Posts tagged with student engagement program in Blog Student Stories

Showing 1 - 10 of 14 items
Exterior shot of the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit
May 18, 2020
  • Kathryn R Berringer
According to The Western Architect, four hundred and fifty million bricks were used in construction in Detroit in 1916. Among the brick buildings featured in this reporting is the Victor Theatre, located near the Ford factory that was, at the time, the largest manufacturing site in the world in Highland Park, an autonomous city in the center of Detroit. Today, this building is the main location of the Ruth Ellis Center, a nonprofit organization providing social and medical services to LGBTQ youth in metropolitan Detroit. While the exterior of the building is now unrecognizable – the façade covered over in the intervening years – certain interior spaces in the theater have been preserved: the detailed proscenium arch framing the stage-turned-conference-room and the upstairs dance hall where, prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic and enforced social distancing, youth gathered to share meals and vogue during the Center’s drop-in hours.
scrabble tiles that spell the word research
May 15, 2020
  • Mary Olivia Rolfes
From the beginning of my time as a transfer student to the University of Michigan in the Fall of 2019, I have been interested in both engaging with the transfer community and improving the overall transfer student experience. When preparing for this big transition over the summer of 2019, I was most concerned with adjusting socially and academically to a new school. However, when I actually got here, I found there were many other, more hidden aspects of campus life that I had to figure out on my own. For example: Which buildings require swipe access? Where can I scan a document? What is the “UgLi,” and is it a good place for group work?

I think we don’t often consider how all these little questions and struggles add up to create the transfer student experience. Transfer student success is often measured by quantitative academic markers; students themselves are concerned with adjusting academically and socially. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that concerns about how to use the library as a transfer were far from the first thing on my mind. So, when looking for social science research opportunities this fall, I was intrigued by a position that entailed analyzing the specific library needs of transfer and commuter students. I saw it as an opportunity to engage with the transfer student experience through the unique, and often undervalued, lens of the library.

Ultimately, this interest led to me joining the Library Research & Evaluation team as a Research Assistant, as part of the Library Engagement Fellows Program. Through this position, I was able to utilize and strengthen my social science research skills through a project I am personally invested in and passionate about. Additionally, this position exposed me to library functioning and the specific resources offered by the University of Michigan Library.
Image of students studying and reading textbooks.
April 28, 2020
  • Laura Ann Rall
Our project focused on assessing the needs of rural students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus. As two Master of Social Work students hailing from Bloomingdale (Laura) and Dowagiac (Ana), two rural towns in Southwest Michigan, we felt very connected to this project from the beginning. We distributed a Qualtrics survey titled “Rural Students Needs Assessment” to help us identify the challenges and needs of rural students at the U-M. The survey was also used as a reference to determine if people would be willing to participate in focus groups and share their experiences on campus as a rural student. The responses on the survey were then utilized as a guide to create the questions and themes introduced during the focus groups that we wanted to explore further. Our first goal was to identify the challenges and needs of this population and to identify some solutions to better assist these students. Once we obtained these findings, we sought to offer recommendations to the University of Michigan, certain departments within the institution who expressed interest in this group of students, such as the College of Literature, Science, and Arts, and with the CEW+, who had previously identified rural students as a nontraditional student identity at the Ann Arbor campus. The ultimate goal was to raise awareness about the challenges that rural students experience and to provide recommendations that could help address the current gaps.

