Student Community Psychologists in Action

A few weeks ago, we heard about Dr. Carlie Trott’s research in community psychology. As a community psychologist, Dr. Trott uses community-based and participatory-action research to engage marginalized groups in science and empower communities, especially students, to solve environmental issues.  During the spring semester, she taught from her experiences in PSYC 7006, Community Engaged Research, at the University of Cincinnati. She led students in discussions related to community partnerships, data collection and analysis, and other best practices, and facilitated an environment that allowed students to plan their own research. This week, we were able to highlight some of those projects.  

Representing Cincinnati Immigrants and Refugees

Christine spent the semester developing the research plan for her master’s thesis. She is passionate about providing immigrants and refugees with better representation. She plans to evaluate CARE’s Cincinnati Refugee and Immigrant Civic Leadership Program, which is designed to engage these groups in civic work beyond voting. These people are often underrepresented, Christine said, despite the important role that they play in their community. She plans to evaluate this program by asking the people that it is designed to serve about how helpful it has been to them and if it has empowered them and given them a voice beyond voting.  

Unions for Migrant Workers

Hayden also spent the semester planning for coming research, including working to find a community partner. Like Christine’s work, Hayden hopes to assess how well underrepresented people are being given a voice in their communities. However, his interests lie in ensuring that migrant workers, including those who are undocumented, are represented by labor unions. He hopes that by giving them this voice, it will prevent existing problems such as differences in pay and dangerous working conditions, and give them a way to speak up without fearing for their jobs. For reasons that his research will seek to understand, migrant workers are often not involved in unions, resulting in a lack of data about how unions could potentially empower these people. 

Youth Climate Justice

Emmanuel’s questions are more focused on the successes and challenges of youth climate justice. Increasingly, young people are using various strategies to make their voices heard despite their lack of political representation. Yet the choices made about climate now will impact their futures. Very limited research has been done on the challenges these youth face, and on the growing movement in general. However, they experience burn out and a lack of support, and they often have the dual burden of caring for themselves and advocating for changes in climate policy. Emmanuel will be asking youth advocates about how they define their own successes and how they deal with the challenges they face. 

We look forward to seeing the progression of these student’s work in psychology, as well as future students who come through Dr. Trott’s class! 

Trott’s community research senior capstone students present at City Hall

The students in Center Affiliate Carlie Trott’s senior capstone course (PSYC 5051: Research Methods: Community Research) presented their research at Cincinnati City Hall this week: “Broadening Participation in Household Recycling in Cincinnati: First Findings from a Focus Group Study in South Cumminsville.” The research was a partnership between the class, the City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability and the South Cumminsville-based community organization Working in Neighborhoods. The project–made possible with external funding by Rumpke–aimed to identify barriers to recycling in a majority low-income African American neighborhood in Cincinnati and to propose solutions to city officials.

The presentation was met with genuine interest and praise for the student presenters by the four members of City Council comprising the Equity, Inclusion, Youth, and Arts Committee. A research report will also be supplied to community participants.