January 31, 2024

Students, faculty and staff are invited to hear assistant professors Abril Harris and Kristian Jones on Community Engaged Research: Lessons on Partnering with Communities on February 27. The Luminaries Seminar Series is sponsored by the School’s MSW Community-Centered Integrative Practice specialization. 

About the seminar: Communities are powerful spaces for transformation, knowledge creation and understanding. Due to the immense value and abundance within communities, researchers are often dependent on community relationships and expertise to push innovation in societal understandings and scholarship. When done with intention, community and research partnerships can be meaningful and beneficial for all involved. Yet, there are considerations that must be acknowledged and discussed to facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships, which this seminar will explore.

Seminar attendees are encouraged to come with questions and their own lived experiences to learn more and build communal connection on February 27, 5–6:30 p.m., School of Social Work, Room 305. Refreshments will be served.

Abril Harris joined the School of Social Work as an assistant professor in 2021. Her research focuses on the manifestations of structural violence endemic within American institutions and the role of socialization in normalizing structural violence in marginalized communities. She has a particular interest in exploring the processes used by Black, Indigenous and people of color as they navigate and respond to a systematically oppressive society. Her research addresses racial inequalities, especially those experienced by Black communities. Harris' research currently explores the role of internalized oppression and conscientization on post-assault processing and decision-making among survivors of sexual assault.

Kristian Jones' program of research examines how youth mentoring can be utilized to promote positive outcomes for Black youth. As part of his commitment to serving diverse youth, families and communities, his scholarship examines how community-based interventions, such as mentoring, meet the unique needs of vulnerable youth to prevent detrimental outcomes and enhance positive youth development. His current research focuses on how community-based youth mentoring programs promote social justice in the communities they serve. As a Black male scholar, Jones’ research is grounded in his passion for equity and inclusion, specifically as it relates to marginalized youth.