Engaged Pedagogy Initiative Winter 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:

Alaa Algargoosh

Alaa Algargoosh is a Ph.D. Candidate at University of Michigan in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She has always been fascinated by sound and its relation to shapes; and as an architect, she had a special interest in the influence of the architectural design on sound, and this was the driving force behind wanting to study architectural acoustics. Her previous work includes designing innovative sound diffusers inspired by the cymatics phenomenon in which she explored some of the physical aspects of room acoustics. However, the physical measurements do not precisely reflect the human acoustical experience. Therefore, her study extends to include the perceptual and cultural aspects of acoustics, providing a more integrated approach to understanding the aural experience. The physical aspect concentrates on analyzing sound propagation in space whereas the perceptual aspect centered on the psychological and physiological effects of sound and its relation to human cognition. The cultural aspect focuses on studying the role of the cultural background in sound perception and the role of social activities in shaping the soundscape of specific places. Hence, her research aims at providing a new comprehensive method of analyzing the aural architecture of buildings by linking qualitative and quantitative methods, studying the ways in which they interact, and how they relate to the architectural design.     

Grace Argo

Grace Argo is a PhD student in History & Women’s Studies. Informed by herexperiences as someone with an incarcerated parent, her research explores the riseand development of social work as a profession and its relationship to eugenicsresearch at the turn of the twentieth century, with an eye toward how social workers’contributions to eugenics research shaped both the contemporary foster care andjuvenile carceral systems through legislation and policy recommendations. As an EPIFellow she hopes to develop a syllabus for a course that equips students with ahistorical understanding of mass incarceration and its impact on families and youth, andthat also provides students with the opportunity to grapple with perspectives onincarceration and the incarcerated in an applied, real-world manner and in dialogue withthose most directly impacted by the forces under study.

Dominic J. Bednar

Dominic J. Bednar, EIT is a second year Ph.D. student in the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan. He’s a part of both the Urban Energy Justice Lab and the Center for Sustainable Systems. Dominic’s research explores spatial, racial and socioeconomic patterns of residential energy affordability, consumption and efficiency. He identifies spatial clusters of high energy consuming and highly energy inefficient households to best locate residents mired in energy poverty: households struggling/unable to pay their energy bills resulting in utility shut-offs.Dominic is passionate about integrating academic research on residential energy injustices in a way that engenders community engagement and co development of impactful solutions. Particularly, he is interested in supporting energy assistance and retrofit policy changes by engaging with residents and local stakeholders. Dominic is a forward-thinking writer, storyteller and researcher. He’s passionate about the environment, social justice, leadership, buildings and dogs. Dominic’s dream is to become a tenured track professor where engaged learning, teaching and research coalesce.

Laurel Billings

Laurel Billings is a third-year PhD student in English and Women’s Studies. Her researchexplores representations of sexuality, imperial otherness, and the natural world in earlymodern drama, poetry, and travel writing. More broadly, she is interested in learning howhistorically, culturally, and linguistically specific conceptions of temporality influencethe relationships among privileged subjects, environment, and “othered” human beings,both in the early modern world and today. With an MFA in creative writing, Laurel alsohas a longstanding interest in creativity and contemporary literature. She seeks to findinnovative ways to tie historical research and imaginative work together in her teaching.

Reuben Riggs-Bookman

Reuben Riggs-Bookman is a first-year doctoral student in the joint Program in Anthropology and History. Broadly, his research interests include issues of race and class,urban history, and Black social movements. He is specifically interested in dissecting issuesof power in post-war Michigan cities, and understanding how movements have, andcontinue to, respond given this terrain. A sense of justice and a need for more effectiveorganizing motivate these pursuits. He draws from experiences organizing black workersand mobilizing in the Ferguson Uprising to ground this work. He is interested incommunity–based pedagogy because of its ability to generate directions of inquiry that arerelevant to real people.

Catalina Esguerra

Catalina Esguerra is a PhD Candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures at theUniversity of Michigan and holds graduate certificates from the Museum Studies Programand the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. She is the recipient of the RackhamMerit Fellowship, which generously supports her graduate work. Her research exploreshow late 20 th and 21 st century Colombian literature, film, and art deal with the aftermath ofthe decades-long civil conflict and the stakes of the country’s transition into post-conflict.She is broadly interested in cultural representations of violence, historical memory, and theproduction of national imaginaries, both as understood intra-nationally andinternationally. She has taught several coordinated and self-designed courses in languageand cultural studies the Spanish department. In addition to her doctoral research, Catalinaengages in outward-facing scholarship. Most recently, in 2017, she was awarded a MellonPublic Humanities Fellowship to work at the University of Michigan Press in theacquisitions and marketing departments, respectively. Catalina’s co-scholarly endeavorsinclude a commitment to undergraduate mentorship, and she serves as a Faculty/StaffMentor with the University Mentorship program. Alongside her doctoral work, she worksas Graduate Program Assistant for the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship, where shesupports programming and logistics for graduate students’ professional and academicdevelopment.

