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Student Spotlight: Compassion for Community

July 21, 2021

SU News

Senior scholar Lia Chabot ’21 B.S. (Econ/CCE) combines academic interests with real-world experiences and activism in pursuing goals.

Lia Chabot and OttoLia Chabot ’21 arrived at Syracuse University with a passion for economics, and she’ll graduate with a wealth of experiences that reflect her academic prowess, compassion and commitment to activism.

Whether she’s talking monetary policy, crunching data on rental properties, advocating for sexual safety or sharing her love for London, Chabot brings a refreshing perspective to all she does. In the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, she brought her interests together by combining majors in economics and citizenship and civic engagement with a minor in environment and society.

“I found this intersection of my three interests that created a solid niche for me in terms of my learning and hopefully what career future I have,” says Chabot, a Coronat Scholar, member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program and 2021 Student Marshal.

As a high school student in Saratoga Springs, New York, Chabot locked in on economics, crediting one of her teachers for inspiring her interest. “Economics has always clicked for me,” she says. At the Maxwell School, she built upon her knowledge and skills, and enjoyed getting to know her professors and learning about their research. In addition, Chabot cites the Citizenship and Civic Engagement Program for laying the groundwork for two valuable experiences—an internship with the City of Syracuse Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, and a research associate position with the Maxwell X Lab, a Syracuse University-based initiative that uses behavioral science techniques to help the nonprofit and government sectors improve their programs. “Citizenship and civic engagement allowed me to explore my interests in terms of incorporating the environment and also advocacy into a nice little major that I didn’t know about when I applied to Syracuse University,” she says. “And those experiences have really contributed to my career goals and my growing competence and confidence in a professional setting.”

“Citizenship and civic engagement allowed me to explore my interests in terms of incorporating the environment and also advocacy into a nice little major that I didn’t know about when I applied to Syracuse University.”

Lia Chabot ’21 B.S. (Econ/CCE)

In both endeavors, Chabot dug into a lot of data—collecting, entering and analyzing it. “I love working with data,” she says. In her work for the City of Syracuse in fall 2019, she researched landlords who were evading code violations by selling unfit properties back and forth among themselves like “hot potatoes,” she says. Using code violation information as well as public information available on the internet, Chabot obtained enough evidence for the city to file a case with the state attorney general’s office. “I presented my research to various department heads, and I detailed the different mortgage frauds that I thought landlords were committing,” she says. “Now there’s active litigation going on with it.”

Last summer and fall, Chabot continued her work with the city and created a residential vacancy prediction model by gathering information on water assessments, power usage and other factors that would reveal vacant properties. As part of the modeling, she also considered how some policies can adversely affect low-income communities of color and lead to vacancies. Chabot credits Kishi Animashaun Ducre—associate professor of African American studies and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences—and her course on racial residential segregation in the U.S. for inspiring her to develop the model with the different histories of residential areas in mind. “I researched segregation in Syracuse and used that to inform my data processing,” she says. “My experiences in Dr. Ducre’s classes wholly influenced my work and my community-based engagement.” The project earned Chabot a 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship.

Read the full story, written by Jay Cox, via the SU News website.

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