Kelly McGlynn is a rising senior From Philadelphia. Kelly is a Healthy Food Access TRI-Lab participant, and is concentrating in Environmental Studies with a focus on food access, public health, and nutrition.
Three Questions, Many Answers
Evelyn Sanchez '14 is participating in TRI-Lab at Brown and interned last summer at Children’s Friend, Rhode Island’s oldest child welfare organization.
Last week, TRI-Lab celebrated its last class of the fall semester. Our three interdisciplinary work groups came together to present their research briefs and project ideas to the entire early childhood development Lab. We’ve worked up to these final project ideas over the course of a semester, and now we’re excited to see which of the projects are chosen by the group to move forward into next semester and next year.
Our group, Family Engagement, came up with two vastly different ideas that show just how broad our topic is in scope. On one hand, we have proposed a new parental visitation model to implement in Rhode Island’s current child welfare system. We believe that changing visitation practices and the way parents interact and engage with the system would ultimately increase reunification rates and ensure the best outcomes for the state’s most vulnerable children.
On the other hand, we have come up on another idea that would give groups of low-income parents small grants with one stipulation: that they invest the funds in their children. We envision these groups of women meeting — perhaps with the aid of a trained facilitator — to discuss what to do with the money. Our hope is to leave these mothers with tangible skills: budgeting, social capital, communication skills, and the increased understanding that early investment in children is important. We’re calling this idea our “microfinance” idea, although we recognize our idea does not resemble the model that lends at high interest rates and requires loan repayment. The reason we do not have another name is simply that, as far as we know, this idea has yet to be done elsewhere. Our main question is: What happens when you give low-income parents money to invest in their children? We want to find out.
Although our group has worked in the latter half of the semester to research and develop these two project ideas, we were all intrigued and excited by the other groups’ ideas. Should we develop a new curriculum for dual language speakers? Investigate how to reduce Did-Not-Keep-Appointment (DNKA) rates at Hasbro’s Children Hospital? We are currently left wondering which of our many great project ideas will come to fruition.
Our final session, however, showed me that despite each group’s investment in its own ideas, it will not ultimately matter which of the groups’ ideas gets chosen to move forward. The genuine interest and questions that came after each group’s presentation showed that we all share a common goal. After the presentations, we sat around eating Indian food and cake and ice cream and talked excitedly about our project ideas and the winter break projects that TRI-Lab is funding for each group. Whatever project — or projects — move forward will have benefitted from having a passionate group of people work together to leave a positive impact on the children of Rhode Island.
September 8, 2014
August 26, 2014One Student's Exploration of Human-Centered Design on Two Campuses
For Allison Wong ’15, being a Brown/RISD dual degree student means thinking a lot about social change - in very creative ways. During her four years in Providence, Allison has explored what she calls “design-based approaches to social innovation,” combining the best of her knowledge and experience from both schools to make serious community impact.
August 18, 2014
July 29, 2014
Sophie Duncan '16's blog post is inspired by the completion of her first year working with Farm Fresh Rhode Island (FFRI) as a part of their Veggie Box team, which also is celebrating it’s first year of year-round programming. Sophie began her work with FFRI through an iProv Summer Internship last year and will be a participant in next year's TRI-Lab on Healthy Food Access.
June 30, 2014
Renata is a rising senior from Orinda, California double concentrating in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies and a TRI-Lab participant. Much of her past experience with healthy food access has been in the context of partnering with homeless shelters. She has been working with the Food Recovery Network in different capacities over the past three years. You can often find her reading on one of Brown’s various greens.
May 14, 2014
Emily E. Davis is a junior concentrating in Cognitive Science. In this post, she reflects on some of the obvious and not-so-obvious challenges of connecting research with practice.