Teaching with Care: A Relational Approach to Individual Research Consultations

In Brief
Although single-session instruction makes it difficult for librarians to build deep relationships with the students they teach, individual research consultations offer great opportunities for these connections to occur. Transformational learning and teaching begins with positive, reciprocal student-teacher relationships. Unfortunately, these interactions are often tainted by the hierarchical power structures that keep students from feeling empowered by their research, such as deficit-model thinking and sociocultural-interpersonal differences. This article will apply a conceptual framework of Care Ethics and Relational-Cultural Theory to research consultations in an effort to proactively mitigate the oppressive structures of the traditional student-teacher relationship. Furthermore, this piece will confront the erasure of people of color in these theories and reflect on ways in which care and relation might necessitate different practices for students of color than their white counterparts using Critical Race Theory. In implementing these theories, librarians create a learning environment where students feel cared for and seen. In turn, librarians will actually get to know their students and be seen as authentic, autonomous educators who are working to diminish the pervasive disconnection felt on college campuses.

By Symphony Bruce


A sense of belonging and the feeling of genuine connection with one’s peers, faculty, and campus life is a known predictor of success in college (Strayhorn, 2012). Students who feel a sense of connection with their college experience are more likely to see academic success, graduate on time, and view their time favorably. The feeling of a lack of belonging compels students to withdraw from classes, perform poorly, and delay finishing their degrees (O’Keefe, 2013). As university and college students all over the nation commit to being tens of thousands of dollars in debt, it becomes a social justice issue that not only do they finish, but that they receive the best education possible.

If students are to receive the education they deserve, institutions must do better to create environments where students are valued and find a sense of belonging. All schools and departments on campus are responsible for this work, including the library. Students should feel welcomed and comfortable. They should never feel as though their presence or needs are a burden. Students should be able to ask questions and request assistance and still be recognized for the knowledge they possess. In this way, librarians can and should play a vital role in creating a sense of belonging for our students.

Individual research consultations and reference desk interactions are often the most intimate of teaching opportunities for librarians. These moments can be harnessed to cultivate connection and relationship. Because of the one-on-one nature of such interactions and the vulnerability required, librarians can either provide care or perpetuate the practices that lead to the disconnection a student may experience. In this paper, individual research consultations will be viewed through the theoretical lenses of care ethics, relational-cultural theory, and critical race theory. The use of these lenses will allow for a conceptual framework for providing care during one-on-one teaching moments that help foster a sense of belonging and connection.

Why Individual Research Consultations

Academic librarians are unique educators in that they often work outside of the power structures of the traditional student-teacher relationship. While some teach credit-bearing courses, many are still teaching in single-session classes, at the reference desk, and in individual research consultations. Instead of evaluating student work and assigning grades, librarians create lessons that facilitate the learning of information-seeking skills and information literacy thought processes. Individual research consultations provide the most intimate situation for teaching in the library. Usually conducted away from the reference desk and often in a librarian’s personal office or cubicle, these consultations require one-on-one time between librarian and student. Individual consultations are an instructional method and provide a different and effective way of teaching outside of the full classroom setting. Because these consultations are often referred to as research assistance, the pedagogical practices required get overlooked and allow us to forget that one-on-one teaching is still teaching.

While individual research consultations are a common teaching method for academic librarians, little is written about how to conduct them. Unlike classroom teaching and reference desk interactions which come with a robust body of literature, less has been written about what should happen during a one-on-one meeting. Prior to the late nineties, individual research consultations were described as “term paper clinics” which were used to review a student’s selected resources and determine if they were enough to fulfill the research need, which is different than the act of instruction (Gale & Evans, 2008, p.87). In 2003, Hua Li found that several institutions provided individual research consultation services and noted the wide benefits of providing such a service, such as time for the librarian to prepare in advance, uninterrupted instructional time, personalized instruction to meet the information need, and the possibility for relationship building. Now, the literature on individual research consultations focuses on the connection to information literacy skills, student achievement, and the changing nature of instructional methods in the digital age (Gale & Evans, 2008; Magi & Mardouz, 2013). Increasingly, the literature is beginning to reflect the ways in which these reference consultations can be a conduit for relational care, community-building, and social justice work (Forbes & Bowers, 2018; Arellano-Douglas, 2018).

