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Emma Garman

Emma Garman is hoping to pursue a profession in public sector consulting. She likes the intersection of business mechanisms and social impact. Last summer, she worked in this sector and grew a lot. She gained experience working on three projects: an education project, a health services project, and a state government project. In the midst of the pandemic, project challenges were especially interesting and relevant. She appreciated the gratification that came with grappling with such public facing issues. The collaborative, problem solving environment paired with public facing work is a path she hopes to continue to explore post-graduation.

Honors Thesis:

Breaking Barriers: The Educational Challenges Posed To Youth In Juvenile Justice

Faculty Advisor: Professor Katie D. Rosanbalm

Abstract: This study investigates the educational barriers frequently faced by youth involved in juvenile justice. Qualitative data was collected through structured interviews and coded by various themes. Educators and administrators in juvenile justice as well as community-based schools were interviewed. Findings were synthesized across stakeholder groups. Discussions focused on three overarching topics: overall classroom dynamics, youths’ reentry process, and youth self-concept. Interviews identified that school structures vary widely across juvenile justice, alternative, and traditional school settings. Sentiment also suggested that the student reentry process currently lacks formal processes and relies on initiative taken by community-based schools. Lastly, low student self-concept and stigmatization may both have strong influences on each other and lead to youth behavioral issues or school disengagement. Preliminary recommendations to combat these barriers include targeted relationship building interventions, the strengthening of formal communication networks and roles, and increased utilization of alternative schooling. To increase alternative schooling utilization, schools should consider shifting to an application-based enrollment system. This change has the potential to make previously detained youth feel supported and provide additional student information to faculty. Online learning technologies may also be a valuable resource to fill in academic gaps of these youth populations, especially within the juvenile justice setting.