Week One: Amanda – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week One: Amanda

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to get to know you all this summer, even through zoom. Just as a refresh, my name is Amanda and I am going to be a junior studying political science. I am planning to attend law school after undergrad, so I’m very thankful to be partnered with the Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center. While I will primarily be doing research to apply for grants, I will have the opportunity to learn more about SWDCJC’s community court and POP program. 

To me, “community” means collaboration, or working with one another rather than working just for yourself or against another person. Living in rural New York state and northern Michigan has not provided me with much diversity, whether that be in school or day-to-day life. Until attending UM, I had only been to Detroit twice, once for a concert and the other time for a school trip. I was attracted to the chance to do community work in Detroit because as much as I want to gain from this experience, I want to be able to give back to the city. 

As for previous experience, I did UROP my freshman year and gained a lot of research experience but also a better understanding of time management and prioritizing my mental health. One of my strengths that helped during UROP, and I presume will be helpful this summer, is my willingness to work with others and learn from others. From freshman year to this summer, I am the youngest person working on the project/team, and that can always be intimidating, especially when it comes to making mistakes. This summer, I am hoping to become more confident in my abilities, but also remind myself that it’s okay to make mistakes and know that mistakes can always be learned from. Outside of the professional setting, I am hoping to have a balance between being on my computer/zoom and spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the rest of the summer before I go back to Ann Arbor. 

At the end of this program, I hope that I have made genuine connections with the other members of this program and those who I am working with at my site. With everything online the past year and a half, it has been easy for me to fall into the comfort of being home and not stepping out of my comfort zone, as we would have had to do if we were in person this summer. While we can’t be together, yet, in person, I am still looking forward to getting to know everyone and reaching out to people this summer.  I am making it a goal of mine to make the most out of this summer, despite the circumstances of being remote. 

1 thought on “Week One: Amanda”

  1. Amanda,

    I really like your definition of community! I think collaboration is a great way to describe what community is, and I really like how the the essence of what community is is captured in one word.

    I also can relate to your discussion of being intimidated by being the youngest person on the team. I’ve worked projects where I have been the youngest person as well, and my internship this summer is no different. Your advice that its okay to make mistakes is really inspiring for me, because I know I will make a lot of them as I learn. At the same time, I’m going to focus on being more confident as well.

    Good luck at the Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center, and I hope your project is a success!

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