SOC 316: Community Research

The Community Research Seminar, SOC 316, taught by Rob Rosenthal, was the first service learning course offered at Wesleyan. In the fall community groups and agencies submit proposals for projects they would like researched.  A Wesleyan faculty panel reviews the proposals and selects four projects.  Teams of four students carry out research projects during the spring semester.  These may involve social science, natural science, or arts and humanities themes. The first two weeks of the course are spent studying the theory and practice of community research. Working with the community groups, the teams design and implement research projects. Throughout the semester, the course convenes twice weekly to discuss research methodology and to track problems and progress in the individual projects.

Past Projects

  • 2016: Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness

    Effects of Eviction on Individuals and Communities in Middlesex County (May 12, 2016)

    A Study Completed by

    Rilwan Babajide, Eliana Blum, Hannah Maniates, and Madeline Scher

    In Collaboration with The Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness

  • 2016: Middesex Coalition for Children

    Ryan Breen, Ellen Chang, Michelle Rosen, and Suet Ning Wong

    Middlesex Coalition for Children

  • 2015: North End Action Team

    for the North End Action Team

    by Talia DeRogatis, Jamie Jung, Crystal Rogers, and Angela Slevin

    More about 2015: North End Action Team
    In conjunction with the North End Action Team (NEAT), a community organizing group based in the North End of Middletown, Connecticut, a research team from Wesleyan University worked to survey the residents of the neighborhood to understand their perspectives on the greatest issues presently facing the community. Through convenience and random sampling methods, we surveyed 113 residents. The top five greatest issues were found to be Crime and Drugs, Infrastructure and Access, Street Dynamics, Youth Activities, and Public Space. We hope that these results can help direct the future community organizing efforts of NEAT.
  • 2015: Middlesex Coalition for Children

    for Middlesex Coalition for Children

    by Nina Gerona, Eva Jaskoviak, Geneva Jonathan, and Morgan Scribner

    More about 2015: Middlesex Coalition for Children
    The Middlesex Coalition for Children recruited the services of four Wesleyan students to research issues related to food security and access of Middletown households with children. The research goals were to: (1) measure the food security of households with children under the age of 18; (2) evaluate the use of federal and local food programs; (3) assess factors that limit access to food such as income and transportation. In 2005, a similar report, Food Security and Hunger Among Middletown Households with Children, was completed using telephone interviews and self-administered surveys. This 2015 study serves as a comparison to the 2005 study, reporting on how food trends have changed over the past decade. This study found that food insecurity among Middletown households with children has doubled in the past ten years, and the recent addition of the marginally food secure category by the USDA highlights that many households could be on the cusp of food insecurity. Income is the strongest indicator of a household’s food security status. Moreover, food insecure parents attempt to shield their children from the effects of food insecurity by reducing the quality and size of their meals first, but this becomes increasingly difficult as household income approaches the poverty line. We also found federal and local food aid programs are helping to reduce food insecurity, yet many programs have also seen a decline in use by food insecure families in the past ten years.
  • 2010 Projects

    Display list of 2010 Projects

    2010: River Valley Services

    “Exploring Employers’ Attitudes on Hiring Individuals with Serious Mental Illness”

    for River Valley Services

    by Stephanie Quainoo, Sara Shor, Sarah Tracy-Wanck, Jennifer Veloz

    This report examines employers’ attitudes on hiring individuals with a serious mental illness (SMI) within River Valley Services’ (RVS) Catchment Area 10- Middlesex County. The purpose of the study was to explore the presence of prejudicial attitudes among these employers and gauge how stigma can influence hiring practices. Furthermore, we investigated the attitudes towards supported employment agencies to provide RVS with suggestions on maximizing the effectiveness of their employment services.


    2010: Fire Services

    “An Investigation of the Impact of Non-Taxable Properties on Fire Departments in the City of Middletown, CT”

    for Middletown Council Fire Services Cost Committee

    by Tara Abaring, Steve Koch, Miriam Rosenau, and Rob Wohl 

    This report is the product of a semester-long study assessing the fiscal impact of providing fire services to the tax-exempt properties within the three fire districts in Middletown, CT.  It was commissioned by the Middletown Common Council’s Fire Services Cost Committee, and conducted by student researchers in Wesleyan University’s Community Research Seminar with the assistance of the Middletown, Westfield, and South fire departments. Research strategies included calculating the cost of providing services to non-taxable property, determining the tax revenue lost due to tax-exemption, and appraising the effectiveness of Connecticut’s PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxation) program, which reimburses municipalities for the taxes that would be paid on certain kinds of tax-exempt property, namely state property, private colleges, and hospitals.


