Supporting the empowerment of youth and communities
During the summer of 2019, I received training at the American Political Science Association's Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) at Tufts University (photo above). This training supports my broad scholarly agenda of connecting political science research and communities to promote public well-being. Through public engagement, I intend to catalyze discipline-wide discussions on how political science research can positively contribute to society while collaborating with community organizations and public actors. Below is a list of projects that are done in collaboration with community partners.
Youth Voice is a civically engaged research project in partnership with the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA. I co-developed and facilitated a civic engagement program for youth in Lawerence with two colleagues and four Merrimack undergraduate research assistants. We assess the outcomes of this program and analyze the best strategies for promoting youth empowerment, especially among diverse populations. This program was graciously funded by the Greater Lawrence Summer Fund and the President's Civic and Community Engagement Initiative Office at Merrimack College.
I currently collaborate 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. The goal is to develop these students into young adults with the tools and the enthusiasm for civic engagement while gaining the academic skills necessary to succeed in college. The research arising from this partnership will aid any actors who work on projects related to fostering student success at the collegiate level and promoting civic activism, especially among a diverse student body. The graphic video to the right was created during a state-wide workshop I co-led on teaching and working in an early college program.
FabNewport provides summer programming for middle and high school students in Newport, Rhode Island. I collaborate on research projects with FabNewport analyzing the impact of their summer programming on youth development. I also guide youth leaders at FabNewport on their own independent youth participatory action research projects evaluating the impact of their leadership.
AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange
I guide local community groups partnered with AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange, working on environmental issues and priorities on achieving their goals through community action. I have worked closely with groups in Island Green, South Carolina, and James Island, South Carolina. My students at Merrimack College have engaged in service-learning with various community groups on projects related to raising public awareness.