Six Elizabethtown College students recently won the Association for Applied & Clinical Sociology Client Problem Solving Competition (CPSC). The CPSC provides students with a meaningful use of applied skills they learned in sociology, experience in teamwork and time management, and serves as a valuable networking opportunity for the next generation of practicing social scientists.

This year, Etown’s team partnered with Home Suite Hope, an organization in Canada that helps homeless single-parent families find subsidized housing and jobs in an effort to help them get back on their feet. They were given the question, “How can we incentivize and/or encourage families who are living in Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) units to move out when they have reached a measure of financial security that no longer qualifies them for RGI supports.” Through the use of literature, sociological theory, and interviews with other sociologists from the conference, the students worked for 48 hours to come up with a comprehensive solution to this problem.

The winning team members Meghan Kenney (’21), Jessica Cox (’21), Rachel Bickelman (’21), Erin Vago (’22), Rebecca Li (’22), and Rachel McCarthy (’23) were led by their advisor, Dr. Michele Kozimor. After working from 5 p.m. on Monday to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the team devised a two-pronged solution that included performing an environmental scan to better understand the feelings of those currently in the RGI housing and then strengthening the alumni mentorship program to help those in RGI units build the confidence to live independently.

Meghan Kenney, a senior on the team, shared her thoughts on the competition. “I really enjoyed the entire experience,” she said. “Although it was quite stressful at times, trying to do something that our class does in an entire year in only two days, I think it was a very rewarding experience.”