Getting to the core of student voices Reply

By Avery Stankus & Claire Crittendon1851 Staff

(L-R) Taylor Hughey, Molly Parrott, Professor Dennis Frey, Professor Marisa Hastie, Evan
Andrews, and Taylor Smith developing a strategic plan for the Core Scholars project. Photo by Avery Stankus

Six Lasell students, Associate Professor of History Dennis Frey and Associate Professor of Exercise Science Marisa Hastie have collaborated on a new initiative titled “Core Scholars.”

The Core Scholars conduct research in diversity and inclusion related to the core curriculum by facilitating focus groups to enable authentic student voices anonymously. “It’s a group of enthusiastic students wanting to make a change on campus,” said co-lead Core Scholar Evan Andrews.

These students, co-lead Core Scholar Taylor Smith (’20), co-lead Core Scholar Evan Andrews (’20), Daisy Bocanegra (’20), Codie Treszi (’20), Molly Parrot (’19), and Taylor Hughey (’19), hope to make a change on campus by leading these focus groups. These students have committed their time to learning more about students’ experiences with the core curriculum.

Faculty advisors Frey and Hastie, along with students Smith and Andrews, attended a workshop in October at Southern New Hampshire University based on student-led focus groups. The idea of Core Scholars came as a result from what they learned at the workshop.

“For the workshop, we had to come up with a project that we were going to carry out when we got back to campus. One of the issues that Evan and Taylor had thought about was the diversity and inclusion issues that have previously been addressed. Lasell needs to commit itself to multiculturalism and diversity,” said Frey.

“The thought of what we could accomplish for this school and what could happen or change if we were to follow all the way through with this project,” said Andrews.

Once the focus groups are complete, the Core Scholars will come together and critically analyze the gathered information. From here, a comprehensive report will be shared with the Lasell community at the spring Symposium and faculty meetings. Andrews describes this process in which they, “categorize comments and phrases said by the students…We find the common themes to organize everything where we can make conclusions about all of the findings.” Eventually, the members would like to present a solution to the board of trustees.

“Our goal is to make change, and not just say we are going to, but physically do something about it to allow for the student voice to not only be heard but also understood,” said Smith.

As for the future of Core Scholars, expect this project to flourish. The more student voices heard by Core Scholars, more change there will be. Applications to be a scholar or volunteer will be accepted starting May 1. This group is looking to better the Lasell community.

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