photo that is representative of the sweat, tears, or the sea art project
April 20, 2020
  • Han Na Shin
Sweat, tears, or the sea is a photo-series that comments on the physical space of Asian Americans. I want to capture the tenderness, beauty, and portraits of the children of immigrants to create an identity of what it means for them to know that their family has chosen the path of “sweat, tears, or the sea” in America. I used a collection of 4 images per photo for the individual to be able to know that there is a commonality amongst each of the photos together and that we are all intertwined in the emotions and stories we carry as Asian Americans.
Logo for Women's Health, Incarcerated
April 3, 2020
  • Bhavana Sai Garapati
Although the United States only has about 5% of the world’s population, it holds about 25% of the world’s prison population. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the U.S. currently has about 2.3 million people in a variety of confinement facilities like federal and state prisons, local jails, juvenile correctional facilities, immigration detention centers, military prisons, civil commitment centers, and even state psychiatric hospitals to name some. While women currently make up approximately 10% of the currently incarcerated population, it is important to understand that the rate at which women are being incarcerated has been twice as much as men since the 1980s. Statistics collected by the Sentencing Project show that since the 1980s the number of women who are incarcerated has increased by more than 750%.

We found that many of the current resources speaking about mass incarceration in America are centered on the experiences of men but not as much is said about the experiences of women and gender nonconforming individuals. We believe that when discussing criminal justice reform, it is absolutely necessary to include women and gender nonconforming individuals in the discussion because their experiences precarcerally, carcerally, and postcarcerally, are uniquely shaped by their gender. Referring back to the Sentencing Project, 80% of women in jails are also mothers, most of whom were the primary caretakers for their children before being incarcerated. When women are incarcerated, there are these unique issues such as reproductive health that affect them and their families in ways that men do not necessarily experience. With this in mind, we wanted to create a platform to inform the general public about the experiences of women in the criminal justice system and create a space for those directly and indirectly affected by the carceral state to talk about their lived experiences and areas of expertise. We wanted to place a general focus on health because we believe that our current criminal justice system is a growing public health concern and is often left out of the conversation when we, as a society, talk about access to healthcare, among other things. Millions of individuals are getting locked up everyday for substance abuse offenses when they should be getting better access to treatments and resources to help with addiction as well as other monetary and mental health related concerns. Thousands of incarcerated pregnant women face horrific conditions because they lack any kind of proper access to reproductive healthcare. All of this--and more--needs to be brought to the attention of the public.
Picture of Marisol Fila
April 3, 2020
  • Marisol Fila
The magazine O Menelick 2Ato is an independent editorial initiative - with a journalistic bias – that aims to reflect on and enhance the cultural and artistic production of the black diaspora in the Americas, with special emphasis on Brazil.

O Menelick 2Ato , created in 2010 in the city of São Paulo, has more than 20 printed editions published, and it’s always distributed for free throughout Brazil. More than 40 thousand copies of the magazine have been distributed over the 10 years of the project's existence. In spite of bringing together collaborators from the most diverse areas of artistic and cultural production - both Brazilians and foreigners - who understand the magazine as a space to share their perspectives and foster their ideas, creativity and concerns regarding the 21st century Brazilian black community, the magazine is closely linked to the history of the black press in Brazil. This connection begins with its title: O Menelick 2Ato honors one of the most important periodicals in the Paulista press, the newspaper O Menelick (1915).

I got to know Nabor Jr and Luciane Ramos Silva, the two editors of the magazine, during a research trip in São Paulo in 2018. Besides their work as editors of the magazine, Luciane Ramos Silva is an anthropologist, choreographer and dancer and Nabor Jr works as a journalist and independent photographer, while also being a staff member of the Museum Afro Brazil, one of the most important museums on African diaspora in the Americas. We have been working together on different projects since 2018, and in March 2019 Luciane Ramos Silva visited U-M to offer a series of workshops and talks on black press in Brazil. Aiming to build on this collaborative partnership, we started working on a special edition of their last issue in English. Until now, the magazine has been published only in Portuguese so having a first edition in English would help to reach new audiences as well as to bring awareness of different experiences of the black diaspora in the Americas.

Group picture
March 26, 2020
  • Julia Yee
The Pre-Medical Club’s (PMC) Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a health-oriented service and educational trip for students at the University of Michigan. Since its beginning in the early 2000s, PMC has worked with the Community Service Alliance (CSA) in the Dominican Republic to organize and plan the spring breaks each year. CSA is a multi-faceted organization which strives to empower communities through health initiatives, educational and youth programs, and a focus on supporting female community members. We have continued to partner with CSA throughout the years because of the positive effects we observe in the communities and because of the level of involvement they permit students to have.

