The Center for Hartford Engagement & Research is pleased to announce the 2020 Community Learning Research Fellows! This is a competitive program that allows selected students with previous community engagement experience to challenge their learning and perspective by taking on a research or creative project. This semester, these 6 fellows are taking on the added challenge to design and execute a remote research projects in collaboration with a Hartford community partners and faculty sponsor, with guidance from Colloquium Instructor Laura Holt and Community Consultant James Jeter.

Each week the fellows are exploring a series of topics: identifying a question and designing a research project, communicating a research plan, developing good interview skills and techniques, analyzing and visualizing data, designing visual presentations and posters, and managing expectations and addressing challenges in collaborative projects. This semester, fellows will also have the opportunity to view a special recorded panel discussion on trauma-informed interviewing during the Covid pandemic hosted by Integrate NYC, Yale Education Studies, Guttman Community College Urban Studies and Trinity College’s Community Learning program.

The Fall 2020 Community Learning Research Fellows are:

Alli Futter ’23 – Alternative Addiction Treatment Research
Community partner: Yvette Williams, 2 Your Health LLC
Faculty advisor: Susan Masino

  • 2 Your Health asks for assistance identifying and organizing existing research on all-natural holistic addiction treatment methods and synthesizing the resources available for a grant application. This research will support 2 Your Health in taking their pilot program to the next step.

Malika Buscaino ’23 and Wendy Salto ’22 – Making Information Accessible to Hartford Immigrants and Refugees
Community partner: Commission for Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA)
Faculty advisor: Julie Gamble

  • The Hartford Commission of Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA) asks for assistance making critical information easily accessible and digestible to the immigrant and refugee community in Hartford through CRIA’s social media pages. In addition to this work on communications, Malika and Wendy will be tutoring youth in hope to gain a better perspective on their experience living in Hartford. This project will contribute CRIA’s development of new initiatives to fulfill needs in the community.

Bea Dresser ’22 – Legal Advocacy Assessment and Enhancement
Community partner: CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Faculty advisor: Ben Carbonetti

  • The CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence asks for an analysis of the Family Violence Victim Advocate (FVVA) role in each of the geographic area courts and identification of adjustments that can be made to improve advocacy opportunities and make the best use of victim advocate resources in Connecticut.

Brenda Piedras ’21 – Experiences of Community Health Workers During Covid
Community partner: National Association of Community Health Workers & Denise Smith, Network for Health
Faculty sponsor: Abby Williamson

  • Brenda will assist the National Association of Community Health Workers in coding existing interviews from Community Health Workers as well as developing a semi-structured interview guide to conduct follow up interviews on workers’ experiences during the Covid pandemic. This research will help uplift the legislative voice of Community Health Workers.

Kevin Torres ’21 – Abandoned Property Research
Community Partner: Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA)
Faculty advisor: Garth Myers

  • Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA) asks for assistance identifying problem properties including crime hotspots or sources of blight before they affect the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood. This process will help NINA engage property owners in repairing their properties before substantial community and governmental investment of resources becomes necessary.

To learn more about the Community Learning Research Fellows Program, visit or contact Instructor [email protected].