senior essay smaldonado.pdf


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education and in the country at large during the 1960s, Zweigenhaft and Domhoff examined the
multiple transitions that the students of ABC underwent as the students entered the program,
progressed through the program, and left the program, generally experiencing social mobility in
the process. The scholars did not account for the program’s impacts on a societal basis beyond
the individual level, which is the most significant way my study will be different from theirs. I
will interrogate the impacts a different college pathway program (referred to under the
pseudonym Stepping Stone) makes at not only at the individual level, but on the level of the
family and of society. My analysis will keep in mind Stepping Stone’s overarching goal relating
to social justice. Stepping Stone’s primary objective, however, is to inspire and prepare its
students to enter and thrive in academically rigorous high school and four-year colleges by
making “the best educational opportunities available to students with limited resources”
(“Welcome to Stepping Stone”).
I interned at Stepping Stone as a teacher during the summer of 2012. I worked with a
professional teacher to construct an English class curriculum for eighth graders. I also taught a
nutrition co-curricular class to ninth graders and a mixed grade jewelry-making elective class. I
got to know many of the students very well, and I was able to partake in many Stepping Stone
activities. Throughout my time, I was aware that the program was working towards specific
aims of bettering the lives of individuals, but the program’s overall effect on society seemed
worthy of further inquiry. There was much talk about social justice, a phrase that seemed to be
thrown around quite frequently, but what exactly did that mean? How did the program
understand the concept of social justice? How did the program see itself as working towards that
concept of social justice, and would its work be effective in terms of its direct programmatic
goals? This project is how I investigated my thoughts during my summer experience.

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