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2016-2018 Cohort

Blanca Caldas is an Assistant Professor in Second Language and Elementary Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with emphasis on bilingual education and Mexican American studies at the University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Palmer. Dr. Caldas’ dissertation “Performing the Advocate Bilingual Teacher: Drama-Based Interventions for Future Story-Making” focuses on how future bilingual teachers bridge their emergent knowledge of issues pertaining to bilingual education at a macro level (policy, history, approaches, programs, language ideologies) and their own beliefs as Mexican American/Latinx bilingual individuals through the reenactment of local counter-stories of seasoned bilingual teachers through Theater of the Oppressed. This study examines the complexity of these juxtaposing voices while adding another layer to this critical examination through performance as they rehearse their own stance as future professionals. She makes theoretical connections among Bakhtin’s heteroglossia, Freire’s conscientization, and Conquergood’s dialogical performance in order to examine the processes of self-making of pre-service Bilingual teachers as advocates while using minoritized practices.

Mentor: Arnetha F. Ball is a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University in the Curriculum Studies, Teacher Education, and the Race, Inequality and Language Programs. She currently serves as Director of the Race, Inequality and Language Program and is Co-Director of Stanford’s Center for Race, Ethnicity and Language, Past-Director of the Program in African and African American Studies, 2011-2012 President of the American Educational Research Association, and the past US Representative to the World Educational Research Association.
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Justin A. Coles graduated from Brown University where the majority of his studies focused on the intersection of politics and education for Black Americans. Promptly after graduation, Justin returned to his native city of Philadelphia where he taught middle school literature. While in Philadelphia, Justin also earned his M.S.Ed. from The University of Pennsylvania. Justin is currently a doctoral student at Michigan State University in the Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education department with a focus in Race, Culture, and Equity. Justin’s research interests focus on the intersections of race, literacy, and violence. He is particularly interested in how educational institutions have long operated as sites of violence for Black youth and how their engagement with critical literacies can aide them in re-imagining and re-constructing schools as sites that reject such violence. While at MSU Justin has had the opportunity to teach undergraduate students in courses covering a range of topics, including: Human Diversity, Power and Opportunity in Social Institutions and Issues of Diversity in Children's and Adolescent Literature.

Mentor: Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include racial literacy development, Black and Latino male students, Black girl literacies, Black female college reentry, and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. At Teachers College (TC) she is founder and faculty sponsor of the Racial Literacy Roundtables Series, where for eight years, national scholars, doctoral, pre-service and in-service Master’s students, and young people in schools facilitate informal conversations around race and other issues of diversity in schools and society.
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Marcus Croom is currently a doctoral candidate of Literacy, Language, and Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago. From the 1970s to the 1990s he was nurtured in Goldsboro, North Carolina out of Black, working class, and Black Holiness Pentecostal Christian experiences. His research and writing was cultivated by undergraduate and graduate education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), a music education career in characteristically urban schools, and his work designing and leading a literacy intervention for 4th grade Black boys.

More recently, he employs vindicationist philosophy and microethnographic discourse analysis to investigate the significance of teachers’ conceptualization(s) of race in literacy instruction with Black children. Within his broader interest in literacies and race, Croom’s research will continue to document teachers’ understandings of race and examine the influence these understandings may have on teacher efficacy, student identification, pedagogical reasoning, and teaching practices in literacy instruction.

Publications from Croom’s scholarship include: “Reading ‘The Crisis in Black Education’ from a Post-White Orientation” published in the Black History Bulletin (in press) and a book review of Race Frameworks: A Multidimensional Theory of Racism and Education by Zeus Leonardo published in the Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research (in press).

