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Living Democracy program announces 2021 participants

Three students will spend their summer living and learning in Alabama communities

Oquendo Bernard, Lauren Landers and Laney Mayfield
From left to right: Oquendo Bernard, Lauren Landers and Laney Mayfield

Three College of Liberal Arts students will spend their summer living and learning in the Alabama communities of Camden, Collinsville and Elba as part of the 2021 Living Democracy program.

Oquendo Bernard, Lauren Landers and Laney Mayfield will work closely with community partners and local citizens to discover what it means to "live democracy."

Bernard, from St. Thomas, Jamaica, is an international studies and Spanish major. He will spend 10 weeks in Elba, a Living Democracy partner community since 2012. Bernard said, “I believe the Living Democracy program will allow me to get a living-learning experience in community and civic engagement as well as help me develop relationships, understand a community's hopes and dreams, and discover what makes democracy work as it should. As an international student, this is one of the ways I believe I will be able to connect more with my environment and the state of Alabama.”

Bernard's primary community partner is Justin Maddox with the nonprofit organization Restoration154

Landers, from Auburn, Ala., is a senior majoring in social work who will be working in Camden. Her community partners are Sulynn Creswell, executive director, and Kristin Law, arts programs and marketing director, at Black Belt Treasures in Camden. Landers said, “I am interested in spending my summer interning with Living Democracy because I view this as a great opportunity to learn, grow and challenge myself while also engaging with a community to collaborate on ideas, projects and knowledge to enhance both my future as a social worker and the future of the town of Camden.”

Mayfield, a Memphis, Tenn., native and senior majoring in journalism with a minor in psychology, will spend her summer in the northeast Alabama community of Collinsville, a Living Democracy community partner since 2012. She will be working closely with Jennifer Wilkins, director of the Collinsville Public Library. Mayfield said, “I see Living Democracy as a way to provide students with an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and learn more about communities that are different from theirs.”

Hannah White, who lived in Collinsville as a 2019 Living Democracy student, is a graduate assistant working as a mentor and social media coordinator this summer.

Living Democracy students serve as Jean O'Connor-Snyder interns with the David Mathews Center for Civic Life. You can follow the students and their stories on the Living Democracy Facebook page and the Living Democracy blog.


Tags: Students Community and Outreach Interdisciplinary Programs

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