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It has been a busy summer here at CHER! This summer, we’ve been busy working on projects that bring together Trinity students, staff, faculty, and Hartford-area community partners. Students have been deeply engaged in public humanities summer research, volunteering in Hartford, attending workshops and lectures, interviewing community members, and having fun. Take a look at what we’ve been up to below, and if you or your organization are interested in partnering with CHER programs in the upcoming academic year, be sure to contact us.

Public Humanities Collaborative Students Use Digital Tools for Hartford and Faculty Projects

This summer, Trinity students in the Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) have been delving into archives at the Watkinson, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Jewish Historical Society; interviewing members of the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities of Hartford; transcribing, analyzing, and creating data visualizations on urban displacement in New York and the global wine trade; and so much more. Each week, teams have presented to fellow students, staff, faculty, and community partners on digital tools they are using in their projects. Take a look at their resources on our blog.

Moving from Oral History to Social Change: Groundswell Oral Historian Fanny Julissa García Presents Public Workshop

Over 40 Trinity students, faculty, staff, community partners, organizers, artists, and teachers came to CHER to learn about using oral history for social change with oral historian Fanny Julissa García. Participants described the ways they see oral history going beyond the archive: telling the stories of black elders and sharing those within a family, working with young people in a classroom setting and allowing freedom of expression, imagining and understanding Hartford and Willimantic neighborhoods before urban renewal and displacement, destigmatizing abortion, and more. Take a look at our blog post (with resources) here.

Building Community at Place of Grace Food Pantry

This week, we visited Peyton and Alicia at the Place of Grace Food Pantry at Grace Episcopal Church on New Park Avenue where they volunteer their time every Thursday. Place of Grace provides grocery items every week to parts of Parkville, the West End, and Frog Hollow and they’ve held a partnership with Trinity College’s Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement for about 8 years. Peyton and Alicia say for them, it’s deeper than volunteering: getting off campus in Hartford has taught them a lot. Take a look on our blog.

Trinity Community Resident Door-to-Door Survey Results Coming in September

This summer, Action Lab Director Megan Brown and student researchers Mabel Silva ‘20 and Karen Navarrete ‘20 teamed up with community interviewers to conduct a door-to-door survey, in Spanish or English, with over 100 residents of the 15-block area around Trinity College. Survey questions focused on residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood, their local information networks, and their familiarity with Trinity’s partnership programs. The goals of the study are for Trinity to regularly listen and assess how our neighbors perceive our institution, and to reflect on better ways to use our limited resources to strengthen mutually-beneficial partnerships. The study was funded by Trinity’s Office of the President, Office of Community Relations, and the Dean of Faculty. Stay tuned for a public report on our findings, and community events to share and discuss next steps, in late September.

Does Money Matter for America’s Students? School Finance and Educational Inequality Researcher Professor Bruce Baker Presents at Trinity

Last week, we were lucky to be joined by Rutgers University Professor Bruce Baker, a leading researcher on school finance and educational inequality. Trinity College students, faculty, staff, community partners, and community members came together for a special lecture on inequity in school finance and implications that has in Connecticut and Latinx communities. Take a look at Professor Baker’s slides, a video recording of the lecture, and a repost of the Connecticut Education Association’s blog post about the event. 

MakerspaceCT Welcomes Partnerships with Trinity Faculty, Staff, Students

Dave Tatem, a Trinity College Instructional Technologist and CHER Advisory Board member, recently toured MakerspaceCT, a 25,000 square-foot hands-on collaboration space located in the historic G. Fox Building in downtown Hartford. Read what he learnedabout how Trinity faculty, staff, and students can partner with their program.

Beatrice Alicea Promoted to Assistant Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement

The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College congratulates Beatrice Alicea on her promotion to Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement! Director Joe Barber (pictured above) said, “Beatrice will play an important role in strengthening and growing a number of Trinity’s ongoing community engagement efforts.” Read more about Beatrice and her new position here.

Learn How to Design a Communications Plan for Community Engagement

Erica Crowley, the Communications and Data Assistant at CHER, recently presented a one-hour interactive workshop on “Designing a Communications Plan for Community Engagement” for a gathering of the Community Engagement Professional Network (CEPN), sponsored by Campus Compact for Southern New England, and hosted at Quinnipiac University. She walked us through the steps behind clarifying your mission, designing a content calendar, and matching various digital and print platforms with different types of audiences. Learn more here.

