I am a blogging novice. With that being said, what I hope to accomplish here is to bring greater clarity to my work as an intern with the CLC and SpeakOut! program at Colorado State University. Having previously thought that my words were treasures only to discovered by the mighty and privileged (i.e. my teachers and mother), I look forward to this opportunity to not only expose my writing to different audiences, but also to raise awareness of and bring understanding to the groups and issues I am directly engaging with. Most importantly, I hope to continually challenge myself as a writer throughout my time with SpeakOut!, whether it be through sharing my work with others or through indirect learning (i.e. learning through the experiences of other writers).
A few technical things you should know about me: I am a second-year masters student in Sociology, with a concentration in criminology and criminal justice. My primary academic interests include correctional health care and the health status of prisoners, re-entry, and rehabilitation services.
In light of such interests, I became especially intrigued by the work of the SpeakOut! program, in particular its focus on community literacy and the strengthening of ties between groups (e.g. incarcerated populations and outside community members) through writing and publication. In addition, I feel that the provision of services such as these is crucial to the rehabilitation and well-being of incarcerated individuals. Education, and the written word more generally, should not be privileged resources. Everyone has, and should utilize to the fullest extent, the power to express themselves and share their stories. Through this, we will grow to understand and appreciate one another as unique pieces of the world’s cultural mosaic.
Other awesome things:
I am from Georgia, originally–Marietta, to those who know the Atlanta area–but still struggle in adopting this “Southern Pride” that so many of my fellow neighbors speak of. I love fried chicken, creamed corn, and who could resist a Georgia Peach?, but a Southern Belle I am not. Thus my immense excitement for beautiful Colorado!
Surviving me in Georgia are two of the sweetest cats you will ever meet. That’s right. I am a cat lady. Note: I did not say “crazy cat lady,” just “cat lady.” It is one of my life goals to eradicate and dispel any negativity or stigma thus far targeted at the sweet, old, single ladies who peddle catnip and Fancy Feast for our whiskery-friends out there just trying to make a living. To date, my efforts are moving swimmingly. Just ask your neighbor.
I have been living in Fort Collins for just over a year, since starting my Masters program, and love it. The outdoor scent and fresh air on a brisk, sunny morning are two things I can always appreciate. However, I also have great zeal for the sport of international travel. Most recently, I spent six weeks in the Czech Republic with a study abroad program through the CSU Sociology Department learning about comparative criminology and criminal justice systems (heavy stuff for just a summer vacay). And, truth be told, domestic travel is pretty cool also! Whatever the destination, I am always interested in exploring a new place or culture, despite my bank account’s dubious plan to never actually let me go.
Experiencing new people, cultures, environments, and aesthetics is a primary responsibility placed on us as social beings. It is a moral imperative to explore new settings and challenge current thinking or ways of doing in order to move toward a more just and socially inclusive society. Recognizing the diverse conditions being confronted by the inhabitants of the social world will better position us, as fellow human beings, to more fully understand one another, as well as the problems occurring within the broader social world.
“NOW YOU GO INTO OBLIVION…” – John Howard Griffin