Engaged Pedagogy Initiative Fall 2018 Fellows
Students interested in teaching and bridging classroom instruction with community-based learning were selected to participate in the Engaged Pedagogy Initiative (EPI). Below are the members of the current cohort:
Emelia Abbe is a Ph.D. candidate in English Language and Literature. As a researcher, she studies Early American material culture, class politics, and inter-class social sites. As a teacher, Emelia is interested in models of community-based intergenerational learning, as well as both the unique needs and skillsets of first-generation college students. Since arriving at the university, she has participated in the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship’s Institute for Social Change, has worked as a Mellon Public Humanities Fellow, and currently serves as a facilitator with the Osher Life-long Learner’s Institute. During her time as an EPI fellow, Emelia would like to design a course focusing on the challenges facing small, rural/industrial communities in the Midwest, and on community efforts and programming that are working to address those challenges: the rise of factory farming, the problems and promises surrounding migrant labor, food disparity and justice, gustatory culture and agriculture, and the farm-to-table movement.
Tiwaloluwa (Tiwa) Ajibewa is a doctoral student in Movement Science in the School of Kinesiology, and a graduate research assistant in the Childhood Disparities Research Laboratory. Broadly, his research interests revolve around the intersection of race, ethnicity, health and disease. He specifically focuses on the relationship between physical activity and cardiometabolic outcomes in children and adolescents, and the implications of this relationship in adulthood. As an EPI fellow, Tiwa aims to build skills in community organization and develop methods to increase physical activity participation in at risk populations. His overall goal is to help reduce cardiovascular disease disparities through physical activity interventions, allowing for everyone to live healthy lives.
Tyler completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Michigan-Flint, where community-based learning was an integral part of the education he received. Currently, he is a doctoral student in the Program in Chemical Biology at the University of Michigan, working in the lab of Professor Alison Narayan. His work centers on the development of non-heme iron enzymes as tools for performing difficult chemical transformations. As a rising fourth year, Tyler is currently a Fellow in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Through his EPI fellowship, Tyler aims to develop a course entitled Improving Scientific Literacy in the Wider Community
Mercedez Dunn is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College, where she served as an inaugural member of the Social Justice Fellows Program, and an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan. She is broadly interested in Black women’s sexual and reproductive health. Her current research explores how heterosexual Black women navigate sex, romance, and sexual health risk at historically black colleges and universities. Additionally, Mercedez is interested in engaged and critical pedagogies and promoting principles of diversity, justice, equity, and inclusion in academic classrooms and health education spaces. During her matriculation at U-M, she has been a recipient of the Rackham Merit Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduation Research Fellowship Program, a member of Wolverine Wellness’s Sexperteam, and a participant in the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship’s Institute for Social Change. As an EPI fellow, Mercedez aims to design a community-based learning course that engages co-learners with issues of sexual and reproductive health inequities using Black feminist and reproductive justice frameworks.
Chelsea Fisher is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology. Her work uses archaeological, ethnographic, and historical approaches to understand how long-term interactions between farmers and their local environments impact agricultural sustainability. Chelsea conducted her Ph.D. research at the archaeological site of Tzacauil, Yucatán, where she investigated the changing community organization and local land-use practices of Maya farming villages 2,000 years ago, 1,000 years ago, and today in the 21st century. Her work at Tzacauil has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Program, and several grants from the University of Michigan. Chelsea's teaching and scholarship are motivated by using anthropological archaeology in creative ways to contribute to the larger dialogue about sustainable food and agricultural systems. After being awarded a Rackham Outstanding GSI Award in 2017, she went on to design and teach a course on the archaeology of urban agriculture and sustainability in Spring 2018 at the University of Michigan. As an EPI fellow, Chelsea will develop a course that will teach students to understand the deep history of the American food system through archaeology and community partnerships with local food organizations.
Gordon Fitch is a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research explores how human land use - particularly urbanization and agriculture - affect interactions among plants and the insects that pollinate them and eat them. Prior to coming to U-M, Gordon worked as an educator and community organizer. He is deeply invested in exploring ways to exploit the resources and tools available at institutions like U-M for the empowerment of people and communities traditionally and contemporarily poorly served by such institutions. As an EPI fellow, he hopes to develop a course that engages learners in the creation of ecological knowledge grounded in social and environmental justice frameworks, using the charismatic connection between bees and flowers as an entry point for exploration.
