Rebels Research for a Cause

Even as a brand name brand-new sociology faculty member, Anna C. Smedley-López had a big vision.

In fall 2014, she approached her department chair, Robert Futrell, with a concept for a research-based service learning program. She wanted to take her Ethnic Groups in Contemporary Society class to Southern California and deal with a task about the intersection of food justice, immigration, race and place, and socioeconomic status.

Knowing that introducing such programs can be complicated, “he advised me to start local and smaller, however I do not do small for very long,” stated Smedley-López, assistant professor in residence. “I connected to the Office of Student Engagement and Variety, and they helped me begin a class job. It just grew from there.”

‘ Small’ Start

That’s how SLICES, or Service Learning Effort for Neighborhood Engagement in Sociology, was born, and Smedley-López added SLICES program organizer to her job title. The program sets UNLV undergrads with Las Vegas companies to attend to racial, ethnic, and immigration equity and education. However unloading such broad view issues cannot be carried out in a semester. So students work over several terms to increase their understanding of the community and develop their management, communications, team-building, and networking skills. Their work isn’t really mere class workout: they are affecting policy advancement and funding for social work.

Since 2015, SLICES students have actually used a range of research techniques to:

assist political asylees in the Immigrants Justice Effort
address prison pipeline issues among African-American ladies for the Las Vegas chapter of the National Union of 100 Black Women
support the Gold Butte National Monolith classification
recognize financial aid and other resources for undocu/DACAmented students through UNLV’s UndocuNetwork offer educational programs about the local Black Lives Matter movement
take a look at student belonging and success with
The Intersection, UNLV’s new academic multicultural resource center.
Not Your Everyday Trainee Job

The intent is for the research study to motivate action and affect social change. “Research should not live in the workplace,” Smedley-López said.

Community-mindedness is what sets SLICES’ research apart from standard service learning, she added. Community-based participatory action research study projects explicitly incorporate the community in identifying, designing, executing, and disseminating research study.

Futrell said SLICES fulfills the mentor, research study, and service objective of the university, in addition to a fourth pillar– community engagement.

” They’re making certain sociology is connected to the community– taking research study insights outside these walls and making a distinction in the methods we consider the world. Anna has done an incredible task,” he said.

Micajah Daniels, a junior public health major and sociology minor, and Eli Thompson, a sophomore sociology significant, led a team of students in gathering data about minority health coalition structure for the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Union. Their job took first place in the Business and Liberal Arts session of UNLV’s Workplace of Undergraduate Research study Seminar this year. The two likewise testified at the Nevada Legislature for repair of financing and workers for the Nevada Workplace of Minority Health.

Daniels’ research study also includes work with the 100 Black Ladies and The Intersection, for which she now serves as a board of advisers member.

Participating in SLICES permits her to be a modification agent, Daniels stated. “If we spread to the masses the research study and understanding that we have by educating and involving people and caring about their concerns and needs, we can then have a bigger discussion and take more educated action from there.”

Still Growing

In 2015, the program included peer facilitators (previous individuals who direct brand-new trainee research study groups), and a specific research component connected to class knowing objectives. This year, to provide non-sociology trainees a path into the program, SLICES registered as a UNLV student company and included a student board of advisers.

Along the method, the program has actually collected nearly a lots school and neighborhood partners, who frequently take research study findings and include them into future programming.

Harriet Barlow, executive director of The Crossway, has been a SLICES fan from the start. SLICES students worked as a focus group of sorts in the planning of services and programs for the center. A second group dealt with research study about how establishing a sense of belonging impacts scholastic performance and student retention.

” We have an agreement that no matter what, every term we will be customers of SLICES,” Barlow stated. “The research study and info we took a look at is and will continue to be very essential as we move forward– so essential that we will be developing a program from this group’s research study. I appreciate the opportunity for ongoing deal with SLICES.”

Looking Ahead

For her work with PIECES, Smedley-López won UNLV’s very first Office of Community Engagement Service-Learning Award this spring, and she’s a previous recipient of the Nevada Regents Service Award, which offers financing for 2 part-time program assistants.

She’s positive about the effect of the program. “The trainees give me a lot hope about the future of our society, especially in today’s political climate. They make me seem like we’re going to be so much better.”

Smedley-López anticipates continued partnership with the College of Liberal Arts to use more co-curricular programming and expert advancement opportunities. Discovering extra financing sources to sustain the program is also a concern.

“Exactly what SLICES is doing is really liberal arts-focused in general. We are producing specialists, and they are factors to social change,” she stated. “They have the knowledge and language to do the work.”

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