    2010: Artists for World Peace

    “Art is Life; Life is Art:” A Study of Access to Higher Education for Low-Income Art Students in Middlesex County

    for Artists for World Peace

    by Priscilla Bustamante, Sarice Greenstein, Rithi Mathias, and Mariel Matze

    In collaboration with a community organization, Artists for World Peace (AFWP), a research team of four Wesleyan students studied the factors that influence whether low-income high school students from Middlesex County who are interested in the arts will:

    • Attend college rather than enter the work force;
    • Attend a four-year college instead of a two-year college such as a community college; and/or
    • Continue to study and pursue their interest in the arts after they graduate high school.

    Data were obtained in order to assist AFWP develop a potential scholarship for low-income art students.

  • 2009 Proejcts

    Display List of 2009 Projects

    2009: Jonah Center

    “Middletown Green Business Initiative”

    for Jonah Center for Earth and Art

    by Laura Masulis, Tanya Moss, Miller Nuttle, and Paolo Speirn

    This project aimed to facilitate environmentally responsible business practices in Middletown. A group of four Wesleyan students was commissioned by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art to complete this project as part of the Community Research Seminar class.  The student researchers interviewed Middletown business owners and environmental leaders to develop a checklist of green business practices.  Based on feedback from businesses, the research group expanded the project to create a comprehensive Middletown Green Business Initiative.


    2009: Even Start

    “Even Start Family Literacy Program Evaluation: Measuring Parental Involvement in Education”

    for Even Start Family Learning Program

    by Shayna Bauchner, Katie Hanna, Isaac Maddow-Zimet, and Holing Yip

    This report is the final product of a semester-long collaborative study between a group of student researchers from Wesleyan University and the Middletown Adult Education Even Start Family Literacy Program (Even Start), an early child learning and adult education program in Middletown, Connecticut. Since Even Start is founded on a parent-child joint learning model, this study focuses primarily on the effects of the program on the parental involvement level of its former participants, with secondary foci on parent and child educational achievement after leaving Even Start.


    2009: Coalition for Children

    “Parents’ Experiences with the 2008-2009 HUSKY Network Transition”

    for Middlesex Coalition for Children

    by Roy Chung, Ari Tolman, Ashley Un, and Liana Woskie

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of HUSKY families following January 2009 changes to the program that required families to choose among three new provider networks.  A team of four Wesleyan University students collaborated with the Middlesex Coalition for Children to examine the effects of this most recent transition in the program on parents’ satisfaction with their new plans and services, access and use of healthcare for their children, and general opinions about their experiences navigating the HUSKY program.


    2009: Children’s Mental Health

    “Middletown Children’s Mental Health Planning Grant Coalition”

    for Middletown Public Schools, the Ministerial Alliance, and the Middlesex Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health

    by Philip Benjamin, Jena Gordon, Lauren Barth, and Alexis Sturdy

    Four Wesleyan students collaborated with a coalition consisting of the Middletown Public Schools, the Ministerial Alliance, and the Middlesex Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health.  These organizations came together in January 2008 to request a grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation to develop a plan to reduce the number of at-risk children ages 6 to 14 from entering the most intensive mental health treatment and/or the juvenile justice system through a secondary prevention system of early identification, assessment and interventions.   This study seeks to assist the coalition by providing insight into parent perceptions of mental health and mental health services.  Specifically, it attempts to collect parents’ attitudes toward mental health services, their awareness of those services, and their reports of external barriers to obtaining those services.

  • 2007 Proejcts

    Display List of 2007 Projects

    2007: Youth Services

    “Barriers to Middle-School Youth Participation in After-School Programs”

    for Middletown Youth Services Bureau

    by Daphne Clyburn, Kathleen Day, Alex Diamond, and Stephanie O’Brien

    In collaboration with the Middletown Youth Services Bureau (MYSB), four Wesleyan University researchers—Daphne Clyburn, Kathleen Day, Alex Diamond, and Stephanie O’Brien—investigated factors that affect youth participation in after-school activities, with the goal of identifying barriers and developing strategies to increase participation in after-school programs. Using data from both surveys and interviews conducted with Middletown middle-school students and their parents, this report answers the question of who is not participating in after-school programs and why, and suggests ways to increase student participation.


