Katherine Circle Public Housing Apartments

The past two days I have spent four hours at the Katherine Circle family public housing apartments to assist in giving free lunch to the residents. It turned out they didn’t need that much in assistance, but I still found the experience to be very rewarding from a research perspective and I think they found me to be decent entertainment for the kids so I wasn’t a bother. When I first arrived at the apartments I was surprised to realize I had actually already been there before. Last August I went on the 7 Generations pre-orientation trip. My specific trip was labeled Access to Housing and Healthcare. We stopped in one of the apartments in Katherine Circle and talked with an older woman living there. She lived in a household full of young children, all her daughter’s kids. I remember what struck me upon entering her house was seeing the children’s school papers, math tests, drawings, etc. covering every crevice of the walls. It warmed my heart seeing that this woman was putting such a strong emphasis on their schoolwork so that they might have a shot at breaking the cycle of poverty.

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Low-Income and Public Housing Research Abstract

The country has seen tough economic times as of recently and Williamsburg is not immune. This might seem hard to believe if one doesn’t stray far from campus, but Williamsburg’s economy is particularly troublesome because it is a service economy. These service jobs do not pay well and affordable homes for workers in the service industry are difficult to find since the average Williamsburg home costs more than they can afford. The research I have been conducting is on availability of low-income and public housing in the Williamsburg area. I want to better understand what kind of access low income residents have to housing here. My goal is learn what it is like to be a low income resident in Williamsburg, what kind of housing options they have, what kind of opportunities are presented to them to help them become better off financially, what policies are in place, what things should be done to improve the housing situation here, and what can be done to help reduce the need for low-income and public housing. My final product will be a paper compiling my research.

Sign-up Savior

For this experiment, we need to have at least two people come in at the same time. This can a little tiresome when coordinating and scheduling by email with so many different people. Luckily, we have found a great website called Signup Genius. It lets us create a sign-up sheet with a fixed number of slots for each time. It also some great features like an automatic reminder email the day before so that we get fewer people forgetting and not showing up. But the true selling point this website is some of the more specific settings. We can make the sign-up sheet require an access code to see so only those people we email and give a code can see it. We also can hide the names of the participants from each other so that anonymity is preserved which is so important in this study.

Ode to Qualtrics

I absolutely love Qualtrics! For those who do not know, it is a great online survey creating and hosting platform. Long have been the days when psychologists (and many other social scientists) have had to waste tons of paper by printing of hundreds of surveys on paper. Not only is that terrible for the environment but also it makes the process data preparation and cleaning before analysis quite the headache. With Qualtrics, it is all online so no paper is wasted and neat sheets of results can be created. You can look at a look at a specific participant’s answers for all the questions or all the answers for a particular question.

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Spit Safety

Fun fact: Human salvia is consisted to be a bio-hazard and research that involves the collection of it must follow certain safety procedures. As such, I and my fellow research assistants who will be helping me to collect salvia samples attended a safety briefing put on by a Safety Specialist from Environmental Health and Safety. It is not so much the salvia which is the concern but the potential for the salvia to contain blood and the transmission of blood-borne pathogens. In the briefing, we learned about some these pathogens and the procedures to prevent transmission, including the proper way to take gloves. Remember, “Dirty to dirty, clean to clean.”