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MSW student selected as I4 Boundary Spanner Scholar

MSW student Jazmyne Jones has been selected to participate in the 14 Boundary Spanner Scholars Program.

This scholars program is sponsored by the UNC Graduate School, Southern Futures Initiative, and the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, which was established in 2016 by the N.C. General Assembly, to enable faculty, staff and students from across the UNC system to easily share their research expertise and best practices with government agencies and policymakers.

This year’s group of Boundary Spanner Scholars will use humanistic and data analysis tools to support teams addressing COVID-19-related concerns in North Carolina communities. The program describes such judicious use of quantitative and qualitative data as a means for helping communities achieve their goals, especially those that are marginalized and that have historically suffered from this nation’s health, environmental, and economic disparities. These circumstances have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help address these challenges, the scholars program aims to train and deploy a cohort of ‘boundary spanners’ who will use their listening, data analysis and scientific inquiry skills to support communities severely affected by the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Jones, who is a final year student in the School’s three-year MSW program, will be working closely with Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, an associate professor with UNC’s School of Information and Library Science, and in collaboration with Saiph Savage, a visiting professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and director of the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory at West Virginia University.

The team will focus on the project, “Understanding Workers Transition to New Digital Labor Jobs.”

“The purpose of this project is to better understand the opportunities and challenges of various kinds of gig work, paying particular attention to how location and skill type impact work practices,” Jones said.

Jones, who graduates in May 2021, plans to pursue work with an interdisciplinary health team to provide holistic care in substance misuse and addiction treatment.

“As a social worker, I strive to better inform and alleviate disparities and stigmas associated with racism, classism, and mental health stereotypes, among minority populations,” she said. “I desire to be a part of bridging the gap between physical and behavioral health that will yield more opportunity to advocate, foster wellness, and address the social determinates of health. Equity, best-practices, and advocating for vulnerable populations are essential for my future work in the field.”