Chelsea McGhee (they/them) joins the Center this semester to contribute to the Crafting Democratic Futures project, a part of CSS’ Slavery and Its Aftermath initiative. Their work on the project includes helping communities develop reparations plans, which aim to address “the legacies of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and genocide in the United States on Black and Indigenous communities.” Though just beginning their time at CSS, Chelsea notes that the Center’s mission to develop solutions inspires them in their work: “I love how the Center for Social Solutions is using research to advance meaningful, positive change. Doing research for the sake of just doing research has never interested me: I’m excited by scholarship that can actually be used for public good, address inequity, and disrupt systems of power.”

Outside the Center, Chelsea is a doctoral candidate in the joint program for Psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies. Their research focuses on “queer wellness and embodiment, specifically for trans and nonbinary folk,” with specific enjoyment of conducting qualitative research. “It allows me to talk with so many amazing people and…allows participants to share their experiences in their own words!” Post-graduation, Chelsea hopes to continue combining their passions for social justice with their academic training, pursuing research “that could be used to craft public policy and create tangible community change.”

Outside of work and academia? “I’m a swing dancer! Swing is a vintage dance that was created by Black folk in the 1920s in Harlem, New York. ‘Swing’ is an umbrella term for Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, St. Louis Shag, and Collegiate Shag. It arose with the emergence of jazz music and while it died out in the middle of the 20th century, it was revived in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, it’s danced all over the world! A couple times of a year, I travel to various dance exchanges in the Midwest and East Coast, which often entail three straight days of dancing!”

We appreciate Chelsea’s contributions to the Center this semester, and wish them the best in all their research endeavors at U-M and beyond!