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Welcome to Urban Education at the Graduate Center!

Dear Urban Education family,

As current and future leaders in urban education, each of us primarily serves as an advocate for historically underserved and marginalized communities. Self-assessment is the first step in self-advocacy. As a student member of the Curriculum Committee, I have spoken with several students in our program about their desires for improving and sustaining communication and mentorship. To move us forward in achieving these goals, it seemed that a social media space would be useful.

This group and accompanying website allow students, faculty, and staff of the program to post and access resources that support the professional development of Urban Education doctoral students. Members will find current university and program handbooks, resources for nurturing the advisee-advisor relationship, tips for scholarly reading and writing, and other useful links.

  • What kinds of academic and social supports do we need?
  • How can we further define and makes strides toward our respective career goals?
  • What do advisors expect of us?
  • What can we reasonably expect of them?

Let’s start a collaborative share space to discuss and post resources that address these common concerns. Below is a running list of people who have contributed original art, text, or links to the website. In particular, we acknowledge Joe Matunis and Christopher Guerra Morales who collaborated to produced the “Art for Social Change in the Ivory Tower” mural that is captured in our featured image. They produced the full mural during the Urban Education lectures series, and it is on display in the Urban Education and French program lounge, room 4202. Visit our program’s “Spotlights” page to learn more about the artists and the lecture series.

For more about admissions, contact information for program staff and faculty members, events, spotlights, and more, please see our official Urban Education program website.

In solidarity,

Kahdeidra Martin, Cohort 16


Contributors 2018

Kahdeidra Martin– website ideation, initial design, page texts, and photograph of featured image

Joe Matunis– artwork in featured mural image

Christopher Guerra Morales-artwork in featured mural image

Andrea Nicktee Juarez Mendoza– suggestion of the collaborative wikispace How to Prep for Grad School While Poor by Karra Shimabukuro.

Rachel Chapman– design and addition of Urban Education newsletter

Contributors 2019

Sara Vogel– design and addition of Urban Education newsletter and happenings page

Contributors 2020

Angela Dunne– design and addition of Urban Education newsletter, happenings page, and students page

September 2020 Newsletter

As we move into the new virtual semester, we seek to create spaces that continue to build our community and advance our scholarship. Check out Urban Ed’s September 2020 newsletter for all of the program’s happenings. Subscribe here for these updates to be delivered to your inbox twice per semester. You can also find top stories cross-posted here on the student-created Urban Ed website on the CUNY Academic Commons.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in this space in future issues?  Use this Google form to contribute!

Meet Cohort 20!

They rep NYC, NYC public schools, and CUNY hard! They include activists, educators, researchers, poets and foodies. Learn about the accomplished folks starting their PhD journeys together in 2020.

Orubba Almansouri Words, written and spoken helped ease my culture shock transition from life in Yemen, to High School in New York. My passion for writing, dedication, and advocacy for education fuel my academic journey. As a PhD candidate, my endeavors as a scholar and educator are to push forward the importance of multicultural and translingual education in transforming academia into an environment where immigrant students are able to connect into the world that revolves around them. I am eager to conduct research on multicultural and translingual education and to develop educational programs that provide immigrant students—especially women immigrants—with the means to achieve their potential. 

Matt Anderson has 18 years of professional experience in the New York City Department of Education as an English teacher, teacher leader, new teacher mentor, and district leader. He received his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Hartford, CT in English and Political Science. He has also earned a Masters in English Education from New York University, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from the College of St. Rose. Matt is currently the Director of Continuous Improvement for Brooklyn North High Schools where he uses his deep understanding of teacher, student, and administrative support to anchor his work of transforming schools.

