Social Work

Kerri Evans, Assistant Professor

One in four children in the US are part of an immigrant family (Brookings Institute, 2021).

What do you know about the journey to the US for forced migrants? How do these experiences influence their ability to engage in community- and for their children to actively participate in school?

Dr. Evans’ research centers on inclusion and welcome for immigrant children in the US, with foci on school settings, and forced migrants. She has recently undertaken a two-year project funded through the Hrabowski Innovation and Implementation Research Grant in collaboration with two colleagues in the Department of Education, Keisha Allen and Jiyoon Lee, in order to develop and test a training tool to increase cultural sensitivity and empathy for working with immigrant students in K-12 educational settings. The project has engaged numerous UMBC students thus far (6 Research Assistants and over 20 students to play test the game) and the long-term goal is that the game will be used to train UMBC students in different courses each year. School personnel (social workers, teachers, counselors, psychologists, nurses, janitors, administrative staff, lunchroom staff, etc) as well as parent volunteers, all interact with immigrant students regularly and can all play a role in creating a welcoming environment for them. Parents can also work with their children to be more open towards their immigrant classmates. Policy makers at the local, state, and national level have a role in making our public schools more welcoming. Therefore, Dr. Evans feels that playing this board game can be beneficial to UMBC students regardless of their major. Not to mention that many of the struggles and assistance discussed in the game can be applied to settings outside of the educational ecosystem. UMBC students are the future, and they can be agents of change in their personal and professional lives as they promote inclusivity for immigrants in our communities.

UMBC students playing the game

Wait, so what is this game?

lnterested in learning more? Or playing the game?!

Related publications:

Evans, K., Oliveira, G., Hasson III, R. G., Crea, T. M., Neville, S. E., Fitchett, V. (2022). Unaccompanied children’s education in the United States: Service provider’s perspective on challenges and support strategies. Cultura Educación y Sociedad, 13(1), 193-218. (Open Access)

Evans, K., Perez-Aponte, J., & McRoy, R. (2019). Without a paddle: Barriers to school enrollment procedures for immigrant students and families. Education and Urban Society, 52(9), 1283-1304.