcher at Arts Alliance Illinois on their Illinois Creative Workforce Activation (ICWA) program, and the Summer Studio Manager for the UIC City Design Graduate Program for their community charrette module.
Solidarity Economy Research, Policy & Law Project at UIC
/ Research Assistant
The Solidarity Economy Research Policy & Law Project – housed in the Center for Urban Economic Development at University of Illinois – has been designated the Research and Convening Hub Organization of the City of Chicago’s Community Wealth Building Initiative. We are one of 17 local and national technical assistance organizations awarded grants as part of the program’s first phase of Community Wealth Ecosystem Building (Community WEB):
The Community WEB Program will invest in the organizations that start, sustain, and scale CWB models. The Community WEB program will fund an interconnected network of advisors to provide high-quality, specialized, and culturally-relevant technical assistance services at no cost to eligible non-profit and for-profit start-up and operating businesses leading CWB models such as worker cooperatives, limited-equity housing cooperatives, community land trusts, and community investment vehicles.
Read the joint press release from Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ), and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) here. Learn more about Phase Two (Build the Pipeline) and Phase Three (Invest in Large Scale Pilots), and the CWB Planning and Pre-Development Grant, due March 15, here.
\\ Previous Work Highlights
McKinley Park Charrette 2022
As the Studio Manager for UIC Master of City Design's summer 2022 charrette capstone, Jenna aimed to capture the spirit of the design process through the community’s desires. Available with English, Spanish, and Chinese subtitles to support ongoing engagement with the neighborhood, put in your headphones and dive into the rhythms of this thriving working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side.
If you live in McKinley Park, stay tuned for next steps on deepened community participation, policy recommendations, and pathways to implementation that will be shared on the McKinley Park Development Council (MPDC) website shortly. Click below to view the June 10 planning document with your input. UIC's efforts are intended to offer in-kind resources and generate further discussion amongst community members so that you may ultimately shepherd a future brought by collaboration and self-determination.
“These are ideas that are coming from the neighborhood, not ideas that a developer is bringing into the neighborhood. We want it to be what people who live here actually want.”
- Kate Eakin, MPDC
'35th Street Reimagined: Codesigning Neighborhood Improvements with McKinley Park Neighbors' won the 2022 Student Project Award from the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-IL). Read the full announcement here.