Introducing two new members to the PHENND team!

Posted by on February 3, 2016

Caitlyn - 2 Head Shot

Caitlin Fritz, Manager of K-16 Partnerships

Caitlin starts off 2016 as the newest addition to PHENND’s staff. She will be taking on the dual role of managing the growing K-16 Partnerships Network and the 2015-2021 GEAR UP College Readiness and Collaborative Communities (CCRC) sub-grant from the School District of Philadelphia. Operating under the overall mission of PHENND, the K-16 Partnerships Network brings together higher education faculty and staff who manage partnerships with public schools. The focus is two-fold: learn from each other about best practices and models for K-16 partnerships in general and as appropriate, work with the School District of Philadelphia to help improve and expand K-16 partnerships in Philadelphia. The K-16 Partnerships Network encompasses many activities including bi-monthly University Partner meetings, an annual partnership institute in June, and a bi-monthly newsletter.

The GEAR UP CCRC project serves 42 middle/high schools in the District and works to build the capacity of schools to address the needs of students for college and career readiness preparation. A key component of the project is partnerships with local colleges and universities. Caitlin will be leading a team of six university partners who will leverage university resources (particularly college student volunteers) in support of the GEAR UP CRCC project.

Caitlin joins PHENND after spending the last four-and-a-half years at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) where she managed a science education outreach program, GeoKids LINKS, in partnership with the Wagner Free Institute of Science and three K-8 Philadelphia schools. At SJU she also taught a science education service-learning course and expanded the Biology Department’s outreach efforts by starting an informal science lecture series, called Science on the Hill, for residents in the Wynnefield and Overbrook neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Caitlin will continue to teach as an adjunct professor at SJU for the Environmental Science program.

Having previously worked for the Philadelphia Zoo and a wildlife hospital in her home state of Virginia, Caitlin brings extensive experience in STEM education, in addition to a background in grant writing and experience as a community organizer for a community health center. She came to Philadelphia as an undergraduate at SJU (B.S. Environmental Science) and went on to Massachusetts where she received a M.A. in Community Development and Planning from Clark University. Besides working to improve opportunities for Philadelphia’s youth, Caitlin loves cooking, gardening, Philadelphia sports, and painting, despite being colorblind.

Siobhan HickeySiobhan Hickey, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

Siobhan Hickey is the new AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for PHENND’s Community Partnerships VISTA Project. She is currently serving a year-long term, which started in late November and will run through fall of 2016. The Community Partnerships VISTA Project places 16 AmeriCorps VISTA members at schools throughout the District, where they serve as Community Partnership Coordinators for the school community. In this role, the VISTAs facilitate meetings between school leadership and community partners, assess the schools’ needs for outside support, and enhance resource-sharing among members of the school community. PHENND also coordinates the placement of three additional VISTAs in the central offices of the School District of Philadelphia, specifically the offices of Student Support Services, Family and Community Engagement, and Strategic Partnerships.

As the VISTA Leader, Siobhan acts as a support to the 19 VISTAs as they work to complete their milestones for the year. This work includes working one-on-one with VISTAs to troubleshoot and strategize around challenges that arise at their sites, connecting VISTAs to professional development opportunities, and coordinating team meetings and other group gatherings. Siobhan will take an active role in the recruitment and on-boarding process for the 2016-2017 PHENND VISTA cohort, who will begin their terms in summer 2016.

Siobhan is a graduate of Haverford College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion. She spent the year prior to beginning her role at PHENND as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Office of the Mayor of Philadelphia, then under the leadership of Mayor Michael A. Nutter. She served as program coordinator for the Mayor’s “Fun Safe Philly Summer” initiative, which aims to connect Philadelphia’s youth and families to free and low-cost programs and opportunities during the break from school. Siobhan is passionate about increasing access to enriching learning opportunities for Philadelphia’s youth and is honored to be working with such a dedicated team of VISTAs!

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