Returning citizens deserve a second chance.


Don’t Overlook Me is a media toolkit that aims to reimagine the resume as an opportunity to destigmatize and empower returning citizens.




Reimagining the Resume

People released from prison often face obstacle after obstacle when trying to secure basic necessities like housing, employment, and healthcare. Employment, in particular, is challenging because formerly incarcerated folks must deal with stigmas and fears held by potential employers and community members. These barriers can be dis-empowering and dehumanizing.

Don’t Overlook Me is a media toolkit created by Emerson College students in the course “Participatory Research and Design”, in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Office for Returning Citizens and the Engagement Lab at Emerson College. Through human-centered research, storytelling, design, and facilitated activities, this project aims to reimagine the resume as an opportunity to empower and humanize returning citizens.

This website features a number of resources, from workshop facilitation materials to in-depth process documentation, that collectively aim to help combat the stigmas and fears held by employers and community members. We hope this toolkit contributes towards creating the second chance that returning citizens deserve.


Facilitate a workshop

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Developed in collaboration with returning citizens, educators, potential employers and reentry coaches, this workshop outline aims to help returning citizens build compelling and humanizing personal narratives that combat common stigmas that can hinder their job search efforts.

Built around four main activities, this workshop helps returning citizens identify their skills and feel comfortable presenting them through activities from skill categorization to partner interviews to elevator pitches.


Human-centered, by design


Value statement

We believe that returning citizens deserve a second chance and that a tool to foster an easier employment process for returning citizens is necessary to combat the stigma and biases that employers and community members commonly possess.


Goals & principles

Working with an audience that ranges from returning citizens to experts in the field to generate our research findings, we were driven to understand and raise awareness of the challenges that returning citizens face when searching for jobs and help returning citizens change the narrative to combat unfair stigma.


How we gathered data


The resources on this website are informed by a workshop that brought together students, educators, returning citizens, potential employers, and reentry coaches with the purpose of reimagining the job search experience for returning citizens. Additionally, students conducted extensive background research on both mass incarceration and human-centered design.


Our Team

Led by professors Eric Gordon and Melissa Teng, students in the Participatory Research & Design course worked in teams to develop a design book, a three minute documentary, a media toolkit and campaign, a resume building workshop, and a facilitator’s guide.



The research team is responsible for conducting interviews, completing site observations, and sharing research with other teams. Our primary responsibility is mapping out the entire design process through the design book and translating them into usable insights.

Members — Rebecca Bass (Workshop Design Liaison), Katie Schmidt (Web/Visual Design Liaison), Charlie Sirmaian (Video Production Liaison)

Web/Visual Design

The visual design team is primarily responsible for the project’s visual identity, the design of all materials for the workshop, and the production of the website.

Members — Alex Winzenread (Project Manager), Bella Bennett (Lead Designer), Danielle Zarachowicz, Lucas Ahn

Video Production

The video production team is responsible for the introductory framing video. They will highlight the positive work being done by the Office of Returning Citizens and address the negative stigma that surrounds returning citizens seeking employment.

Members — Emma Giulianti, Daniella Roberge, Audrey Santos, Daniel Flanagan, Cameron Morin

Workshop Design

The workshop design team is primarily responsible for designing the interactive workshop. They are also responsible for writing the facilitation guide.

Members — Melody Hsu, Kassiani Mamalakis, Mark Perry, Aidan Watt