Class of 2027

Tower Grove Neighborhood, St. Louis, MO: Reparative Justice

The 2027 class of CODE Scholar will work with the Missouri Botanical Garden with an inclusive theme of reparative justice, an approach centering on those who have been harmed, focusing on healing and repairing past harms to prevent them in the future. The combined scholarly expertise of ethnobotany and conservation biology, with the historical resources of Henry Shaw’s papers and the specimens in the herbarium, make MOBOT an ideal site for transdisciplinary problem-solving.

CODE Scholars will work over a period of two years in research teams with Michelle Bonner, Robbie Hart, and Andrew Colligan to explore the institution’s history of enslavement, retrace the erasures of Black and Brown residents who lived in the area that is now Shaw Nature Reserve, and study the indigenous knowledge and cultural context underlying specimens in the Herbarium.

CODE Scholars can help MOBOT tell these stories with intentionality and sensitivity to welcome more diverse guests to the Garden.

Class of 2026

Alton, IL: Resiliency and Spatial Justice in the Face of Climate Change

As a Mississippi River town, Alton has a storied past. After the Missouri Compromise, Alton was a key stop for the Underground Railroad and a hub of activity for abolitionists and those escaping from slavery. The city was also the site of racial segregation throughout the twentieth century. Redlining meant that black communities were relegated to parts of the city at the mercy of the river’s frequent flooding. Extreme flooding again hit Alton in spring 2019 leading to concerns about racial justice in the context of climate change. Working in their research teams, Scholars consider water quality, flood management, housing practices, and segregation in the context of history, literature, geography, and environmental science.

Teams work to define what spatial justice should look like in this region, a concept that Edward Soja explains as “fundamentally, almost inescapably, a struggle over geography.” Spatial justice is “the fair and equitable distribution in space of socially valued resources and opportunities to use them” (2009). Contributing to the work of spatial justice, our community-engaged approach can foster online environments in which project participants consider their subject position in relationship to power and privilege as it operates in everyday interactions as well as in broader global contexts.

Teams are working with the YWCA of Southwest Illinois, focusing on racial equity in relationship to mental health and violence prevention; with the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center on science education and misinformation; and with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) on equity in education. 


CODES ePortfolios

CODE Scholars share and reflect on their work through ePortfolios. An ePortfolio is a digital space for you to track your achievements, reflect on your growth during your time at SIUE, and craft a digital identity to share with others. You can read more about ePortfolios and find helpful resources here: