Pictures of the day are at the right and the poster/presentation abstracts are below.
DIGNIFY AFRICA MOVEMENT: REDEFINING AFRICA
Shiko Gathuo, Ph.D.
- Ask most people what they know about Africa, and they will narrate an inevitable litany of ills: ethnic conflicts and civil wars; famine and widespread starvation; HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; savagery and exotic traditions; despair and hopelessness. Africa is not only the butt of jokes; people are apt to make stereotypical statements about the continent without giving thought to either the truthfulness or the consequences of their statements. True, Africa has many problems, and many of its people live in poverty. There is, however, always more than one side to any story. For Africa, only one side has emerged. The mission of Dignify Africa Movement is to dignify Africa and its people by changing the existing narrative about the continent. We do this in two ways with this poster presentation: 1) we showcase Africa by highlighting the untold everyday stories and positive developments, and 2) we fight the negative stereotypes, falsehoods and misrepresentation perpetrated against the continent.
HEAD START: A NECESSARY INVESTMENT FOR THE FUTURE
Faculty Advisor: Thomas Conroy, Ph.D.
- As the pressure to reduce the national debt remains the driving force behind budget cuts in the national budget, Head Start is a program affected deeper than other organizations. Head Start runs on a budget that is inadequate for the amount of resources that the program needs. During the 2013 sequester, Head Start programs across the country closed their doors, reduced the number of children served, and laid off teachers and staff. This not only hurt the students, but their parents and society as a whole. If every child who lived in poverty had access to a Head Start program, the economy as a whole would be stronger, and the government could avoid the cost of future services that would not be so greatly relied upon as a result of the availability of Head Start. These services can include after-school programs, tutoring for students, social services or even incarceration later in life. This research paper and poster presentation will prove that cutting funding for Head Start programs results in financial repercussions for state and national governments.
WSU STUDENTS IN THE COMMUITY: THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS PROGRAM
Samuel Demma, Jean Abdulla, Dannielle Morrow, Tom Savini
Faculty Advisor: Madeline Otis Campbell, Ph.D.
- The English Language Learners program, sponsored by the Intergenerational Urban Institute and the department of Urban Studies, facilitates relationships among WSU students and English language learners of all ages from the community. This for-credit practicum is an experiential learning course, which provides students with the opportunity to teach conversational English, assist community members preparing for citizenship, and form community based relationships. In the process, an intercultural exchange happens as tutors and learners share their stories and perspectives. Recently the program has expanded beyond the WSU classroom to three off-site locations in the Worcester community: an elder Worcester Housing Authority site, the Worcester Senior Center, and the Nu Cafe. WSU students tutor Iraqi, Lebanese, Albanian, Russian, Chinese, and Colombian learners, filling a need in the community and receiving a uniquely personal, global perspective. This poster will highlight the work of the ELL program, identifying the student as well as community outcomes achieved.
SUSPENSION IN WORCESTER: A CONTINUING CONVERSATION
Dannielle Morrow, Jenny Velez
Faculty Advisor Thomas Conroy, Ph.D., Madeline Otis Campbell, Ph.D.
- During spring 2013, the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University and the Worcester Education Collaborative analyzed demographic and suspension data related to the Worcester Public Schools system. This data came from federal, state, and local sources, particularly from the Office of Civil Rights, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Worcester Public Schools data warehouse.
RISING FOOD INSECURITY IN WORCESTER COUNTY
Barbara Lucci, Thea Aschkenase, Marta Baclawska, Amy Boucher, Mary Chenaille, Rachel Geary, Judy Knight, Mary Ellen Macuen, LissaAnn Minichiello, Jenifer Seifart
Faculty Advisor: Maureen Power, Ph.D.
- This poster presentation will demonstrate the ways the Hunger Outreach Team (HOT) located in Urban Studies continues to fight hunger in the Worcester community. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that helps put food on the table. HOT is an intergenerational advocacy group of students, ages 20 to 90, that assists elders in the community and students on campus in applying for SNAP benefits. The team uses a SNAP Bingo game to educate elders at senior centers. Only one-third of eligible elders apply for SNAP, and many Worcester State University students are unaware they are eligible. Every $5 in SNAP benefits stimulates $9 in the local economy. Congress reduced SNAP benefits by nearly 40 billion, making it even more important for those eligible to receive the benefits. HOT members advocate for legislative reform in hunger disparities. The annual Empty Bowl event on campus raises funds for local assistance.
ADDRESSING BLIGHT: A COMPREHENSIVE RE-USE PROPOSAL FOR LINCOLN SQUARE
Desiree Cunningham, Michael Falzarano
Faculty Advisor: Thomas Conroy, Ph.D.
- Through a combination of research objectives, this project aims to reveal possible methods that community members and the city of Worcester can employ to actively participate in determining the future of Lincoln Square. By addressing blight with architectural solutions, geography-based data and a myriad of strategic planning initiatives, Worcester’s historically endangered Lincoln Square could again become an integral part of the city’s urban landscape.
GROWING RELATIONSHIPS, COMMUNITY AND PRODUCE AT THE WSU GARDEN FOR ALL AGES
George Ayanga, Rachel Geary, Breana Hatch, Jack Kelly, Tyler Levine, Brogan Mulligan, Jenifer Seifart, Linda Barrett, Mary Chenaille, Eileen Rodgers, Pam Saffer, Dorothea Simmons
Faculty Advisor: Maureen Power, Ph.D.
- Now in its third growing season, the Garden for ALL Ages adjacent to Chandler Magnet School has transformed what once was a neighborhood eyesore into a rich and beautiful outdoor learning environment. Not only vegetables, but flowers and herbs grow in this garden; relationships do as well. This poster presentation will show how residents of neighboring Bet Shalom, eight Chandler Magnet classes (two of which are special needs), and the Worcester State University garden team are working together to expand the garden and the growing season. To offset the cold winter, portable greenhouses (with support from Theme Semester) have been erected in the Bet Shalom community room and the Chandler Magnet classrooms. Plans for higher raised beds and special pathways will make it wheelchair accessible. Bird houses, a butterfly garden, and medicinal native plants and herbs will make it a great community resource and rich learning environment for all ages.
CHOLERA IN WORCESTER: A STUDY OF THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY PUBLIC HEALTH MOVEMENT
Alan Ira Gordon, Instructor
- This study was published in the winter of 2014 issue of the Historical Journal of Massachusetts and compares the municipal, medical and social responses in Worcester to the 1849 and 1866 national cholera outbreaks. While public attitudes towards both epidemics demonstrated the misguided idea that cholera was a disease of immoral intemperance, the medical and municipal responses to the later epidemic reveal a shift from finding a cure to preventing the disease. When confronting the later epidemic, Worcester’s municipal leaders mobilized resources to promote sanitation. Worcester’s response to these two epidemics offers a case study of the important role that cholera played in the rise of the public health movement in America.