After hearing all about the Joint Educational Project (JEP) from my roommate Sophie, I figured that I had to give it a try this semester. JEP pairs USC students with schools, organizations, and non-profits in the surrounding neighborhood to facilitate service-learning through positions as teaching assistants, mentors, and interns. Students spend two hours onsite per week and then write essays to reflect on their experiences.
To engage more deeply in my American Studies class (AMST 200: Introduction to American Studies and Ethnicity), I chose to complete JEP at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. ONE holds one of the most impressive collections of archival materials related to LGBTQ issues. In 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires California public schools to include the important contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals in history classes. At ONE, I sift through the archives and research key events in LGBTQ history that should be included in the curriculum for these schools. I then write summaries to describe each event and find compelling visuals to go along with my text.
My research will help to create a curriculum about LGBTQ history that may be implemented in the California public school system. My JEP assignment not only enriches my experience as a student in AMST 200 but also allows me to take part in an important moment of history as we take a step toward justice and equality.