SOE dije 2016-17 Award Winners

Expansions Vol 1

In May 2017, the first School of Education dije awards were given to students, faculty, and staff members to recognize their demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity in all aspects of their professional work. Their efforts benefit the SOE community and/or broader campus and local communities in significant ways that align with the SOE mission. Award winners were nominated by others and chosen by members of the SOE Education Diversity Advisory Council (EDAC) who reviewed and deliberated over an impressive pool of nominees. This was the inaugural year of the SOE dije Awards, which will now be presented annually. We congratulate the winners and highlight comments from their nomination statements below.

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Undergraduate Student Winner: Mr. Lawrence Teng, Rising Senior

Lawrence Teng is a rising senior majoring in Mathematics with Teacher Certification. He aims to become a high

Lawrence Teng

school mathematics teacher to guide students to understand mathematics concepts, find joy and opportunity in the subject, and see themselves as competent doers of mathematics. He then hopes to build on this experience and conduct research to improve mathematics education on a larger scale. Teng is currently the president of STEM Society, a student organization at U-M whose mission is to create and teach interactive lessons to help high school students— particularly those from low socioeconomic status communities—become more interested in and excited about STEM fields. He is also an active participant in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Children & Youth Program, an annual campus event.


Excerpt from Nomination:
"I believe that Mr. Teng shows great promise as an educational researcher. He is deeply committed to educational equity and social justice, and has carefully constructed a path that will enable him to build the requisite skills so that he can be a successful and thoughtful academic." 
 

Graduate Student Winner: Ms. Erika Mendez, Master’s Student in Educational Leadership and Policy

Erika Mendez

Erika Mendez is a Master’s Student in the School of Education. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She is in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program with a focus on understanding the ways school spaces more reflective of the values and experiences of under-served communities. Prior to UM, Erika attended Beloit College in Wisconsin where she earned her BA in Sociology and Political Science. During her time in Beloit, Erika worked in the Equity Department at the School District of Beloit. Erika is interested in examining the more effective ways of including student out-of-school challenges, values, and home community in school spaces.


Excerpt from Nomination:
“I was greatly intrigued by (Erika’s) prior experience in her role as an Assistant Equity Officer for a city that was ill-equipped to effectively engage an emerging Latino population. In that role, she helped to demystify and rectify the perception of low parental involvement by Latinos. To do so, she spent time fostering relationships and developing programming that would engage these parents in ways that were meaningful and feasible to them—building on the parents' practices at home that were otherwise invisible to the schools their children attended. I believed, correctly, that Erika would challenge us (SOE researchers) to make meaningful links between the basic research questions we are posing and their practical implications for families and family-school connections, which is always at the center of her thinking.”
 

Graduate Student Winner: Ms. Naomi Wilson, Rising 3rd Year Doctoral Student in Educational Foundations and Policy

Naomi Wilson

Naomi Wilson is a rising 3rd year doctoral student in the Educational Studies’ Foundations and Policy program. Her research is inspired by Black youth activists and explores their voice within community organizing and what she terms "repressive schooling". Naomi is also a campus leader having served as chair of multiple Black student organizations, a mentor, and she is the newly elected President of the U-M’s Rackham Student Government (RSG).


Excerpt from Nomination: 
“Though she has only been at U-M for two years she has already made an impact through her presence, her voice, and her example...” She is committed to continuing “her work within DE&I (U-M Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives) not only in the SOE but across campus; to ensure that graduate students stay attentive to the to the DE&I initiatives begun by the university administration; and, to continue the ongoing struggle to make this campus a more supportive, welcoming, and inclusive place for traditionally marginalized students.”
 

Faculty Winner: Dr. Debi Khasnabis, Clinical Assistant Professor of Education & Member of the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative

Debi Khasnabis

Debi Khasnabis teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in multicultural and multilingual education in the Elementary Teacher Education program. Khasnabis is a member of the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative (MSTLC), a strategic partnership between the University of Michigan School of Education and the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She has been involved in several initiatives aimed at designing and enacting collaborative projects between the Ann Arbor Public Schools and SOE Teacher Education programs as a part of this initiative. Khasnabis earned her PhD in educational studies with a concentration in literacy, language, and culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to pursuing doctoral study, she was an upper elementary bilingual teacher in Detroit, Michigan.

