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Experts by Experience is a series of discussions with college students from Chicago who are navigating the current rupture in their educational journeys. Through our monthly discussions with students, we aim to shed light on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young Chicagoans who are pursuing higher education. These discussions provide opportunities for students to share their insights on how educators, policymakers, and college success practitioners can best support them through this new normal. The series also highlights the innovative ways that students themselves are adjusting in real time to rapidly evolving conditions.

For our fourth conversation, we are joined again by two CPS alumni, Guillermo and Jameelah, who graduated this spring from Stanford University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As in Episode 3, the topic of this conversation with Guillermo and Jameelah is different from our past topics. While Experts by Experience is primarily focused on how CPS alumni are navigating college during the COVID-19 pandemic, to truly recognize their experiences, we must also seek to understand how the pandemic has exacerbated existing structures that perpetuate inequalities and racism. Accordingly, this episode is dedicated to Guillermo and Jameelah's reflections on the Class of 2020's college journey, beginning with the 2016 presidential election and ending with nationwide protests against racial violence and injustice, as well as the need for universities to design and implement actively anti-racist policies.

To listen to the first installment of our conversation with Guillermo and Jameelah, check out Episode 3 of Experts by Experience. If you are a student who is interested in participating in a future discussion, please fill out our survey.

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Resource for Education Professionals

Dr. Melissa Osborne, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Western Washington University, explores how first-generation students across the United States navigate social mobility during college. She studies how students and their families make sense of the process of “becoming socially mobile” – a multifaceted and deeply intensive transformative process that many students and their families do not anticipate as it does not fit within generalized cultural narratives about college going and social mobility. Read her dissertation "How First-Generation College Students Navigate Social Mobility."


Community Organizing in Chicago

If you're interested in learning more about or donating to community organizers in Chicago, check out the community-based organizations we shout out in the episode. I Grow Chicago is a community-based organization that aims to grow Englewood from surviving to thriving through community connection, skill building, and opportunity. Little Village Environmental Justice Organization aims to accomplish environmental justice in Little Village and achieve the self-determination of immigrant, low-income, and working-class families. My Block My Hood My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood by taking students on explorations focused on STEM, arts and culture, citizenry and volunteerism, health, community development, culinary arts, and entrepreneurism.


Previous Episodes

Listen to the third episode of Experts by Experience, "Remaining True" with Guillermo & Jameelah.

Listen to the second episode of Experts by Experience, "Robbed of Those Experiences" with Kiara & Yoselin.

Listen to the first episode of Experts by Experience, "The Energy to Adapt" with Yahriel & Yessica.

Experts by Experience Episode 4 transcript: Download

Download the discussion transcript