    2007: School Readiness

    “Ready or Not? Preschool Outcomes in Middletown, Connecticut” (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)

    for Middletown School Readiness Council

    by Margarette Arias, Fiona Lundy, Lauren Sonnabend, and Jennifer Timm

    A research team of four Wesleyan University students collaborated with the Middletown School Readiness Council (MSRC), a state-funded organization based in Middletown, Connecticut, to evaluate the effectiveness of the city’s twenty preschool programs in preparing their students for kindergarten.  The report addresses which schools led to what particular student outcomes and, to a lesser extent, why discrepancies might exist.  Understanding the relationship between child outcomes, school performance, and the reasons behind these results will allow for future program improvement where needed by providing appropriate resources and support.


    2007: Residential Services

    “Cultivating Community: Neighborhood Dynamics in Communities with Group Homes for the Developmentally Disabled”

    for New England Residential Services, Inc.

    by Talia Barrett, Jeff Kessner, Grace Lesser, Jean Pockrus, and Darrah Sipe

    New England Residential Services (NERS) runs 11 group homes for the developmentally disabled across central Connecticut. The agency asked five students in Wesleyan University’s Community Research Seminar to investigate how the agency can most effectively neutralize opposition to group homes as they expand into new communities. They also wanted to learn how to improve relations in neighborhoods where existing group homes are located. The Wesleyan research team conducted interviews with neighbors and staff members of six group homes to gather relevant information. Once all of the interviews were completed, the researchers looked over the interviews and found common themes that emerged throughout the communities.


    2007: Green Street

    “Art in Middletown: Evaluating Today and Planning for Tomorrow”

    for Green Street Arts Center

    by Deanne Dworski-Riggs, Ali Kimmell, Kelly Klein, and Shira Miller

    This project aims to understand the arts needs of the Middletown community for the purpose of developing and adjusting programming to make it more attractive and accessible to Middletown residents. To this end, we investigate specific needs in terms of scheduling, pricing, duration, format, and subject matter of possible programs that community members would participate in. We hope that the information generated by this study will be useful to all Middletown arts organizations and be used as a resource to collaboratively plan the future of the arts in Middletown.

  • 2006 Projects

    Display List of 2006 Projects

    2006: Upward Bound

    “Closing the College Gap: A Study of the Wesleyan Upward Bound Program”

    for Upward Bound

    by Laura Ouimette, Sally Smyth, Amanda Thieroff, and Satyawidya Wulansari

    Wesleyan Upward Bound is a supplemental high school education program that works to help low-income and potential first generation college students graduate from high school and attend four-year colleges or universities. This study seeks to determine what student and parent participants find appealing or problematic about the program, and also, why some students drop out of Upward Bound before completion. We gathered information by conducting a focus group and interviews with current and former students and their parents between the years of 2000 and 2008.


    2006: The Connection

    “Trailblazing in Rehabilitation: Implementing Evidence-Based Practices At The Connection, Inc.”

    for The Connection, Inc.

    by Marjorie Cardon, Emilie Phelps, Cynthia Santiago, and Kara Schnoes

    This study was conducted by a research team of four Wesleyan University students in cooperation with the Connection, a nonprofit human services and community development agency based in Connecticut.  The research identifies factors that hinder or aid rehabilitation facilities in the implementation of five evidence-based practices, which include assessment of criminogenic needs, use of motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), engagement in pro-social activities, and preparation for meaningful employment.  The students researched the following four Connection facilities: Middlesex Alternative to Incarceration Center (AIC), Meriden AIC, Hallie House, and Connection House.  The research team anonymously interviewed 37 clients and 19 staff to provide a comprehensive picture of each facility’s strengths and weaknesses.


    2006: NEAT

    “Energy Costs in the North End: The Rise in Utilities and its Effect on a Low-Income Community”

    for North End Action Team and Jonah Center for Earth and Art

    by Andrew Aprile, Makenna Goodman, Kalia Lydgate, and Lirra Schiebler

    The Wesleyan research team was commissioned by the North End Action Team (NEAT) and the Jonah Center to do an energy assessment of the North End neighborhood in Middletown, CT. The North End is, in fact, comprised of a few sub-neighborhoods characterized by different income levels. The organizations we worked with were interested in what problems North End residents encountered in the area of energy and utilities, and what could be done about these problems.  The main goals to be achieved from this research were economic savings for North End residents, an evaluation of energy programs and assistance opportunities for those eligible, an assessment of interest and support for the Jonah Center’s initial programs in the areas of environmental education and conservation, and further communication between North End residents and NEAT.


