Tripod Summer Research Spotlight: Ayanna Platt ’22



Last week, the Tripod sat down with Ayanna Platt ’22, an English and Educational Studies double-major, to learn about her research this past summer.  Platt’s research was in collaboration with two other Trinity students, who as a group were influenced by Professor of American Studies Davarian Baldwin prior work in considering the relationships between communities and universities.

TRIPOD:  What did your research focus on this summer?

PLATT: My research looked at the relationship between Hartford and Trinity because there’s some tension between the two groups. There’s a lot of misunderstanding that I think arises from Trinity and what we’ve done as far as communicating and engaging with Hartford. I, along with Joe Barber and Erica Crowley, took a deeper dive into community engagement in terms of how we’ve done outreach with the community. Our research was inspired by Professor Davarian Baldwin’s investigation of Town Gown relationships and consideration of what universities and colleges owe the cities and communities they reside in. 

TRIPOD:       What were your main takeaways from the research? 

PLATT: This project is an ongoing one that’ll probably live on after I graduate. This summer was dedicated to creating a process of how to do this research, specifically how to identify those with the knowledge of how the community engagement office started back in the 80’s and 90’s. We started doing interviews to begin identifying what was actually going on then and what people then were involved in. I’m actually still doing this research throughout the semester- we have an interview coming up in a week! 

TRIPOD:  What inspired you to contribute to this research?

PlATT: For me, I was interested in this research because my freshman year I did a project on the relationship between Trinity and Hartford in one of my educational studies classes. I knew I wanted to look into it more for a summer project. 

TRIPOD:      What was your favorite part of researching this summer?

PLATT: One part of the research involved going into Hartford. Kamora Herrington has a community space, called Kamora’s Cultural Corner, that is devoted to Hartford and intends to build up the community by giving back to it. She hosts community conversations that are dedicated to having the hard conversations that people don’t want to have. She would talk about topics like Trans Rights, Black Lives Matter, and Healthcare. I really enjoyed those conversations because they need to be happening and they really aren’t. I am grateful she provided the space for them to begin.

TRIPOD:  What value do you think your research brings to the Trinity campus?

PLATT: Trinity students are given this message about how Hartford is this really bad and dangerous place. As a result, they don’t actually engage with Hartford, despite us living right here. I think students’ perception of Hartford is really affected by these misjudgments. This research is important because we have another look at Hartford and communicate the importance of actually engaging with our neighbors, looking outside of ourselves and outside of our communities for once. I hope this will help change the way us Trinity students go about things living in Hartford. 

If you are looking for more ways to engage with the Hartford community, attend the Student Involvement Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. on the main quad and look for clubs that focus on strengthening Trinity’s relationship with Hartford. 

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