Mentor: George Kamberelis is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  He received a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.  Most of Professor Kamberelis’ research and writing has focused on disciplinary literacies (especially genre teaching and learning), the nature and functions of classroom discourse, discourse and identity, and early writing development.  
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Michael Domínguez is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies & Literacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Domínguez received his Ph.D. in Literacy, with a concentration in Ethnic Studies, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  While at CU, Dr. Domínguez served as co-founder and director for UMAS y MEXA de CU Boulder’s Aquetza Program, which focused on supporting decolonial and expansive learning for Chican@ youth and pre-service teachers.  Previously a middle school English teacher in North Las Vegas, NV, Dr. Domínguez’ research interests focus on the schooling experiences and literacies of Latin@/Chican@ youth, liberatory teacher education, and the intersections of critical pedagogy, decolonial theory, and learning science. His current work employs social-design and ethnographic research methodologies to explore how critical literacy and ethnic studies content can support culturally sustaining literacy growth and socio-political development for Latin@ youth, their families, and their teachers in the rural southeast. He is also an experienced Teatro del Oprimido facilitator, committed to Teatro’s ability to encourage activism, socio-emotional growth, and civic engagement in school and community settings.

Mentor: Susi Long is a Professor in the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education at the University of South Carolina. Her research and teaching focus on methodologies that challenge and replace unjust practices in early childhood literacy and teacher education. Written with teachers and university colleagues, her books include Many Pathways to Literacy, Tensions and Triumphs in the Early Years of Teaching, Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards, and Courageous Leadership in Early Childhood Education, currently completing, “We’ve been doing it your way long enough”: Choosing the Culturally Relevant Classroom.
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Tracey Flores is a PhD candidate in English Education at Arizona State University (ASU). She is a former English Language Development (ELD) and Language Arts teacher who worked in elementary classrooms for eight years. As a teacher, she engaged with her students in after-school writing workshops where families came together to write, draw and share stories from their lived experiences. Through the sharing of stories, she learned of the struggles, dreams and knowledge shared between families. Informed by these experiences, her research focuses on the family literacy practices shared among adolescent Latina girls and their mothers’ using family writing as a springboard for advocacy, empowerment, and transformation.

Her dissertation study Somos Escritoras/We Are Writers: Latina Mothers and Daughters Writing, Sharing and Ways of Knowing, focuses on the sharing of stories between Latina mothers and their adolescent daughters (grades 7-9) through their participation in a mother/daughter writing workshop. She hopes this research will illuminate the historically marginalized and silenced stories of Latina mothers and daughters, and provide schools with valuable information on ways that they may create family involvement opportunities that build off this wisdom and knowledge.

Mentor: María Fránquiz (Ph.D.) is Dean, College of Education, University of Utah. She taught at CU Boulder, UT-San Antonio and UT-Austin. In Austin she served as an Endowed Fellow and Assistant Dean of Faculty Development. She has 30-plus years as teacher, teacher-educator, and administrator. Honors include Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, NCTE CNV Director, NCTE Advancement of People of Color Award, AERA Scholars of Color Distinction Award, AERA Division G Mentor Award, and lifetime career award from the AERA Hispanic SIG.
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Brooke Harris Garad is a doctoral candidate in Global Education and Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. Her dissertation research focuses on the stories, epistemologies, trans literacies, and transcultural teaching practices of immigrant educators at a community-based after-school youth program. Giving credit to black feminism and de-/post-colonial theory for both her research interests and worldview, Harris Garad also focuses on the following themes in her work: global and international education, issues of equity and diversity, teacher education, and African/African American studies. Harris Garad is also the recipient of a 2016-2017 Dissertation Research Fellowship from The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology.

Mentor: Lisa (Leigh) Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer. Her work addresses how narratives facilitate societal structures. With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. Prior to working in the academy, Professor Patel was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker.
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Laura Gonzales is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she teaches technical communication and rhetoric and writing studies. Her work examines the intersections of multilingualism, translation, and technical communication in both academic and professional settings. Dr. Gonzales was recently awarded the 2016 Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Prize for her forthcoming monograph, Sites of Translation: What Multilinguals Can Teach us about Digital Writing and Rhetoric. Her work has also appeared in Composition Forum, Technical Communication, and College Composition and Communication.

