Rochelle Sims enjoys taking on new challenges. Her enthusiasm for addressing difficult questions is what drew Rochelle to being a research intern at the Center for Social Solutions and has fueled her passion for social justice throughout her life.

From a young age, Rochelle’s interests in social justice were shaped greatly by her own identity and experiences. 

“I’ve known since I was a child what I wanted to study in college. Growing up Black and being made aware of the constant injustices Black people are subjected to both in and out of the courtroom definitely helps to fuel my passion as I’m reminded of how broken the system is,” Rochelle reflected.  

Now as a junior at the University of Michigan, Rochelle continues to develop her passion for fighting against racial injustice with a major in Political Science and minors in Afro-American Studies and Crime and Justice.

“I’ve always had a passion for law and for how the legal system works  - or doesn’t work - when it comes to minorities and in particular Black people and so I’ve naturally gravitated towards classes that will educate me more on how our political and legal system are designed to interact or counteract Black people,” Rochelle said.

Rochelle’s interests in tackling difficult topics led her to the Center for Social Solutions as she was drawn to the center’s research focus. 

“I had never helped to organize or conduct any long term research projects and it was a new challenge for me that would keep me productive at home during the summer,” Rochelle explained.

As a research intern, Rochelle’s work focuses primarily on the center’s future of work initiative which examines how artificial intelligence and other technologies will affect the dignity of labor and how to prepare our socioeconomic structure for those changes. Rochelle enjoys being a part of a research project that has real life applications.

“Having been with the center for a few months the thing I enjoy most about my research is seeing that there are actual human implications for the concepts we are studying. Often just being in the classroom you just read about it for an assignment or an exam and forget about it but with researching everything going on with the future of work I get an idea of what this means for the real world,” Rochelle said.

Outside of work and the classroom, Rochelle channels her enthusiasm for helping others through community service. As a member of ThirdSpace, she works with children who are struggling with their mental health through creative arts such as poetry, music, writing. She is also a peer mentor for Michigan Mentorship Matters where she helps incoming first-year students transition into their life here at the University of Michigan. 

“Community service is extremely important to me,” Rochelle stated. “I joined these organizations because I saw that they shared that value with me.” 

Indeed, Rochelle is dedicated to helping others through her career as well. She plans on attending law school after graduation and becoming a criminal defense attorney. In doing so, she aspires to continue tackling difficult issues of social injustice by working to help lower the amount of minorities that are unjustly convicted and incarcerated.