Lucien Baskin I am a proud alum of the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and have been affiliated with the Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University and the Centre for Urban Youth Research at Carleton University. I am a co-chair of the students committee of the American Studies Association and an active member of the Critical Prison Studies Caucus. My research explores Black, queer, feminist, abolitionist, and decolonial student movements against austerity and neoliberalism. I am particularly interested in liberation/freedom schooling, abolitionist university studies, the history of CUNY, HBCUs, and the relationships between universities and cities. I’ve never taught in a traditional classroom setting, and am excited to be part of a program with so many experienced teachers, parents, and people with other relationships to schooling and education. I organize with Free CUNY and the Brooklyn College Student Union, as well as abolitionist campaigns and organizations across the city. In my free time, I enjoy reading (Jesmyn Ward is my favorite author!), cooking, watching trashy gay television, and walking around Brooklyn (and sometimes even Queens) in search of delicious food to eat. I am from Western Massachusetts and now live in Brooklyn. 

Gisely Colón López adjuncted for the City University of New York (CUNY) teaching courses in bilingual education and Latino/a Studies in the Bronx and Brooklyn. She holds a Master of Arts from UConn-Storrs in International Studies and previously graduated from Brooklyn College-CUNY.  Her research interests include the development of U.S. based ethnic studies and investigating the process of institutionalization on the victories of this mostly student-led social movement. Colón López has worked as an educator for systems of public education throughout the Northeast. She also works with various community-based organizations focused on youth development and empowerment. During her transition between undergraduate and graduate school Colón López joined the board of the Alliance for Puerto Rican Education and Empowerment (APREE), and more recently co-produced a short educational film with the non-profit about the student-led movement at Brooklyn College- CUNY that pioneered the field of U.S. based Puerto Rican Studies. 

Mieasia Edwards is a Harlem, NY native committed to creating sustainable, systemic and equitable change through action, planning and policy. She began her journey to advance educational equity as a New York City public school teacher. Thereafter, she became the founding principal of an elementary school in Queens, NY where her students excelled. She later engaged in school-turnaround as a principal in her hometown. She presently serves more than 8,000 students and families in Community School District 5 as a principal coach. Mieasia is eager to continue her journey to advance educational equity by collaborating with a diverse group of scholars committed to transformation and justice as a member of the 2020 Urban Education cohort at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Adelia S. Gibson is a Brooklyn Native who attended Public Schools in Brooklyn from pre K -12th grade. Currently she serves as an Education Administrator for the NYCDOE on the Academic Response Team in the Bronx Borough Central Office. She has been in education and children services for 11 years with a range of experience from foster care to Adult Continuing Education courses. Adelia has earned her B.A in English from SUNY Albany, MS. Ed in Urban education from LIU Brooklyn, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from CCNY. She is currently completing her School District Leader License at Hunter and plans to become a principal in the near future. When she is not studying or working, she likes to sew and has started a small clothing company.

Shobita Mampilly is a scientist and poet, with over twenty years of teaching experience in urban communities from Brooklyn to Bangalore, India. As a founding member of the non-profit By All Means Leadership Alliance
(BAMLA), she is currently developing the Chem4All Initiative in New York City, working to provide access to young adults interested in health-science careers. Through The Anonymous Indian Trust, she collaborates with local scientists and activists in India to publish and deliver the Trashonomics curriculum, encouraging government-run schools in rural and urban India to teach solid and liquid waste segregation at source. A graduate of Columbia University (MA), The New School (MFA) and Indiana University (BS), Shobita presents her unique approach to science education globally, through her workshop entitled “Teaching Social Justice through Science Curricula,” presented last year at the NAIS People of Color Conference. Shobita continues to evolve in her role as Science Department Chair as she mentors new teachers and develops socially relevant courses by radicalizing science education to empower the most disenfranchised communities on our planet.

