Honoring Patrice Collins ’22 Ph.D.

On Sunday, May 22nd, Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences honored the graduate students who had distinguished themselves among their peers for their scholarly research, teaching, and public service. Dwight Hall is proud to celebrate Patrice Collins ’22 Ph.D., who was awarded the GSAS Disciplinary Outreach Service Award for her work with Dwight Hall’s New Haven Civic Allyship Initiative and for her outreach with the greater New Haven community. The Disciplinary Outreach Service Award recognizes a student who has applied specific knowledge of his or her own field in performing voluntary service within the local community. 

Dwight Hall wishes her the best of luck as she embarks on her new position as an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. Below are words from Dwight Hall staff members who worked with Patrice and celebrate her commitment to service. 

From Johnny Scafidi ’01, Dwight Hall’s Director of Community Outreach: “Early in her Yale graduate student career, Patrice developed relationships with families from neighborhoods in the West Rock area, a section of New Haven with high rates of poverty that is geographically isolated from many parts of the city. For example, it can take more than fifty minutes to reach West Rock by public transportation on routes that have lower frequency of departures. In 2018, Patrice began offering workshops in this community through the Family Resource Center at Brennan-Rogers School and other community-based organizations. She organized a toy drive that winter that provided over one hundred toys and several hundred dollars for families impacted by incarceration. Patrice provided meaningful support and healing for children experiencing trauma from intergenerational cycles of incarceration in their families. She has continued to provide multi-tiered support by recruiting volunteers to supply books and mentoring to children while organizing workshops for adults that offer information and resources for breaking the effects of carceral slavery.  

Patrice’s efforts have strengthened the work of organizations such as Connecting Through Literacy: Incarcerated Parents, their Children, and Caregivers (CLICC) and enhanced the capacity of school-based Family Resource Centers. Though incarceration rates among young, black adult parents remain high in New Haven, Patrice’s efforts have galvanized the community to respond to the needs of children impacted by this reality. She has built equity within the community by effectively sharing her doctoral research with a community that has been unable to experience higher education over multiple generations.   

Patrice’s service over an extended period serves as a meaningful counter against generations of injustice. Within Dwight Hall, Patrice has inspired undergraduate student leaders for the past six years as a Graduate Service Fellow and as a Graduate Student Fellow for the New Haven Civic Allyship Initiative, which trains students to serve as allies with leaders striving for justice in our community.” 

From James Jeter, New Haven Civic Allyship Founding Director : “Patrice and I started working together in 2018 on Community and Families Rising for Justice. I watched her grow as an ethnographer, an organizer, and a teacher. Since 2018, we have drafted policies, written grants together, and built capacity in very marginalized communities. She has left her mark on New Haven and at Yale, and I am honored to know her and call her a friend.” 

From Zelda Roland ’08 ’16 Ph.D., Yale Prison Education Initiative Founding Director: “I first met Patrice when she was a first year Ph.D. student and I was just starting to develop what would later become the Yale Prison Education Initiative. Patrice was an extraordinarily passionate advocate for students in prison and especially for families and children experiencing the impact of an incarcerated loved one. Over the years, I have watched as she has continued in her unwavering dedication to the service of others. As a graduate fellow at Dwight Hall, she worked tirelessly to bring graduate students into the work of the Hall, and significantly increased the number of graduate students who participate in the work we do. 

Through her other leadership positions on campus, including through the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Yale Graduate & Professional Student Senate, and through the Office of Graduate Student Diversity & Development, Patrice has worked to make connections for graduate students to Dwight Hall’s mission of public service and social justice, created opportunities for graduate students to be of service in our communities, and has amplified and supported the work of YPEI and the cause of prison education. We will miss Patrice but congratulate her on this major milestone and recognition, and are deeply grateful for her work during graduate school, and for leaving Yale and New Haven a better place.”

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