Ana Raquel Jimenez

By Maria Shmarina

The American Dream Reconsidered course (Political Science 390) takes a deep dive into the cultural phenomenon known as the “American Dream” and considers how attainable the American Dream really is. The course, taught by Associate Teaching Professor of Political Science Andrew Trees, required students to attend the annual American Dream Reconsidered Conference October 16-19, 2023, on the RU campus and reflect on what they learned throughout the semester. 

Ana R. Jiménez, a paralegal studies student, took this course in Fall 2023.

“My experience was interesting,” she says. “When I signed up, I was told that this was going to be an ‘unconventional class,’ meaning that it was not a typical lecture format. However, no amount of words can describe what this ‘unconventional class’ was; it needs to be experienced first-hand.”

Jiménez reported on American Dream Reconsidered Conference panels in response papers for her class. For instance, she attended and commented on “Curriculum Wars: The Battle to Control our Schools,” which considered such topics as “academic freedom, indoctrination, book bans and diversity,” wrote Jiménez. Panel speakers included moderator Margaret Policastro, a professor of language and literacy and chair of the Department of Education at Roosevelt University; Anthony Chen, associate professor of sociology at Northwestern University; Emily Knox, associate professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and Jonathan Zimmerman, Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education and Professor of History of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jiménez also reported on the panel “Veterans and the College Experience: Opportunities, Challenges and Life Lessons.” For this event, Kevin Smith, Director of Veteran and Military Services at Roosevelt University, moderated a panel of three veterans who are also studying at the University. During this panel, wrote Jiménez, Smith “commented on how military members, after having been deployed and working 24/7, feel like a 40-hour work week is ‘part time.’”

Smith’s “approach to students when he first meets them,” wrote Jiménez, is to ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Asking this question, she wrote, “helps him determine whether students want to continue their military career or change their career and whether they need help finding direction or need help on their current path.”

After exploring the limits and ambitions of The American Dream for a semester, Jiménez says her “biggest takeaway from this class was community.”

 

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