Assembling Public Cultural Enrichment Archives




Project Summary

Thanks to generous support from the Association of Alumnae, I was able to complete Phase I of the Ase Academy Programming Archive during the months of May and June 2018. Ase Academy is a cultural enrichment program for black middle and high schoolers in the Philadelphia area, run exclusively by black undergraduate students at Penn. (I have been a mentor for Ase since the start of my freshman year, and a Programming Co-Chair for the organization since my sophomore year.)


For the past twenty years, Ase has been an essential extracurricular outlet for many local students. The program has consistently allowed them to gain exposure to a college environment, and challenged them with academic, social-emotional, political, and artistic lessons during this entire two-decade span. It has also been an incredible service opportunity for myself and many other mentors, one that has allowed us to connect with local students while strengthening our mentorship skills. For many years, it has been a great goal of mine to organize Ase’s considerable backlog of lesson plans, aids, and other programming files into a uniform, digital, and easily accessible archive.

This summer, given the grant support, I was finally able to accomplish Phase I of this goal.


For the months of May and June, I located and processed all of our past programming files, and then organized them into a comprehensive archive. The archive is currently hosted on Google Drive, and is categorized by lesson topic/content. Each lesson contains an introduction page that trademarks and cites our work, and also allows future Ase instructors an “easy access” way to determine whether this lesson is useful for their students. While I initially expected to be able to disseminate this project to our network of families and partner programs by July, I now believe the archive will benefit from a revision process before public dissemination in Phase II. This editing is underway, as I am currently soliciting and receiving feedback from Ase staff.


Throughout my time with this project, I was able to delve deep into our program’s history, and witness the innovative programming Ase has employed to enrich black students over the years. This project has already helped form lessons for the Makuu Summer Impact Program, and I am especially excited to use some of these great lessons in the fall with our core group of students. This work has taught me a great amount about successful curriculum and programming, and I’m excited to transfer these skills to my upcoming courses at Penn, and further endeavors in education.