Alprentice McCutchen holds a B.A in History and African-American Studies from Wesleyan University, a Masters in Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University and an M.A in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. Alprentice has spent a good portion of his 23-year professional career developing curricula and providing workshops that integrate Hip Hop, Socratic inquiry, debate, travel/study trips to Egypt, Senegal, the Gambia, Spain and Morocco, student action, performance based assessments, project based learning as well as critical writing as part of his work to help develop students who will contribute to the thinking world. Alprentice is currently a history teacher in New York at New Rochelle High School, an assistant Imam of Masjid Sabur Inc. in the Bronx, NY as well as a Phd student at the CUNY Graduate Center in the Urban Education program. Most importantly, Al is a husband and father of three children. You can follow Al on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

Sunisa Nuonsy considers herself part of the 1.5 generation of immigrants who were resettled in the U.S. following the Vietnam War.  Born in a refugee camp in Thailand to Lao parents, she and her family were resettled in upstate New York just after she turned one.  Having graduated from New York State public schools, she also lived, attended university, and worked in northern California (ask her about obituaries!) before returning to the east coast and transitioning to a career as a public school teacher.  Sunisa currently teaches 11th and 12th grade English Language Arts at The International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, a place she considers home as she enters her ninth year at the school.  Her interest in language, particularly Translanguaging and home languages, has led her to the Graduate Center at CUNY, where she hopes to contribute years of progressive, critical, and transformative educational experiences to the cohort.  When not being hyper-local to her Crown Heights neighborhood, she enjoys traveling near and far, eating almost anything, and relaxing with Cannabis.

Jenna (or Jennifer) Queenan is a white, queer educator and organizer who spends a lot of time thinking about solidarity and community. She began working at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn as an ENL teacher in 2013, where she has co-taught in all subject areas. She was also the ENL Department Chair and spent time after school facilitating the school’s Dream Team, a club for undocumented students and their allies. She advocates for immigrant rights in NYC schools with the Teach Dream team at the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first undocumented, youth led organization in New York. Her research interests focus on abolition and the work that teachers and educational institutions should be doing to create spaces where undocumented students and their families can thrive. This year, she will be working with the CUNY Initiative on Immigration & Education (CUNY-IIE) and the PIECE (Putting Immigration and Education in Conversation Everyday) study, which looks at how school-based educators in varying contexts of reception are responding to recent immigration policies and discourse. To decompress, Jenna enjoys reading, running (sometimes), and building community with friends in Brooklyn.

Michelle Rendón Ochoa is an educator-scholar, passionate about co-creating healing, critically conscious spaces with young people through praxis, literacy, counternarratives and art. She grew up residing between Medellín, Colombia and Long Island, New York, two homeplaces that have shaped her social and academic life experiences. Her teaching career began as a K-12 English teacher in Medellín, where she also obtained her master’s degree in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. She believes in research as justice work, with interests in youth participatory action research (YPAR), critical hip-hop pedagogy, ethnic studies, bilingual education and translanguaging. These interests are grounded in her experiences as a bilingual, multicultural daughter of resilient immigrants and first college graduate in her family. Currently, Michelle is teaching Spanish as a World Language and as a Home Language to bilingual high school students at her alma mater, where she works closely with the Latinx community. In addition, she coaches and mentors female student-athletes in the Varsity Lacrosse team. In her free time she enjoys staying active through exercise, dancing (especially salsa), experiencing new places, and exploring her creativity.

Rachel Watts is a multidisciplinary arts educator who was born in Ghana and grew up on the island of Trinidad where she developed her passion for dance, theater, music, art, carnival, and cultures of the world. Ms. Watts currently works ArtsConnection Inc., one of the original Arts in Education organizations in New York City. She has also worked as Director of Education at Ballet Hispanico and Director of The MYC Youth Center in San Rafael California, where she created a state of the art facility focused on developing teen leadership skills through the arts and technology.  Her introduction to non-profit Arts Education was in the education department at The Studio Museum in Harlem, just after she graduated from Williams College.  She later received her Master’s Degree at New York University in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies. She also studied Visual Art at the Edna Manley College of the Arts in Jamaica, and Modern and West African dance with Noble Douglas in Trinidad, at Emerson College, and under the mentorship of Sandra Burton at Williams College. She is excited to deepen her learning through the PhD program in Urban Education at CUNY.

