This past spring semester, the Liberal Arts Action Lab welcomed twenty-four students to three project teams. The upbeat new energy from the fall semester continued as Trinity College and Capital Community College students participated in an Action Research Methods in Hartford course (LAAL 200) and a Hartford Research Project (LAAL 201) each semester. This semester Dr. Ozlem Atalay taught Action Research Methods in Hartford and led one of the three Hartford research project teams. Dr. Laura Minor led the other two project teams. Each team worked with a community partner who posed a pressing question about the city.
In the fall of 2022, I had the opportunity to participate in the Inclusive Museum Project at the Liberal Arts Action Lab. Our team consisted of three Trinity College students and three Capital Community College students. We collaborated on a research project aimed at expanding the audience of the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) over the course of a semester. Our community partners, Ilene Frank and Andrea Rapacz, of CHS, posed critical questions for us to investigate: Why do 18-28 year olds in the Hartford area choose to visit the museum? How can the museum attract more diverse visitors? CHS hoped to use the findings from our research to reshape curation of exhibitions, presentation of programs, and marketing activities to broaden museum attendance.
This past fall semester, the Liberal Arts Action Lab welcomed new community partners, an interim director, and a postdoctoral fellow. The new energy contributed to the Action Lab's continued work, where Trinity and Capital Community College students partake in an Action Research Methods in Hartford course (LAAL 200) and a Hartford Research Project (LAAL 201) each semester. Professor Atalay taught Action Research Methods in Hartford and led one of the three Hartford research projects. Professor Minor led the other two projects. Each team worked with a community partner who posed a pressing question about the city.
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In spring 2020, the Black Heritage Project at the Liberal Arts Action Lab (LAAL) took on the task of investigating and telling the story of the historic Talcott Street Congregational Church. The church was the first Black church and school in Hartford and was home to prominent abolitionists, notably the Reverend James W.C. Pennington, who led the church in the 1840s and 50s. I participated in the project as a student at Capital Community College (CCC).
In fall 2021, when I saw the opportunity to collaborate with a youth service organization in the Liberal Arts Action Lab, I knew I had to apply. I ended up working on the Positive Youth Development Project with ConnectiKids this past spring, where I participated in conducting research on the organization’s long-term impact. The project fit my academic interest in public service and education and allowed me to learn about research methods and collaboration. Our work also had a direct impact on our community partners at ConnectiKids, who have since used our deliverables in their internal reporting and communications.