Library Supports Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender, and Community’s Research Training Internship

RTI Student InternsThe DePaul University Library is committed to supporting community engagement as a strategic priority and recently welcomed the opportunity to affect interests and issues that impact young girls and women in Chicago.  Beginning winter quarter 2015, the library extended its resources and staff expertise to 16 high school student interns participating in the Research Training Internship (RTI), a partnership between the Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender, and Community and theJewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
As stated in the RTI Project overview, the pilot project “was created to generate new knowledge about the lives and experiences of Jewish teen girls and to develop the capacity for teen girls to engage critically with social issues that impact their lives through a feminist lens.  As a feminist educational organization, Ma’yan is committed to working with teen girls to broaden knowledge about their lives with other teens and women inside and beyond the Jewish community, and to build partnerships among feminist scholars, activists, and Jewish communal professionals.”1

This year the student interns are working on a youth participatory action research, or Y-PAR project on the state of Jewish teenage women in Chicago and are exploring topics ranging from mental health, general socialization, family structure, role of Judaism in their lives, to the social and media expectations placed on young women.  On Sunday, February 8, RTI students met with Alexis Burson, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian and Liaison to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department who provided an overarching lesson about the nature and purpose of research.  In the hour and a half long instruction session, Alexis provided tips on locating scholarly articles, information on creating viable search strategies and asked students to explore the merits of scholarly journals through an interactive exercise.  The teens were then given time to search within DePaul’s social science, gender studies and religious studies databases while Alexis offered research assistance tailored to each student’s research subject using Conference I.D. access provided by Information Services.

Stephanie Goldfarb, Program Director, Youth Philanthropy & Leadership Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Chicago, expressed gratitude for the access to library resources and research support. “My students absolutely loved being able to access the University’s research catalogues. Not only did it make their research come alive, but the experience cultivated a sense of importance and legitimacy to the work they are all committed to doing. Alexis made traditionally inaccessible and intimidating methods obtainable, and empowered the teens to pursue and become confident about their interests.”

Dr. Catlett, Associate Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, voiced her appreciation for the library’s support for her community based work with the Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender, and Community, adding, “The workshop today was absolutely fantastic, and the interns were so motivated about their upcoming research project!”

For more information on library initiatives to support community engagement read Scott Walter’s article, Library as Collaboration Space.

  1. Research Training Internship at Ma’yan.” The Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender, and Community. n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.