While I value the importance of collaborating with my peers, colleagues and students, I also believe that we must remain committed to serving the community surrounding NDNU. For this reason, I spend time cultivating my relationships with the following institutions.
In January 2017, I began a partnership with Vivian Clausing, the Director of Catherine’s Center, a Restorative Justice Program of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo. The halfway house was in need of a writing class to help women recently released from jail or prison to develop new coping skills that can assist them in understanding the root causes of their incarceration. I decided to incorporate a community engagement component to my NDNU Women’s Studies class to aid the women’s transformative journey through the power of the written word. Because of our first semester’s success, Vivian has asked our class to continue our work in encouraging the women of Catherine’s Center to write as a form of empowerment.
San Mateo County Youth Service Center
In the summer of 2016, I began a partnership with Katie Bliss, Director of Project Change and former alumni of NDNU’s undergraduate and MAE program. Project Change is a comprehensive program at the College of San Mateo organized to assist students who have been through the juvenile justice system make a successful transition to community college. This is the first community college-funded program in CA to offer in-person college instruction in the juvenile hall and direct support on campus for students once they leave the facility. NDNU and CSM have teamed up to develop college courses for students in juvenile hall, and YSC students taking NDNU courses under my tutelage are earning CSM college credits to encourage them to attend college once they are out of the justice system. I work with YSC in the fall semesters through my community engagement class ENG2700; in the spring, I volunteer my time and teach writing classes there because I wholly believe that the way to navigate the system is through education.
Judge for the San Mateo County Fair Poetry Contest, May 2016
In April 2016, I read and judged the San Mateo County Fair Poetry Contest entries for the submissions in Class 1 Freeform for ages 54 and younger and Class 4 Senior Structured ages 55 and older. I provided the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mentions for each class and wrote 1-line excerpts for the first place submission to print up on large posters.
Shotgun Players, April 2016
In January 2016, I reached out to Patrick Dooley, the artistic director of Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA), and asked him if the company would be interested in speaking to my graduate students taking my ENG4028 Drama course about Aphra Behn’s Rover or Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, two plays that we were reading during the Spring 2016 semester. Dooley was very open to rekindling his relationship with Notre Dame de Namur University, and in April 2016, our class visited the theater and spoke to two actors and the dramaturg of the Rover. My students gained a lot of knowledge from the expertise of the company and their understanding of drama grew immensely.