Crystal Welch-Scott I am a Clinical Social Worker, employed as an Adolescent Clinician. My primary client population are youth between the ages of 14-26, the primary focus has been on stabilizing their behaviors so that they are better able to function in the community and avoid any further justice involvement. Professionally, I have worked with children/adolescents for over 15 years in varying capacities, from Clinician to Administrator and I continue to be passionate about serving this population, especially as new evidence based models continue to evolve and provides substantial benefit for the client population. I obtained my BA from Hunter College in Sociology and my MSW also from Hunter College with a focus on youth and adolescents as well as family systems. I look forward to embarking on this next journey!

Anthony Wheeler (he/him) joins The Graduate Center’s Urban Education Ph.D. Program as a Graduate Center Fellow under the Provost Enhancement Grant after having been a member of the Graduate Center community for two years. He recently completed his M.A. in Digital Humanities where he specialized in digital pedagogy and educational technologies as a means of implementing social justice initiatives within the classroom. He works for the CUNY Academic Commons Team as a Community Facilitator and is a member of the English Department at the New York City College of Technology and of Communication Studies at LaGuardia Community College. Anthony’s other research interests include data privacy and surveillance of students, intersectionality, and game studies.

Natalie Willens

I’m From

I’m from NYC, born and raised. 

A child of divorced musicians. 

But really I’m from a cascade of tough womyn.                       

Guided, healed, and nourished by 

a single mom, 

who worked late nights

but still had energy to draw cacti 

on our brown paper lunch bags,

and whisper songs into our ribs when we were sick.

I’m from scooping sandy silver coins 

out of my backpack for the M23 bus.

Eggs and bacon for dinner when my mother worked past 8.

I’m from finding comfort in the scratch of a record player 

and the smoke of my grandmother’s singing voice.

From hours on the subway, 

just to catch a glimpse of the sea.

I’ve learned from a cascade of tough womyn

Guided, healed, and nourished

by hooks, by Crook,

by Anzaldúa and

Kimmerer,

by Irigaray,

and King

to name a few.

April 2020 Newsletter: Physically Distant, Socially Close Edition

There’s no CUNY red carpet, but if there were one, Urban Ed students would strut, sparkle and shine (walking 6 feet apart). This month, the shout outs section of the Urban Ed newsletter is bursting with the stellar accomplishments of our community members.

We’ve also crowdsourced a special section “Teaching and Learning Through a Pandemic.” Urban ed folks share songs to wash their hands to, tips for virtual pedagogy and scholarship, and the media that’s been getting them through what many are calling “physical” rather than “social” distancing. Stay safe out there!

Access the newsletter here.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in this space? Use this Google form to contribute! This was technically last newsletter of the semester, but if folks write in with more to share, there will be a special May edition.

February 2020 Newsletter: Here comes the Spring (semester)!

Here comes the Spring semester! (Maybe not the sun just yet.) While you wait for the weather to catch up with the academic calendar, check out this month’s Urban Ed newsletter!

This month, we spotlight some of the authors among us whose books hit shelves this season. We also share upcoming events, and shout out some of the stellar accomplishments of our community members.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in future issues? Use this Google form to contribute!

Urban Ed Bookworms

Winter is the perfect season for curling up with a good book. Luckily GC Urban ed students, faculty, and alum have plenty on offer. Check out these new titles, coming to a (digital) library or bookstore near you!

En Comunidad: Lessons for Centering the Voices and Experiences of Bilingual Latinx Students

By Carla España and Luz Yadira Herrera

Lessons and units that bring bilingual Latinx students’ perspectives to the center of classrooms.

Pre-order through Heinemann

Dr. Carla España and Dr. Luz Yadira Herrera, both C10, defended their dissertations within a few days of each other in April 2017. During a meal to celebrate the culmination of their seven years of graduate studies, their advisor and mentor, Dr. Ofelia García encouraged them to write together.

“That summer, we thought of the students we taught in our teacher preparation programs, our experiences teaching in NYC public schools, and our advocacy with and for bilingual Latinx children,” Carla said.

