Kira Appelman & Erica Meyers (to the left, squatting) pictured with the rest of their Fall 2018 cohort at the end-of-semester showcase.

Did you know that the Semester in Detroit (SiD) experience has proven to be transformative to a wide range of students at the University of Michigan? For more than a decade, SiD has attracted hundreds of students with a vast array of majors, at different phases of their college experience, and from many schools, including: LSA, Ford School, Education, Stamps, Engineering, Kinesiology, Public Health, and others.  

Meet Erica and Kira: two students who just completed the fall 2018 SiD program and who demonstrate the breadth of our impact.  

Erica Meyers, a junior in LSA from West Bloomfield, chose to spend her Semester in Detroit smack dab in the middle of her college experience.  With a double major in German and Program in the Environment (PitE), Erica sought opportunities to build on her summer experience at Camp Davis by engaging with environmental justice issues facing urban communities.  Through Diana Copeland’s long-running Semester in Detroit course, Community Organizing for Environmental Justice, and her internship with the Eastern Market Corporation, Erica was able to engage first-hand with Detroit residents and neighborhoods grappling with the challenges of food access and equity. “Through SiD, I was able to fulfill my PitE Practical Experience by engaging with people and communities closer to home.  This program has offered me deeper insight to gain a nuanced understanding of Detroit, urban areas in general, and myself.”

Kira Appelman, a Stamps School of Art & Design student from Maryland, chose to spend her final U-M semester in Detroit.  With her interdisciplinary focus on the arts, social justice, and education, Kira had learned through student activist networks how Detroit was a dynamic, movement-oriented composition of communities where she could put theories into real practice.  Her internship with the K-8 Charlotte Mason Community School provided ample opportunities and challenges to combine her love of the arts with youth development. More broadly, Semester in Detroit’s pedagogy and deep community network helped to position Kira after graduation to live and work in Detroit. “SiD was a great way to end my college experience, helping me transition from studying in an academic setting to immersing myself with intention and humility into grassroots community conversations, historical perspectives, and organizing.”  Today, Kira continues to engage Detroit and Detroiters through living in the city and volunteering with SiD Community Partners, Live Coal Gallery and the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.