Week 2 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 2

Literally rushing to get it in before the contemporary art museum visit. I am researching with ProsperUs this summer! ProsperUs is a community development financial institution. It provides micro-lending services, entrepreneurship training and other business assistance to prospective entrepreneurs in Detroit, who lack accessibility to traditional banking services. ProsperUs puts equity at the center of their mission, expanding services to historically marginalized demographics and geographic areas. Moreover, ProsperUs also focuses on relationship building and community impact of their clients. So far, my first concrete contribution is helping them logging entrepreneur profile into their database. This honestly can feel drudgery sometimes, but this kind of work is very important and pushes you to treasure every small moment, because behind those data are individual stories (I would love to share but I would not do it in the public post). I am also taking on a more intellectually challenging task. One of my supervisors asks me to identify some patterns of their loan applicants’ profile and what distinguish those approved ones from the others. As for the work environment, my co-workers are both from Duke and already know each other, so it can feel a little bit sidelined at times. However, I think I am also learning from them in our daily interactions. For example, when we are asked to provide feedbacks to the survey, they are also experimenting with the Spanish survey and provide feedbacks on its web design. They both have some office work experiences before, so they are also managing their workflow in a more organized way. That’s it! Thanks for bearing through this.

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