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First State First Chance UD Prison Education Program

2021-2022 UDARI Committee Grant Award Winner

The First State Chance committee used UD Anti-Racism Initiative funding to cover student enrollment in courses offered in Winter and Spring 2022. Offering incarcerated people of all races and genders the opportunity to earn a college degree is a matter of social justice and can be articulated as a form of reparations. Those previously denied an opportunity for an education and access to social, educational and cultural capital can gain a pathway to full citizenship through prison education. Tuition was spread across courses with preference given to those students enrolling in courses that fulfill either degree or certificate pathways. The First State First Chance committee remains optimistic that about how this funding allowed for the roll out of several non-credit bearing certificates offered through the Professional and Continuing Studies. This funding lets the First State First Chance committee continue building capacity, while troubleshooting the pedagogical and institutional issues unique to this kind of program delivery.


To highlight the role of prison education in UD’s mandate.


Expand course offerings from all colleges, partner with DSU and DelTech, and provide courses in all DE prisons.


Chair: Chrysanthi Leon (Sociology & Criminal Justice)
Membership for this committee is at capacity and is not accepting new members at this time.
  • Nada Abuasi (Criminal Justice/Political Science, Undergraduate Student)
  • Taylor Bucy (Psychology/Women’s Studies, Undergraduate Student)
  • Shannon Burke (Elementary Education, Undergraduate Student)
  • Charito Calvachi-Mateyko (Delaware Humanities)
  • Alexis Carel (Sociology & Criminal Justice, Undergraduate Student)
  • Katie Cirrito (Criminal Justice, Undergraduate Student)
  • Emily Davis (English)
  • Neri de Kramer-Lynch (Associate in Arts Program)
  • Nathan Elton (Career Services Center)
  • Jessica Estok (Student Wellness & Health Promotion)
  • Adam Foley (Office of Equity & Inclusion)
  • Gracie Girvalo (Political Science, Undergraduate Student)
  • Chad Giusti (Mathematical Sciences)
  • Carla Guerron-Montero (Anthropology)
  • Angela Hattery (Women & Gender Studies)
  • Paul Jackson (Geography)
  • Tara Kee (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program)
  • Aaya Kingsbury (History, Graduate Student)
  • Katheryn Lawson (History, PhD Student)
  • Jules Lowman (Undergraduate Student)
  • Helen Mach (Communication Sciences & Disorders Postdoc)
  • Michael Miller (Development & Alumni Relations)
  • Sarah Meadows (IT Strategic Operations)
  • Susan Miller (Sociology & Criminal Justice)
  • Alan Parkes (History, PhD Student)
  • Graciela Perez (Criminology, PhD Student)
  • Keerthi Potluri (English)
  • Autumn Potter (Sociology, Undergraduate Student)
  • Michelle Richards (Human Devlopment & Family Services, Early Childhood Education)
  • Eric Rise (Sociology & Criminal Justice)
  • Rachel Rohman (Criminal Justice/Public Policy, Undergraduate Student)
  • Nicholas Russell  (Applied Mathematics, PhD Student)
  • Gilberto Schleiniger (Mathematical Sciences)
  • Lawson Schultz (Undergraduate Student)
  • Michele Schwander (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Sowmya Shankar (IT Enterprise Cloud & Services)
  • Earl Smith (Associate of Arts Program/Women & Gender Studies)
  • David Suisman (History)
  • Casey Taylor (Biden School of Public Policy & Administration)
  • Andie Weaver (Applied Mathematics, PhD Student)

Committee Highlights

The First State First Chance prison education UDARI subcommittee has been steadily taking steps to offer incarcerated Delawareans opportunities to earn college credit and, ultimately, an Associate in Arts (AA) degree.  In this project, subcommittee member Prof. Keerthi Potluri synthesizes her experience teaching correspondence-only sections of English 110 in order to support instructors across the University of Delaware’s campuses in offering their courses to students incarcerated throughout Delaware and ensuring those students better access to their degree pathways. It brings together a number of practices and pedagogical activities that accommodate incarcerated students’ limited access to typical classroom technologies and resources in order to build a course experience that is consistent for all students and manageable for the instructor.