Environmental Justice and College Readiness

TU Partnership with South Baltimore builds a college pipeline

Shiann Newman, BFHS senior, captures fresh fruits and vegetables to show the disparity of Curtis Bay’s food desert.

Solving environmental problems within South Baltimore and introducing the prospect of college to underrepresented students is at the center of Associate Professor Nicole Fabricant’s partnership with Benjamin Franklin High School (BFHS).

TU anthropology students on Baltimore’s Federal Hill

Under the guidance of Fabricant’s upper-level anthropology students, BFHS students learn anthropological research methods such as interviewing, photo-voice and photo elicitation, narrative mapping, and visual anthropology to determine why certain communities unevenly experience environmental problems and hazards. Paired groups of anthropology students and high school students home in on a particular environmental problem within the community to research.

In addition to exploring environmental justice, BFHS students take field trips to Towson University where they attend college classes in the social or physical sciences, listen to faculty speak on environmental sciences and discuss college readiness as well as the support and resources available to ensure college success.

Amber Smith, BFHS senior, documents the lack of adequate trash and city services in Curtis Bay.

T. Rowe Price Foundation provided a grant to support the high school students’ field trips, meals and other necessities associated with encouraging attendance. Senior Director of the T. Rowe Price Foundation Stacey Van Horn says, “I’m pleased that our grant dollars were of value to Towson University’s work in the Baltimore community. Colleges and universities engage with Baltimore organizations and residents in unique and often powerful ways. The universities and our communities both benefit, which is terrific. Towson University’s partnership with Benjamin Franklin High School provided a wonderful learning opportunity for teachers, faculty and students.”

Fabricant is most grateful for the support. “T. Rowe Price has provided us the opportunity to bring youth from Curtis Bay to experience college, hopefully building a pipeline from South Baltimore into Towson University,” she says.

To support TU’s BFHS partnership, visit towson.edu/GiveToDiverseLearners.