Eight Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences students, along with Dr. Melinda and Mr. Darrell Leonard, recently returned from two weeks in Northern Ireland for a short-term study-abroad trip. The students gained practice, service-learning/research experience based on the pedagogical model of learning-through-doing, and were able to work directly on the faculty director’s ongoing research project.
Dr. Leonard’s project focuses on the social and cognitive development of children and adults from communities transitioning from political/sectarian violence. Students experienced first-hand how combining multicultural peace studies and social/cognitive research through cross-community engagement influences the psychosocial elements of “peace building” (i.e., in-group identification, intergroup forgiveness and trust, and mental health and well-being) and enhances personal, family, community relations, and multicultural understanding.
Students on the trip were exposed to the applicable theories of intergroup contact, conflict transformation, peace psychology, and empirical research and history specific to “The Troubles” between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
These students spent the spring term being trained in and developing a trust-building workshop that resulted from Dr. Leonard’s 10 years of research in Northern Ireland. While abroad (May 7-20), the group traveled throughout Northern Ireland and conducted workshops with adolescents participating in the Ulster Project, a cross-community organization between Northern Ireland and the USA which is designed to bring Catholic and Protestant adolescents together in an effort to reduce prejudice, enhance forgiveness, trust, and empathy, and cultivate the 1998 “peace process.”
UofL students on the trip included:
- Jenna Conway
- Katie Dick
- Anna Kelecy
- Todd Lucas
- Arielle McGannon
- Jessica Sproles
- Ashley Swope
- Morgan Wells