Because there is a constant push to create instructional materials that digitally cater to large audiences and preemptively assess patron needs, like the LibGuide, it might seem that individual consultations are opposite the current library teaching trends (Nicholson, Pagowsky, & Seale 2019). The reality is that students feel the benefit of meeting with a librarian one-on-one, whether in person or via video conference. For example, Magi and Mardeusz (2013) found that before coming to their appointments, students felt frustration and afterwards, felt excited and prepared to continue their research. In the same study, students expressed “affective benefits including comfort, confidence building, inspiration, and building relationships” (Magi & Mardeusz, 2013, p. 612). One-on-one instruction clearly has the power to have a beneficial impact on student emotions, in addition to other benefits such as quick, clear dialogue and tapping into a librarian’s expertise.

The potential for relationship-building in the individual research consultation cannot be overstated. In what other situation does a librarian receive lengthy one-on-one time with students (especially when not acting as their employer in work-study situations)? These appointments require that librarians not only evaluate the academic need, but often attend to the emotions of the student as well. The vulnerability required by students to admit to needing help, scheduling an appointment, and sharing with the librarian what it is they do not understand, is such that when done with care, powerful connection can be made.

Care Ethics and Teaching

If a librarian prepares for a research consultation with only the academic need in mind, they miss an opportunity to create connection, as the research topic becomes centered instead of the student-librarian relationship (Arellano-Douglas, 2018). Furthermore, when working to minimize the power structures of traditional teaching methods in individual research consultations, the librarian must be cognizant of the ways they relate to the student. These one-on-one sessions are not just about the exchange of information. Instead, they are a moment which adds to a student’s sense of belonging and care with regards to their academic and personal selves. Exploring feminist pedagoges can help frame the way librarians relate to students. Maria T. Accardi, in Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (2013) cites an ethic of care as a important concern to the relationship between students and librarians. When librarians apply tenets from care ethics, they can better meet students’ needs.

Care ethics, or the ethics of care, is a feminist theory valuing relation in moral development. Now applied to a variety of disciplines, care ethics outlines the importance and virtue of connection and reciprocity between the carer and the cared-for. Nel Noddings (2012) outlined that in educational settings, the teacher is usually the carer and the student, the cared-for. Because the teacher-student relationship is naturally unequal, reciprocity is more difficult between the two, but not impossible. The teacher still learns and gains from the relationship with the student. Unlike an interaction which expects students to follow the teacher’s lead, teaching as a practice of care requires that the teacher respond to a student’s expressed need. This switch from a very traditional teaching dynamic gives students’ needs power and weight within the relationship, thus working to shrink the hierarchical space between them. According to Noddings (2012, p.772), a care-based interaction has three steps, which can be easily applied to the flow of a standard individual research consultation:

    1. Attending to the cared-for
    Attending to the student requires attention to the student whether virtually or in-person. This may require time for preparation to the needs of that student before they arrive and uninterrupted attention to the student when they are present. During this time, the librarian should be mindful about what the student has expressed as their need, versus what the librarian wants them to know or thinks their knowledge gaps might be. The librarian must resist a deficit model of instruction which suggests that struggling students are to be fixed by their educators and instead, recognize the student’s knowledge (Valencia, 1997; Heinbach, Fielder, Mitola, & Pattni, 2019). The librarian may need to continually ask for clarification to ensure they are not misinterpreting the needs of the student. Mostly, this is a time of listening, which is a core action in Nodding’s version of care.

    2. Developing a solution to the expressed need
    Once the student’s expressed need has been identified and clarified, the librarian can offer solutions. These may be concrete solutions like the knowledge of how to use specific resources and search strategies, or more theoretical assistance like talking through potential topics, workshopping research questions, or working with the student to develop key terms. Throughout this process, the librarian, as carer, is mindful of their ego and keeps the student’s needs at the forefront of their work together.

    3. Receiving reciprocated care
    Finally, a caring interaction requires reciprocated care. Noddings suggests that the cared-for must simply demonstrate “somehow that the caring has been received” (2012, p. 772) which does not necessarily mean gratitude. The student could show they have received this care through pursuing the agreed-upon solution, showing renewed interest, or any other form of response (Noddings, 2012, p.772). Because academic librarians may not have the same power dynamic as the traditional classroom teacher, we can take the idea of reciprocity further to make space for mutual teaching. When the librarian learns from the student, which they certainly should over the course of an hour, they have received care as well.

