2016-2018 Cultivating New Voices cohort and their mentors


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. Before entering the professorate, she taught in pre-school, elementary, and secondary classrooms for over 25 years and was the founder and Executive Director of “Children’s Creative Workshop,” an early education center that specialized in providing premiere educational experiences for students from diverse backgrounds. Her research is designed to advance sociocultural theory through studies that integrate sociolinguistic, discourse analytic and ethnographic approaches to investigate ways in which semiotic systems in general, and oral and written language in particular, serve as a means for mediating teaching and learning in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. Her interdisciplinary program of research is conducted in complex learning environments that are faced with the challenge of improving education for diverse populations in three intersecting contexts: U.S. schools where predominantly poor African American, Latino/a, and Pacific Islander students are underachieving; community-based organizations that provide alternative education opportunities for academic and/or economic success; and US and South African teacher education programs that prepare teachers to teach students in culturally and linguistically complex classrooms. Her most recent research investigates successful paradigms, principles and practices in preparing teachers for diversity across national boundaries in four countries that serve large numbers of historically marginalized students—the US, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Winner of the 2009 AERA Palmer O. Johnson Award and author/co-editor of six books and numerous articles, Ball is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and has served as an Academic Specialist for the United States Information Services Program in South Africa and Distinguished Visiting Scholar in New Zealand and Australia. Recipient of the 2015 St. Clair Drake Teaching Award, Dr. Ball served as a trustee of the Research Foundation of the National Council of Teachers of English, was the Inaugural Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Visiting Professor in Urban Education, and was the 2015 Co-convener for the World Educational Research Association’s International Research Network on Overcoming Inequalities in Schools and Learning Communities: Innovative and Audacious Education for a New Century. Her recent work focuses on the development of blended online professional development that prepares teachers to work with diverse student populations and on the implementation of her Model of Generative Change (2009). She holds a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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. Dr. Sealey-Ruiz is also a co-founder (with Laura Smith and Lalitha Vasudevan) of the Civic Participation Project at TC, a multi-disciplinary project that focuses on the well-being of youth involved in the foster care and the juvenile justice systems.

Yolanda is the recipient of the 2016 American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Mid-Career Award in Teacher and Teacher Education. She is the immediate-past secretary for AERA’s Division K, and a 2012-2013 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Yolanda’s work has appeared in several refereed journals including Adult Education Quarterly, English Education, Teachers College Record, Teaching English in a Two Year College (TETYC), The Journal of Negro Education, and Urban Education. She is co-editor (with Chance W. Lewis and Ivory A. Toldson) of the book Teacher Education and Black Communities: Implications for Access, Equity, and Achievement (IAP).

Yolanda and two of her former students appeared in Spike Lee’s most recent documentary “2 Fists Up” which spotlights the Black Lives Matter movement and the Mizzou University student protests.

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. He has also conducted research on new/media literacies, English language learning, and intercultural communication. Professor Kamberelis’ research is resolutely interdisciplinary, integrating intellectual perspectives from anthropology, psychology, linguistics, sociology, cultural studies, and literary studies. His work also embodies a deep commitment to theory (especially critical social theory). Professor Kamberelis’ work has been published in various journals including Research in the Teaching of English, Reading Research Quarterly, Linguistics and Education, Journal of Literacy Research, Qualitative Inquiry, and Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

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, and currently completing, “We’ve been doing it your way long enough”: Choosing the Culturally Relevant Classroom. Among other NCTE roles, she is past Chair of the Research Foundation Trustees and the 2013 Early Childhood Assembly’s Early Literacy Educator of the Year. Inspired by CNV, she co-founded the Assembly’s Professional Dyads and Culturally Relevant Teaching supporting teacher-teacher educator partners in generating anti-bias practices in early childhood.

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.

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. The many doctoral students she has mentored are teacher educators and professors in IHEs across the US. She is editor of the Bilingual Research Journal and co-authored two books, Inside the Latin@ Experience, A Latino Studies Reader and Scholars in the Field: The Challenges of Migrant Education. Her numerous publications are in The High School Journal, The Journal of Second Language Writing, Language Arts, Multiple Perspectives, English Leadership Quarterly among many others.

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.

Professor Patel, also published under Lisa Patel Stevens, is the author of Decolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability (Routledge), Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education and the Politics of Inclusion (Teachers College Press), co-author of Critical Literacy: Context, Research, and Praxis in the K-12 Classroom (Sage) and co-editor of ReConstructing the Adolescent: Sign, Symbol and Body (Peter Lang Publishers). Her writing has also been featured in media outlets including Beacon Broadside, The Feminist Wire, Racialicious.com and HuffPost Live. She is a national board member of Education for Liberation, a long-standing organization dedicated to transformative education for marginalized populations.

