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Thriving Neighbors: University-Community Participatory Action Research as Transformative Praxis
Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
May 19, 2015 | noon-1 p.m.
Barbara Burns serves as the Director of Liberal Studies at Santa Clara University. She is a developmental psychologist who has worked in both the public and private sectors with colleagues in education, public health, pediatrics, social work, and psychiatry. The overall goal of her work has been to enhance the well-being and school success of young children from families experiencing extreme economic hardship, disadvantage and stress. Her research focuses on risk and resilience related to school readiness, and the complex relations among child temperament, attention skills and motivation. Her research findings have underscored the need for early intervention for families from disadvantaged neighborhoods and suggest that parent education programs are needed which strengthen children’s executive functioning, promote strong and secure attachment and increase stress management skills and mindfulness in parenting. The focus of Barbara’s research at Santa Clara University is to apply research findings on the science of resilience to address problems facing children and families from disadvantaged communities. She has established the Resilient Families Working Group to conduct community-based research to better understand issues of children’s resilience in high-risk families and evaluate programs designed to strengthen resilience through parenting. In the current year, the Resilient Families Working Group will be working at multiple community sites with young children and parents on research to evaluate a parenting program. We will also be working to collaborate with students and faculty in engineering to create digital health tools to promote and support stress reduction and mindfulness in children and parents.
Jennifer Merritt serves as the Director of Community-based Learning in the Ignatian Center. She is primarily responsible for overseeing the execution of the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program as well as Thriving Neighbors, Santa Clara University Community Partnerships. She earned her B.A. from Vanderbilt University, her M.B.A. from Northwestern University's J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and her Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from U.Va., has worked in industry management with Johnson & Johnson and served on the faculty at John Carroll University in the Department of Education and Allied Studies, where she founded the campus-based middle school and high school positive youth development program known as the Carroll-Cleveland Philosophers’ Program. Most recently, Jen served as the Faculty Director of Mentoring and Diversity at the University of Virginia Women’s Center, where she taught “Women Peace and Justice,” “Teaching Philosophy in High Schools,” and “Facilitating Mentoring Relationships” while directing international education and research initiatives with the Women's Center’s global partners in India and Africa and developing outreach programming for adolescent girls and women locally and globally.