Isabel Hershey, Sociocultural Anthropology

Isabel Hershey

Underlying Isabel Hershey’s educational pursuits has been her dedication for human rights and intersectional social justice. Hershey earned dual degrees in Anthropology and the Arts and Humanities, as well as three minors in Peace and Justice Studies, Human Behavior and Social Services, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Drawing on her multifaceted interests, Hershey worked with Dr. Elizabeth Drexler on two related research projects both supported by College of Social Science Provost’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (PURI) awards. One study focused on how art moves audiences affectively in terms of human rights and justice projects, and the other examined representations of structural violence through a photovoice project.

The latter study was conducted this past year during the pandemic, which propelled an increasing awareness of the structural violence that persists nationally and internationally. As artists have continued to expose systemic inequity through their creative work, Hershey’s and Dr. Drexler’s research project explored the relationship between artistic activism and structural violence during this global pandemic. Using the photovoice method, Hershey engaged with community members who took photos in response to prompts about structural violence. She then analyzed certain themes and their connections to the photographs. Hershey presented her findings at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (URAF) and created an exhibit of these images representing community voices.

This coming school year, Hershey will be working in Flint, MI with the Crim Fitness Center as a FoodCorps Service Member. While teaching students about nutrition, she will also be studying for the LSAT and applying to law schools with human rights/civil rights programs. With a J.D., she hopes to be an advocate for her community and promote access to education for all.

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