Since high school, Stormi Peters has volunteered. With the Youth Farm and Market Project, now called Youth Farm, she has worked with inner city youth and their families to grow and distribute their own food and live healthy lives. In the Powderhorn neighborhood, she has worked with the community on the annual May Day parade.
Peters graduated from Urban League Academy High School, a small alternative public school in Minneapolis. As a first-year student at the University of Minnesota, she was overwhelmed—with the exception of one class.
In the family social science course Intimate Relationships, Peters learned about things that related directly to her volunteer work outside the classroom. It integrated gender studies, economics, and public health in order to demonstrate how to positively impact a community. She was inspired to learn more about the subject by her professor and teaching assistant, who were open about their lives in a way that expressed their love for what they taught.
In the fall of her sophomore year, Peters changed her major and transferred to the College of Education and Human Development.
“Family social science was a natural fit because the concepts and theories applied to what I was already doing,” she says.
Peters appreciates the community at CEHD. Coming from a small high school, she values one-to-one learning with professors and the small class sizes. She regularly meets with her professors to ensure that she is on track in her classes.
“CEHD is much more close-knit—everybody is so nice, and they’re there if you need them,” she says. “I had a meeting with one of my professors and I didn’t even know that two hours had passed.”
Exploring, contributing, connecting
As a family social science major, Peters has explored areas where she has a passion for change: discrimination against women and against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual (GLBT) community.
As a student, Peters has continued to volunteer on the south side of Minneapolis. With the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, for example, she works on projects designed to bring the community together.
Meanwhile, at Washburn High School, she works as a staff-support person, helping fellow employees and staff coordinators stay organized. Next door at Ramsey Middle School, over the past two years she has had the opportunity to teach students how to create their own yearbook and newspaper and has taught classes such as basketball, cooking, and dance.
Peters is also active in the CEHD community. She is the treasurer for Family Social Science Round Table, a club that creates networking opportunities and provides hands-on experience in volunteer and community service projects. She helps lead other family social science majors into volunteer opportunities that will give them training and expand their knowledge of their practice.
This August, Peters will get the opportunity to plug what she has learned into a semester of study abroad through Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID). In Bangalore, India, Peters and her group will study the complexities of environment, globalization, public health, and social justice through MSID’s distinctive model that involves classroom learning, internships, and research projects at nonprofit organizations.
Peters will engage in work related to her passions in a new environment. She also will get to explore work in international disaster relief, something she aspires to do.
Working with community-based volunteer initiatives has led Peters on a humanitarian path that gives her a sense of belonging.
“After taking my first family social science course, I knew that was what I wanted do,” she says. “I felt at home.”
Learn more about the Department of Family Social Science.
Story by Ali Lacey | June 2014