Junior Codey Young, a philosophy and sociology major at Ursinus, cares deeply. He cares about his community, social and civil rights issues, and equal educational opportunities for all.
This past March, Young was one of eight Ursinus students who traveled to Alabama to study the role played by African American churches and socio-political organizations that cultivated civil right changes in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. The trip was part of the course, the African American Religious Experience taught by Reverend Charles Rice, one of Young’s mentors.
“It was an opportunity that made text come to life,” said Young. “A chance to engage with the untold reality of institutionalized Jim Crow racism in America. By understanding from where we have come, we cannot deny the tremendous journey that still lies head.”
He followed this trip by spending the summer in the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. “The Moore Program was such a wonderful experience,” says Young. “It offers an in-depth introduction to graduate studies for historically underrepresented minority students across the country seeking to obtain a Ph.D. My cohorts were extremely intelligent, socially active and critically engaged students.”
Young was one of 21 students selected from universities across the country to participate in the 10-week program. The students engage in an intensive research experience, which includes designing and carrying out a research project, meeting weekly with a faculty mentor, attending weekly seminars, and receiving weekly courses in preparation for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Additionally, Young, of Pottstown, Pa., was one of only six students selected to present his research, which focused on the Occupy the Hood social movement, at MURAP’s annual conference. This year’s theme was: The (Ir)relevance of Civil Rights. Young based his personal research on his experience protesting in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. with the Occupy Wall Street Movement of 2011-2012. Occupy the Hood is an ongoing social movement aimed at encouraging poor, predominantly Black urban areas to assume resolve community issues self-deterministically. Young’s research examined the Occupy the Hood’s radio podcast series, which explores issues on racism, politics, and education.
“I evaluated Occupy the Hood’s discourse in relationship to Black social movements of the 20th century to contextualize and fixate the movement historically,” he says.
Young’s presentation, as well as his overall participation in the program made an impression on many of the faculty mentors at UNC, especially Dr. Isaac Unah, of the Political Science Department. “Codey was a very active and vocal presence during our seminars,” Dr. Uhah says. “He is smart, articulate, and usually asks the right questions that help to illuminate the subject under discussion. His research on African Americans during the Occupy Movement was carefully crafted and delivered clearly and with great enthusiasm.”
Young’s travels now take him across the globe to Ghana, where he is studying abroad at the University of Ghana in Accra for the fall semester, doing an internship at the W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Center for Pan-African Culture, conducting independent research while living with a local Ghanaian family. In the future, Young plans to pursue his Ph.D. in philosophy or sociology after his undergraduate studies, but hasn’t yet decided just which one yet.
“Whatever his choice of study, I fully expect him to be leader in many areas,” says Dr. Reginald F. Hildebrand, a faculty mentor at MURAP and an Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies and History at North Carolina. “He fully recognizes that scholars and activists of his generation have to generate new ideas, new strategies and new scholarship.”