The concept of equity acknowledges that everybody has different circumstances and comes from different backgrounds, so different resources may be needed to reach an equal outcome. The title Everybody is Entitled to Equity is based on the team’s realization through their research that no matter what background, race, sexuality, legal status, one may be, everybody is deserving of the correct support to achieve success. When everyone has equitable access to resources, opportunities, and support, it fosters social cohesion, reduces inequality, and creates a more just and prosperous society for all.
Everybody is Entitled to Equity is a set of four stories produced by a team of journalist fellows in Spring, 2023. The team includes five student journalists, featured in the above image from left to right: Sierra Mickelson, Alexa Topacio, Luis-Antonio Carreon, Ryder Bouck, and Ethan Yamaguchi. They were all awarded through the California Humanities “Emerging Journalist” Fellowship with the Journalism program at Sierra College. The fellowship is only granted to four students, however, with assistance from the Sierra College Foundation, a fifth fellow was also awarded.
Fellows Explore What an Equitable Community College Looks Like
The team was required to meet with the grant program directors at California Humanities, Director of Media and Journalism, John Lightfoot, and Joaquin Alvarado, co-founder of StudiotoBe and former Chief Executive Officer for the Center for Investigative Reporting.
They met three times during the creation of their projects to present their reporting strategies and seek feedback. The team also met with fellows and faculty mentors from other California Community Colleges around the state to explore relevant issues.
Also, over the course of 16 weeks, they met regularly with Sierra College faculty advisor, Jenifer Vernon. Through learning about equity in journalism from Sacramento Bee reporter, Marcus D. Smith, and his guest lecture, the team was inspired to report stories about the term ‘equity.’ After brainstorming various topics, they landed on examining what an equitable community college looks like.
Bouck partnered up with Topacio to create a story about nontraditional students and their experiences at Sierra College, “If Everyone is a Nontraditional Student, then what is a Traditional Student?”
Carreon reported and photographed a story of an undocumented student-leader who is achieving her American Dream by breaking barriers and opening doors for others. Carreon and Yamaguchi partnered to write Carreon’s story: “From Cleaning to Leading: the Life of an Undocumented Student.”
Mickelson examined Sierra College’s student resources to determine how they are closing student disparities. Read her story here: “Equity in Action with Sierra Resources.”
Yamaguchi investigated what it is like to live in the dorms of Sierra College, one of the few community colleges in the entire state of California to house students on campus. His story, “Housing Student Success at Sierra College,” also explores other housing options such as the nearby high-priced apartments.
The purpose of all four stories is to shed light on students of historically marginalized groups, and inform readers about the resources available to them that can help them succeed.
In addition to composing stories, the team also wrote and designed a pamphlet to inform Sierra College students about available resources on the Rocklin campus. What makes the Equity Pamphlet different is that it sums up resources across campus like a “one-stop-shop.”
The Pamphlet has QR codes and descriptions of resources designed for various demographics of students, a marked map of the Rocklin Campus indicating where the resources are, all in a format that is user-friendly.
The Equity Pamphlet also contains a set of mini-student profiles from Bouck and Topacio’s story and Carreon and Yamaguchi’s. The pamphlet design was crafted by Mickelson.
Written by the Spring 2023 California Humanities Emerging Journalist Fellows: Ryder Bouck, Luis Antonio Carreon, Sierra Mickelson, Alexa Topacio, and Ethan Yamaguchi
This project was supported through the California Humanities “Emerging Journalist Fellowship.” This Fellowship awards up to four student-fellows in Journalism programs at California Community Colleges funding to do community-based journalism. This is the second year that the Sierra College Journalism program has received this significant statewide award. In 2023 at Sierra College, additional support for a fifth fellow was awarded through the Sierra College Foundation.
Any views or findings expressed in the five stories that make up, Everybody is Entitled to Equity, published here on Roundhouse News & Review, do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities, or the Sierra College Foundation.