As we head into July, the IRT virtual Summer Workshop Faculty and staff are busy finalizing curriculum, organizing alumni and professional panels, consortium liaison meetings and other events throughout the upcoming month. Join us in welcoming this year’s summer faculty!
Renée Wilmot, IRT ’12, ’17
My name is Renée Wilmot, I use she/her pronouns. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University in the Teacher Education program. My research interests include (1) the historical legacy of Black women as educators and activists in the Black community and (2) Black girls’ practices of thriving and resisting in white supremacist schooling structures. I am originally from Virginia and I am a former secondary English/Language Arts teacher.
Advice for the current cohort Do your best to commit 100% of yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity – take risks and push yourself.
Ebony & Ivy by Craig Steven Wilder
White Architects of Black Education by William H. Watkins
White Rage by Carol Anderson
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Black Feminism in Qualitative Inquiry by Venus E. Evans-Winters
My biggest takeaway from my IRT experience was that this is a safe space for me to push myself, risk failure, and then get up to try again. I had never been in a space where I could “mess up” academically, experiment with time management and reading strategies, and take risks.
My grounding quote for this year: “We protect and nurture our collective well-being. We strive to make our home place a positive environment for everyone. We all agree that integrity and care enhance all our lives.” (hooks, ,p. 101)
My current favorite song: “Dim All the Lights” by Donna Summer
The Beyond the Border series explores questions and engages in conversation on race and diversity issues. The fourth session, “A Hip-Hop Mogul & A Financier,” aired on March 31, 2021 and hosted by IRT alum Shantel Palacio. This session focuses on issues of access and pathways to success, and features John Forte, Grammy Award Winning Artist, producer for the seminal hip-hop group The Fugees, writer and activist, and Eric Logan, Principal, Industrial Manufacturing Strategy; Operations CoE lead at KPMG.
Commentary byPatricia Feraud-King, IRT ’14, ’17 PhD Candidate in Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
On February 3, 2021, four UMass Amherst graduate students, including IRT alumnae and PhD candidates Patricia “Tita” Feraud-King, IRT ’14, ’17 and Kat J. Stephens ’13, presented at National Conference on Race and Ethnicity’s (NCORE) webinar series. Their interactive session titled, “ADOS, Sh**t-Hole Countries, and (Which) Black Lives Matter: Engaging Contemporary Intra-racial and Transnational Dynamics Surrounding Black College Students” had over 200 attendees. Their session focused on the complexity of the Black transnational collegiate identity and the implications of contemporary issues such as the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement, Black Lives Matter, U.S. political climate and policies, and the pandemic. They spoke about the differences and shared experiences of Black immigrant collegians, Black international students, and Black children of immigrant collegians, including experiencing nativism and racism. Their presentation was grounded in the following research studies: their ongoing Diverse Black Student study, Feraud-King (2020), Feraud-King & George Mwangi (2020), and Stephens (2020) studies. Based on these studies, the theme that connects the three groups of the Black transnational population is that it is essential to build intra-racial relationships among the Black population regardless of the nativity because of their shared Black identity. Yet it is also vital to acknowledge that each group has their unique experiences related to their foreign identity.
Their presentation’s goal was to “connect the influence of the U.S. sociopolitical climate to the college experiences of diverse Black students, particularly racist nativism, anti-Blackness, racial homogenizing, and intra-racial dynamics (tensions and community); identify practices that address Black student heterogeneity and Black intra-racial dynamics across ethnicity and nativity, especially during the pandemic; and assess whether their campus practices acknowledge Black student heterogeneity,” (NCORE, 2021). For Tita Feraud-King, M.S.Ed, the presentation has “affirmed my identity as a second-generation Black immigrant and reminded me why I am doing this work—this work matters, people care to learn more about foreign-born and children of immigrant Black experiences, and the importance of discussing the ill results of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and nativism”. To watch their webinar online, click here.
Commentary by Kat J. Stephens, IRT ’13 PhD Candidate in Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
I had the tremendous opportunity and privilege to share research on a topic and community close to my heart. Myself alongside three of my University of Massachusetts Amherst colleagues, presented a webinar for NCORE, (National Conference on Race & Ethnicity). It was titled “ADOS, XYZ Countries, and (Which) Black Lives Matter: Engaging Contemporary Intra-Racial and Transnational Dynamics Surrounding Black College Students”, and we were invited to speak and deliver the webinar to their audience and membership. As a Black immigrant from the Caribbean (Guyana, to be exact), with the majority of my formative secondary and postsecondary education in the United States, this academic experience was personal and exciting.
I entered my higher education doctoral program with a primary research agenda which encapsulated a desire to bring forth narratives, experiences, and solutions regarding the lives of Afro-Caribbean immigrants and international students. Being invited to speak with my peers was a welcome experience, and any opportunity to share my own empirical research on this topic is welcomed. I thoroughly enjoyed a platform like NCORE’s which graciously allowed us their platform to center and recognize our work. In sharing some of my findings from my research study titled, “Caribbean Scholar Tings: Afro-Caribbean Collegians Navigate Race while Enrolled at Predominately White Institutions”, it re-solidified the importance of my research, and that there is a true need for an expansion of Blackness in the African Diaspora. This opportunity was one I will never forget and will remain a signifier to keep my focus on the work, and to continue doing meaningful research.
Leislie Godo-Solo, IRT ’91 Leislie initiated a special project that made a huge difference to a number of IRT students this holiday season. She coordinated and purchased a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, hand wipes and a hand-written note complete with candy and organized other family members and friends to contribute items that were sent to IRT students around the world. Leislie is also the IRT Education Programs Specialist and we would like to thank her for her kindness and generosity. If you know of a student who may be in need, please contact the IRT.
According to Leislie, “this project came about because of a current IRT student who informed me that they were teaching a group of elementary students in person and she mentioned that the school was not providing any PPE to teachers. I was alarmed and believed that these materials are basic supplies. I shared my concern with my Daddy (I am a Daddy’s girl, lol!) and unbeknownst to me, my parents sent me a Nike shoe box full of cloth masks. A former Andover colleague heard me discussing the matter in an affinity group and texted me right on the spot to say that he wanted to send disposable masks to help in my cause; I was off and running. Providing PPE was such a small gesture and one that was easy enough to do. I am pleased that we have been able to assist IRT students in this concrete way.” As a result of this project, Leislie’s motto in 2021 is “Onward and upward, doing what we can in our little part of the world!”
“I am very grateful for Leislie’s work. She was my IRT advisor. I admire her work. Also, I appreciate all the assistance of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) has provided to us. I feel honored I was selected to participate in the 2020-2021 IRT Associate Program in the field of Linguistics. This program impacted me positively. It could change my life. Especially thanks to Leislie Godo-Solo, Rachel Weissler, Monica Reum, Brittany Zorn, LaShawnda Brooks, Janelle Bonasera, Sara Cerretani, and thanks to all the alumni.” Zahaira Cruz Aponte, IRT ’20
Armando Martinez, IRT ’19 was recently selected to be in the Inclusive Excellence Spotlight for the Residence Life department of The Ohio State University.
Charlinda 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.
Mayra 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.