Designed as an interdisciplinary program, the urban studies major offers a broad introduction to the city and the urban environment. Students combine course work and research on urban issues with hands-on experience in New York City as well as other American and international cities. The curriculum prepares majors for graduate school and professional programs in teaching, social work, public policy, architecture and urban planning as well as for careers in government service and community development, the non-profit sector, journalism and law.
“When Bethany Fernandez first began to document oral histories in the Bronx during the pandemic, her own life was “chaotic,” she says – her familiar routines upended, her days confronted with fear and uncertainty.
But the past year and a half has become, almost in a strange way, a time of profound personal growth and self-discovery, says Ms. Fernandez, a lifelong resident of the Bronx, a borough of New York City.
The communities surrounding her were among the most afflicted in the country, and they were being documented relentlessly in the news. But when she decided to join a group of fellow students at Fordham University to launch the Bronx COVID-19 Oral History Project, she found a reality not fully captured in the news, she says.”
“In moments like these, a cynical person might think, ‘Oh, people are going to be selfish’ – resources are scarce, survival of the fittest, or whatever,” says Ms. Fernandez. “But no, it was the complete opposite. People were willing to give, people willing to extend themselves, even if they may not have had that much to give or to extend.”
In two dozen interviews with Bronx teachers, families, artists, and community leaders, people described a similar sense of energy, positivity, and resilience, says Mark Naison, professor of history and African and African American studies at Fordham, who advised the students.
“You know, we found all these people who were doing amazing things to help keep the community alive during this time,” he says.