Machal Gradoz is a Ph.D. student in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology. Her research interests include so-called “transitional” periods in the ancient Mediterranean, specifically how and why material culture in urban and rural landscapes across the Mediterranean changes (or does not change) in response to new political, economic, and social conditions. She is particularly interested in the effects of transition on non-elite populations. Machal is also interested in the roles archaeologists and archaeology play in fostering cultural heritage through public archaeology and dialogue with local and non-local communities. During her time as an EPI Fellow, Machal wishes to develop strategies for using Classics and Archaeology as heuristic devices with which to think about modern issues such as identity construction and identity signaling—phenomena that transcend chronological boundaries and have the potential to create awareness and appreciation for the depth of myriad people and cultures. She also hopes to develop approaches to nuance traditional disciplines like Classics in order to engage diverse student populations with these “old-fashioned” subjects.
Kathryn Holihan is a doctoral candidate in the department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, and holds a certificate in Museum Studies. She is broadly interested in museums and related issues of accessibility, visual communication, and cultural education. Her dissertation explores a series of hygiene exhibitions in Germany in the first half of the twentieth century designed to instruct a lay visitorship in mass on the fundamentals of public health. Kathryn has worked at the Museum of Modern Art and at the German Hygiene Museum, Dresden. She has taught German language courses and history courses on the rise of national socialism. As an EPI fellow, Kathryn hopes to design a course that will empower students to become curators within their local communities.
Laura Magnusson is an MFA student in Art and Design at the University of Michigan. Her graduate work investigates video as a visual form of testimony to convey the fullness of traumatic experience. The visual component of her thesis, a video testimony of her own healing journey after sexual violence, takes place at the bottom of a deep, vast ocean. Here, in this striking subaquatic world, where Laura is the only one of her kind, she traverses the seafloor in search of her voice. Might the ocean, through its associations with healing, the subconscious, and vast space, receive and carry her truth?
At the University of Michigan, Laura has carried out underwater research/creation in Cozumel, Mexico via two International Institute Individual Fellowships and is presently a CEW Scholar. As an EPI fellow, she aims to design a course that is centered on critical issues surrounding sexual violence, with an emphasis on creating space for survivor voices.
Cecilia Morales is a Ph.D. Candidate in English Language and Literature with a certificate concentration in Women’s Studies. Her dissertation draws on feminist, queer, and critical race theory to examine how maternity functions rhetorically in Renaissance English literature and culture. Cecilia is also interested in community engaged pedagogy oriented towards social justice both within and beyond the academy. She is currently serving on the editorial team of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, where she is thinking deeply about how the resources of academic publishing can be used to promote the study and practice of community engagement and service-learning. During her time at U-M, Cecilia has also worked for the Detroit-based non-profit Write-A-House and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation as a Mellon Fellow. She has taught courses on Renaissance literature as well as Intro to Writing courses that encourage students to develop their skills in written communication and academic inquiry by reflecting on their assumptions about borders, identities, and communities. As an EPI fellow, Cecilia hopes to design a course that recognizes the value of studying literature and the humanities as a means of achieving a more equitable and just society.
Abigail is a MPP candidate at the Ford School of Public Policy studying the politics of public schooling, urban development, and philanthropy. She received her B.A. in Public Policy and a minor in Community Action and Social Change from the University of Michigan. Prior to attending graduate school, she was an AmeriCorps volunteer and developed youth programming for schools and nonprofits in Michigan and California. She is a 2018 Dow Sustainability Fellow and the recipient of the Ford School's Margaret E. Weston Fellowship in Education Policy. She currently collaborates on research that explores the history and development of teacher quality reforms, and on projects evaluating Detroit college access programs. As an EPI fellow, Abigail hopes to design a CBL course in which students explore how adolescents and young adults develop political identity, as well as the sociological and historical aspects of civic engagement and social change movements.
Attabey Rodríguez Benítez
Attabey completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the program of Chemical Biology at the University of Michigan. After her first year, she joined the labs of Professor Alison R.H Narayan and Professor Janet L. Smith. She focuses on using enzymes as chemical tools for the synthesis of natural products and elucidating their mechanisms of action through structural biology. In addition to research, Attabey is an advocate for science communication and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She is currently a Museum Science Communication Fellow at U-M and curriculum director at InnoWorks Michigan chapter. As a rising third year, she has been recipient of Rackham Merit Fellowship and Rackham DEI certificate. As an EPI fellow, Rodríguez Benítez aims to create a science learning and communication course, Chemistry of Everyday Life, centered in that science is not in a high pedestal, but is everywhere waiting for you to reach. You can follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
Moira is a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics focusing on language contact phenomena and the interplay of social forces such as language use and power relationships in a contact environment. Moira’s recent research includes the ongoing development of an open-source multimedia talking dictionary of Jejueo, a critically endangered language of Jeju Island, South Korea. The dictionary will serve as a repository of ceremonial and everyday speech in Jejueo and is scheduled for release online and as an Android app in 2019. As an EPI Fellow Moira hopes to develop a course that engages learners in the topics language rights and documentation for underdocumented languages and dialects globally.