It is important to note that Noddings and her contemporaries have recieved criticism for their application of care ethics within the feminist framework. Noddings’ work is primarily concerned with how to morally develop others. These steps for a caring relation were designed with the goal of teaching another person, in this case a student, to be a caring person themselves. But, the basis for this moral education is the perspective of the western white woman, which is a source of contention among care theorists who wish to approach care from an angle of intersectionality (Hankivsky, 2014). Furthermore, critics believe that Noddings’ ideas are rooted in a false notion that care is innate to women, thus perpetuating a heteronormative narrative that leaves a woman “caught in the role of a subservient person” (Hassan, 2008, 161; Houston, 1990), ignores the other virtuous skills of women, and erases other gender identities (Tronto, 1987; Hines, 2007). These critiques are valid and useful in building a nuanced discussion of what care looks like in reference consultation work, while also acknowledging that despite these critiques, Noddings work serves as a starting point when exploring care and teaching (Accardi, 2013).

Care ethics have been well discussed in the library literature regarding reference and teaching. Hoppe and Jung (2017) note how working with students through the lens of care breaks down the view of the librarian as an unapproachable authoritarian figure and that sharing knowledge is a way of leveling power dynamics. Ladenson (2017) makes the argument that an ethic of care creates space for students to engage in deep critical thinking. When exploring the gendered, one-way, mothering language of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) standards for reference interactions, Emmelhainz, Pappas, and Seale (2017) remind us that “ethics of care emphasize that both the librarian and patron contribute to the success of the reference interaction… Thus, the participants and their particular circumstances come to bear on each instance of the interaction, and are wholly interdependent” (p. 41). Individual research consultations, as an extension of one-on-one reference desk teaching, cannot ignore the specialized knowledge of the librarian and the autonomy of their teaching practice.

This idea that both librarian and student contribute to the relationship in the reference consultation matches the idea of mature care, an idea named by Carol Gilligan and developed by Tove Pettersen (Pettersen & Hem, 2011), who sees care idealized not as a one-way street but as a reciprocal, shared experience. Pettersen recognizes that some relationships are inherently unequal. Instead, mature care provides space for the cared-for to recognize the needs of the carer and respect those needs. In this space, reciprocity can occur and relationships can form.

Relational Cultural Theory and Librarianship

Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) is a psychological model asserting that people grow through and towards connection with others. Founded out of the feminist work of the women at The Stone Center at Wellesley College, RCT “strongly emphasizes the importance of the larger social context in shaping experience; thus, cultural forces of marginalization and disconnection are seen as having an enormous impact on people’s well-being and functioning” (Jordan, 2011, p. 357-358). Relational-cultural theory recognizes that disconnection can be caused by oppressive social structures “like racism, sexism, hetero-patriarchy, ableism, classism and their intersections” (Arellano-Douglas et al, 2019). In many ways, RCT responds to the gaps in care ethics, acknowledging the reality that the ways in which we respond to and provide care are contingent upon our own life experiences and the social constructs that shape those experiences.

Mutuality and reciprocate care are important in RCT, allowing the carer to be affected by the cared-for. When the cared-for discerns that their needs or pain is seen and felt by the carer, that person begins to realize that they matter (Jordan, 2011). This sort of reciprocity resembles empathy in that it requires each person to be affected by the other. A relational-cultural construct of empathy moves further to suggest the transcendence of the disconnected self due to a flexible self boundary that allows one to identify with the other (Jordan, 1991a). It is in this space that we feel connectedness. Furthermore, RCT recognizes that the carer can do harm to the cared-for and provides guidance on how to respond when this happens. When a carer fails to understand or respond to the needs of the cared-for, that pain should be acknowledged while remaining present and fully engaged. When a carer does this, the cared-for “experiences a significant sense of mattering and gains a feeling of relational competence” (Jordan, 2011, p. 359). This level of reciprocity is what makes mutuality different from the empathy of library literature, moving beyond what is performative to real deep connection (Arellano-Douglas, 2018). Librarians have long created disconnection with students and patrons while using librarian-centered language and instruction, arbitrary policies, and collections that do not reflect the users. Librarians considering mutuality and RCT in their reference consultations can begin to undo the disconnection experienced by students in their libraries. Integrating RCT in this way may work to create opportunities for social inclusion, the way empathy is discussed in the literature for public libraries (Birdi, Wilson, & Cocker 2008).

