IRT Alumni Engaging in Issues

Beyond the Border: A Critical Dialogue Series

hosted by Shantel Palacio, IRT ’17


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. 

This recording and others in the series can be found on
the UNH media channel.

NCORE Webinar Series: Alumni Commentary



Commentary by Patricia 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.

Alumni Accolades, April 2021

~Class of 2004~

Orly Clergé, IRT ’04 will join the department of Sociology in July 2022 as Assistant Professor at Yale University. Dr. Clergé’s research focuses on race, migration, cities, inequality, and identity. Orly is the author of The New Noir: Race, Identity & Diaspora in Black Suburbia (University of California Press, 2019; winner of the Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book in the ASA Culture Section, and SSSP C. Wright Mills Book Award finalist), which is a comprehensive exploration of the making of Black diasporic suburbs.

~Class of 2014~

Jonathan Cortez, IRT ’14 successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD from Brown University from the department of American Studies. Congratulations Dr. Cortez! His research interests include 20th century U.S. history, Latinx History, race and race making, relational ethnic studies, critical geography and spatial studies, labor history, and public humanities.

~Class of 2016~

Charlinda Haudley, IRT ’16 is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and is the Project Manager, Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Arizona. Charlinda was awarded her doctorate in Higher Education in 2021 from the University of Arizona. Congratulations Dr. Haudley! Her research focuses on intertribal student engagement at a university Native American student center.

~Class of 2019~

Francesco Yugiro Asano, IRT ’19 is a PhD student in American Studies at New York University. He is interested in questions of race, empire, and nature, particularly in the context of imperial hunting and wildlife-conservation history. Public Books, an online magazine of ideas, scholarship, and the arts has published Francesco’s recent article “When Nature Is Valued over Human Life.”

~Class of 2020~

Congratulations to the 2020 IRT Cohort! So far the cohort has reported a total of 241 acceptance offers from graduate programs across the nation. These offers range from partial to full funding and we will have more details to share in our June 2021 Newsletter. Congratulations to all cohort members for their amazing work throughout this year!

IRT Alumni Committee – application open!

Hi everyone,

Please apply to join the IRT Alumni Committee!

As the Graduate Student Representative to the IRT Advisory Board, I know that alumni support and the IRT network is full of robust and dynamic scholars and professionals across various fields. I believe we are actively pushing for more racially and socially just K-12, higher education, and professional spaces. With this, LaShawnda Brooks and I would like to launch the IRT Alumni Committee.

We would like to invite IRT alum to apply to join the Alumni Committee– a highly motivated and dynamic collaboration of IRT alumni who are committed to supporting, networking, and working with alumni, IRT staff, current IRT students and the Advisory Board. I hope the Alumni Committee can be a collaborative space to problem-solve and support IRT alumni.

Learn more and apply for the IRT Alumni Committee.
Applications are due Friday, February 19.

Best –
Renee Wilmot, IRT ’12/’17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections: Stephanie Flores-Koulish, IRT ’98

In April 2015, like now, I was a resident of Baltimore City. That spring our city was in turmoil following the murder of Freddie Gray at the hands of the police. I lived within a mile of the place where Gray attempted to flee from the police one fateful Sunday morning, yet our worlds couldn’t have been more different. Me, a mom, wife, and college professor living in the so-called, “White-L”* of Baltimore (Geographer, Dr. Lawrence Brown coined that geographic phrase to indicate the area of the city most populated by White people, corresponding with an abundance of resources that the “Black Butterfly,” where Gray lived, lack). Yet, all of the city residents were shook by what we witnessed and experienced. International media flocked to our city sending out media representations of a burning CVS and understandably angry residents gathering in protest over the death of yet another Black man at the hands of police.
Continue reading “Reflections: Stephanie Flores-Koulish, IRT ’98”

Alumni Accolades – February 2021

~1991 Cohort~

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

Continue reading “Alumni Accolades – February 2021”