“It was a beautiful day, so we had to be outside.” Luz said. “I didn’t have childcare and brought Remi with me, and of course, Carla went full-on teacher mode with him, while we also discussed our ideas for the themes of the book and worked on an outline.” (see below)

That Fall, Carla and Luz crafted chapter one together in the 9th floor skylight cafeteria of the Graduate Center, checking in periodically with Ofelia, who wrote the forward to their book, over FaceTime. The following year they worked on the proposal with their editor, and during most of 2019, they met every Friday to share their progress towards their writing goals.

After nearly three years of work, their book, En Comunidad is nearly in hand. The text shares classroom-ready lessons that amplify the varied stories and identities of Latinx children, creating liberating learning spaces and experiences.

Carla said about the process, “Working as coauthors, friends, and Grad Center alum on this project helped us not only make progress on our book, but also nurture our friendship and reimagine our role in the field of bilingual education.”

Classroom Talk for Social Change: Critical Conversations in English Language Arts

By Melissa Schieble, Amy Vetter and Kahdeidra Monét Martin 

A guide for engaging students in noticing and discussing harmful discourses about race, gender, and other identities.

Pre-order through Teacher’s College Press

Kahdeidra Monét Martin, C16, and Dr. Melissa Schieble, Urban Education faculty member, wrote this book with co-author Amy Vetter to support teachers in having critical conversations in English Language Arts class.

Talking about key issues of race, gender, and other identities with students can be challenging for teachers. This book takes readers through a framework that includes understanding power, taking a stance as a critical learner, getting to know critical pedagogies, engaging in critical talk moves, and exploring issues of vulnerability. It features in-depth classroom examples and offers specific ways that teachers can begin and sustain these important conversations.

Children Framing Childhoods: Working-Class Kids’ Visions of Care 

By Wendy Luttrell

An alternative angle of vision on working class children’s lives—animated by their own photographs, videos, and perspectives over time.

Now available, Bristol University Press
Also see the companion website!

As Dr. Wendy Luttrell, Urban Education Executive Officer put it, she has “lots to report on” this month. Her book, Children Framing Childhoods, challenges those who think about educational research, practice, and policy “to see differently and, thus, set our sights on a better future.” The book describes how a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse community of young people in Worcester, MA used cameras at different ages (10, 12, 16 and 18) to capture and value the centrality of care in their lives, homes, and classrooms, challenging dominant deficit-based narratives on these populations.

In addition to the book, which hit shelves after Thanksgiving, Luttrell has also launched her book’s accompanying website. Look out for a podcast interview on the Graduate Center website and a Spring book launch and a “salon” hosted by the Women and Gender Studies program.

Reimagining American Education to Serve All Our Children: Why Should We Educate in a Democracy?

By Deborah Greenblatt and Nicholas M. Michelli with Lisa Auslander, Stacy Campo, Sharon J. Hardy, Tina Jacobowitz, and Audra M. Watson.

Examines and re-evaluates the history and purpose of public education in the US

Now available, Routledge

In their new book, Urban Education Emeritus faculty Dr. Nick Michelli, along with Urban Education alumni Drs. Deborah Greenblatt, Lisa Auslander, Stacey Campo, Sharon J. Hardy and Audra M. Watson remind us that education is about more than “workforce development” — it is about providing students of current and future generations with a fulfilling and holistic learning experience. The authors define knowledge from a critical perspective, positioning education as a gateway to endless possibilities. This volume includes activities and strategies for developing assessment techniques which further help to illustrate concepts and discuss the relationship between education and policy.

CS for What? Diverse Visions of Computer Science Education in Practice

By Rafi Santo, Sara Vogel, and Dixie Ching

A framework for using communities’ core values and impacts to shape computer science education pedagogy and policy.

Download digital copy via CS for All

Along with co-authors Dr. Rafi Santo and Dr. Dixie Ching, Urban Ed doctoral candidate, Sara Vogel, C15, launched a paper during December’s Computer Science Education Week to help educators and policy-makers answer the question “CS for What?” It encourages communities to discuss and deliberate around their core values, and to use those values to drive design and implementation of efforts.

