This past October, IRT alumni welcomed about 20 prospective applicants during an information session at the University of Michigan. IRT alumni shared their perspectives and insight into the program.
The IRT panel included the following:
Aesha Mustafa, IRT ’16—Aesha is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Higher Education at Michigan State University. Her research interests explore higher education’s role in promoting students to develop a propensity toward civic engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Aesha hopes that higher education institutions can impart all students, regardless of academic discipline, with the tools to respectively and critically engage in an increasingly multicultural world.
Denise Galarza Sepúlveda, IRT ’91—Denise is the Director of the University’s office of Community-Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL) where she works with faculty to create transformative learning opportunities for undergrads and trains future faculty in community-based learning. Prior, she was a professor of Latin American Literature for over 10 years at Lafayette College in PA. She has received national and university awards for her research, her teaching and her mentorship of underrepresented students. She also volunteers every Saturday, teaching Latino children in the ENL literacy program.
Kevin Pajaro, IRT ’15—Kevin is a hall director in the Department of Residence Education at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Kevin attained his master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration at Michigan State University. His research interests include how normative social justice discourse in higher education shape understanding around ideas of “equity” and “diversity,” as well as the identity development of undergraduate men of color.
Rachel Weissler, IRT ’15—Rachel is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Linguistics at the University of Michigan. She investigates the social implications of cognition, perception, & grammatical expectations. As a researcher and scholar, Rachel is hopeful that her contributions to the field will bring about tangible differences in how people who speak non-standard varieties of English are treated in their day-to-day lives. She is excited to add to the empirical literature in sociolinguistics.
Many thanks to UMich faculty and staff members Diana Martha Louis, IRT ’07, assistant professor of Women’s Studies and assistant professor of American Culture and Devon Degraffenreed, IRT ’15, program adviser, Residential Life for their help with the session.