    2006: Legal Services

    “Disabilities and School Based Arrests: Local Connections”

    for Connecticut Legal Services and the Office of the Public Defender

    by Julie Bromberg, Molly Dengler, Helen Gugel, and Bettina Schlegel

    The purpose of our research project was to determine whether or not the national trend of increased school based arrests that disproportionately affect youth with disabilities also holds true on a local level in Meriden and Middletown.

  • 2005 Projects

    Display List of 2005 Projects

    2005: The Connection

    “Desistance Strategies: A study of criminal behavior from the offenders’ point of view”

    for The Connection, Inc.

    by Tushar Kansal, Dania Reid, Craig Thomas, and Henry White

    This study highlights factors that aid and hinder criminal offenders as they attempt to change their behavior and desist from crime.  We stress the perspectives of the offenders themselves.  We conducted 22 interviews with graduates of Connection House and current members of the Middlesex and Meriden Alternative to Incarceration Centers (AICs).  In this report, we include both statistics and quotations.  We seek to emphasize the voices of our interviewees: individuals who struggle on a daily basis with the issues of criminality and desistance.


    2005: Oddfellows

    “Dissecting the Pink Octopus: A Comparative Study of Arts-Based Programs for “At-Risk” Youth”

    for Oddfellows Playhouse

    by Azalea Birch, Spencer Christensen, Vanessa Jones, and Hillary Rubesin

    Our research team assisted Oddfellows Playhouse, a youth theater based in Middletown, CT, in conducting a comparative study amongst similar arts-based organizations in hopes of compiling a collective body of knowledge that would both improve Oddfellows’ Neighborhood Troupes program and provide relevant information for all organizations involved in the study.


    2005: Coalition for Children

    “Food Security and Hunger Among Middletown Households with Children”

    for Middlesex Coalition for Children

    by Beth Coddington,Tiffany Lo, Amelia Long, and Maria Nankova

    To assess the rate of food insecurity among Middletown households with children under 18, a research team of four Wesleyan students conducted a telephone and paper survey of 329 households. The survey was designed by the USDA, and is currently used by the federal government to measure food security at the state and national levels.

  • 2004 Projects

    Display List of 2004 Projects

    2004: Riverview Hospital

    “Transitions from Psychiatric Hospitalization to Aftercare: A Follow-Up Study of Patients Discharged from Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth”

    for Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth

    by Rebecca Brigham, Corey Orlando, Shani Pavel, and Amanda Westlake

    The purpose of this study was to provide information on the effectiveness of hospitalization at Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth, ad to identify factors associated with post-discharge success. Telephone interviews were conducted at two, four, and six weeks post-discharge with the guardians of twelve patients. The interview was designed to assess patient environments, patient functioning, symptoms and diagnoses, aftercare services, and consumer perspectives. Findings indicated that overall patients improved during hospitalization and maintained these gains to some extent during the period immediately following discharge. In general, patients were generally satisfied and complied with aftercare services. Based on this research, we have made recommendations as to how patient follow up can be integrated into Riverview’s clinical practice.


    2004: NEAT

    “Reflections on the Community Policing Initiative in the North End of Middletown”

    for North End Action Team

    by Kevin Baker, Ilana Cohn, Kristy Mercado, and Maggie White

    This study was conducted by a team of student researchers at Wesleyan University on behalf of the North End Action Team (NEAT) to assess how Middletown Police officers and North End community members regard each other, what barriers exist to community policing work in the North End, and what ideas both residents and police have to address those barriers. The entire report is available at the Center for Community Partnerships (167 High Street), the NEAT office (33 Ferry Street), and Russell Library (123 Broad Street).

