Jendayi London, a junior at the University of Miami, is majoring in Public Administration and minoring in Communications and Criminology. Her accomplishments as both a scholar and engaged citizen embody the qualities of the Newman Civic Fellowship, transcending the traditional day-to-day college experience to dedicate time and resources to her local community, as well as to initiatives that address the socioeconomic inequities experienced by marginalized populations. Her involvement ranges from tutoring at-risk young men to help break the “school-to-prison” pipeline, to engaging in community-based research to improve law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assaults in South Florida. Her accomplishments are a testament to her determination and pragmatic approach to improve access to quality education, well-being, and social justice.
Through my travels, I have seen first hand how racial identity and socioeconomic class impedes students’ access to quality education and more; consequently, I tend to volunteer with organizations that assist youth. Currently, I volunteer with YouKetab, a non-profit organization that provides free college application assistance to youth in low-income areas.
I believe the root causes of social issues can be solved at the intersection of community consultation and policy action. For example, at UM’s Human Rights Clinic I am assisting with a project that aims to improve South Florida’s law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault. By keeping members of the community (e.g. survivors and advocacy organizations) involved at every step of the research process we are reaching residents where they are most comfortable and gathering quality data that captures the unique problems faced by each of South Florida’s diverse ethnic groups, instead of arbitrarily lumping minorities into one group. Supplemented by policy action, community driven research like this can pave the way for genuine change in community conditions.
I plan to continue developing hard skills such as quantitative data analysis for sociological research and soft skills (i.e. facilitation) to make greater contributions to public problem solving.