Summer Bridge Spotlight: Victoria Fields

Meet Victoria Fields, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program.

Fields headshot
Victoria Fields

Victoria is a PhD student in Communication. This summer, she worked with community partner Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD). Within CUPHD, the Equity Council addresses various forms of systemic oppression and racism in carrying out public health initiatives in the Champaign-Urbana community.

How have you applied your humanistic training to advance the mission of the community organization?

My humanistic training and skills derive from the study of Communication, specifically within critical intercultural communication. My research examines the ways in which structures and contexts of power impact our everyday lives and experiences. I have applied my training and skills from Communication to assist the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CU-PHD), specifically their Equity Council.

I have researched and analyzed annual reports and media documents from CU-PHD and the overall CU community, provided initial findings to the Equity Council and created a non-academic literature review. In addition, I am using my humanistic training and skills to develop a Communication and Equity-based Toolkit that will advance CU-PHD’s mission of addressing racism in public health, dismantling systems of oppression and being culturally responsive to the CU community.

How has this experience contributed to your career development? What skills have you gained or developed?

HWW and the CU-PHD have contributed to my career development by helping me translate my doctoral teaching and research experiences into community engagement and applied work. I have learned how to create actionable items and develop solutions to address public needs and issues that harm marginalized communities.

What have you learned from working with this community organization?

I have learned how CU-PHD works and provides services to the CU community. Working with the Equity Council this summer has been a transformative experience because I have been able to broaden my scope of inequities and create tools to address them and uplift marginalized communities.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your Summer Bridge program experience?

My Summer Bridge Program experience has been fascinating. Along with working with the Equity Council, I have also been able to collaborate with my cohort members and strategize ways to apply our humanistic training to each of our community organizations. In addition, I have scheduled informational interviews that will further enhance my knowledge of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives outside of academia.

More about HWW's Summer Bridge Program