This page will be updated in the coming weeks with a larger archive of showcase presentations from our wonderful students! In the meantime, please find a few clips from our Fall 2016 Student Showcase, along with statements from the presenters, below.
Sierra Ayres - 5th year student in Sociology, minors in Urban Studies & Community Action & Social Change
"One of the greatest aspects of the programs was the learning environment. For once, I was not sitting in a classroom, blindly listening to a teacher speak but I was engaged in conversation with other students and residents of communities about history, experiences, and knowledge that is often silenced in mainstream academia. Just living in the city is a beautiful, wild, mind-boggling experience itself. The city of Detroit is such a breathtaking place with such an intense and rich history. But if there is one reason to do this program it is the opportunity to engage and work in a community through your internship. Through the South West Detroit Community Benefits Coalition I was able to meet so many residents of the Delray and South West communities and directly speak with them about their concerns for their neighborhoods with the new international bridge coming into the area. All of the people I met through the organization had so much to offer to their communities, the work they were doing, and to me as a student. Some of the community members I met through my work became my friends and were a huge part of my Semester in Detroit experience and continue to be part of my life even now. I have gained a lifetime of experiences through this program and my internship that will influence my future forever.
There are some flaws, I will admit. But this was the point for me. We talk about the flaws- all of them. The flaws in the program, in our justice system, in the way we learn about history, in the transportation system of the city, in the inhumane way people are treated everyday, and in the way that we view the city of Detroit from our University of Michigan bubble. I’m a socially aware Native woman, but this program challenged my ways of thinking and intensified my radical thoughts and that was truly rewarding- to be able to look at the flaws in a critical way that prompted the question: so, how do we change this? This is what the program offered me. The empowerment, knowledge, and support to engage in active social change that I honestly have never had before. I was able to live with such a supportive group of people and learn from professors who were so personally involved in our experience with the program. And not everyone’s experience is the same but if you are someone who is invested in social change and the power of community, this is a program that you need to apply for."
Sierra Ayres is a fifth year at the University of Michigan, studying Sociology with a sub plan in Law, Justice, and Social Change, and minors in Urban Studies and Community Action & Social Change. Sierra is from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and plans to get a masters in Social Work so that she can gain the proper tools and education to work to empower youth and women in Tribal communities to pursue higher education and get involved in the future of their communities.
Noah Krasman, Senior in Social Theory & Practice, minor in Music
"Semester in Detroit is not only an opportunity to live in one of the coolest cities in the world, it's also an opportunity to get out of one of the tensest. Detroit is a scary word to many, and SiD provides the means to prove you wrong. It is a chance to find, defy, and inform yourself, while rectifying Detroit's significance in the eyes of the U of M administration and student body, which sees Detroit as but a far-away land, a stratified metropolis in urban decay. Should you be so lucky to have teachers who genuinely care about their work and role in their students' learning, chances are you're not in Ann Arbor. You're in Detroit, where everything you know and see to be U of M started in the first place. SiD is not for the comfortable, the unconcerned, or the faint-hearted. It's for the open-minded, the inquisitive, and the strong-willed. The greatest shame of it all is how few students get to be a part."
Noah Krasman is a graduating senior with a major in Social Theory and Practice and a minor in Music. He participated in SiD in Fall 2016, and before that studied abroad in the Netherlands. A writer, reader, and Michigan native, Noah played for the U of M Drumline but is now learning guitar. He hopes to work for himself but otherwise, since he lives by the day, has no clue how to end this particular sentence.
Sharie Branch, Junior in Sociocultural Anthropology and Afro-American & African Studies
"If there is just one thing I could recommend to any student, no matter where you are in your academic career, it would be to participate in Semester in Detroit. This magical program is something that I was never expecting, but drastically changed my life for the better. I received not just a new, more beautifully engaging way to look at learning, but a complete transformation in how to see the world around me. Semester in Detroit challenged me to envision people, school, work and community in a way that the usual bubble of Ann Arbor never would. I received the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant people I will ever encounter in my life and this had the most profound effect on not only my academic career, but my personal character and journey as well. SiD holds a very dear place in my heart and thus far in life, there is nothing that I can say I am happier to have been a part of."
Sharie Branch is a junior at the University of Michigan double majoring in Sociocultural Anthropology and Afro-American & African Studies. Her experience with Semester in Detroit has reignited her passion for people, culture and life itself, and has inspired her to pursue a path in law upon graduation.