Taking Advantage of Research Opportunities

I recently co-led a pre-orientation service trip through 7 Generations here at the College. This was supposed to be a week-long break in my research as I continued to read Where the Other Half Lives: Lower Income Housing in a Neoliberal World. Instead, I discovered a new passion for my research, and I was reminded of all the reasons why I wanted to do this in the first place. In addition, I created new contacts that can aid my research.  No, I haven’t finished reading the book (it’s a bit dry and much of it is in the context of Scottish housing authorities that I am not familiar with), but I now feel reinvigorated for this last push of research! As part of the trip we had a panel of representatives from local authorities to come talk with the incoming William & Mary students about community issues faced by the less fortunate of Williamsburg. Jalauna Burton was there (the Public Housing Manager I previously had contact with), along with a representative from Avalon, United Way, and two other organizations. It was amazing to be in the presence of all these community leaders together! Before this event, I can’t say I was very knowledgeable of the role of United Way within the community, however now I realize that their resources can prove to be very beneficial in my research.  I plan on meeting with their representative, Liz Vestal, this Tuesday to find out what their take on the housing situation in Williamsburg is, and what kind of numbers they have (such as their estimate on the number of impoverished families living in hotels).  Ms. Vestal also was kind enough to forward me some links to research organizations I was not aware of that may also be able to help me. One that she sent me was for the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. From what I’ve seen so far it looks like I will be able to obtain a lot of data regarding how what I’m seeing in Williamsburg compares to the state and different regions within the state. I’ve learned that when one is doing research like this, one can never take a break. Opportunities are constantly arising, and I am glad I have taken advantage of the ones I was recently presented with.