Week One: Dear Sierra – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week One: Dear Sierra

Dear Sierra,

It’s day three of your internship and already you’ve had the opportunity to jump right into planning Friends of Parkside’s Annual Health Fair and attend a conference, “Beyond the Ivory Tower.” At this conference, you learned not only how important community-academic partnerships are, but how important it is to initiate and maintain community-academic partnerships in the right way – it’s all about trust, respect, and shared values. At the end of the day, the expert is the community member who has been living and working in the community, not necessarily the researcher with the Ph.D. degree who is interested in the community.

So far, you’re expecting to stay very busy up until the Health Fair which is what you were looking forward to. You’re also expecting to help out with other various projects and programs within Friends of Parkside in addition to the Health Fair. Through this internship, you’re hoping to develop your professional skills and learn more about what it takes to work not only in a community, but with a community. Right now, you’re mainly hoping you succeed in planning a successful Health Fair that has a truly positive impact on Parkside residents. Outside of your internship, you’re hoping you spend your time exploring Detroit and making memories with the rest of the cohort.

Your current perception of Detroit is that it’s huge and hopefully, you get to experience as much of it as possible while you’re here for the summer.  You’re thankful for the people you have learned from in the past few days that have helped shape your perception of Detroit, such as the tour guide who discussed the Underground Railroad downtown and the native Detroiters who voiced their opinions at the conference. You’ve realized that everyone’s perception of Detroit is very different based on several factors like age, race, geography, and socioeconomic status. Keep having fun!



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