Probably the largest distinction between care ethics and relational-cultural theory is the idea of intersubjective mutuality which calls for “an interest in, attunement to, and responsiveness to the subjective, inner experience of the other at both a cognitive and affective level…a process during which one’s self-boundaries undergo momentary alteration, which in itself allows for the possibility of change in the self” (Jordan, 1991b, p. 82). Intersubjective mutuality in relationships requires that each individual take a deep and real interest in the other while being vulnerable and open to personal change. Veronica I. Arellano-Douglas (2018) argues that intersubjective mutuality allows for a relationship between librarian and student where both can be their full authentic selves. This allows for a radical change in the discussion of individual research consultations because the librarian does not have to act as if they are an “all-knowing researcher” (Arellano-Douglas, 2018, p. 235), making it easier for the student to express their needs openly and without fear of judgement. In her example of what intersubjective mutuality looks like in practice, Arellano-Douglas tells a story of a student who comes to her for research assistance close to the deadline of her paper. After taking a few moments to get to know the student, Arellano-Douglas learns that the student is carrying some shame for working at the last minute and instead of chiding her, Arellano-Douglas shares stories of how she did the same in school. This authenticity and vulnerability creates empathy between the two and makes space for the healing of shame to occur, before attention to the expressed need is provided. The authenticity allowed by a relational-cultural approach when applied to reference work has the power to build deep, healing relationships with students.

Critical Race Theory and Anti-oppressive Teaching

While librarians should strive to be authentically caring and relational in their interactions with students, the interaction can do more harm than good if students have marginalizing and racist experiences. Because of the overt power structures students navigate throughout their academic experience, students of color may be guarded or even less likely to seek assistance from librarians. For example, Elteto, Jackson, and Lim (2008) found that while students of color are likely to spend a lot of time in the library, they are less likely to ask for help. Before a caring relation is made, students come in with all sorts of anxieties about what they should and do not know or how they will be treated by a presumed authority figure. Their interactions with librarians can either break down or reinforce these past experiences. Learning to be empathetic, open, and vulnerable in one’s teaching practice can be a difficult shift if one is unused to it. When working with those different from us, learning to create safe, open space requires extra care. bell hooks notes that it is easy to create community and connection with little diversity in the room; it is much harder with a truly diverse group (1994, p. 41).

The application of both care ethics and relational-cultural theory will not alone create space for belonging for students of color. Quinn and Grumbach (2015) believe that in order to reflect the needs of black women, for example, relational-cultural theory must be paired with concepts from critical race theory (CRT). Critical race theory “challenges three liberalist beliefs: (a) color blindness will eliminate racism, (b) racism is a matter of individuals, not systems, and (c) one can fight racism without paying attention to sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, and other forms of oppression and injustice” (Valdes, Culp, & Harris, 2002 as paraphrased by Quinn & Grumbach, 2015). Well-meaning librarians will all too often believe they are relating well to students who are different from them because they hold the exact beliefs that critical race theory attempts to challenge. Reference and instruction librarians may claim to not see race and therefore, erase the experiences and knowledge of students of color. They may believe that they themselves are not racist or that their institution does not perpetuate racist ideals. Librarians may not understand the intersectional experiences of their students of color in relation to their identities. When students are in one-on-one research consultations, where they may dare to be open and vulnerable, they are keenly aware of the ways the librarian may be upholding systems of oppression.

The process of creating an antiracist, caring, relational librarianship practice begins with understanding systemic racism, recognizing one’s own prejudices, and incorporating anti-oppressive teaching methods. A librarian working towards confronting their own oppressive practices in research consultations might begin to make a number of changes that level the power dynamic in the room. For example, the librarian would need to constantly work to develop their cultural competence, learning to understand the cultures of the students they are likely to work with. Although culture and diversity have become regular conversations amongst library professionals, Patricia Montiel Overall (2009), created a framework for developing cultural competence over ten years ago which can still be applied today. She describes that

developing cultural competence is a dialectical process in which individuals examine their own mental representation of the world along with the mental representations of others. Adjustments in preconceptions about others’ culture results in a readjustment of the place of culture in society. Cultural competence is the ability to make the adjustment and to participate in making culture an important part of the ethos of an organization (2009, p.190).

