Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Anna Stetsenko

Subject Categories

Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Educational Sociology | Humane Education | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Service Learning | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Community-Based learning, activist pedagogy, agency, collective development


At the core of this study, at the core the transformative experiences that will be described, is agency and what can occur when it is at the forefront of development and learning. I discuss educational spaces that give young learners the opportunity to recognize their ability to shift their perception of themselves and the world and lead to social change. I address this topic through the lens of my own experiences and the experiences of my peers. This study is a reflection on my experiences of participating in a social justice program. I hold a mirror to myself and contemplate on my experiences, how I got there, and how my perception of myself, the future, and my cultural identity shifted. I discuss how, ultimately, educational spaces like the Bonner Program, create ripe environments for young learners to step into their agentive potential, and moreover, it is a transformative experience that changes the way one navigates the world. The transformative experiences ultimately become a defining part of one’s personhood. I contextualize my experiences, and later that of my peers, using various critical education frameworks, Transformative Activist Stance (TAS), Black Emancipatory Action Research (BEAR), and other theoretical frameworks. I also discuss personhood development and how it can be activist occurrence when agency is at the forefront I leave the last pages of this piece to my peers in service, they help paint a clear picture of what could happen when young, marginalized leaners are given the chance to define the world for themselves.