Spring Semester 2015 – Part 1
(Regis students Hayley Gonglaves, Sami Brisson and Natasha Hill share their observations after completing their “Research & Writing in the Community Course” in the Spring of 2015.
They worked with Community Educational Outreach clients tutoring, interviewing and informally sharing opinions during the spring semester. – This first report is from Hayley Goncalves.)
“Through completing this project for Community Educational Outreach this semester I have been able to expand my knowledge on the United States prison system and, perhaps even more importantly, learn the aspects of structural violence that challenge an individual through this system how they ultimately affect a previously incarcerated person for the rest of their lives. Through this I have also been able to learn about what it means to produce ethical research and how to properly research when dealing with the human person in a just and respectful manner.
“When I first partnered with CEO I was not sure what to expect; I was excited yet extremely nervous to be working on such an important project with people whom I was so different from. Taking everything that we had learned in class Sami, Natasha, and I sat down and set up a meeting with Vanessa and Craig to learn about what visions they had for the project. They told us that given our time constraints and looking at in general what would be best for us and the organization we discussed the idea of creating infographics for CEO to use to get more funding and support. The project was open ended and we were given the opportunity to choose how we wanted to spend our time and what the infographics could contain. We discussed appropriate ideas for infographics really connecting the education pieces to the prison system population, a quick facts section about the prison system itself, and the importance of portraying CEO’s mission and how it helps these individuals.
“We felt that in order to properly portray these individuals we had to immerse ourselves in the experience as best as possible. It absolutely did not feel just or responsible to simply keep ourselves at an arms distance with individuals we were trying to partner with and write about. This, I felt, really came from class and talking about how important it is to put yourself as best as you can amongst those who are different while holding the fact that there are differences and their lives with those differences, may it be not the same privileges or backgrounds, is still held at the utmost respect. This class conversation I think was extremely rewarding and it came with the discussion of Nazario’s book, Enrique’s Journey. It was here that we discussed how it was possible to research and tell the story of an individual who is so different from us and how our privilege may make us feel unworthy of sharing in that story. We were able to do this by volunteering at the men’s facility at CEO and meeting with individuals for help over job resumes and what life is like for them.
” Working in my group then we were able to synthesize our experiences working with these individuals and were able to see the humanity in them that society often negates. This pushed us to create the best infographics as possible that portrayed the humanity of a situation that many people separate themselves from. I worked as the main email correspondent. I planned and set up emails and times with Melissa at the men’s facility and Vanessa and Craig at the women’s. I sent them updates and was also scheduling directly with them our next steps. My team all worked extremely well together and we all met on time and at the same place. I worked specifically diligently with Natasha on the CEO services infographic. We also all individually did extreme research outside the classroom to bring our final products together. We also volunteered the same amount of hours together and equally divided the work amongst ourselves.”