Meet the staff for the Center for Civic Engagement.
Katy Strzepek became the first director of the Center for Civic Engagement team in February 2020. She was previously the director of the Women and Gender Studies Program and WGS Resource Center at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa. She also organized the Ambrose Women for Social Justice Conference, bringing globally renowned human rights activists to campus, including Leymah Gbowee, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Liberia.
Strzepek received a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio; a master’s degree in African history from Northwestern University; and a doctorate in higher education administration and foundations from Illinois State University.
Harriett Steinbach joined the Center for Civic Engagement team in summer 2017. She previously worked for 10 years in the Dean of Students Office at Illinois State University. Serving in several capacities, Steinbach worked most significantly with Parent and Family Services, off-campus living, leadership development, and community service. Prior to her time at Illinois State, she worked at The Salvation Army and the McLean County Museum of History.
Steinbach received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Eureka College and her M.S. in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Service from Illinois State University. She holds a Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.) degree from the University of Illinois Springfield, with a Leadership of Public and Nonprofit Organizations specialization.
Rachel Waring-Sparks joined the Center for Civic Engagement in July 2023. She previously worked at the Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology in various roles, primarily directing summer camps offered in partnership with Bloomington-Normal community organizations and evaluating these and other STEM programs. Prior to her time at CeMaST, she conducted research in science literacy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Illinois State University; taught general education courses including BSC101 and CHE102 at Illinois State University; and taught high school science.
Waring-Sparks earned her B.S. in secondary life science, earth science, and chemistry education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Illinois State University, where she conducted research assessing students’ engagement with evolutionary concepts outside of the classroom.
Henrique Villela joined the Center for Civic Engagement team in July 2023. He previously worked in the communications and press office department of Ceará’s Water Resources Management Company, in Brazil. Prior to joining the Center, he assisted Illinois State University’s Career Services in promoting career-development programs to underrepresented populations on campus and taught public speaking classes at the University.
Villela received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Federal University of Ceará, where he co-directed and produced an award-winning documentary on the adoption system. He earned his M.S. in Communication from Illinois State University, conducting research on the self-representation of refugees through music.
Beth Porter joined Illinois State University and the Center for Civic Engagement in June 2019. Prior to joining the Center, she worked at the Heyworth Public Library for 12 years, serving as the library director for 9 years of those years. She also worked at Unit 4 School District in Heyworth as a special education aide.
Porter is a graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in Political Science. Her passion is growing communities and outreach.