  • 2003 Projects

    Display list of 2003 Projects

    2003: Riverview Hospital

    “After Riverview: A Survey of the Accessibility and Quality of Aftercare Services, and an Assessment of Former Patients’ Current Functioning”

    for Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth

    by Doron Taussig, Ryan Ungaro, Andrea Wozny, and Perri Yaniv

    This study aims to provide information about the current conditions of adolescents who have been discharged from a psychiatric care facility. The study was conducted by the Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth in Middletown, CT in collaboration with four Wesleyan University students enrolled in Sociology 316: Community Research Seminar. Riverview Hospital is one of five treatment facilities operated by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

    The study attempts to answer three key questions: 1) How satisfied are the guardians of former Riverview patients with the care of adolescents received at the hospital? 2) How much are patients discharged from Riverview Hospital accessing aftercare psychatric services? and 3) How well are these disch


    2003: NEAT

    “Job Skills and Needs in the North End of Middletown: A Survey of Residents’ Employment and Barriers to Employment”

    for North End Action Team

    by Mary Thomas, Meg Swan, Aaron Welo, and Annie Youngerman

    Four Wesleyan students along with several community members spent the last 4 months gathering information from over 60 North End residents in an attempt to give a picture of the barriers and strengths that influence resident employment. This is a summary of our final report. The whole report is available at both the NEAT (North End Action Team) office, 33 Ferry, and the Russell Library. During this time we also collected specifics from certain residents who wanted to participate in a Job Database NEAT is constructing. This Job Database will try to connect participating residents with job openings and training opportunities. If you would like to learn more about this database, contact the NEAT office at 860-346-4845.


    2003: Middletown Planning

    “Affordable Housing in Middletown, CT”

    for Middletown Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development

    by Ata Suanda, Evan Kultangwatana, Jessica Karp, and Julia Bruckner

    This report was produced by four Wesleyan students in partnership with the Middletown Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development (MPCD). The purpose of this report is to give clear, accurate information on the affordable housing situation in Middletown. The data provided are intended to help planners and other concerned citizens make informed decisions about housing in Middletown.

    We began this report with one central question: What is the supply of and the need for affordable housing in Middletown? We set out to create a Master-List and map of all government assisted affordable housing units in Middletown, and to use Census data, rental listings, and information on housing sales to provide a picture of both government-assisted housing and market-based housing.


    2003: Haddam-Killingworth YFS

    “Assessment of the Youth and Family Services of Haddam Killingworth Summer Program for Teens”

    for Youth and Family Services of Haddam-Killingworth

    by Liana Heitin, Cheryl Lim, Emily Polak, and Jimmy Purvis

    The Youth and Family Services Summer Program for Teens is a six week program that runs Monday to Friday in which middle school and high school students participate in field trips and activities, including arts and crafts, sports, movies, and Teen Talks. in this study we attempted to determine what kind of impact the Summer Program has on its teen participants. We gathered information by conducting interviews with students who had participated in the program, parents of student participants, guidance counselors, and program staff.


    2003: CT Parent Advocacy

    “Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center Research Report”

    for Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center

    by Nina Barrett, Ranae DeSouza, Rebecca Joffe-Halpern, and Kristina Koenig

    The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center is a statewide nonprofit organization that offers information and support to the families of children with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, age birth to 21. CPAC is committed to the idea that parents can be the most effective advocates for their children. The Wesleyan research team was asked to investigate ho CPAC, and parent centers in general, can connect with low income families as well as with racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. The Wesleyan researchers, with the cooperation of the Middletown Board of Education, sent out letters to all parents of Middletown public school children with special needs asking them to participate in the project by agreeing to a short interview.

  • 2002 Projects

    Display list of 2002 Course Projects

    2002: NEAT

    “Creating Recreational Space in the North End: A Survey of Residents’ Visions and Concerns”

    for North End Action Team

    by Jen Barkan, Ann Chen, Alissa Kronovet, and Erin Larkin

    This study was conducted by a team of student researchers at Wesleyan University on behalf of the North End Action Team (NEAT), a grassroots community organization based in the North End neighborhood of Middletown, CT. The purpose of the study was to gather information from North End residents regarding what type of open and/or recreational space they would like to see in their neighborhood.


    2002: Middletown Senior Center

    “Vitalizing Longevity: Baby Boomers Redefining and Envisioning the Future”

    for Middletown Senior Center

    by Varuna Anand, Amanda Chiu, Peter Rosenblatt, Wichuda Wichaidit

    This study was conducted by a group of four Wesleyan students as part of the Community Research Seminar, in collaboration with the Middletown Senior Center and the City of Middletown, to study the needs, interests, and attitudes of Middletown Baby Boomers (those born between the years of 1946-1959) in the years to come. Interviews covered a wide array of areas, including education, finances, work and retirement, housing, community services, and leisure activities. One hundred Middletown Baby Boomers were interviewed, 63 female and 37 male. Seven Baby Boomers then participated in a follow-up focus group for the purpose of clarifying and probing deep


    2002: Middlesex Community Access

    “Middlesex Community Access Program”

    for Middlesex Community Access Program

    by Joanne Alcantara, Lauren Briskin, Sarah Norr, and Martha Paz

    The purpose of this study is to explore the qualitative difference that the Middlesex Community Access Program (M-CAP) has made in the lives of its target population, namely the uninsured and underinsured people of Middlesex County. Qualitative information about the lives of M-CAP clients shows both the strengths of M-CAP and areas where services might be improved.