Mentor: Michelle Hall Kells is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of New Mexico where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in 20th Century Civil Rights Rhetoric, Contemporary and Classical Rhetoric, Writing and Cultural Studies, and Discourse Studies. Kells has served as a NCTE CNV mentor since 2014.
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Mónica González is a Doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado-Boulder in Literacy Studies. Her work as an activist-scholar centralizes on collaborating with young people to challenge dominant notions of language, literacy, and knowledge production more broadly. Her dissertation research primarily focuses on Youth Participatory Action Research with im/migrant youth people living in a migrant housing community. While the research in collaboration with these young people focuses on issues facing the community and implications for social change, her analysis also seeks to recognize and understand the ways in which young people disrupt colonial narratives about themselves, their families, and community. Mónica’s work is interdisciplinary and relies on critical frameworks to examine how literacy is situated at the intersections of race, class, gender, citizenship, and sexuality and how the voices of young people are central to reconstructing narratives and creating alternative literacies.

Mentor: Korina Jocson (Ph.D.) is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Central to her work are arts-informed sociocultural approaches that examine youth literacies and issues of equity among historically marginalized youth. Recent studies have focused on the intersection of literary and media arts, information and communication technologies, and school-community connections across educational settings.
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Fahima Ife is an Assistant Professor of English Education in the Department of English at Louisiana State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Languages, Literacies, and Cultures from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She writes and teaches on issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Dr. Ife uses Black existentialism, Black feminism, Black radicalism, and Queer methods to examine the schooling experiences of Black girls (in K-12 contexts) and Black women (in higher education). Partially informed by her former role as a middle school English teacher and activist in Atlanta, GA, her research is primarily concerned with understanding how Black women and girls experience momentary joy and freedom in traumatizing eras and landscapes. To understand this phenomenon, Dr. Ife focuses on community-based creative space making, seeking out sites in which Black girls and women actively design their own performance, literary, media, self-care, and activist platforms. Her work illuminates the ongoing need for addressing issues of Black feminine erasure, equity, and trauma in teacher education, in addition to theorizing Black joy and sadness, magic and creativity in dehumanizing times. Dr. Ife is also a creative writer. In addition to her prior role as an English teacher and educator activist, her artistry guides her program of research. Her long-term scholarly goal involves co-creating a multimedia arts-based healing space celebrating and serving Queer youth of color, Black and Brown youth, and Queer-allied youth of color.

Mentor: Damián Baca is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Rhetoric, Composition, and Teaching of English graduate program at the University of Arizona. He is author of Mestiz@ Scripts, Digital Migrations, and the Territories of Writing (2008), a retelling of the story of writing as a technology that emerges not with alphabets in Western Europe, but in the Valley of México, long before the birth of Aristotle.
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Grace MyHyun Kim is a PhD candidate in the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation explores an online affinity space in which youth appropriated transnational media for their own learning purposes, as well as the complex identity politics they enacted within this connected learning. Her research and writing have appeared in journals including Reading Research Quarterly and International Multilingual Research Journal, and as a chapter in Learning to Teach for Social Justice. Inspired by her years as a California high school English teacher and informed by her ongoing work in curriculum design and teacher professional development for the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education, her research and teaching interests include literacy, language, multicultural education, globalization, and Asian and Asian American Studies. She was a 2013 Summer Fellow of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a 2014 Michael B. Salwen Scholar of the Korean American Educational Research Association, a 2015-2016 HAAS Junior Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for East Asian Studies, and she has been a recipient of the University of California, Berkeley’s Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. She holds a BA in Rhetoric and Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MA in Education from Stanford University.

Mentor: Eva Lam an associate professor of Learning Sciences and affiliated faculty in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She specializes in the area of language, literacy, and diversity in education. Her work has focused on literacy development in new media environments, particularly among adolescent immigrants and multilingual students, in both young people’s everyday life and school and community-based settings.
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Jamila Lyiscott is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) of Teachers College, Columbia University. She also serves as an educator, community organizer, consultant and motivational speaker locally and internationally. Jamila's work focuses on contexts where the cultures, literacies, and literatures of young people of color are critically engaged and humanized for social change. Her scholarship is situated in Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, Literacy Studies, and Black Literature. Jamila is the founder and co-director of the Cyphers for Justice (CFJ) youth, research, and advocacy program, apprenticing inner-city youth as critical researchers through hip-hop, spoken word, and digital literacy. She was recently featured on Ted.com where her video was viewed over 3 million times. Along with several publications, she has lectured and directed educational justice projects widely. Through her community, scholastic, and artistic efforts, Jamila hopes to play a key role in forging better connections between the world of academia and communities of color outside.

