In spring 2017, 57 students in San Francisco State University science courses spent five minutes of class time writing in a journal. Then they spent five minutes talking about what they wrote. That seemingly insignificant exercise sparked a quiet revolution — one that has spread from those first 57 students to more than 1,800.
The journaling exercise, part of a student-run initiative called the Alma Project, is a way to give students the space to express themselves in their science courses. “When we walk into that first biology class, I always feel like we’re not our authentic selves. We just zip up this new identity so we can assimilate into that particular setting,” said Khanh Tran, a recent San Francisco State graduate and one of the project’s two leaders. “I feel like my experiences as an immigrant or as a queer person, that’s what makes me a stronger person.”
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