Paulina Fraser

Paulina Fraser is a doctoral student in Literacy, Language, and Culture at the School of Education. She received her M.A.Ed with a concentration in Equity and Social Justice at San Francisco State University. Originally from California, Paulina has worked with communities of color in Oakland advocating for equitable access to higher education. Her research interests include the representation of communities of color in literature, specifically history textbooks, and how literacy can help preserve and produce culture. Additionally she is also interested in critical pedagogy, youth activism, spoken word, and counter-storytelling. Her current research is focused around the development and creation of ethnic studies curriculum and pedagogy for K-12 classrooms in California. Paulina is currently a graduate student instructor in the School of Education and is the co-chair for the Political Action Committee under the graduate organization, Students of Color of Rackham (SCOR).

Erin Hamilton

Erin Hamilton is a combined doctoral candidate in the Taubman College of Architecture and UrbanPlanning and the School for Environmental and Sustainability. She is broadly interested in therelationships among people and the environments they inhabit. Specifically, her dissertation exploreshow green buildings afford occupants opportunities to engage in environmentally responsible behaviorsand provide opportunities for environmental education. Erin has served as a graduate studentinstructor at UM for nine semesters and views teaching as integral to the research and learning process.She has taught courses related to human-environment interactions, the psychology of behavior change,sustainable architecture and urbanism, and interior design. She received an M.S. in Design Studies:Environment and Behavior and a B.S. in Interior Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, aswell as a B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University.

Laura-Ann Jacobs

Laura-Ann Jacobs is a doctoral student in the School of Education specializing in Literacy, Language, and Culture. Prior to her doctoral program, Laura-Ann taught public high school English in South Carolina for six years. Laura-Ann’s research centers on youth identity and youth literacies and is driven by her belief that youth voices matter. Broadly, her research focuses on youth-created counter-stories. Her current work considers performance as a space of empowerment for youth of marginalized identities. In this work she explores storytelling in general and stand-up comedy in particular as productive sites of identity exploration and expression. As an EPI fellow, Laura-Ann hopes to create a curriculum that supports students in the creation of their own counterstories in the form of stand-up comedy sets.

Lisa Jong

Lisa Jong is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature. Her dissertation studies ideas of place, im/migration, and dwelling in U.S. immigrant and Native American fiction writing at the turn of the 20th century. Her research and teaching interests include modernism, Asian American literature, and graphic novel and memoir. At Michigan, she has taught in survey courses of children's literature and the history of the English language, as well as having designed and taught six semesters of English 124/125 (first-year writing). She currently serves as a graduate student instructional consultant for the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching with a special interest in supporting GSIs teaching in courses that fulfill LSA’s “race and ethnicity” requirement for undergraduates. At CRLT, she has co-designed and facilitated workshops such as Facilitating Discussions in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Inclusive Teaching, and Identity and Authority in the Classroom. She has also participated in the CRLT/Rackham Preparing Future Faculty seminar and the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship’s Institute for Social Change.

Tim NeCamp

Tim NeCamp is a PhD student in Statistics at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on developing statistical methods to test and evaluate personalized interventions in education and medicine. Application areas for his work include improving activity and reducing depression via mobile health and preventing drop out in massively open online courses. Tim is also passionate about teaching and eliminating social inequalities through education. Prior to graduate school, Tim taught 8th grade mathematics in a high-needs school district in Las Vegas.As an EPI fellow, Tim aims to design a community-based statistical consulting course for undergraduates. In the course, students will learn statistical consulting skills by helping community partners answer important questions with data.

Peter Pellitier

Peter Pellitier is a PhD candidate in the School for Environment and Sustainability. He is also pursuing a MS in Post-Secondary Science Education. He studies the physiology and ecology of microorganisms forming symbioses with plants in temperate and boreal forest ecosystems. His work seeks to broadly inform our understanding of terrestrial biogeochemistry and the response of forest ecosystems to climate change. Peter has a long-standing interest in teaching ecological sciences in a diversity of settings and building individual connection to the local environment through ecological sciences and literature. As an EPI fellow, Peter plans to build skills in community organization and develop methods to increase access and facilitate
authentic experiences within spaces in urban environments.