November 2019 Newsletter

The air is cool and crisp. You’ve got your tea or coffee brewing, a stack of papers to grade (and to write), and an inbox filled with unread messages. It must be November!

Take a break with GC Urban Ed’s quarterly newsletter! Click here.

This month, the spotlight is on Urban Ed students who use multimedia – podcasting, children’s books, TV journalism and beyond – to share knowledge and build movements. We’ll also update you on events and happenings in the lounge, shout-out some of our community’s stellar accomplishments, and tell you about some new jams and books to keep you going through mid-term.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in this space in future issues? Write to Sara Vogel at svogel@gradcenter.cuny.edu or use this Google form to contribute!

Urban Ed’s Multimedia Makers

Building knowledge and movements across platforms

Knowledge takes many forms. It can be sung, spoken, embodied, drawn, captured on video, in still images, and beyond. Nobody understands this better than Urban Ed students. Through their work across platforms, communities, disciplines, and media, they push against traditional ways of doing and presenting scholarship, broadening their audiences, and building movements in education and beyond. See below to learn about just a few of Urban Ed’s multimedia makers.


Atasi Das, C15, and LaToya Strong, C12, have hit the one year mark on their podcast, Abolition Science “an anti-colonial project that envisions a science and math delinked from racial capitalism, imperialism, and oppression – a science and math that serves all people.” Season one explores the history and meanings of both abolition and science, and season two takes a deep dive into science in Palestine. By interviewing scholars, activists, students, educators, and artists, and sharing their favorite music, they aim to imagine and shape liberatory alternative math and science futures. Atasi says: “Thanks to all our Urban Ed followers for all the love, support, shares, and listens this year!” Available on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts!

While you’re at it, check out Color Theory Pod, another podcast produced by Urban ed students José Alfredo Menjivar, C12, Robert Robinson, C15, and Makeba Lavan of the English department. It’s all about being black, brown and queer in academia, and in life.

Speaking of podcasts, José Luis Jiménez, C17 (above, third from left), and Kym Vanderbilt, C17, were both interviewed for the Ethical Schools show this semester. They shared their expertise as school leaders and teacher educators. Jiménez, principal of A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, PS 290, in Queens shared a story about coming out to his students, telling the hosts of his episode, “you don’t check a part of yourself at the door,” and describing how he he encourages teachers to design culturally-responsive project-based curricula. Vanderbilt, a Lecturer and Professional Development Liaison in the Early Childhood/Childhood Department at CUNY/Lehman College, traced the complicated history of early childhood education, and described how she supports teacher candidates long after graduation.

When she’s not in class or writing papers, Elena Romero, C19 (above, top row, second from left), is a TV correspondent for the new CUNY TV show, LATINAS, a monthly magazine show focusing on the lives and achievements of influential Latinas. In the premiere September episode, Romero debunked myths about Latinas and diabetes. In October, she featured Susan Jaramillo, the creator of the beloved award-winning bilingual sing-along book and Emmy-nominated animated television series Canticos (airs on Nick Jr.) This month learn the story and impact of La Borinqueña, the Boricua superhero created by graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. Be on the lookout for future segments on the experiences of Latina Muslims and PhD Latinas. Watch online or view the show on Ch. 75 (Spectrum and Optimum), Ch. 77 (RCN) and Ch. 30 (Verizon FIOS).

While attending the Urban Ed program, alumna Whitney Hollins discovered that there were very few books for children dealing with the topic of incarceration, and those that were out there “were either dark and gloomy, or unrealistic,” as she put it. So she wrote one. Her book, Anna’s Test, seeks to lessen the stigma surrounding incarceration by providing caregivers, educators, and others with a tool to spark conscious conversation. She developed it as a project in a course taught by Dr. Wendy Luttrell. Dr. Luttrell and Hollins’ classmates encouraged her to publish it. “Once I found a directly impacted artist to illustrate the book, I knew everything was coming together,” Hollins said. She self-published in June. “So far it has received a wonderful response, I am looking forward to writing more books about Anna in the future.”