Although CSA has many projects in multiple areas throughout the Dominican Republic, our group has chosen to orient our spring breaks around their health initiatives and educational programs. Additionally, the past four years we have been in the same province: Hato Mayor. Each year, the details of the project change, however the objectives remain the same. Following the goals of CSA, we hope to empower and build up communities in terms of health to a point where they can continue health practices safely and independently after we and CSA leave.

Our spring break this year focused on two main projects: water filter installation and bathroom construction. Before embarking on our journey, CSA provided us with the schedule and project goals. We aimed to install eight water filters and construct two bathrooms in two separate communities during our five days of work. Along with the manual work, we also allotted two afternoons of the trip to speak with school children about hand-washing and general hygiene tips. On the schedule were other events where we could learn more about the Dominican Republic and its health system and culture. These events included a tour of a cacao farm, dance lessons from a local dance group, and a visit to a local health clinic for a presentation and a Q&A session.
headshot of Logan Burley
March 24, 2020
  • Logan Burley
Gender is a powerful social category that individuals constantly use to make sense of both themselves and those around them. The Western world splits people into two categories: woman and man. These two gender categories can be used to visually sort almost all things. Individuals constantly attribute masculinity of femininity not only to people, but to animals and objects, too. With this in mind, my thesis hoped to examine how individuals interpret the gender cues that others present, particularly those present in the face. Individuals who identify outside of the man-woman dichotomy are gaining increased visibility. The core question is how has the increasing visibility of the nonbinary community begun to change how people conceptualize gender, particularly in how they perceive the gender of others?
picture of student project leader Rebekah Stein
April 2, 2019
  • Rebekah Ann Stein
EARTH-RISE is a multidimensional project focusing on bridging the gap between high school and tertiary education in STEM, particularly earth sciences, and addressing the leaky pipeline for students in high schools that are under-funded and lack resources. The earth sciences are generally excluded from most high school curricula. Many earth science majors discovered the track upon entering college; most people are unaware it is a discipline throughout secondary school and beyond. In order to attract the attention of more students, it is important to strengthen earth science secondary (and primary) education. Additionally, two of the major components that promote retention through college and beyond is whether students identify as a member of the scientific community, and whether students have access to mentors they respect who are also enthusiastic. This project hopes to rectify both issues by introducing major topics in earth sciences in an accessible and exciting way (in the high-school classroom, in the laboratory, and in the field).

This program focuses on hands-on experiences (in-class, research and in field) for high school students to encourage retention in earth sciences. EARTH-RISE is designed to form a long-lasting relationship between Ypsilanti Community High School (and Ypsilanti public schools in general), Detroit public schools, and the University of Michigan Earth department. It focuses on encouraging high school students to engage in hands-on activities and research in Earth Sciences. The students at Ypsilanti Community High School received little science education in middle school and, lacking enthusiasm and encouragement from teachers during formative years, have ruled out pursuit of STEM in later years.
blue elephant next to words Bluelab Thailand
March 22, 2019
  • Phatsawut Achariyasoonthorn
BLUElab Thailand unites students from multiple disciplines at the University of Michigan in pursuit of creating sustainable solutions for flood mitigation in our partner district of Mae Chan, Thailand with the collaboration of Chiang Mai University students and faculty in the PURPLElab organization as well as Michigan-based supporters such as BLUElab, the Center for Socially-Engaged Design and University of Michigan faculty.

Our ultimate goal is to create viable, sustainable solutions that satisfies two specific flood-related needs of the Mae Chan community. Currently, we are in the process of creating and selecting designs. We are translating these designs into physical concepts and prototypes, testing them with our newly built pipe-simulation test rig.