Week 1: Introduction – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1: Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Tottionna Bushell but most people call me Totti. I transferred to U of M one year ago and have been an active member of the undergraduate research community ever since. I am majoring in Afro-American studies and Statistics with hopes to conduct statistical research in marginalized communities. 

Doing statistical analysis work in Detroit (through SDEV) appeals to me because I have the opportunity to change the outlook of facets of society through them. I have consistently seen how statistics can be used to oppress the marginalized through mental and physical pain. I see how data is interpreted to suit people depending on their race, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, and other societal advantages. The absence of nuance within the interpretation of statistical analysis has continuously influenced people’s images of themselves and their communities. With the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, I have the opportunity to help improve the environment and strengthen the economy through the help of data. 

On a micro level, I believe community is about belonging. I once read a scholarly article stating that students who feel like they belong in their environment are more likely to succeed in their education. It is important that people feel like they have a place in the world. On a macro level, community is about survival as people come together and try to improve their lives by helping each other with the resources available. The only issue here is that some communities don’t have all the tools required to live sustainably.

The strength of time management is something that I learned while working as an intern for the Detroit City Council. The environment there was fast paced and required a lot of accurate work within a short amount of time. Due to this experience, I will be able to pace work in order to get it done fast and efficiently. 

By the end of DCERP, something that will make me proud is simply having a greater understanding of my community and other peoples’ experiences. I am always striving to widen my knowledge and working at SDEV/DCERP will give me the opportunity.

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