This summer, BC Social Work convened a colloquium on Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity for PhD students across the country. The event, co-directed by professors Ruth McRoy and David Takeuchi, was initiated to provide advanced social work graduate students from different institutions with a space to engage in discussions about different forms of inequality, especially in relation to race.
“Graduate students don’t often have the opportunity to share their work with other students at different institutions,” explains Takeuchi. “This colloquium provided students with a forum to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and, perhaps, forge professional and personal relationships that will endure. The colloquium also established a meaningful setting for encouraging, critiquing, and fortifying the research on inequality for the next generation of social work scholars.”
PhD candidates came to Boston from all corners of the United States, from the University of Hawaii to the University of Chicago to Howard University. In addition to a diversity of geographic representation, the colloquium featured a variety of topics around inequality. They included:
- How race, culture, and class shape health and illness among different groups.
- The ways in which dual minority parents teach their children about race.
- The influence of historical and social factors on access to environmental resources.
- The link between neighborhoods and youth involvement in the juvenile justice system.
The colloquium also offered a specific forum on Career as a Journey from experienced career consultant and coach Amy Yamashita, who has advised organizations ranging from universities to private institutions such as the W.T. Grant Foundation.
“The event was unique and unlike any other event that I’ve participated in,” said Cristina Ortiz, a PhD candidate in social work at the University of Chicago who is studying the parental racial socialization process as it occurs in dual-minority multiracial families.
“… Aside from the actual presentations, the event did a great job at helping all of the scholars develop connections and a sense of belonging within a department outside of their own. This event was not only an opportunity for students to share their research, but a great way to develop a community of scholars with similar interests who are committed to contributing to social change.”
Students in attendance said that being able to work with Professors Takeuchi and McRoy was a major drawing point for the colloquium, which BCSSW hopes to make an annual event on campus.
“Drs. Takeuchi and McRoy are indeed two very respected scholars in the field,” explains Christina Tam, a PhD candidate in social welfare at UCLA whose research focus is adolescent risk and well-being in specific Asian Pacific Islander ethnic groups. “To be able to work with them was an honor and humbling experience, because they were able to show, at least to me, that there is no linear path to getting to the current point in their respective careers.”