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2015 Early Career Educator of Color Recipients


Sara P. Alvarez

Sara P. Alvarez is a PhD student in rhetoric and composition in the Department of English at the University of Louisville, where she teaches first-year composition courses with a focus on ethnographic methods and community engagement. Her current research examines the multilingual literacy practices of Latino youth in Kentucky, which include bilingualism and the use of social media as ways of expressing and producing identity. Sara is committed to her community and considers weekly volunteering at her local library a rewarding and intellectual opportunity for any educator. Originally from Colombia by way of New York City, Sara is excited to explore the ways in which Kentuckian multilingual youth critically and rhetorically use language to continuously transform geopolitical and social barriers. Sara is also the co-editor of the community project book, Living Out Loud, Volume II, a collection of Kentucky student writing and artwork. In addition she recently participated as a teacher investigator in the University of Louisville's 2015 Digital Media Academy (DMA).



Jalissa Bates

Jalissa Bates is an English educator, poet, journalist, and cofounder of the Young Scholar Society. Bates graduated from Louisiana State University in 2010 with a BA in English: Creative Writing and earned an MA in teaching in 2012. Bates is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, hosting read-ins to promote African American literature and literacy. She is also a member of the National Education Association and the Louisiana Association of Educators, remaining on the cutting edge of the latest policies for parents, teachers, and students. Bates was selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar in 2012, working with professinals nationwide on the relationships of abolitionism in literature. She has taught secondary education in public, private, and charter schools in Louisiana, and she is currently an English instructor for Louisiana State University and Baton Rouge Community College's Upward Bound program, a historic federal program for first-generation college students.


Felicia Hamilton

With an inherent admiration for literature and writing, Hamilton earned a BA cum laude from Delaware Steate University with a concentration in English. Fostering the reading and writing skills of youth has continually been her passion: from being a supplemental instructor and writing tutor in college to teaching literacy in an afterschool progrm in Bloomfield, she always felt comfortable guidig students through texts. She pursued grades 7-12 English certificiation at the University of Saint Joseph. Immediately after student teaching at Global Experience Magnet School, she became the long-term substitute and then the permanent English teacher fo the 8th-grade English and world literature courses. With a firm belief that all have the ability to connect to what they love, she combined her love for reading and writing with her students' love for technology through an integration of blogs, digital stories, and research-based social media projects in order to help them discover their love for learning. In her first year of teaching, she has built curriculum, led the 11th-grade literacy data team, presented on how to use technology as a teaching and learning tool to teacher candidates, and earned her MA with a concentration in educational technology from the University of Saint Joseph. As she guides her 21st-century students through analyses and syntheses of texts and then fosters their ability to be problem solvers, the use of technology has become a positive link between the essential ideas of these texts and their relevance to life experiences. 


Shenika Hankerson

Shenika Handerson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University and a composition lecturer in the Department of English at Wayne State University. Her research focuses on the theoretical and pedagogical dimensions of a more humanizing education for African American students who use features of African American Language (AAL) to communicate. She uses a transdisiplinary lens to examine how educators - and specifically rhetoric, composition, and literacy educators - can affirm and build upon these students' linguistic lives.


Ellenar Harper

Ellenar Harper is Associate Professor of developmental writing, holds a BA in communication studies and English with a focus in creative writing and an MS in curriculum and instruction with a major in secondary English education. Harper began her educator career as an adjunct professor teaching college preparatory English and reading in Tallahassee Community College's Division of Academic Support Programs while she worked at FSU in the Office of Research Human Subjects. In 2010, she accepted a full-time teaching position at TCC and has been striving to empower students ever since. She teaches traditional and online courses in developmental writing, college composition, and integrated reading and writing. Harper leads as course coordinator for the new co-requisite and accleerated courses she designed and developed. 

Harper's professional interests include working with leadership, training writing teachers, integrating reading and writing, using thematic units, designing curriculum, and practicing digital literacy. Her primary goal as a literacy educator is to incorporate reading and technology seamlessly in the composition classroom so that students become active, successful participants in the global society of the 21st century. She is committed to constantly improving teaching and leadership in order to better serve students. When she is not in the classroom empowering students or grading compositions, she enjoys reading, traveling, serving the community, and editing various projects.



Jazmen N. Moore

Jazmen N. Moore hails from Lansing, Michigan. She earned her BA in English and women and gender studies from Michigan State University, and her MA in teaching from Dominican University. Moore is an English language arts and performance art teacher at Chicago Math and Science Academy where she also serves as the tenth-grade Team Chair and the Spoken Word Club facilitator. In addition to those roles at her school, she is also a member of the senior class planning committee, a co-collaborator in social justice-based documentary screening series, a facilitator for gender empowerment forums for middle and high school students, and a memer of the Goodman Theatre Student Subscription Series for Chicago educators. When not teaching, Moore also writes poetry and short fiction.



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