Brooke Burrows awarded NSF funding for cutting edge internship at Elite Learners

Brooke BurrowsBrooke Burrows, a Ph.D. student in in the psychology of peace and violence program in the department of psychological and brain sciences, was recently awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support a six-month internship. Part of NSF’s INTERN program, the award is designed to provide non-academic research experience and training to graduate students.

Burrows will hold an internship with Elite Learners, a school and community-based nonprofit that works to interrupt cycles of violence through prevention and restoration in conjunction with Columbia University’s Center for Justice in New York City. In this position, she will help develop an educational curriculum that moves from broader historical contexts of criminal justice in the United States to methods of both personal and community resilience/resistance and social policy change. She will also develop an evaluation system—rooted in a model of program partner and client input and feedback—for an alternative approach to how law enforcement and the legal system deals with gang violence. As Burrows explains “the evaluation model will take into account the needs and perspectives of program participants and involve them in the evaluation while also measuring outcomes of the project across multiple individual and community dimensions.”

In her future career, Burrows aims to conduct research focused on questions of justice mechanisms and outcomes; she also plans to work with community and government agencies to provide evidence-based interventions. In addition to first-hand experience in these areas, the internship will familiarize Burros with policy creation and advocacy with a variety of stakeholders. Burrows says she is excited about working to translate scientific practices to real-world issues impacting both education and justice systems.

“Having previously worked to provide support and resources to formerly incarcerated individuals in New York City, this position is an opportunity to return to a community that I care about,” Burrows says. “Working within a community context necessitates a participatory and needs-based approach to research that actively seeks to not only engage the scientific process, but to do so in a way that practices intentionality, identifies my own positionality as a researcher, and that seeks to elevate the voices of individuals most impacted and marginalized by the current criminal justice system.”

Current graduate students who hold an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, or whose PI has an active NSF grant, may be eligible to apply for INTERN funding. Contact Heidi Bauer-Clapp (hbauerclapp@umass.edu) for more information.