Schmutz Student Mini-Grants Awardees

Schmutz Student Mini-Grants

Fourteen undergraduate students are recipients of the recently endowed Schmutz Student Mini-Grants. Awards are granted annually to support undergraduate student-led Chester-focused projects that are developed in collaboration with a Chester community partner to address community needs. Students work in concert with a faculty or administrative staff mentor and have the option to pursue academic credit as an independent study. During spring 2014, funding will support the creation of a community garden in a vacant lot, a Chester-focused Magazine that will be used as an online and print resource to promote the city’s community and economic development initiatives, a Brain Awareness Week educational program for the Widener Partnership Charter School children, a 5K Fun Run for Chester children and youth sponsored by the Physical Therapy Clinic, and a soccer leadership and mentoring program for Chester high school students.


Alexandra D’Ginto and Anila Chaudhary

Faculty Advisor: Cary Leung, Biology

Project: implement first annual Brain Awareness Week program, a community science outreach program, at the Widener Partnership Charter School. The program is a global initiative among neuroscientists to increase awareness of brain sciences, involves educating children using a wide-range of creative and age-appropriate games.


Caitlin Grobaker and Georgia Spano

Faculty Advisor: Jill Black, Physical Therapy

Project: This project involves a collaboration between Widener University’s Chester Community Pro-bono Physical Therapy Clinic and the community partner, Soccer for Success.  The student run Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic will host their 4th annual 5k in April 2014. The objective of this project is to start a new tradition on campus and create a sustainable event that will engage the children in the Chester community. This year, we would like to make the attempt to invite the children from the soccer for success program to participate in the 5k to further educate the individuals about the importance of physical activity and healthy life style choices. Ultimately, the collaborative efforts from both organizations will implement their main mission to educate and serve the community by instilling aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, this project will promote awareness of the physical therapy clinic and allow individuals to recognize that there is a clinic that will provide them with services to treat impairments.


Daniel Hartley and Nicole Storm

Advisor: Elizabeth Housholder, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement

Project: Northern Star Sports (NSS) provides sports related after school programs in two elementary schools in Chester for 120 children. NSS also hosts the annual Pride Run that attracts over 250 Widener and Chester students. In an effort to sustain NSS, the long term goal is to coach and mentor Chester high school students to assume leadership roles in NSS.


Emily DeFreitas

Faculty Advisor: Ken Pobo

Create a community garden with Chester residents.


Journalism 388: Professional Writing Course

Faculty Advisor: Sam Starnes

Seven Widener students supervised by Sam Starnes, editor of the Widener Magazine and an adjunct faculty member, will be able to produce a print and online magazine for and about the City of Chester to use as a communication tool for external audiences. Students will benefit from this experiential learning experience and will add professional content to their writing portfolios; the City of Chester will benefit by gaining a Marketing piece that tells its story of economic redevelopment and recovery to business and government leaders locally and nationwide; and the university will benefit by strengthening its position as an anchor institution in Chester and also adding another civic engagement-minded project.




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