Capital University President Denvy Bowman has selected six students and five community partners to help carry out the Empathy Experiment, an initiative he launched in November to explore whether empathy can be taught, and if so, what are the effects.
To help answer those questions, Bowman selected six unique Capital students from a pool of more than 140 applicants to learn through traditional and non-traditional experiences what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. They’ll be guided by five community partners deeply connected to the social issue that serves as the catalyst for transitioning students from sympathetic to empathetic — the working poor.
“Our students bring open minds and talent to this experience,” Bowman said. “Our partners bring the knowledge base and the interest in — perhaps even a sense of responsibility for — partnering with higher education to prepare and mobilize a new generation of innovative thinkers who are ambassadors for social change. Imagine what we can accomplish with such an alliance.”
Members of the inaugural class of the Empathy Experiment at Capital University are:
- Megan Ailer, of Blacklick, Ohio
- Megan Boissiere, of Marysville, Ohio
- Diana Crandall, of Hilliard, Ohio
- Liz Delfing, of Columbus, Ohio
- Ben Ferree, of Bexley, Ohio
- Andy Grizzell, of Columbus, Ohio
Their years of college experience are as varied as their academic interests. The class includes a first-year student, a sophomore, two juniors, and two seniors. Their majors are psychology, biology, early childhood education, international studies, and communication.
In the coming weeks, each student will deepen his or her understanding of the many challenges faced by the working poor, in part, by engaging in immersive experiences designed by the leaders of five prominent social service agencies serving Central Ohio’s working poor. Capital’s community partners in the Empathy Experiment are:
- Access HealthColumbus, a non-profit organization and public-private partnership that seeks to improve access to health care in the Central Ohio community, particularly for those most vulnerable, by convening public-private partners and coordinating innovative solutions
- Children’s Hunger Alliance, a statewide non-profit agency working toward long-term solutions to fighting childhood hunger
- Goodwill Columbus, Central Ohio’s connection to a network of 165 independent, community-based Goodwills in the United States and Canada that offer customized job training, employment placement and other services to people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges
- Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio, which helps thousands of people in need throughout 55 Ohio counties by addressing the four core societal issues of hunger, housing, healing, and hope
- YWCA Columbus Family Center, which is recognized as a national model for emergency shelters, and one of only four centers in the country to offer such a high quality of support to families experiencing housing crises
Along the way, through words, photos, videos and other media, students will share their experiences to demonstrate what, and how, they have learned. Follow their progress at capital.edu/empathy.
On Wednesday, April 27, Capital will host a concluding event in Mees Hall to showcase the Empathy Experiment, which is being documented carefully as it unfolds. The event will be open to the Capital community and invited guests. Additional details will be released as they become final.
Contact: Nichole Johnson
Director of Media Relations and Communications