The IRT Alumni Network is an online private network built exclusively for IRT alumni to connect with each other. If you’re an IRT alum looking to build your professional network, or become a mentor, or even just keep in touch with the IRT community – this is THE best place. The entire IRT team is thrilled to be able to offer a space where the global IRT community can stay connected with each other. As we continue to expand the IRT Alumni Network we hope it will be used as an invaluable resource.
Dr. Gill’s research has been supported by the American Association of University Women and the National Endowment of the Humanities. A recipient of the 2010 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate education, Dr. Gill was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians in 2015. In 2018, Diverse Issues in Higher Education recognized her as one of the top 25 women in higher education and serves as a consultant for the global beauty brand Sephora. Professor Gill is currently working on a book manuscript chronicling the promise and peril of African American international leisure travel since World War One.
Gill participated in the IRT Summer Workshop as faculty during 1998 – 2000. She is currently an associate professor of Africana studies and history at the University of Delaware. You can find her on social media @SableVictorian.
Laura Chavez-Moreno, IRT ’02/’10 is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. She will be joining UCLA’s César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2021.
by Brittany Zorn, IRT ‘13
IRT Arts and Sciences Programs Specialist
Once again, I had the honor of attending the Annual IRT Alumni Holiday Dinner hosted by the Office of Graduate Diversity & Inclusion (OGDI) at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) on December 3, 2019. This was the third annual dinner organized by OGDI and my second time in attendance, and each year the event has gotten bigger and better! I was proud to observe that IRT alumni from all stages of their graduate school journeys attended: Xahn Tran, IRT ‘17, Arman Liwanag, IRT ‘17, and Dominique Young, IRT ‘15, all current UMD graduate students, made an appearance. Current IRT student and UMD applicant Frangy Pozo, IRT ’19 brought her parents with her to the dinner, which made for a delightful contribution to the feeling that we were all dining with family. However, the greatest treat, for me personally, was getting the chance to reconnect with three of my own IRT cohort mates, Sharon Edwards, IRT ‘13, Amber Montgomery, IRT ‘13, and Kathy Vu IRT ‘13, who have all earned their Master’s degrees and entered the workforce. Surrounded by IRT alum who are all at different phases in their professional/graduate school journeys, reconnecting with former advisees and fellow Summer Interns from my IRT class, and meeting IRT friends, family, and peers was genuine soul food.
Teaching Beyond a Colonial American Blackness or The Costs of being Black and not really American in the Classroom
By Jessica Samuel, IRT ’15 American & New England Studies Program Boston University
One of the most fascinating (and disheartening) phenomenon I experienced as a first–year teacher in an urban public school was the way in which the Black students I taught assumed that because I was Black—in addition to being a woman, “foreign,” and young—I knew less than my white colleagues, even when those colleagues and I shared similar demographics across gender, age, educational background, and professional experience. Comments such as “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about,”“what the hell is she saying” or even, “she can’t teach” alerted me to the ways in which my identities had predetermined my capacity, and by extension, that of my students. It became increasingly clear to me that years of indoctrination had led my students to think the way they did about Black intelligence.
Even more than thinking intelligence was colored everything but Black (or Brown), my students had also learned that “American” was the most reliable and legitimate label from which to expect knowledge and skill. As an Afro-Caribbean U.S. Virgin Islander—whose relationship to Americanness is fraught—it had become clear to me that my students had inherited a white supremacist, imperialist, patriarchal framework for being in the world. Who my students believed was most qualified to teach them was not simply about years of experience in the classroom but also about years of experience being American. How American I could be directly informed my students’ ability to respect me in the classroom. That I had a slight accent, was born in a place they’d never heard of, and happened to also be Black meant that I would have to work overtime to establish professional authority in my classroom.