    2002: Eddy Shelter

    “A Report for the Eddy Shelter”

    for The Eddy Shelter

    by Amy Cirincone, Ruth Corley, Wesley Look, and Mia Unger

    We studied how the Eddy Shelter, a thirty-day and thirty-bed emergency shelter serving single adults in Middlesex County, can improve its services to help guests transition out of the Shelter and into more stable living conditions. Thirty interviews were completed with current and former Eddy Shelter guests. Research and analysis were conducted by four students in the Community Research Seminar at Wesleyan University.


  • 2000 Course Projects

    Display list of 2000 Course Projects

    2000: SEIU

    “Justice for 29 Connecticut Janitors: The Workers’ Stories”

    for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 531

    by Anna Hackett, Krista Hanson, Nomi Maeyama, Benjamin Paradise

    A group of four Wesleyan students, as consultants to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 531, researched the situation of subcontracted janitors employed by Initial Cleaning Services at Wesleyan University. At the time of our research, the Initial janitors had recently won union recognition and representation, and the union was negotiating a contract with Initial. After conducting a review of pertinent literature, we realized that in prior research the voices of workers had been absent. The purpose of our study was to “add a seat to the research table,” giving workers a voice in the literature and discussion of their rights and struggles. The research culminated in a half-hour video documentary.


    2000: Public Works

    “Recycling in Single-Family Housing Units in Middletown, Connecticut”

    for Middletown Department for Public Works

    by Amy Brezin, Liz Donnelly, Josh Lerner, and Aditi Mehta

    The Wesleyan Research Group conducted a three-week study of recycling setout rates for single family units in Middletown, CT. This project was performed for the Middletown Department of Public Works because material reported for recycling has decreased statewide in recent years. We aimed to answer the question: What are the recycling setout rates in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Middletown, and what factors account for differences between these rates?


    2000: NEAT

    “North End Action: A Community Speaks”

    for North End Action Team

    by Elizabeth Collins, Emily Hawkins, Eric Hoover, and JoAnn Kamuf

    The student researchers were enlisted by the North End Action Team, a community organization, to collect data, including the demographics of the specified North End neighborhood, and an evaluation of community needs. This information is vital for neighborhood planning because it uncovers the current status of the North End from the viewpoint of the people who live there. These data show the strength and weakness of the North End and can be used by the community organizers and urban planners working in the neighborhood.


    2000: Middletown Youth

    “Investigating Afterschool Patterns, Youth Wants and Needs, and Attendance at the Middletown Youth Center”

    for Middletown Youth Center

    by Eliza Botsford, Caleb Englander, Hilary Mitchell, and Marcel Paret

    In a joint project involving Wesleyan University and the Middletown Youth Center (MYC), four Wesleyan students set out to study attendance at the Middletown Youth Center. Since the opening of the Middletown Youth Center in May 1999, the set of 400 students that signed on during the grand opening has dwindled to a group of 40 students that attend the center on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to answer the following question: Why don’t more youth from private and technical schools attend the MYC, and what can the MYC do to attract them?

  • 1999 Course Projects

    Display list of 1999 Course Projects

    1999: YWCA

    “Making Connections: A Study of the Volunteer Program at the YWCA/Central Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Service”

    for YWCA / Central Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Service (Central CT SACS)

    by Monique Doussard, Nora Grip, Meg Loomis, and Chris Miller

    Four researchers from Wesleyan University worked with Central CT SACS to examine the factors that affect the number of active volunteers serving their agency’s branch. This task was completed by interviewing/surveying active and non-active volunteers, those that have trained but not volunteered, and current trainees. To provide comparative models, representatives from nine other member agencies of ConnSACS and one domestic violence shelter were interviewed and surveys were faxed/mailed to sexual assault service agencies from other states.


