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WiL Team of the Month: Urbana Arts & Culture Program

Agency: The Urbana Arts and Culture Program (formerly Public Arts Program) and Commission was established by the City Council in April 2008, to foster a city where all residents may engage with the arts and where artists thrive and are valued. The arts, as used in this program, includes but is not limited to music, theatre, visual arts, dance, creative writing, film/video, crafts, performing arts, spoken word, environmental arts, multimedia arts, architectural arts, landscape architecture, and emerging media. Urbana is an Illinois Arts Friendly Community, designated by the Illinois Arts Alliance and Illinois Municipal League in 2008. Through public support for the arts, the City of Urbana increases opportunities for the creation of art, thereby enhancing the quality of life, economic development, citizen participation, cultural awareness, and vibrancy of the community. (from their website, Check them out on Facebook to stay up to date with all their fun events!

Team Members: Eleena Ahmed (Senior, Speech & Hearing Science), Myra Esmail (Sophomore, Molecular & Cellular Biology), Nhi Lu (Junior, Accountancy), Emily Mei (Sophomore, Business), Payal Patel (Sophomore, Marketing), Ksenia Polyarskaya (Sophomore, Instrumental Performance), Jocelyn Rodriguez (Junior, Latinx Studies & Pre-Nursing)

Team Mentor: Elizabeth Dietz, Martin-Hood LLC (and former Champaign Central High School English teacher)

Project: This team was tasked with expanding the reach of the Urbana Arts & Culture’s programming to college-age students. To address this challenge, the team plans to collaborate directly with student groups and develop a comprehensive campus marketing strategy including updated social media. They will spend the Spring semester introducing student groups to Urbana Arts & Culture Program’s events and implementing their marketing plan.


Women in Leadership (WIL) is a flagship program of the YWCA of the University of Illinois, running for nearly a decade. It organizes small groups of female and female-identifying students into teams that spend the school year developing and implementing solutions to challenges brought by local nonprofits and small businesses. Through this program, young women get invaluable experience in teamwork, project management, and working with clients. They also attend workshops that tackle unique issues women and women-identifying people face in the workplace, such as imposter syndrome, presented by local businesswoman and speaker, Tekita Bankhead. Learn more about our Women in Leadership program on our website at:

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