Expected Graduation: December 2021
Program/Major: Master of Science in Social Administration and Master of Nonprofit Organizations
As an undergraduate student studying broadcast journalism at the Communication University of China, Nanguang College, Yixi Ren didn’t know much about social work. But she has always wanted to help people and has a strong sense of determining right from wrong—which she cites as the reasons she changed her original career path and came to the United States to attend the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
After discovering a passion for creating change in communities, Ren chose to specialize in Community Practice for Social Change and is doing her field placement with the Community Innovation Network (CIN), a center focused on cultivating collaborative community change. The internship is teaching her ways to better communicate with people to identify their needs and issues, which in turn allows her to make more specific recommendations to her clients.
Through a connection at CIN, Ren began providing community outreach and support to residents of Cleveland's Asiatown neighborhood last year. As a community organizer, she has offered important services during an incredibly difficult time, especially given the recent rise in discrimination toward the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Empowering immigrants, educating residents on their civil rights and working to create a sense of community amongst neighbors has inspired Ren and sparked her interest in policy and advocacy—interests she plans to continue to explore after graduation to make high-level changes that will benefit her community.