On July 31, a group of Bronx high school seniors gathered at Fordham to mark the completion of a summer spent researching ways to empower their community.

Twenty-four students graduated from History Makers, a college-preparatory program sponsored by BronxWorks and Fordham University. More than 100 family members, friends, and BronxWorks and Fordham administrators, gathered on the Rose Hill campus to celebrate the students’ accomplishments.

Now in its ninth year, History Makers is designed to reinforce students’ intention to go to college and enable them to obtain scholarships and other aid. The students, who come from eight Bronx high schools, conducted community-based research projects that identified solutions to issues that are plaguing the South Bronx.

With the help of Fordham undergraduate mentors, each student carried out independent research and then coordinated with one another to consolidate their results into four comprehensive research projects.

“These are considerable accomplishments for these students and a real taste of the kind of independent work they will be expected to initiate and finalize as part of a college curriculum,” said Jean-Pierre LaCour, program coordinator for the BronxWorks Center for Achieve Future Education, which runs History Makers.

Projects included:
Media Mirage: Research confirmed the tendencies of media to foster negative views of the life and culture of African-American and Latino youths living in the South Bronx. Findings suggest the need for significant efforts to counteract negative stereotypes suggested by the media. (Students mentored by Fordham junior Ciera Ambrose)
The Path to College: South Bronx youth who are hoping to go to college face steeper obstacles than their peers in upscale communities. This study found that, in comparison to predominantly white neighborhoods, South Bronx schools had fewer extracurricular programs and academic resources; unfair gaps in high school to college opportunities; and inadequate staffing to counsel students about preparing for college. (Students mentored by Fordham junior Courtney Williams)
School to Prison Pipeline in the Bronx: Research indicates that, when it comes to discipline and race and class biases, the Bronx school system is strikingly similar to a prison system. Inner city students and students of color experienced hostility in a number of public and charter schools, particularly in the Bronx. Research findings were corroborated by the student researchers’ personal experiences. (Students mentored by Fordham junior Anderson Bridgemohan)
Giving Hope to the Hopeless Borough: The Bronx contains a diverse, immigrant-driven population that is composed of people from various backgrounds and ethnicities. These groups have made distinctive cultural contributions that help problems the South Bronx faces. (Students mentored by Fordham sophomore Jalen Glenn)
In addition to the student mentors, Fordham participants included Kathryn Crawford, associate coordinator of service learning at the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, and Fordham junior Scarly Rodriguez.

Contact: Joanna Mercuri
(212) 636-7175
[email protected]