Six Students on Their Community-Engaged Research, from Bangalore to Durham

September 12, 2016

Delving deeply into topics from the effects of homelessness on children to the development of slums and the connection between nutrition and cognition, Bass Connections in Education & Human Development teams worked with community partners as close as downtown Durham and as far as India. Team members conducted studies, created apps, evaluated MOOCs, analyzed data, organized summits and exhibitions, shared their results in numerous cities and spoke to TV and radio broadcasters.

Last spring, undergraduate representatives highlighted their teams’ discoveries at a showcase event held at the Nasher Museum of Art. Afterward, they presented posters and celebrated with a reception, where Duke MFA student and videographer Lauren Mueller caught up with a few of them.

We noticed that a lot of parents were having issues with language, with accessing the faculty at schools and even just understanding the system of education in this country. Research can only tell you so much, so we spoke to the parents at El Centro Hispano. —Setonji Agosa (above, right), Public Policy and Education ’18, Promoting Academic Success for Latino English Learners in Elementary School

There’s this myth that Latino parents are not as involved as other types of parents. We wanted to investigate that and see if that was really true. And what we learned is that it really is false. —Hope Arcuri (above, second from right), Public Policy, Global Health and Education ’18, Promoting Academic Success for Latino English Learners in Elementary School

Slums in general are very poorly understood by development literature and by governments. We go into slums and we interview households and area leaders, and we collect a lot of survey data about the history of the slum, the personal backgrounds of the people and physical features of the slum. We’re trying to figure out what are the big differences that distinguish different kinds of slums. —Saumya Jain (above), Computer Science ’18, Studying the Real ‘Slums’ in Bangalore

Our research was broken into two parts, a 20-minute online survey and an in-person interview. The survey based things off of demographics, where they lived, how they were affected by the floods, and their stress levels. The students ran all the different parts of this. We had a lot of help from our faculty, but it was a very immersive experience in terms of getting to do all of the work on our own. —Anya Bali (above) ’19, Individual and Household Responses to the October 2015 Floods in South Carolina

What our team does is quantify the effectiveness of a music therapy program called Voices Together. We came up with a coding scheme, and we’re looking at students with autism in nine classrooms. We’re coding changes in their communication skills, awareness of other people and attention. I’m so excited to see if this is something I can bring back to Singapore and increase awareness of what music therapy can do for children with autism. —Xin Tong Lim (above, left), Psychology and Education ’18, Voices Together: Music Therapy and Autism in Elementary Schools

We were all involved with music before we came to this team, and so we were all interested in the effects of music on individuals. That’s why I decided to join it, and why I love it so much. —Giselle Graham (above, right), Economics ’18, Voices Together: Music Therapy and Autism in Elementary Schools

Other Education & Human Development teams last year included:

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