“Coming Out of My Shell” – Dissertation Research on the Impact of COFI’s Work on Mother-Leaders

Jennifer Cossyleon poses with COFI parent leaders who heard her present her research.

PhD candidate, Jennifer Cossyleon examines how COFI’s grassroots organizing shapes parents’ lives in her recently released “Coming Out of My Shell: Motherleaders Contesting Fear, Vulnerability, and Despair through Family-focused Community Organizing” in the scholarly journal, “Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World”. She interviewed 47 COFI parent leaders and organizers over a couple of years and attended hundreds of COFI trainings and meetings from across Illinois.

Ms. Cossyleon documents the impact of how the organizing shapes participants’ lives in ways that “help them leave ‘shells’ of fear, vulnerability and despair within their often marginalized lives as women of color, recent immigrants and low-income mothers”.

Ms. Cossyleon describes how the collective action of COFI trained mother-leaders “transcends publicly stated formal organizational goals and powerfully affects them in life-altering ways”.

Jennifer Cossyleon’s work focuses on the intersections of collective behavior, race, gender, and class, and urban inequality. As a graduate fellow at the Center for Urban Research and Learning, Jennifer coordinated community-engaged research on deferred prosecution programs, prisoner reentry, domestic and sexual violence, and affordable housing policy. Some of her contributions have been published in The Sociological Quarterly, the Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Teaching Sociology, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

See the complete article in “Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World” here and Ms. Cossyleon’s interview with Sociology in Action here.