Fall Quarter Reflection

The fall quarter opened up my understanding of the educational landscape, connected me to several experts working on problems I’m interested in, and challenged me to rethink what I wanted to work on. Prior to joining LDT, I had extensive professional experience in technology, but I lacked experience with learning theories and pedagogy. Being here at LDT and the GSE has afforded me the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in education, including both professors and students.

When I first started the fall quarter, I had just finished reading Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. His work with the Equal Justice Initiative spurred my interest in criminal justice reform and I wanted to take this year to see how I could contribute towards reducing recidivism. Initially, I thought I would do this by examining the challenges people face during reentry after being imprisoned. As I chatted with experts who’ve been looking at prisons and reentry programs, I learned that 1) the most effective programs provide recently incarcerated people with concrete solutions, such as food stamps, housing, or jobs they can hold outside of prison 2) programs can work hard on equipping people, but without the system changing, people who leave prison face brutal uphill challenges during reentry.

As the quarter went on, I began to look at criminal justice reform as addressing a cycle which begins far before anyone is arrested or in prison. At a d.School pop-out, Designing for a Resilient Mind, I heard stories from African-American men who recounted how they were repeatedly harassed by police officers for standing on the corner and how they didn’t expect to reach adulthood. Hearing these stories grew my interest in addressing broken relationships within communities due to race, especially between police and the community. As we wrap up the quarter, this is where I’ve landed for my learning problem.

In this journal, you’ll get a more detailed overview of what I’ve been reading, who I’ve been meeting up with, and my reflections on my LDT journey thus far.

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