My capstone portfolio consists of my research project on HIV stigma, my writer’s evolution essay, and other writing from college like my “Why I Write” essay from gateway. In my writer’s evolution essay, I focus on how I developed a better sense of audience and purpose in my writing over the course of the MiW. In my portfolio, I include papers from earlier writing classes that show this deficit in my writing. A lot of my progress in strengthening my sense of audience is reflected by my capstone portfolio.
For the project, I created an HIV Stigma Toolkit designed for HIV social workers in Michigan. I was inspired by my volunteer work as an HIV test counselor at UNIFIED, a non-profit HIV clinic and resource center in Ypsilanti. The goal of the Toolkit is to help HIV social workers increase the capacity of their clients (people living with HIV [PLHIV] and members of vulnerable populations) to effectively challenge HIV Stigma. I aim to help HIV social workers understand the origin and impact of stigma experienced by PLHIV in Michigan as a means to better decode and address their clients’ fears of stigma. The ultimate goal is this: by helping their clients overcome fears of stigma, HIV therapy will be significantly improved.
The first section of the Toolkit (“Stigma Trends in Michigan”) gives a definition of stigmas experienced by PLHIV in the state and an overview of the distribution of those stigma experiences. The goal of this section is to inform social workers of what types of stigmas their clients most likely face, divided by characteristics like age, race, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, marginalization, etc. My next section (“Social Stigma) includes an analytical essay on how stigma affects PLHIV through a social lens. My essay focuses on behavioral outcomes of social stigma such as social avoidance and delayed care. My next section (“Legal Stigma”) is an analytical essay on how stigma affects PLHIV through a legal lens. Here, I focus on the origin of legal stigma through HIV Criminalization, defined as the use of criminal law to prosecute PLHIV. Finally, in my last section of the Toolkit (“Interview”), I interviewed a man living with HIV about the ways he challenged stigma; we also focused our conversation on how stigma changes with age.
I hope you enjoy looking through my project and my older writing pieces. Here’s the link: https://jordan-levine-capstone-project.squarespace.com