CHER Director: Jack Dougherty
CHER Communications & Data Assistant: Erica Crowley
Community Learning Director: Megan Faver Hartline
Community Service and Civic Engagement Director: Joe Barber
Community Service and Civic Engagement Assistant Director: Beatrice Alicea
Liberal Arts Action Lab Director: Megan Brown
   Communications and Program Assistant: Morgan Finn
Trinfo.Cafe and Office of Community Relations Director: Carlos Espinosa
   Program Manager: Arianna Basche
Urban Educational Initiatives Director: Robert Cotto Jr.


Trinfo News, Trinfo.Café

Kayla Betts ’22, a Trinfo.Café student worker, teaches OPMAD summer program participants how to use Adobe Spark.

Trinfo.Café staff Suzanne Carpe ‘22, Kayla Betts ‘21 and Silvia Nunez ‘21 create and teach the program’s summer curriculum with Trinfo’s Program Manager Arianna Basche.

History meets technology at the Organized Parents Make a Difference (OPMAD) Summer Fun Program. Here, students are “traveling through time,” exploring different eras, from the 50’s to the 2000’s. Trinfo.Café gives students a chance to use technology and media to present and share their new knowledge.

Trinity College student workers at Trinfo.Café create and teach the summer curriculum with the community organization OPMAD (Organized Parents Make a Difference), a grassroots organization founded by parents of children in Hartford Public Schools to broaden the experiences and interests of their students and provide them with adult role-models. Today, Trinfo.Café student workers staff summer and after school programs, helping to significantly broaden the capacity of the organization.

In the photo right, the younger student participants in the summer program select the decade that they will research from co-teacher Suzanne Carpe ’22. By the end of the 4-week program, they will have created a presentable web page about the decade they selected. 

Co-teacher Kayla Betts ’22 started her first lesson of the summer with an introduction in Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark is a media creation application that is used to transform information and ideas into visuals, all while incorporating a variety of elements (such as videos or music) and being able to publish it to the web. This is Kayla’s third semester working with OPMAD, but it’s the first time she’s taught Adobe Spark. Reflecting on her experience, she says,

It is very rewarding to create a lesson plan and see what works and how we can improve either the curriculum or the way we present the information; it has to work for the specific group of students we have each time.” – Kayla Betts ’21

Check out an in-progress Adobe Spark Page by student Kamryn who is researching the 1960’s. 1960's

Trinfo.Café is Trinity College’s community space that brings together Hartford residents, organizational partners, small business, and Trinity students, faculty, and staff. Student workers teach computer literacy classes, staff on and off-site community programs, assist with walk-in tech help, and more. Learn more at


Community Learning

It’s pop up time! Last week, Public Humanities Collaborative students Josselyn Zaldivar ’20, Brenda Piedras ’21 and Stephanie Cerda-Ocampo ’21 hosted pop ups at Hartford Public Library branches to share their oral history interviews and web content on the Voces de Migracion project with Hartford History Center and Trinity College‘s Watkinson Library. This was a culmination of their work this summer which included three components: working to conduct oral history interviews to add to the project, reserving the materials and making them publicly accessible online, and planning the interactive pop-up programs to share with the community.

This week they had pop-ups at Hartford Public Library Dwight, Campfield, and Park branches on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. A few members of the CHER team took a walk over to the Park Street branch of the library to join the audience. The pop-up focused on short video clips from their oral history interviews focused on 1) tobacco work couples with the creation of baseball teams to create social cohesion amongst Puerto Ricans, and 2) the significance of women activists in community organizing and community power, such as Maria Sanchez and Olga Mele. Dr. Christina Bleyer, Professor Aidali Aponte-Aviles, Megan Faver Hartline, and community partner Jasmin Agosto ’10 were fantastic mentors to the students this summer.

I think they are super incredible and thoughtful students – couldn’t have asked for a better match for this project. Wishing they could be stewards of this collection for the next few years… -Jasmin Agosto ’10, Hartford History Center

Thank you Dr. Christina Bleyer, Jasmin Agosto, Prof. Aidali Aponte-Aviles, and Megan Faver Hartline!

To learn more about the Public Humanities Collaborative, visit or contact Director of Community Learning