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. She has served as Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Arts and Science 2012-2014 and Program Chair of the Writing Across Communities (WAC) initiative at UNM 2004-2014. Kells received the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Research Fellowship in 2008. Kells’ research interests include civil rights rhetorics, sociolinguistics, and composition/literacy studies.

Kells is coeditor of Attending to the Margins: Writing, Researching, and Teaching on the Front Lines (Heinemann, 1999) and Latino/a Discourses: On Language, Identity, and Literacy Education (Heinemann, 2004). Her work is featured in the journals JAC, Written Communication, Journal of Reflections, Journal of Community Literacy, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs as well as a number of edited books including Cross-Language Relations in Composition, Dialects; Englishes, Creoles, and Education; Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric, and Immigration. Kells is author of Hector P. Garcia: Everyday Rhetoric and Mexican American Civil Rights (Southern Illinois University Press, 2006). Her current book project is Vicente Ximenes and LBJ’s “Great Society”: Twentieth-Century Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017).

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 immigrant youth 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. She is the author of Youth Poets: Empowering Literacies in and Out of Schools (Peter Lang, 2008) and editor of Cultural Transformations: Youth and Pedagogies of Possibility (Harvard Education Press, 2013). Currently, Dr. Jocson is completing a book manuscript on youth media and education (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Other publications have appeared or will appear in scholarly journals such as International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Curriculum Inquiry, Teachers College Record, Daedalus, English Education, and Urban Education. Her work has also been included in a number of anthologies and edited books. She received her Ph.D. in Education in the area of language, literacy, and culture at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Stanford University School of Education.

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. He is also lead editor of Rhetorics of the Americas: 3114BCE to 2012CE (2010), an examination of discursive strategies that depart from Greco-Latin inventions. Baca is especially interested in writing with, against, and beyond inherited patterns of thought that flourished in Western Europe under capitalism. In place of merely challenging Eurocentrism from a so-called “alternative” cultural locus, he examines how and why the current study of language and literacy become acceptable alternatives to the immense global plurality that remain obscured.

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 is 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. Her ethnographic work has explored the digital media practices of young people to understand these practices within larger contexts of transnational movements, social networks, and flows of media content and artifacts. With colleagues in education and journalism, she has studied multimedia storytelling and documentary making among high school students to understand how students move across diverse spaces (home, community, academic and civic spaces) and produce knowledge of these spaces in telling stories on migration. The broader goal of her research program is to contribute to societal education that mobilizes linguistic and cultural diversity as productive resources for promoting students’ academic and social development in an increasingly intercultural world.

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. She is a member of the National Academy of Education in the United States, a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a fellow of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, and a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Teachers of English, Scholars of Color Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association, the Walder Award for Research Excellence at Northwestern University, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Illinois-Urbana, The President’s Pacesetters Award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and an honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She has led three international delegations in education on behalf of the People to People’s Ambassador Program to South Africa and the People’s Republic of China. She is the author or co-editor of three books, the most recent Culture, Literacy and Learning: Taking Bloom in the Midst of the Whirlwind, 4 monographs, and has published over 62 journal articles and book or handbook chapters in the field of education. Her research addresses cultural supports for learning that include a broad ecological focus, with attention to language and literacy and African-American youth. Her career spans a 50-year history, including work as an English Language Arts teacher at the high school and community college levels, a primary grade teacher, and a university professor. She is a founder of four African centered schools that span a 44-year history, including three charter schools under the umbrella of the Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools where she serves as chair of the Board of Directors. She is married to Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti, poet and publisher of Third World Press, and is the mother of three adult children and three grandchildren, and together they have six adult children and seven grandchildren.

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. She has organized and hosted several conferences on African American Language and African American Studies. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, African American Language, language and identity, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality in addition to the educational implications and applications of sociolinguistic research.

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. One of her books, Harlem On Our Minds: Place, Race, and the Literacies of Urban Youth, received the 2011 Exemplary Research Award from Division K, the 2011 Honorary Mention for Outstanding Contribution to Research from Division B, and the 2012 Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association. Her book, Crossing Boundaries: Teaching and Learning with Urban Youth, was a staff pick for professional development books by the Teaching Tolerance Education Magazine. She is recipient of the 2010 AERA Scholars of Color Early Career Award, the 2015 OSU Distinguished Diversity Award, and the 2015 Rewey Belle Inglis Award for Outstanding Women in English Education from NCTE. Currently, she is working on literacy, justice, and community engaged projects.

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. Her research focuses on the sociocultural knowledge of race, teaching and curriculum, critical multicultural teacher education and the education of Black people in the U.S. Keffrelyn has over 40 scholarly publications. Her recent book, published in 2016 by Teachers College Press is After the “At-Risk Label”: Reorienting Educational Policy and Practice. She has received the AERA Division K Early Career Research Award and the Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award, the highest honor given for excellent undergraduate teaching across the University of Texas system.