Grace Harkins '21 is a Government Major and Spanish and Religious Studies Double Minor. Her passion for education and social justice drove her to research the power of social norms in our education system today. After graduating from St. Lawrence, Grace plans on furthering her studies at graduate schools of education. She would ultimately like to spend her time working as a high school teacher or in Student Life at a small liberal arts college like St. Lawrence.
The education system in the US is quite flawed. It can work against students, teachers, and even parents, rather than working with them to create more opportunities, greater equality, and broaden knowledge. Many of these flaws are instilled into the system through the norms of education and the norms of teaching. Given the power of norms, we feel powerless to change a system that is not working for too many students. But this system must change. Schools and teachers must address difficult political issues with their students, so students feel respected, listened to, and empowered to change a system that harms them. My summer research focuses on gender norms in teaching, the norms of teaching (or not teaching) about race and racism, college life without norms during COVID-19, and the norms of teaching about leadership and who makes a good leader.