Annabella Recierdo

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Temple University

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Annabelle Recierdo spent 6 weeks studying urban education, counseling practices, and community based research in Jamaica. Professors, counselors, and researchers exposed new theories and methods to Annabelle that allowed her to challenge preconceived notions of mental health and how education systems function in US America. She developed an understanding of how mental health and education differs based on culture. She shadowed a counselor and helped facilitate a pro-social skills group at a local primary school. She also joined the Change From Within Research Team, whose mission is to examine how successful urban schools succeed despite very trying circumstances and to spread the success to all Jamaican schools. Because her classes were structured in a service learning format, Annabelle made the most of her education abroad by combining textbook learning with hands on learning. For example, one day she worked on an extensive literature review and the next day she developed her own research via in person interviews. Annabelle’s main research interest evolved into violence in Jamaica and it’s psycho-social effect on child development. Her research revealed that there are not many in-school supports or community supports in Jamaica to provide children with when facing traumatic experiences. Along with interactions at schools and the community, Annabelle lived with other students in a beach-front villa - more so in the rural side of Jamaica. She loved hearing the constant sound of beach waves, going on spontaneous hiking trips, and having class outdoors. She overcame challenges like having no Wi-Fi connection, indoor shower, or air conditioning. Annabelle felt as though she was living a more simplistic lifestyle compared to her bustling lifestyle in the city of Philadelphia. She believed it to be a very grounding experience, and it allowed her to be more in touch with nature. Jamaica will always have a piece of Annabelle’s heart, as this is where she grew as an undergraduate student, young woman, and aspiring School Psychologist.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Addressing The Three C’s: Culture, Community, and Collaboration

Our CEE, Addressing The 3 C's: Culture, Community, and Collaboration was meant to address the issue of accessibility in a local and global context. We hoped to spark collaboration between Temple and the surrounding community and together make positive change in North Philadelphia. As much as we would like to enact positive change immediately, it is premature to think that can be done overnight. We must begin by assessing the issues and we have done so by providing a safe space for interested parties to come together and engage in initial dialogue. This safe space was enhanced by our key note speaker and panel speakers, who inspired dialogue by speaking about their personal experiences in the North Philadelphia community. It is helpful to see those in leadership positions taking a stand with you. Next, we called for round table discussions. Each person was given a form to fill out in regards to the name, affiliation, interest/project, and contact info of the people at their table. We hoped this would enhance networking and be a good take away in order to continue those conversations outside of our CEE. We provided questions on slips of paper in order to inspire conversation, but found that many round tables naturally came up with their own discussions unique to each subset's personalities and interests. Conversation came naturally to all and if it were possible we would have discussed longer than our room reservation allowed. This is exactly what we hoped for, and it proved that this dialogue was well needed in our community. We hope our CEE will lead to more dialogue, collaborations and interventions, and an evaluation of our efforts plus room for improvement.