    1999: United Way

    “Community Needs Assessment: Middlesex County Connecticut”

    for Middlesex United Way, Inc.

    by Tara Cohen, Ila Jain, Monisha Nariani, and Glenda Oskar

    Four students from Wesleyan University worked in collaboration with Middlesex United Way updating the 1995 Comprehensive Needs Assessment. The goal of this partnership was to determine Middlesex County residents’ “perception of need” regarding social problems and services within the community. Our hope is that the 1999 assessment will have a significant impact on the future of Middlesex County by assisting the United Way in allocating funds to social service agencies. 


    1999: Supportive Housing

    “1999 Homelessness Count and Needs Assessment of Middlesex County”

    for Middletown Supportive Housing Coalition

    by Mollie Finnan, Patrick Keegan, Sarah Leberstein, and José Stevenson Rodríguez

    The Middletown Supportive Housing Coalition (MSHC) is a coalition of Greater Middletown’s homeless advocates and social service agencies that provides a “Continuum of Care” for the area’s homeless individuals and families. The MSHC receives funding for its continuum of care programs primarily from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This year, the coalition enlisted the support of four students from Wesleyan University in conducting a count and needs assessment of the county’s homeless population.


    1999: Children’s Home of Cromwell

    “Children’s Home of Cromwell: A Consumer Satisfaction Assessment”

    for Children’s Home of Cromwell

    by Hannah Blitzer, Lauren Langbaum, Daniela Lewy, and Samantha Wright

    The Children’s Home of Cromwell (CHOC) is a residential treatment center for children, ages 8 to 18, who are unable to live with their families due to abuse, neglect, or delinquency. CHOC addresses the educational, emotional, physical, social, and behavioral needs of the children through participation in school, therapy, and various other activities. In order to determine the efficacy of its program, CHOC commissioned four Wesleyan students to conduct a thorough consumer satisfaction assessment of four divisions of CHOC’s clientele: the children, their families, DCF (Department of Children and Families), and school districts. This was accomplished through the administration of surveys to all four groups. The final compilation of data includes eighty-one children’s surveys, fourteen parents’ surveys, 15 school district surveys, and 19 DCF surveys.

  • 1998 Projects

    Display list of 1998 Course Projects

    1998: River Valley Services

    “Living in the Community: Clients’ Perceptions of Quality of Life after Discharge under the Community Based Initiative”

    for River Valley Services

    by Abbie Goldberg, Abigail Kinnebrew, and David Schleifer

    Three researchers from Wesleyan University worked with River Valley Services (RVS), a mental health service provider operated by the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), to assess how community placement has affected the lives of people discharged from Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) in 1992 and 1993 under the Community Based Initiative (CBI) program. The study aims to draw a qualitative picture of the lives of these clients in order to gauge the success of deinstitutionalization and community-based care.


    1998: NEAT

    “The North End Report: Resident Concerns, Opinions, and Suggestions About their Community”

    for North End Action Team

    by Jenna Busch, Mike DiRamio, Susanah Manheim, Bella Pierson, Emily Sharrock

    Based on responses from 61 North End residents, we hope to present a guide to the resources and assets of the North End as well as how to improve the community for those who live in it.


    1998: MARC

    “Breakdown in the System: An Evaluation of Services to People of Color with Mental Retardation”

    for MARC Community Resources

    by Jodie Langs, Rashida Mendes, Stacey Parris, and Laura Smith

    MARC Community Resources approached the Wesleyan Community Research Program with a proposal for a research project addressing the low percentage of people of color utilizing their services. The purpose of our project, as outlined by MARC, was to evaluate MARC’s services to people of color, and to determine the source of under-representation.


    1998: Community Action

    “The Precarious Balance of ‘Success’: The Barriers that Middlesex County’s JOBS Program Clients Face in their Move Towards Self-Sufficiency”

    for Middlesex County Community Action Group

    by Liz Botein, Beth Fine, Emily Lieberman, and Ginna Smith

    Our research was designed to study welfare recipients who are working or who have obtained work at some point, and explore what factors help or hinder their transition from public assistance to self-sufficiency. Many barriers affect individuals’ attempts to move toward self-sufficiency. These factors can be structural (quality of and access to affordable childcare, transportation, and education and training) or individual (young motherhood, depression, spousal abuse, etc.) and often are a combination of both…. This report illustrates some of the areas that need to be addressed in order to better help those who are working to move off welfare.