Inquire at Marygrove College
Visit us at Marygrove College
Apply at Marygrove College

Contact: Karen Wood Director, Communications and Marketing Marygrove College
Ph: (313) 927-1446
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photojournalist works with Marygrove College to document course

DETROIT, Mich., Jan. 19, 2010—An HIV/AIDS photo essay by Michigan State University photojournalist and professor David Cooper documenting the interesting and often surprising reactions of students during various Marygrove College HIV/AIDS seminars, will be displayed at Michigan Campus Compact’s Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Conference, Feb. 9-10, at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Mich.

Cooper documents his time spent with Mumford High School students taking an HIV/AIDS seminar taught by Marygrove College professors and students. The course is designed to give Marygrove students a service-learning leadership opportunity by instructing them to teach high school students about the importance HIV/AIDS awareness. James Karagon, Associate Professor of Social Work at Marygrove College, along with Professors Donald Rizzo and Loretta Woodard, teach the HIV/AIDS seminar at Marygrove College.

Cooper went along with the Marygrove HIV/AIDS class to Mumford High School where they taught high school students about the issues and topics they had been discussing in their Marygrove course. While there, Cooper took photographs of the Marygrove students and faculty interacting with the Mumford students. He has compiled forty of these photographs along with his own written comments into a photo essay.

The photographs are compelling, as they depict the learning process: from initial apathy and disinterest, all the way through realization and attentiveness. Karagon says, “Seeing photos puts a human face on AIDS transformation. With the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS in the African American community, particularly on students, it is not a topic that can be ignored.”

His interest, and hence the focus of his photographs, was on the “teaching moments” that are often talked about, but rarely seen. As he states in his photo essay, it was only when these teaching moments occurred that he could “bear witness to the hard-won connections and breakthroughs that transpire at 1/100 of a second, snared by the patient scrutiny of the camera shutter.”

While Cooper was busy documenting the experience, Karagon was gathering information about the personal and professional growth of his students due to engagements such as the one that occurred at Mumford High School. Aside from helping to keep college students in higher education, the service learning aspect of the project is a valuable way for students to apply what they learned in class in the community.

“By our students becoming teachers, they are truly engaging themselves in the community and learning to become urban leaders,” says Karagon. “Think of it as having a college without walls.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in African American communities is a continuing public health crisis for the United States. At the end of 2006 there were an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV infection, of which almost half (46%) were black/African American.1 While blacks represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, they continue to account for a higher proportion of cases at all stages of HIV/AIDS—from infection with HIV to death with AIDS—compared with members of other races and ethnicities.

The photo essay was made possible by research grants from the Michigan Campus Compact (MCC), a coalition of college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education.

1. CDC. HIV Prevalence Estimates — United States, 2006. MMWR 2008; 57: 1073-1076.


Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1927, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to developing leaders for the new global society.

The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.
8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221
Web site:


Michigan Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact member presidents are joined together in their commitment to the development of personal and social responsibility as integral to the educational mission of their campuses. Currently MCC has 42 member campuses and Michigan members are part of national Campus Compact, a coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents, representing some 6 million students.

As the only national organization committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education, Campus Compact is a leader in building civic engagement into campus and academic life. Michigan Campus Compact is a state office of the national organization and our membership unites public, private, two-and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education. MCC is located in Lansing, Michigan.