Researchers from Conn and its partner institutions around the world presented their findings during a virtual symposium
When Professor of Slavic Studies Andrea Lanoux recruited a group of Conn students last summer to explore the global impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of society, she could not have imagined how wide the project would eventually become.
But the idea quickly took off, and now, along with some of Conns’s global partner institutions, a website has started showing collective research that started in January and will continue until April.
The research, taking from 24 different academic fields, involved the work of 42 university students from 15 countries. The virtual collaboration was the first of its kind for Connecticut College and included Conn’s partner institutions: Ashesi University in Ghana, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Higher School of Economics in Russia, and Ashoka University in India.
Nineteen Conn students joined their peers from partner schools abroad to work in teams mentored by four Conn faculty members. They received regular support from the College’s research librarians; of Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and Liberal Arts (CISLA), which is run by Lanoux; AND Otto and Fran Walter Commons for Global Study and Engagement.
Students examined the impact of pandemics in five areas: education, environment, inequality, activism, and public policy. Each team presented their research and unveiled the April 1 project website during a live Zoom symposium hosted by Conn that brought together participants from around the world.
I have been to many academic conferences and there was a kind of energy and excitement about student research that I rarely see, Lanoux said. There is a creativity here that I think has great potential to move global education to a new stage.
The research is presented on the website in various formats, providing soluble summaries of the findings through interactive content, views, key statistics and relevant news, which not only examine the impact of the pandemic so far, but also look ahead to the remaining effects. that COVID-19 may have over five prominent areas of focus on projects, as much of the world turns into some sort of post-pandemic normalcy.
Taliah Broadus ’23, an economics, international relations and leading French trio, said she was amazed at the passion and determination of the students, who did everything they could to accommodate the wide range of time zones and languages represented between the teams.
The Global COVID-19 project was the highlight of my school year, Broadus said. He reshaped the way I engaged and conducted research, and also gave me the opportunity to try a diverse set of thoughts, research skills, and backgrounds that I would not normally be exposed to if I were not given this opportunity. Collaborating with students on campus but also with students from universities in different parts of the world is an experience I hope to have again in the future because it led to research that I am extremely proud to have been part of.
For Olivia Loo 24, researching environmental issues related to the pandemic was particularly rewarding for its global components and helped it improve its research skills.
It was such a great opportunity to work with an international group and we learned to harness the power of our library resources and cultural backgrounds in conducting research that focused on global-local environments, Loo said. I hope to continue to learn more about environmental injustices in the future, and I believe this project lays a solid foundation for research projects ahead.
Amy Dooling, associate dean of global initiatives and director of Walter Commons, said the project was a grim example of student resistance to a global pandemic and showed how building international cooperation and dialogue with global College partners can be achieved. still, even when travel is not possible.
For me, one of the silverware of the horrible interruptions we are living through is that we are forced to think outside the box when it comes to global education, Dooling said. Traditional study away will always be a sign-up program at Connecticut College, but this year we are discovering that well-done international virtual exchange also has great potential for developing the knowledge, skills, and mindsets our students need so to flourish in the 21st century.
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