WESTMINSTER COLLEGE Assistant professor attends seminar in Brazil

Staff report

New wilmington, pa.

Kristenne Robison, Westminster College assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, attended the Council on International Educational Exchange’s Community Engagement and Development seminar in May in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

CIEE is a company that offers study-abroad opportunities for college students, faculty and administration.

The seminar focused on recent economic and social developments in Brazil, as well as engaging with various community members to learn directly from them.

This seminar also featured lectures from various professors and community members, including: a lecture by the commander of Brazil’s police pacification units that focused on the role of the peace keeping forces in Rio’s favelas (hillside communities); a lecture on the effects of the drug and arm trades on the favelas, and a talk by the community organizer and trained city planner on the effects on the upcoming Olympics on the favelas.

Robison also participated in many field trips during the seminar, including to a police station for women to report domestic violence, sexual assault, or family-related issues; and a visit to the Cantagalo Favela to learn about a youth program started by a local woman and mother to keep the local children productive and out of trouble.

“This seminar was life-changing for me,” Robison said. “All eyes are on Rio de Janeiro right now as they prepare to host the 2014 Men’s World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

It was such a great opportunity to learn from community members and scholars. The program director organized the seminar in a way that was engaging and culturally sensitive.”

Robison added, “I gained ideas for my courses, particularly my ‘Critical Issues in Policing’ course being offered in Spring Semester 2014 and ideas for research in Brazil.”

Robison, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2009, earned an undergraduate degree from Baldwin- Wallace College, master’s degrees from Ohio State University and Syracuse University, and a doctorate from Syracuse University.

Her research interests include police work, sociology of gender, intimate partner violence and qualitative research methods.

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