COVID-Corps: Action for Solutions (LAS 199)

A student wearing a U of I maskGet involved in making a difference in the community.

As our nation continued to confronted the COVID-19 pandemic, students took advantage of opportunities to make a difference through COVID-Corps: Action for Solutions (LAS 199). Students could earn credit as they assisted in conducting research and helping mitigate the pandemic on our campus, in our community, and in the world.

This course connected LAS undergraduates with faculty and community organizations, creating partnerships to help solve a real-world problem, the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants advanced their leadership skills and social responsibility while experiencing hands-on learning and making a lasting impact on the world.

Read a story about the COVID-Corps experience.

What students experienced

  1. Get connected to an opportunity to engage in research, education, and virus management-mitigation activities through your own initiative or by viewing opportunities:
  2. Enroll in a section of LAS 199 (CRN 63772) for 1 credit hour. This course is a special topics course that will:
    • Guide students’ learning about the pandemic, leadership, and values for civic engagement
    • Provide an opportunity for students to share their experience in their special project work with other students and learn from each other
    • Help students craft their story around this experience, including how it has advanced leadership and professional development in the community
  3. Complete prep work, including identifying personal goals for the experience.
  4. Participate in your opportunity and LAS 199. The course will provide chances for you to reflect on your experience, including how it is helping you grow as an individual.
  5. Craft your COVID-19 service or research story at the completion of the semester, including through creating a website to discuss what you gained in education and advocacy surrounding the pandemic.

Examples of opportunities

The following are examples of research and community service our students are currently involved in. They are provided to serve as inspiration of the wide-range of experiences that are available and would qualify for participation in COVID-Corps.

  • Curating a document for mental health resources 
  • Building a prototype device for COVID-19 testing
  • Compiling research on COVID-19-related school closings in the United States and Europe
  • Participating in iGEM (international genetically engineered machines), working on projects related to COVID therapeutics development or a webpage where people can explore the structure of the virus
  • Interning with local social justice movements, such as working on a project looking at the BLM movement on a local level and the pandemic's effect on social justice movements
  • Reading children's books for children in hospitals who cannot get their usual visitors due to COVID
  • Developing a quantitative framework for pandemic resources contingency planning and allocation
  • Looking at religious responses to the global pandemic
  • Contributing to cyberGIS capabilities for the WhereCOVID-19 platform  
  • Examining how different nations are adjusting and modifying immigration policies in response to COVID
  • Examining the impact of COVID on international travel, such as student's intended study abroad destinations, the cancellation of international events, and the "medical annexation" of Israel and Palestine
  • Identifying critical control points in agricultural labor and the communities they live in for transmission and progression

Final Projects

Each semester in COVID-Corps, students were asked to complete a final project. Check out the work of our outstanding students below. 

Fall 2020 Students

Spring 2021 Students

Meet the COVID-Corps instructor

Kate AbneyKate Abney is the associate director of intercultural and global learning in the LAS International Programs office of the College of LAS. Kate received her BA from Boston University and her MA and PhD from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is a medical anthropologist by trade and specializes in global health, maternal health, and infectious disease. She is a staunch global education advocate and has taught with Quest University, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, School for International Training, and other institutions around the world.