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Co-op Spotlight: Mim Merchant

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“The work is very collaborative as we often had to consult one another when we offered guidance to schools. My coworkers were also essential in decompressing after having difficult conversations or receiving troubling cases. Although the work itself is challenging and sometimes disturbing, the team is what makes it all bearable, and they made me realize that office culture is one of the most important things I can look for in a job.“

– Mim Merchant

The office of Equity at the Boston Public Schools (BPS) investigates allegations of bias-based conduct and sexual misconduct. There were a few courses that were very helpful for preparing Mim for this job and understanding what “bias-based conduct” was. Prior knowledge of common microaggressions and the types of bias experienced by certain groups of people is an expectation for anyone who works at Equity. HUSV 2355: Race, Identity, Social Change and Empowerment was the most helpful, as it delved deeply into systemic racism and other forms of prejudice that intersect with race.

When she started out in July, her work was mostly project-based as there not many reports made over the summer. During the school year, she did not have much time for projects, but she was able to focus on a few that she found most interesting. Starting in September, the job primarily involved case management of student-related reports, from conducting intakes of school administrators reporting incidents to providing guidance on how to conduct investigations in accordance with their circulars. As time went on in her position she and she became familiar with the cases Mim was able to provide better counsel.

Time management was critical to the job as they needed to respond to reporters of bias-based and sexual misconduct in a timely manner, and had to prioritize that over projects while ensuring that every task assigned was still completed. Keeping in communication with her direct supervisor was also important. She learned setting a certain amount of time daily to complete specific tasks was the way to ensure her success.

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