UB Planning Grad Named Fellow of DART Community Organizers Institute

One of 18 fellows selected from a field of 830 applicants

By Patricia Donovan

Release Date June 11, 2012

Megan L. Hathaway of Wheatfield, a recent graduate of the Master of Urban Planning program, was a certified social studies teacher frustrated with the limitations of educational programs that serve distressed children.

Hathaway, who attended graduate school to learn ways to better assist them, has been named a fellow of the Direct Action and Research Training (DART) Organizers Institute, a field-school training a new generation of community organizers to work in the public interest.

Hathaway, the daughter of Edward and Toni Hathaway, is one of 18 fellows selected from a field of 830 applicants after a national recruitment search and a two-month interview process. As a fellow, she will receive four months of intensive initial training beginning in July, followed by two years of ongoing advanced training and professional organizer development.

DART is a non-partisan organization established in 1982 to provide training and consultation for 19 affiliated congregation-based community organizations throughout Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky. Since it was founded in 2001, it has trained more than 10,000 community leaders and 150 professional community organizers who have sought justice in low-income communities by holding political, judicial, educational and penal systems accountable for adhering to legal policy mandates. DART has won victories on a broad set of issues.

Hathaway has worked with children in foster care and juvenile detention centers and has run an afterschool program for first to third graders.

"It was frustration with the systems in which I worked," she says, "that led me to pursue a career in urban and regional planning.

"Although the kids I worked with might thrive in the programs they were in, it was difficult for me to realize that no matter how well they did, they were going back into the same distressed situations. Often there was no connection between what was going on in the programs and their real lives. I decided to pursue this particular path so I could better understand the complexities of these family, educational and community systems, and help children and their families in a different and more functional ways."