According to Overall, this dialectical process happens in both a person’s inner, cognitive domain and a person’s outer, interpersonal domain, which eventually impact one’s environment. For instance, when a librarian is exploring their cognitive domain, they are developing cultural self-awareness by understanding the unexamined parts of their own culture and then building cultural knowledge to understand the cultures of others. As this process continues in the interpersonal domain, the librarian would begin to build appreciation for the others’ cultures, develop an ethic of caring, pursue personal and cultural interaction, while reflecting on their values (Overall, 2009). hooks incorporates the idea of mutuality when she notes that “often, professors and students have to learn to accept different ways of knowing, new epistemologies, in the cultural setting” (1994, p. 41). Thus, the librarian may need to evaluate the resources they share to determine if the perspectives represented only match their own cultural perspective. In the research consultation or at the reference desk, this practice might include knowing about non-academic sources of information or having a better understanding of how some cultures collect and share knowledge – and knowing that any of these methods are valid. It certainly requires that the librarian provide space for students to show their expertise and trust their research thus far.

Additionally, the librarian might consider the organization of their office and the way it might perpetuate messages of authority and hierarchy. For example, what literal, physical characteristics of the room serve as a barrier to connection-making? When Jennifer Arévalo Ferretti, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) rearranged her office, she explained that “the principal’s desk is no longer here furthering power inequities in the workplace/libraries. Now I can have meetings with students, in particular, that removes me from a position of all knowing” (2018). The desk in many offices, like Ferretti’s “principal’s desk” physically cuts off the space between the librarian and student. In a different arrangement, the librarian and student could sit side-by-side and actually work together. In the research consultation or at the research desk, sitting next to another person suggests a physical equality and allows for the equal exchange and flow of information between the two. It is not new to the study of libraries that the organization of space can relate to feelings of welcomeness. However, Stewart, Ju, and Kendrick (2019) found that for black students, their experiences in the library as place made a statistically significant difference on whether or not they felt welcome. Librarians should remember that their spaces can send messages and may impact the level of connectedness a student feels.

Most importantly, the librarian must learn to recognize their own oppressive and racist behaviors. Students of color experience racial and cultural insensitivity, microaggressions, and full-fledged racism from perceived authoritative figures on college campuses (Suarez-Balcazar et al, 2003) and librarians are not immune to committing such offenses. Suarez-Balcazar et al found that students of color reported experiencing “denial of services, being ignored in class participation by the instructor, and being ignored by peers in a group situation. In addition, there were situations of students being denied access to a setting, enduring stereotypic remarks by others, being stereotyped in class and rejected by others in social gatherings” (2003, p. 432). While some of these situations occur between students or in the classroom, there are obvious offenses which could be committed by the librarian in the individual research consultation. Interestingly, when surveying black students to gauge how welcome they feel in academic libraries Stewart, Ju, and Kendrick (2019) found that interactions with library personnel did not make much of an impact on how welcome they felt. The authors inferred that this was due to the fact that black students are less likely to interact with library staff even though they tend to spend plenty of time in the library. However, Jaena Alabi (2015a, 2015b) found that librarians of color experience racist microagressions from their fellow librarians and administrators regularly. If librarians are harming their colleagues of color, it is not a stretch to believe they are doing so to students as well. Furthermore, Brook, Ellenwood, and Lazzaro (2015), noted that patrons of color may experience lesser quality of reference in both in-person and virtual interactions based upon the works of Curry & Copeman (2005), Shachaf, Oltmann, & Horowitz (2008), and Shachaf & Horowitz (2006). The librarian must reflect on how they relate to students and in what ways they may be giving students of color differential treatment.

But because critical race theory focuses on systems of racism, it is not enough for individuals to work on themselves. Librarians must work to name and dismantle these systems of oppression within their libraries and larger institutions in a way that is transparent and visible for students to see. We must work to actively change the policies and practices of our libraries. We can attend student rallies, acknowledge and act upon their experiences, and propose and agree to changes. Brook, Ellenwood, and Lazzaro (2015), when speaking from the perspective of three white librarians looking to develop an antiractist practice, note that “Building upon an active notion of caring for patrons and critical pedagogy, antiracist reference services would ask librarians to be politically “bound up” with users’ struggles against racism through their assistance with research” (p. 274). These actions will be felt and sensed inside the walls of our offices as we interact one-on-one in individual research consultations. Because racism and oppression cause disconnection between people (Walker, 2004), they are a constant barrier to a sense of belonging for our students. I would argue that it is impossible to provide true relational care without actively addressing one’s implicit bias and prejudices. If students of color are to feel safe, valued, and as if they belong, they cannot endure harm within our libraries and from our librarians.

