Executive Letter, October 2020

Brooks photoAs I reflect on the work of the summer this fall, I can only consider how much has changed. For the first time, we were not able to meet our students and consortium in person. Nevertheless, our team continues to support our students virtually – holding regular check-ins, office hours, and advising meetings. Our consortium partners are holding virtual sessions with our students – focusing on topics such as navigating financial aid, navigating the application process, and managing mental health and identity. I am excited that we are finding ways to build community throughout these trying times.

Considering community, I participated in the Scholar Strike on September 8-9. It was important for me to spend time learning from scholars within and outside of our community regarding collaboration, activism, and education. It highlighted the emphasis of bringing awareness against racism and all the ways we can use our stations to dismantle it.

As such, I look forward to implementing more programming that would allow us to impact our communities more directly and build the educational futures we wish to see. If you are a faculty member at an institution that is hiring or considering Consortium partnerships, please contact us. If you are alumni and are willing to connect to current Scholars, please reconnect with us! We are excited to have all of you in our IRT community.

Our hearts are with those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, and hurricanes, and those fighting for racial justice and equality.




LaShawnda Brooks
Executive Director, IRT

To Be a Black Women Professor Amidst the 2020 Uprisings

Jallicia Jolly, IRT ’13

My Thursday mornings know no sunrise without the feeling of crisp autumn air. I wake up to neatly manicured lawns, orange-green leaves, and jogging students as I welcome another Amherst fall day. The scene bears a striking contrast to the weight of black pain on my mind, body, and soul.

I’m undone.

Continue reading “To Be a Black Women Professor Amidst the 2020 Uprisings”

Road Trip Revelations

Reflections on a visit to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum

by Brittany Zorn, IRT ’13, Arts & Sciences Specialist, IRT and
Morgan Kinney, Associate Director, Center for Civic Leadership,
Rice University

 “Can you help me find my child?” A desperate voice came from behind bars in a dark hallway. I snapped my head in the direction of the voice and locked eyes with the hologram of a Black mother, speaking directly to me, triggered by my stepping into the hallway. She looked ghostly, depicted in shades of brown and gray, but the sense of urgency in her human voice kept me keyed in for the duration of her plea. “They took my children,” she continued to describe them and ask if I had seen any kids. Turning my wide eyes to my friend, Brittany, further down the hallway, I saw that she was trapped in a similarly gut-wrenching scene and that the whole hall was an immersive depiction of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which once took place, we were informed, on the very ground we were standing on. I then realized the Legacy Museum was not going to be a typical educational experience.
Continue reading “Road Trip Revelations”

Alumni Accolades – October 2020

~2019 Cohort~

Armando Martinez, IRT ’19 was recently selected to be in the Inclusive Excellence Spotlight for the Residence Life department of The Ohio State University.

Armando Martinez, IE Spotlight

~2017 Cohort~

Charlinda HaudleyCharlinda Haudley, IRT ‘17 was chosen as one of the honorees for the annual 40 under 40 awards from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Haudley is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and is the Program Coordinator Senior in the Office of Multicultural Advancement at the University of Arizona. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and a Masters of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on intertribal student engagement at a university Native American student center. In 2019, she received the Maria Teresa Velez Diversity Leadership Award for her commitment to furthering diversity in education, higher education, and the community at large. She also serves on the executive board for the UA American Indian Alumni Club. She participated in the 2020 Valle del Sol’s Hispanic Leadership Institute-Tucson.

~2007 Cohort~

Mayra CruzMayra Cruz, IRT’07 was named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon Principal of the Year receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s Terrel H. Bell Award for outstanding leadership. Mayra is the Principal of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington D.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies and urban educational policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in elementary education from Boston College. Learn more about Mayra.