Excerpt from Nomination: 
“Though she has only been at U-M for two years she has already made an impact through her presence, her voice, and her example...” She is committed to continuing “her work within DE&I (U-M Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives) not only in the SOE but across campus; to ensure that graduate students stay attentive to the to the DE&I initiatives begun by the university administration; and, to continue the ongoing struggle to make this campus a more supportive, welcoming, and inclusive place for traditionally marginalized students.”

Faculty Winner: Dr. Maisie Gholson, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies

Maisie Gholson

Maisie Gholson’s research focuses on the participation and developmental trajectories of Black boys and girls in mathematics classrooms. She deals explicitly with issues of race and gender, along with the theoretical and methodological challenges that these complex constructs entail. As a former classroom teacher of mathematics, her interests include the functioning (e.g., enduring meanings, emergent meanings, performances) of race and gender at interactional levels, i.e., the phenomenon of doing mathematics while Black and being a boy or girl. She has additionally chosen to delve into how Black children construct their social worlds. That is, Gholson has decided to actively investigate that which is often dismissed as superfluous to mathematics—children’s social relationships and networks. A driving force in her research is to foreground children’s and adolescents’ humanity, i.e., to take seriously the constructed racialized and gendered backdrop of childhood and adolescence as a visceral context in the process of mathematics identity development. She is a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellow and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in STEM Education. Gholson received her PhD in curriculum and instruction, as well as her MA in educational studies, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her BS in electrical engineering from Duke University

Excerpt from Nomination:
Dr. Gholson “has enriched and deepened its (The Race and Educational Inequality Professional Development Seminar’s (REIPDS)) impact on the SOE community. In a relatively short period of time, the speakers she has identified and the topics they have addressed have piqued our interest, challenged our assumptions and interpretations, and enhanced the ways in which we conceptualize teaching or research. Maisie is a wonderful gift to our community, not only through her work on this Symposium Series, but also through the many other ways she touches students' lives and serves as a resourceful faculty colleague.”
 

Staff Winner: Dr. Simona Goldin, TeachingWorks Director of Instructional Design for Seminars and Special Projects & SOE Instructor

Simona Goldin

Simona Goldin is the Director of Instructional Design for Seminars and Special Projects, and the Editor of TeachingWorks' working papers repository.Her research interests include the relationship between policy and practice, efforts to improve teaching and learning in urban schools, and the work that students do in classrooms to learn. Her early work on studenting examined historically rooted arguments about the activities and tasks that students must engage in to learn, and examined how educators, theorists, researchers, and sociologists have understood studenting.


More recently, she has studied ways to transform the preparation of beginning teachers to teach in more equitable ways, and has elaborated the teaching practices that bridge children’s work in schools on academic content with their home and community-based experiences. With colleagues, she has designed and studied innovative instructional resources and unique opportunities–namely, home visits, performance assessments, and new pedagogies of teacher education. Across each of these has been the focus on supporting novice teachers’ capabilities to develop instructionally rich, respectful relationships with families. With her colleagues, Goldin has presented and written widely about this research. Goldin holds a master’s degree in management and urban policy analysis from the New School University and a PhD in educational studies from the University of Michigan. Goldin teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the school of education at the University of Michigan.


Excerpt from Nomination:
“In our pursuit of social justice focused scholarship, we have commonly come upon real barriers, because we work within structural inequality itself... As a (SOE) research partner, I always know that Simona will weigh in on these issues on the side of justice. She is attentive to whose voice has historically been silenced and she will go the extra mile to ensure that she, as a scholar and practitioner, is doing what she can to ensure safety and inclusion.”
 

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We begin the 2017-18 school year a with a few new activities to invite greater SOE-wide dialogue, awareness, and feedback on dije matters.
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We thank Delina Zapata for her service.

The School of Education is proud to be a leader in the campus-wide initiative promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Adding "Justice" to these values underscores the role of educators in the creation of just societies. Through research, public scholarship, community building, and the preparation of education practitioners and policymakers, we articulate and advance our dije agenda.