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Benjamin Hidalgo - Psychology
It has been a common thread in the life's work of Dr. Benjamin Hidalgo.
Holding a clinical psychology Ph.D. with an emphasis on community psychology, Dr. Hidalgo's research focuses specifically on homelessness and community mental health program evaluation. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin doing research around housing and treatment options for people who are homeless living with HIV/AIDS.
"My community research and action are interdisciplinary. This approach brings in aspects of politics, sociology and specifically community psychology to try to address complex social issues like homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, and criminal behavior, among other issues," says Dr. Hidalgo.
He has brought that same passion for service and the community to Curry College, and is sharing it with his students as an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department.
"I think the process of a student discovering the idea that 'I can be an actor in creating change in the world' is a pretty exciting one for me."
Dr. Hidalgo's classes are conducted, as he puts it, "far from the traditional 'passive' way of learning," i.e. study, show up for class, answer some questions on an exam, etc. They are more casual, where he encourages conversation and does not shy from debate.
"In my classes, we'll often detour around a boring, traditional lecture so that conversation emerges in an organic way. I want my students to know that we are on this journey together, letting them know, 'if you step up I will step up with you.'"
Since joining the Curry family in the fall of 2012, Dr. Hidalgo has already noticed that community theme permeating the campus around him as well.
"There's a vibrant community here and I feel like there is a diversity of students, in terms of cultural background as well as ability, and when they come to class, they are really engaged in the discussion. There's a sense of people wanting to really apply what they're learning to their everyday lives."
Dr. Hidalgo's community psychology students are required to apply those lessons in real-world settings, serving off campus at local food pantries and other community service placements, or even on campus at the Curry Early Childhood Center or working with students with learning disabilities.
"My students get a chance to actually go out and effect change in a positive way and be a part of those communities. They're also getting a chance to network with individuals at these placement sites for potential professional opportunities after they graduate from Curry."
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