During the summer of 2019, I received training at the American Political Science Association's Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) at Tufts University. This training supports my broad scholarly agenda of connecting political science research and the communities that are often the central focus of my studies. Currently, I am acting as guest editor and author of a symposium project that arose out of this institute. This symposium focuses on different aspects of civically engaged research (CER) and serves as a platform in which to catalyze discipline-wide discussions on how political science research can make positive contributions to society whilst collaborating with community organizations and public actors.
Conducting CER with youth and civic organizations is a strong pillar of my research agenda. I am currently collaborating with a community partnership in Lawrence Township, MA in an early college program that aims to give high-achieving high-school students in traditionally underrepresented communities a chance to receive extra support in preparing for college. These students take my Politics of the U.S. course at Merrimack College. During this course, I collaborate with the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education and Social Policy, and the teachers at Abbot Lawrence Academy on developing these students into young adults who possess the tools and the enthusiasm for civic engagement while gaining the academic skills necessary to be successful in college. The research that will arise out of this partnership will aid any actors that work on projects related to fostering student success at the collegiate level and promoting civic activism, especially among a diverse student body.
My other CER project investigates the impact of civil society on environmental policy. In collaboration with scholars at the University of Iowa and Georgetown University and non-academic partners including AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange, Anthropocene Alliance, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, I am interviewing community groups that are responding to development and other climate change issues in their local communities. Through these interviews, I am able to develop a deeper understanding of the connection between civic engagement and policy outputs at the local level while also providing guidance and support for communities as they navigate local politics. I have also incorporated my students into this project by matching them with community groups that need social media support. Students also complete Wikipedia pages for these groups through the Wiki Education program. Given this project, I was asked to serve on a public panel discussing how political science is specially equipped to help the science community engage with society.
I have also served as a moderator on various panels discussing anti-racism and the role of young people in combatting racial injustice in specific communities. In October of 2020, I served as a panelist at an event hosted by Merrimack College's Center for Civic and Community Engagement. During this panel, I brought my expertise on youth and electoral behavior to a community-wide discussion on the importance of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections. I also host a show and podcast on WMCK Radio that centers the voices of young people in discussions surrounding politics, society, and culture.
Click this link to listen to my podcast!