Emotional Labor and the Librarian as Whole Person

Like the valid critiques of Noddings’ work which problematize a version of care where the cared-for is seemingly most important in the relation, a version of librarianship that centers the student at all costs will certainly be harmful to the librarian. The interaction between student and librarian must work toward equilibrium, where both parties are responsible for the success of the learning environment, in the ideal way that reciprocity and intersubjective mutuality provide. But when the librarian is fully giving, without receiving in return, they may be vulnerable to acts of verbal and emotional harm. An example of this sort of situation might involve a student who pictures the librarian as their personal research assistant or when the student is condescending or verbally abusive. Librarians of color may find themselves microaggressed by students who do not believe they have the skills or expertise to assist them (Hathcock & Sendaula, 2017). While these situations are always unacceptable, the librarian may feel the need to continue to engage with the student in order to fulfill their duty as an educator and resist reacting in the moment. As Emmelhainz, Pappas, and Seale (2017) acknowledge, the gendered expectation of librarians, as a profession that is largely female, require that women be “approachable, receptive, polite, supportive, encouraging, and attuned to patrons as well as social norms all [while requiring] the librarian to suppress her own emotions, needs, and evaluations of her environment, managing competing priorities with no evident strain or stress” (p. 37). It is unrealistic to expect the librarian to exhibit all of these behaviors at once, especially in harmful situations.

Women of color in librarianship may also experience additional labor when providing instruction services (Bright, 2018). In her study on the emotional and invisible labor of reference and information services librarians, Kawana Bright found that women of color were often sought out by students who shared similar backgrounds. Participants shared that students would spend days waiting for their preferred librarian to be on the reference desk instead of receiving assistance from the person working (Bright, 2018). Where a department might believe their instruction load is shared evenly amongst its members, women of color may see more students at the desk and have more students requesting additional appointments just to work with them. This creates a literal glut of work for librarians of color. When coupled with the sheer number of students coming to them because of their affective qualities, the librarians doing the teaching, caring, and relating must be supported by their colleagues. This workload can only be leveled if more are also culturally and relationally competent.


Individual research consultations are one of the most relationally rich opportunities for librarians to build meaningful connections with students. A librarian can create a learning environment that fosters a student’s sense of belonging during research consultations. Incorporating an ethic of care reminds us that we can and should receive reciprocate care while paying close attention to the student’s expressed need. Relational-cultural theory, when applied to individual consultations, gives us permission to be our authentic selves as librarians and to invest in a student’s life and circumstances. However, the integration of care ethics and RCT into a librarian’s teaching practice will only further perpetuate disconnection if racism and oppression are allowed in our behaviors, policies, and institutions. Exploring one’s teaching through a critical race perspective will begin to change the systemic disconnection our students of color experience.

Connections can also be made in the classroom, at the reference desk, and in other campus places where students, faculty, and staff all get together. Research consultations, as a one-at-a-time style of making connections is admittedly slow and will not change the culture of the library all at once. Our institutions still need to be responsive to students’ needs; individuals alone cannot fix the lack of belonging that students may feel. Additionally, large amounts of student appointments may not be feasible for all instruction and reference librarians. As our duties continue to grow and resources continue to shrink, giving time to a single person for an extended period of time may seem impossible. But, we must remember that the relationships made with caring individuals can help mitigate the harm caused by these oppressive systems while we work to change the cultures of our libraries and institutions at large.


I feel so grateful to have had Veronica Arellano-Douglas as my external reviewer, Kellee Warren as my internal reviewer, and Ian Beilin as my publishing editor. Thank you all so much for your thoroughness, thoughtfulness, patience, and care. Much gratitude to my colleagues Nikhat Ghouse and Hannah Park, who let me talk through the ideas for this paper from the beginning and provided feedback on the proposal. Finally, I am forever grateful to the high school students I taught who showed me the power of relationship building and for every college student who schedules a research consultation with me. I truly value our time. Take care.


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