Mentor: Carol D. Lee is the Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education in the School of Education and Social Policy and in African-American Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  She is a past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), AERA’s past representative to the World Educational Research Association, past vice-president of Division G (Social Contexts of Education) of the American Educational Research Association, past president of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, and past co-chair of the Research Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English.
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Esther O. Ohito is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Mills College, where she teaches in the School of Education's Humanities Program, and a Doctoral Candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. She is a transdisciplinary Black feminist scholar concerned chiefly with race and gender issues that reside at the nexus of curriculum, pedagogy, embodiment and emotion. She is especially curious about how the intensities of corporeality and affect shape curricula and pedagogical practices that subsequently produce the (im)possibility of particular types of politics—and humans—in (and beyond) teaching and learning spaces. Her dissertation investigates antiracist pedagogy by placing teacher educators’ theorizing of this phenomenon in conversation with their practice, and inquiring into the points of (dis)connection that percolate. Many of Esther’s research wonderings are wedded to her personal and professional racialized and gendered memories of lived experience, including—and importantly—her remembered histories as a transnational/Black immigrant student, a middle school English Language Arts teacher in Chicago, and a teacher educator with affiliations and affinities in cities and sites across the United States and the African diaspora.

Mentor: Sonja Lanehart is Professor and Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is author of Sista, Speak! Black Women Kinfolk Talk about Language and Literacy (2002) and Ebonics: What It Is and Is Not (expected 2017); editor of Sociocultural and Historical Contexts of African American English (2001), African American Women’s Language: Discourse, Education, and Identity (2009), and the Oxford Handbook of African American Language (2015); and former co-editor of Educational Researcher: Research News and Comment.
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Grace Player is a doctoral candidate in the Reading/Writing/Literacy program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her research strives to be relational, loving, and based in practice. Throughout her time at Penn GSE, she has worked with youth and families in a multicultural and multilingual community in South Philadelphia. Along side community members and her Penn GSE research team, she has co-investigated how youth and families use a richness of literacy and language practices to investigate their worlds, name their experiences, and advocate for their rights. Her dissertation work, which is situated within this community, inquires into the genius of girls of color. In an afterschool writing program for middle school girls of color, she and the girls use a complex web of literacies to better understand the issues the girls name as most important, to cultivate their understandings of these issues, and to advocate, in coalition and through difference, for justice. This work is celebratory at its core, and seeks to nurture a radical love aimed at creating a more utopic future.

Mentor: Valerie Kinloch is Professor of Literacy Studies and Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. Her research examines youth literacy engagements inside and outside schools.
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Dywanna E. Smith is a PhD candidate in the language and literacy program at the University of South Carolina.  Her dissertation interprets how eighth grade African-American girls perceive obesity in their daily lives and determines what happens when opportunities are given to create counter-narratives about race, gender and size.  Informed by Critical Race Theory and Black Feminist Theory, the study centers the body as a textual artifact, broadens notions of what counts as text which can be critically read, and provides models for nurturing adolescents in tackling school and community issues. Findings invite consideration on the importance of providing a safe space for African American female adolescents to confess past trauma and narrate new understandings. The knowledge from this study illustrates how a dialogic classroom can allow students to write and speak their truths and offers strategies for changing schools as reproducers of societal inequities to places of inquiry where students can critique and challenge dominant narratives. As a scholar-educator, Dywanna’s research focuses on two related interests: 1) examining the intersections of race, literacies, and education and 2) equipping teachers with equity pedagogies to successfully teach linguistically and culturally diverse students. She has presented nationally and internationally on these subjects.  Currently, Dywanna works as a middle level English/language arts specialist and coach in Columbia, S.C.

Mentor: Keffrelyn D. Brown (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies in Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the Elizabeth Glenadine Gibb Teaching Fellow in Education and has appointments in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and the Center for Women and Gender Studies.
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