September 2019 Newsletter

The lounge and hearth at 4201/2 are once again filled with laughter, big hugs, and critical conversation — it must be a new semester! As you skim your syllabi, fire up Zotero, and reconnect with your classmates, check out Urban Ed’s September 2019 newsletter for all of the program’s happenings. We are testing out a new format, your feedback is welcome! These updates will be delivered to our students, alumni, and faculty members’ inboxes twice per semester.  To subscribe, click here.

You can also find top stories cross-posted here, at the student-created Urban Ed website on the CUNY Academic Commons.

September 2019: From the Hearth

Happy Fall, 2019. I trust you all had a healthy, restorative and creative summer and are ready for the new rhythms and routines of the semester. I love writing “from the hearth” as a message of gratitude to people who help nourish and sustain our community. This year’s message starts with a word of thanks to a committee of students and faculty who planned a full day Orientation Program for Cohort 19, which students Gladys Aponte, Leylah Bighach and Karen Zaino coordinated and facilitated. The incoming students were invited to make a collage depicting their personal journeys to graduate school. Their images and introductions were powerful, personal, and inspiring. We agreed that these images should be kept in a “time capsule” ready to be re-visited upon graduation.

In that same spirit, I chose an image from David Connor’s art exhibition in the Hearth to express how I want the UE program to be experienced: as a bright, bold, textured set of learning activities, stitched together with a vision of social justice.

I also want to thank Sara Vogel for experimenting with a new format of the newsletter as a means to keep us better connected and informed about program events and the lives of faculty, alumni and students.   Her idea of having a page for “shout outs” is an invitation to recognize and celebrate each other’s accomplishments as well as our affection and appreciation for the people who support us.  Thanks to Wendy Barrales for starting the ball rolling and setting just the right tone!

Finally, the summer was filled with loss and mourning: for Toni Morrison; the victims of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Midland and Odessa, Texas; for families separated at the border; and for the marking of the anniversary of 1919’s “Red Summer” (given this name because of the bloodshed caused by some of the worst white-on-black violence in U.S. history). I also chose Connor’s image because it reminded me of the comfort of quilts and the history of quilt making as a collective endeavor to honor the dead and bring solace to the living. This season, “from the hearth” is also “from the heart” with hopes for a season of healing justice.

– Wendy Luttrell, Executive Officer

Getting to know Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa

Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa
Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa

New school year, new Associate Professor! Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa is joining the GC’s Urban Ed and Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures programs from Rutgers University. A researcher who focuses on language use, learning, and immigration in Latinx communities living in the United States, Mangual Figueroa is also an educator, activist, and mom. Sara Vogel, cohort 15, caught up with her over video chat during a busy week settling into her new office and moving with her family from one to another part of Brooklyn. They talked about what students can expect from her as a teacher and mentor, and what keeps her grounded. Click here for the full interview!

What is important for the Urban Ed community to know about you?

I’d love folks to know that I’m deeply informed by and committed to the work of CUNY broadly, and of Urban Education and work happening at the GC in particular. I feel like this is a formalizing of a conversation that I’ve been a part of and peripheral to as an educator and activist through NYCoRE [the New York Coalition of Radical Educators], of which I was a founding member, and through relationships with friends and colleagues at CUNY. I feel very connected to the commitment, work, and dispositions that students, faculty and staff here all share. I want folks to know I’m deeply committed to public education — I was a teacher of ESL and Spanish, and I’ve taught in public schools ever since, and I was at Rutgers for 10 years. It is an imperative for faculty to be committed to public education at this time for our students in all of their intersectionality and diversity.

What excites you the most about coming to the GC?

One of the things I’m really excited about is teaching the core course on methods in the Spring, and thinking about the responsibility and ethics involved in everyday life and in research and teaching. Being a part of an intellectual community that is so situated within the city that is my home and the city that I grew up in, taught in, and am now a faculty member, mother, and activist in, prompts me to think about the integration of those various domains and forging new work at the GC and with Urban Ed students.

Continue reading “Getting to know Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa”