A new initiative funded by a $95,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund supported undergraduate research and mentorship at Meredith College this past year.
Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy (WYWLA), a single-gender public magnet school located near Meredith, selected nine juniors and seniors in their early college program. The partnership provided leadership and mentoring opportunities for 15 junior and senior Meredith College students. The academic experience will better prepare them for success in future graduate work and research in their respective fields.
One of the projects assessed the needs of a sector of the Raleigh Latino community. The project was inspired by a Meredith graduate who is active in the Latino community and the fact that the Latino population is an important and growing part of our community. Meredith students Elizabeth Leon, ʼ18, and Dielle McMillan, ʼ17, both social work majors, and two WYWLA students worked alongside Joy Learman, assistant professor and social work program director, on this community-based research that partnered with a grassroots immigrant advocacy group, Comite Popular Somos located in Raleigh. The goal was to assess the needs of the Latino community, strengthen a relationship, and begin to participate in community engagement efforts.
Leon, who has lived in Mexico, said, “This project was needed because many Latinos are not able to express their views about how they feel in the community. With the valuable information we collected, we are now able to come together and understand their view points and create new ways to support this community as an institution.”
The opportunity to work with the WYWLA students proved to be advantageous to all involved in the project, and it was a great mentoring experience for Leon and McMillan.
“The WYWLA students were motivated, empathetic, and full of novel ideas. They brought so much to our project, especially in terms of new ideas and problem-solving,” says Learman. “They are natural researchers and it was exciting to listen to our Meredith students work with them.”
The team learned from Latinos interviewed that they are very interested in working with Meredith College and building a relationship. Leon will continue to work with Learman throughout the fall semester and they plan to develop a manual with a list of non-profit organizations who assist Latinos.