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In its third year, The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of Trinity’s Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will look a little different as students, faculty, and Hartford-area humanities partners come together remotely to explore themes in the humanities and creatively engage both scholarly and public audiences. Through the last two years, we have seen how PHC gives students 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. We wanted to ensure that these opportunities would continue this year, despite our current struggles. From the large pool of applications, PHC selected sixteen students to work on five teams conducting research and crafting public humanities projects with each student receiving a $3500 stipend during this 10-week program. The Public Humanities Collaborative is coordinated by Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning at Trinity College

Voces de la Migración with Aidalí Aponte and Christina Bleyer, Trinity College, and Jasmin Agosto, Hartford History Center
Zeinab Bakayoko ’23
Karolina Barrientos ’22
Mia Conte ’22
Krystal Philson ’21
Wendy Salto ’22
Gabriel Sorondo Guirola ’23

Audio Shelfie with Mary Mahoney, Trinity College, and various community partners across Connecticut
Esther Appiah ’21
Max Nortemann ’23

Making Visible Trinity, Hartford, and Caribbean Histories with Janet Bauer, Trinity College
Eviction Intervention and Prevention with Shaznene Hussain and Salmun Kazerounian, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Ayesha Malik ’22
Hassan Rashid ’22

Food, Wine, and World History with Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, Trinity College
Bringing American History to New Audiences with Rich Malley, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
Jaymie Bianca ’21
Kyre William-Smith ’21
Masho Strogoff ’22
Doris Wang ’21

Building an Online Archive of Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought with Maurice Wade, Trinity College
Investigating Welfare Liens with Shaznene Hussain and Sarah White, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Divina Lama ’21
Ananya Usharani Ravishankar ’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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Covid Stories

How could anyone truly enjoy this?

Each of us are stuck at home, limited in virtually everything we do. Numerous people are dying around the world every day. We are all faced with new ways of life. For some, it is bizarre, something straight out of a science fiction novel. For most, it’s uncomfortable. Yet, for a select few, it is serene.

On the other hand, this life-threatening illness elicits a strong sense of fear among all of us, which presents itself in a lot of different ways: fear of contracting the disease, fear for the wellbeing of loved ones, fear of what tomorrow might (or might not) bring. Many of us are having an exceptionally difficult time dealing with the mortality of this situation, in addition to social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation; these changes are affecting mental health, and they present hopelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll on the lives of people around the world. This virus poses negative impacts to all. With so many lives being threatened, friends and family being separated from one another, and normalcy being cancelled, it is difficult to see the good in this situation we all face. Is there any good?

For many introverts, myself included, social distancing and self-quarantine presents “good” that cannot easily be identified by others. Since this pandemic began to affect my personal life, back in early March, I realized the opportunity it set forth. Beforehand, I spent most of my days (and some nights) running around campus, interacting and engaging with new people non-stop. I worked different jobs, in addition to classes and extracurricular activities. Needless to say, it was a lot to handle, even for the most extroverted person. Back in the dorms, despite how much I loved spending time with my roommate, I never felt like I had time to myself. Many people, introverts or otherwise, identify this feeling as a reduction or exhaustion of social energy, or a drain on one’s “social battery”. Every day on campus, my “social battery” started at 10% and drastically decreased throughout the day. I never had any time to recharge.

Now, I am thankful to have my own room at home and a family that understands my need to recharge my “social battery”, or renew the social energy I expend from socializing. Being an introvert does not mean that you are antisocial or shy, despite it being defined by various sources as such. To me, being an introvert means that you are more likely to feel rejuvenated upon spending time alone, rather than in social settings. The introvert community is made up of a variety of people, as no one is 100% introverted or extroverted. As such, it is important to note that everyone (introvert or extrovert) can benefit from alone time, in the same way that everyone can benefit from socialization. Since social distancing began, I found I could “recharge” much easier than before; still, I miss creating new memories with family and friends. I miss what was once considered normal.

Nothing can change the fact that our new “normal” is totally unexpected and unwanted. Still, I encourage readers to see the silver lining amidst the mess this virus produces. One of my very best friends said it best during one of our routine FaceTime calls, “This is the perfect time to get to know yourself.” If you are able to, try to enjoy being in your own company. Try finding out everything you want to about who you are and what makes you unique.

As an introvert, I take time to self-reflect whenever I can, but I understand that it is challenging for others (even some introverts) to do this, especially as social distancing may raise new responsibilities such as balancing childcare, home schooling, and working remotely. A simple recommendation I can provide would be to start off small; take ~5 minutes to notice something new about yourself. Even with all of the time I spend alone, I still discover something new about the person I am. One of my favorite practices is to make lists of “my favorites”. If you’re indecisive like me, the lists tend to be pretty long. Some of the questions I ask myself are: What are your favorite qualities (in yourself? a friend? a significant other?) What words could you use to describe your personality? What are your favorite destinations to visit? Where do you want to travel when it is safe to do so again? What are your favorite stress-relieving activities? What do you need right now that will make you feel at ease? No topic is more significant than the other. I especially like these questions because they allow me to develop a more comprehensive idea of who I am, and remind myself that I can add even more to my lists once this settles.

One thing that helped me get through my difficult days, balancing multiple responsibilities on campus, is understanding that with every challenge conquered comes great strength. If dealing with isolation and social distancing is a challenge, spend time getting to know who you are and embracing it; finding peace in understanding who you are and who you wish to be. Push through feelings of discomfort, and learn to enjoy being alone but not lonely. Putting these ideas into practice may appear exhausting and never-ending, but each of them has value. I am thankful for the alone time I now have, as well as my past experiences stepping outside of my comfort zone on campus. I invite those who might find this time stressful to take an introvert’s perspective and find strength and enjoyment in doing the same.


About the author: Kelsey Brown is a First-Year student at Trinity from the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kelsey finds immense comfort in being surrounded by family and friends, but she especially cherishes spending time alone to reflect and learning to enjoy being in her own company.

Copyrighted by Kelsey Brown. Editorial assistance provided by Beatrice Alicea. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of “Finding Happiness in Isolation”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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“Community service and civic engagement work is a team effort, and every year we are fortunate to work with a wonderful group of students to make things happen.  And each year, we have to say goodbye to some as they move onto bigger and better things.  This is just a small tribute to the members of the Class of 2020 who have given us so much to both the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement and us personally.  Thank you, don’t be strangers, and congratulations on your successful completion of college.”

Beatrice Alicea and Joe Barber


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