Education was about the practice of freedom~ bell hooks

Education for liberation is at the core of my professional identity as both a scholar and an educator. My hope is that students take ownership of their education and feel connected to the materials, but also to one another. I believe it is important that the courses I teach reflect the interdisciplinary tools I have been taught. I want to influence young people to think within a matrix of critical thought rather than in binaries; to not be mere spectators but to be participants as well.

I ask my students to think beyond borders and Western knowledge of the world. In both collegiate level courses, “Policing the Black Body,” and “Black Diasporas in Popular Music,” I have facilitated discussions and presented lectures from both a domestic and transnational lens, pushing students to think beyond themselves. The goal is for student to grapple with issues surrounding race, identity and social constructions both locally and globally– a reflection of my own work and interests. Critical exploration of unconventional narratives is powerful in its ability to break down the literary canon and powers of Western structures that transformative educators hope to achieve.

Working with elementary and middle school students, I center Black feminist epistemology that considers lived experiences of youth and puts these narratives in conversation with history, literature and the field of Black studies. As my classroom experiences continue, I intend to consciously develop my pedagogical strategies.

In addition to my role inside the classroom, I serve as a mentor. Participating in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship at Barnard College I have advised undergraduates through their academic research, as well as professional development, to enter into graduate school. I also had the pleasure of serving as a mentor to high school juniors and seniors through my work with Practice Makes Perfect. Through this program I established meaningful relationships as I helped high school students prepare for college, build their resumes, and explore career options.

It is through both teaching and mentoring that I hope to make education more meaningful and impactful.