Posted: March 22, 2022

Review the recording from our conversation with Janelle Larson, Associate Professor of Ag Economics at Penn State Berks, about her community engagement work with international partners in Kenya.

Session Description

In this talk, Janelle shares stories from over 10 years of co-teaching an undergraduate international service learning course at Penn State. She begins by providing an overview of the collaboration central to the course and describing how she and her collaborators navigate the "somewhat fraught" domain of international service learning. Throughout the talk, she shares examples of the student projects and lessons learned over the course of this evolving collaboration. Janelle's stories reveal insights into what is involved with building genuine partnerships with community organizations, recognizing local expertise, and approaching collaborative international development and research initiatives with humility.

Penn State has been partnering with a program for vulnerable children and youth in Kenya, the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre, since 2009. Through this collaboration, students collaborate with staff at the Centre to develop programming focused on youth and enterprise development. The collaboration's goal is to facilitate learning and growth for all the young people involved.

Storyteller Bio

Janelle Larson is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Penn State Berks. She has extensive experience in research and training focused on gender and development. For the past 12 years she has co-taught a course at PSU as part of an initiative to develop livelihood options for former street-dwelling youth in Kenya, in collaboration with an organization there.

About the Series

Stories from the Field is a conversation series on community engagement and applied research. The series is designed to bring academics and practitioners together for informal discussions about the challenges and opportunities of doing work with communities, businesses, and the public sector. Stories from the Field is hosted by Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development, an applied research center dedicated to strengthening local and regional development in Pennsylvania and beyond.