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Community Learning

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of Trinity’s Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, brings together students, faculty, and Hartford-area humanities partners to explore themes in the humanities and creatively engage both scholarly and public audiences. Through this program, students have the opportunity to engage with multiple methods and contexts for creating new knowledge in the humanities by participating in small teams that work on faculty scholarship, on partners’ public humanities projects, and meet regularly to learn about community collaboration and digital tools. From the large pool of applications, PHC selected sixteen students to work on eight faculty and eight public humanities projects with each student receiving a $3500 stipend as well as summer housing during this 10-week program. The Public Humanities Collaborative is coordinated by Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning at Trinity College

Hartford Organizations’ Public Humanities Projects:

Coltsville National Historical Park, “Coltsville Through the Years”

  • Community Partner: Andrew Long, Management Assistant
  • Trinity Students: Kaylen Jackson ‘21 and Yisbel Marrero ‘20

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center, “Urban Renewal in Willimantic, Connecticut

  • Community Partner: Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator
  • Trinity Students: Kaytlin Ernse ‘20 and Sophia Lopez ‘22

Connecticut Historical Society, “Transcribing and Digitizing Archival Materials of Joseph Johnson

  • Community Partner: Andrea Rapacz, Director of Exhibitions and Collections
  • Trinity Students: Carlson Given ‘20 and Emma Sternberg ‘21

Hartford History Center, “Voices of Migration / Voces de la Migracion

  • Community Partner: Jasmin Agosto, Education & Community Outreach Manager
  • Trinity Students: Stephanie Cerda-Ocampo ‘21 and Brenda Piedras ‘21

Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, “Female Trailblazers: Hartford Jewish Woman Who Made A Difference”

  • Community Partner: Estelle Kafer, Executive Director
  • Trinity Students: Tanuja Budraj and Fede Cedolini ‘22

TheaterWorks, “Community Engagement at TheaterWorks”

  • Community Partners: Taneisha Duggan, Producing Associate
  • Trinity Students: Manny Rodriguez ‘20 and Hendrick Xiong-Calmes ‘22

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, “Developing Context and Content for Afro-Cosmologies exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture

  • Community Partner: Anne Butler Rice, Georgette Auerbach Koopman Director of Education at the Wadsworth, and Frank Mitchell, Executive Director of the Amistad Center
  • Trinity Students: Remi Tupper ‘20 and Kyre William-Smith ‘21

West Indian Social Club/West Indian Foundation, “Migrant Zero, Chain Migration, and Black Flight

  • Community Partner: Fiona Vernal, West Indian Foundation Board of Directors, and Beverly Redd, West Indian Social Club Leadership Team
  • Trinity Students: Esther Appiah ‘21 and Ali Kara ‘20
Trinity Faculty Research Projects:

Aidalí Aponte-Avilés and Christina Bleyer, “Voces de la Migración: Archiving and Sharing the U.S. Latinx Experience in Hartford

  • Trinity Students: Stephanie Cerda-Ocampo ‘21 and Brenda Piedras ‘21

Thomas Lefebvre, “Transatlantic Food Database

  • Trinity Students: Kaylen Jackson ‘21 and Yisbel Marrero ‘20

Alexander Manevitz, “The Rise and Fall of Seneca Village: Remaking Race and Space in Nineteenth-Century New York City

  • Trinity Students: Kaytlin Ernse ‘20 and Sophia Lopez ‘22

Nick Marino, “Podcasts as Oral History: LGBTQ Life in Hartford

  • Trinity Students: Manny Rodriguez ‘20 and Hendrick Xiong-Calmes ‘22

Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, “Food, Wine and Empire

  • Trinity Students: Tanuja Budraj and Fede Cedolini ‘22

Maurice Wade, “Building an Online Archive of Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought

  • Trinity Students: Esther Appiah ‘21 and Ali Kara ‘20

Chloe Wheatley, “Renaissance Literature in the Watkinson

  • Trinity Students: Remi Tupper ‘20 and Kyre William-Smith ‘21

Hilary Wyss and Christopher Hager, “Hidden Literacies Symposium and Website

  • Trinity Student: Carlson Given ‘20 and Emma Sternberg ‘21

For more information on the Public Humanities Collaborative, including how you can propose a project in the future, contact Director Megan Hartline.

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Trinfo News

Congratulations to Professor Serena Laws, Trinfo.Café, and all the students that were enrolled in “CLIC 290: Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” this semester! Last night, our colleagues at the Village for Families & Children sent us the most inspiring message about the course:


Take a look, the number of tax returns done at Trinfo Café this year – AWESOME number, especially for their first year!

-The Village for Families & Children

 

Photo by Abby Woodhouse, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, The Village for Families & Children.

For the Community Learning component of the course, students were trained as IRS-certified tax preparers at Trinfo.Café on Broad Street. The average returns they were giving to families was $1400 and $3800 for families with children– and that’s compared to an average yearly income of $18,000 for the clients served. Instructor and Site Coordinator Serena Laws said, “I’m very proud of all the work we’ve done this year and I’m excited to find ways to expand next year.”

And #ICYMI take a look at our video recap of the course below.


This semester, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science Serena Laws has been teaching “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” and piloting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at Trinfo.Café where students have been trained as IRS-certified tax preparers. Despite only being open a few hours twice a week, Professor Serena Laws says the VITA site at Trinfo.Café has already filed over 100 returns.

The average return we’ve been giving is $1,400, and for families with kids the average return has been about $3,800. Our clients have an average yearly income of about $18,000, so this is a huge boon to their income for the year. – Serena Laws, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science, and VITA Site Coordinator

For the academic component of the course, students are learning about the history of tax credits, how it compares to other methods of delivering social benefits, and the tax code in general.

“I think learning about the credits and then actually getting to see in practice how they contribute to the refund that people are getting and hearing their reactions to it is a lot more valuable than just learning about the history of the credit itself. It’s giving us an understanding of how this really affects people.” – Amanda Hausmann ’21

The pilot tax clinic at Trinfo.Café is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford coordinated by the United Way and The Village for Families & Children. The program generally serves people who make less than $55,000 a year, people with disabilities, and offers tax preparation services to Spanish and other language speakers.

Alex Tomcho ’19 assists a client with tax returns at the VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café. Photo by Nick Caito.
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