Laura Merrifield Wilson, UIndy
2021 Emerging Leaders in Community Impact
For the first time, Indiana Campus Compact is honoring faculty and graduate teaching assistants from multiple Indiana Campus Compact partner institutions who are in the first seven years of their career and who demonstrate leadership and innovation in advancing and shaping community engagement across the field. The Indiana Campus Compact Emerging Leaders in Community Engagement recognition is designed to lift up emerging engaged scholarship work and the scholars who do it.
Laura Merrifield Wilson is an Associate Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Indianapolis. To say that Dr. Wilson inspires students to fully participate in their education, their community, and their commitment to the common good is quite an understatement. In her letter of nomination, Dr. Mary C. Moore, Associate Provost of Accreditation, Assessment and Educational Innovations, and Chief International Officer for the University of Indianapolis said, “As a faculty member, Dr. Wilson seeks to prepare her students to make a difference in their community, with an emphasis on training the next generation of community leaders. Though she is still early in her career as a recently promoted Associate Professor, she has already distinguished herself through her teaching, her advising of pre-law students, and her leadership with the Gender Center. Many of her courses incorporate a service-learning activity, such as engaging in voter registration, hosting a mock election with elementary students, or helping Girl Scouts earn a badge in civic leadership. This work has clearly inspired some students to do more. Two students stand out among the many who Wilson has inspired: Junior Ally Nickerson, who joined Wilson as the Student Project Director for UIndyVotes! in 2018 and is responsible for the increased partnership with the Baxter YMCA and expansion of neighborhood canvassing, and Senior Karlee Taylor who conducted research with Wilson on Harriette Bailey Conn, which yielded a May Wright Sewell Fellowship, transpired into two conference papers, and resulted in a new Indiana Historical Marker to share Conn’s inspiring legacy as an African-American leader with the community. Other of Wilson’s graduates work in the Governor’s office, the Indiana General Assembly, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the United Way of Central Indiana, and others. One of her recent graduates, Sarah King, will begin law school at Harvard this fall to focus on civil rights litigation.