Theresa Alves de Oliveira Honored by the Global Online Academy

Theresa Alves de Oliveira’s Global Online Academy (GOA) capstone project has been selected for inclusion in the GOA Catalyst Exhibition Showcase. Theresa’s project was among only 53 chosen for inclusion from a field of more than 950 projects.⁠

Taft’s Morning Meeting program brings a diverse and impressive roster of speakers to campus with the goal of inspiring students, stimulating intellectual growth and conversation, and broadening (and even challenging) perspectives. Among the recent Morning Meeting speakers: activist, educator, thought-leader, and scholar Dr. Angela Davis. Her impact on Theresa Alves de Oliveira ’24 was significant.

“After our encounter with Dr. Angela Davis, I was truly inspired to research and learn more about the biases of the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex,” Theresa explains. “I had never encountered the term ‘abolitionist’ being used as a modern adjective before, and I thought to myself, if this is a movement about freeing people, I want to be a part of it.“

Theresa enrolled in the Global Online Academy’s Prisons and Criminal Justice Systems course. Her capstone project considered the abolition of the prison system as we know it, and explored alternative approaches to criminal justice.

“My work was borne of both curiosity and the will to achieve social justice,” Theresa notes.

Central to her work were three essential questions related to public safety and accountability, challenges that could accompany the transition from punitive justice to rehabilitation and restorative justice, and the role of communities in shaping and implementing alternative forms of justice.⁠ Her project was recently selected for inclusion in the GOA Catalyst Exhibition Showcase; it was among only 53 chosen for inclusion from a field of more than 950 projects.⁠

“Theresa uses provocative questions strategically throughout her Catalyst project,” notes GOA instructor Jennifer Marien. “She addresses counterarguments directly and cogently. She lists multiple options for how her audience can take action if they agree that prisons need to be abolished. For me, the aspect of her work that put it into the exceptional category was her decision to start with essential questions, big, juicy essential questions about public safety and justice.”⁠

Theresa will continue her social justice work and studies in the fall as a student at Harvard University.

Taft is a member of the Global Online Academy, giving students access to a wide-range of non-traditional courses, as well as a network of people and resources from more than 140 independent schools in 30 countries around the world. GOA students are global citizens and modern learners, working in an environment where curiosity and passion drive learning. Students log in multiple times a week to engage in discussions, collaborate on projects, and apply knowledge in creative ways.

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