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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Peace and Justice Studies Students Attend National Conference

Just a few days after the start of the fall term, Daniel J. Logan Professor of Peace and Justice Studies Leanne Trapedo Sims headed west with nine Knox students to Iowa State University in Ames, IA. The group presented as a panel at the annual national conference for the Peace & Justice Studies Association. The theme this year was Building Positive Peace and the conference featured more than 250 panelists, presenters, students, and Peace and Justice Studies scholars.

The Knox panel was titled “Knox College and Henry Hill Correctional Center: Expressivity across Borders” and focused on the student’s experiences during a course taught at the Henry Hill Correctional Center that included 10 inmates. The group shared poetry written by the men serving time and their own responses to the art created by the men. The group created a PowerPoint to highlight their research and they shared journal entries, poetry, and a literary zine they created.

Throughout the conference, students were able to attend many other sessions and network with other Peace and Justice Studies students and faculty. This opportunity is one of many ways that faculty like Trapedo Sims bring to life the mission of Knox - challenging one another to explore, understand, and improve ourselves, our society, and our world. “It’s so useful for students to see the incredible breadth and depth of the field—they realize, oh, not everyone does the same work we do,” she said. “But they weren’t just passive observers. They had their critical thinking hats on and actively engaged in critiquing and questioning the presenters.”

The group who attended included Trapedo Sims and eight current Knox students—Lee Buell, Natalie Fluegel, Izzy Oliver, Joshua Carlos, Eli Quint, Nyah Brown, Izumi Kitazawa, Natalie Bodenhamer—and one alum who graduated last year, Kesha Jackson, who returned to share her experiences as well.

This group of students is quite special to Trapedo Sims, as she has taught them in multiple courses. “We have this really close cohort, as we have been working together for a while,” she said. The opportunity to take multiple courses together allows students to connect and collaborate on a deeper level. “The cohort experience is unique. And powerful,” Trapedo Sims said. “Students are speaking to their peers and are driving interest in the Hill education program. The students are my loudest backers.”

Trapedo Sims attends the conference annually, but this year, she thought it would be nice for Knox to have a presence at the national level. “When I brought it up to the students, they were thrilled. They showed tremendous agency in preparing for the panel,” she said. “They were all extremely professional—organized, articulate, excited, and on time. I am very proud of them.”

This opportunity was made possible by the Richter Memorial Fund, which provides support to students pursuing projects that foster independence of thought and expression beyond the classroom.

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Printed on Sunday, April 21, 2024