Liberatory Schooling and Justice: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Sammy Nuñez, Alejandra Gutierrez, & Emily Borg, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin

Sammy Nunez, Executive Director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, is a state and nationally recognized expert in the field of youth development and responsible fatherhood. As an alumnus of a fatherhood development program in Northern California and a past coordinator of a nationally recognized Male Involvement and Male Responsibility program, Sammy has the unique background of being a participant and success story of the type of services offered through grassroots youth and fatherhood development programs.  With an impressive portfolio of key-note presentations, conferences and training, Sammy has an extensive knowledge and a profound understanding of working with young men and fathers.

Alejandra Gutierrez is the Program Director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin. Alejandra has engaged in and led several efforts to “promote the social, cultural, spiritual and economic renewal of the most vulnerable families in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin Valley.” She uses an approach centered on leadership development and empowerment of the most impacted youth and families to bring healing and transformation to Stockton. She believes in the need for culturally based healing rooted in traditions passed down by our ancestors that will transcend into individual and community healing. She has supported the coordination of the San Joaquin County Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and the Stockton My Brother’s Keeper initiative. She is now the Program Director of the Stockton Trauma Recovery Center (TRC), which is 1 of 6 TRC’s in the state of California. She believes in elevating the voices of crime survivors to implement a community-based approach to violence prevention and public safety. Alejandra is passionate and committed to human rights, social and racial justice work. She supports youth and families develop organizing skills and bring out their full potential for movement building. She is especially passionate about mentoring youth with love and encouragement to build a youth movement for youth justice in Stockton. “The youth is the truth!”

Emily Borg is the Policy & Resource Director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin. She is a graduate student in the Education Department at the University of California Santa Cruz.  Both her work with FFSJ and her research are centered on criminalization, incarceration, school discipline, police on campus, and efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Emily is part of the NOPAL Collective (Neighborhoods Owning Power, Action & Leadership), a community-campus partnership to increase young adult civic engagement through culturally-rooted organizing, healing, and participatory action research. Emily is a member of URBAN Education Node planning team and graduate student workgroup.

Liza Pappas with Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari, Claudette Agard, and Natasha Capers, Coalition for Educational Justice

Liza Pappas is currently an education policy analyst at the NYC Independent Budget Office. She has partnered with parent, community and youth organizing groups in public education for the past 15 years across the country. In New York City, she has worked primarily as a researcher-activist on a wide range of policies impacting schools and communities including school governance, principal and teacher leadership development, school climate, school closings, bilingual education, special education, and most recently temporary housing. She is a proud graduate of the Urban Education Ph.D. program at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Zakiyah Ansari is the Advocacy Director of the New York State Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the leading statewide organization that has been fighting for educational equity for the last decade. Zakiyah resides in Brooklyn, NY. She is also the mother of eight children and grandmother of 3. She is a founding parent leader of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice a collaborative of community-based organizations whose members are organizing a movement to end the inequities in the city’s public school system. Zakiyah is one of the co-initiators of, “Journey for Justice,” an alliance currently composed of grassroots community-based organizations.

Claudette Agard, a mother of two young adults, has been an active and engaged parent throughout her children’s educational journeys. Claudette’s path led her into a parent leadership role in 2003 when she became the president of the PTA in her son’s middle school. Over the last fourteen years she has served on a school, district, borough, citywide, and state level representing families with children in New York City Public Schools.  As a parent leader with the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice for over 9 years Claudette has advocated for educational excellence and equity for low income families and communities across NYC.

Natasha Capers is the Coordinator and Parent Leader for the Coalition for Educational Justice. She began her work with CEJ when her children’s school was placed on NYC Department of Education’s list for closure.  Natasha resides in Brownsville, Brooklyn and is the 2nd Vice-president of the District 23 Community Educational Council.  Natasha fights for educational equality and justice on the City, State and National levels.  Currently, she is an active member of the Alliance for Quality Education and Journey for Justice, an alliance of grassroots community, youth, parent and intergenerational groups from 18 cities across the nation.

Maisie Chin, CADRE

Maisie Chin is Executive Director/Co-Founder of CADRE, a 300-member parent organization in South LA led by African American and Latino parents. A native Californian and child of immigrants, Maisie has spent two decades fighting structural racism. For 15 years, CADRE parent leaders have disrupted the pushing of families of color into the school-to-prison pipeline, with human rights and community organizing. CADRE changed school discipline policy in Los Angeles, California, and nationally as co-founder of the Dignity in Schools Campaign.  CADRE envisions humanizing schools that redefine public education in our society.  Maisie holds degrees in history and urban planning from UCLA.

Jessica Shiller, Towson University with Shymaine Davis and Helen Atkinson from Teachers Democracy Project and George Mitchell, Neighborhoods United

Jessica Shiller has been an assistant professor of education in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development at Towson University in Maryland since 2011 when she was named an Emerging Educational Leader by Phi Delta Kappan. Her research and community work has been focused on the impact of school closings in Baltimore, reducing dis-proportionality around school discipline, as well as the diversity that suburban schools and communities are encountering. Prior to coming to Towson, she was a New York City high school teacher, a coach to new teachers in Bronx high schools, and a professor and graduate program director of the social studies education program at Lehman College/City University of New York.

As Chief Financial Officer, Shymaine Davis brings over 15 years of financial management experience and expertise to Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc. with 10 of those years dedicated to a nonprofit environment.  In this role, Shymaine directs all financial aspects of the business including accounting practices, budgeting, financial planning, interface with the financial community, financial analysis, acquisitions and monitoring of financial performance. Prior to joining Baltimore Healthy Start, Shymaine held a leading role in the Baltimore City government.  Her passion is educating youth on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.  Shymaine resides in Baltimore County with her two children.  She holds a MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Towson University.

Dr. Helen Atkinson has worked in and with Baltimore city schools for the past 27 years.  First as a parent/community organizer, she was part of the effort to bring small schools to Baltimore.  She then worked as the director of an alternative certification program, started and led a successful full-time teacher mentor program with 40 full-time mentors geared toward schools with high teacher turnover.  In 2004, with three other teachers, she started a very small, highly unusual high school for students who were having problems in large city schools.  She wrote her PhD at UMBC about her work in this teacher led school. In 2010 she became the executive director for the Baltimore Teacher Network,  creating a citywide network of teachers, and supervising the leaders at two innovative charter schools.  In March 2014, she began work as the executive director for the Teachers’ Democracy Project.

George Mitchell is the President of Langston Hughes Community Action Association and also Neighborhoods United, a premier grassroots organization in Park Heights of Baltimore MD. As a strong advocate of community schools, he runs an afterschool program of 75-100 students. The moto is “Winners do what they have to do, loser’s do what they want to do”.
Making Place-Making Public:

Urban transformation, marginality, and community

Julio Cammarota, Iowa State University with Carla Dawson, Iowa City Children & Family Urban Movement

Julio Cammarota is an associate professor of multicultural education at Iowa State University. His research focuses on participatory action research with Latina/o youth, institutional factors in academic achievement, and liberatory pedagogy. He is interested in the dynamic interplay of family, work, and education among Latinas/os and the relationship between culture and academic achievement. His research also examines how a social justice approach to education can improve the academic experiences of marginalized youth.

Carla Dawson is currently the Gender Specific Coordinator for the Whyld Girls.  She has worked with students as a Teacher and as Family Advocate for the Head Start Program.  Her passion is working with children and families.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Drake University (2009). WRL National Board Member, Legal Aid Society of Des Moines, Vice President (community rep) Des
Moines Catholic Worker (community member) New York Catholic Worker (community member).

Charlotte Ryan, University of Massachusetts, Lowell with Deedee Williams and Megan Smith, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless

Charlotte Ryan is Associate Professor of Sociology at UMASS Lowell and Co-Director of the Movement and Media Research Action Project ([]).  MRAP works with under-represented and misrepresented constituencies to document communication inequalities, develop integrated communication strategies, evaluate results and theorize from practice. Ryan’s research incorporates traditional and non-traditional methods including framing and other forms of content analysis, archival and oral history, and community-based participatory action research (CBR). Her primary community partner is the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. <>. She currently chairs the URBAN Research Network Publications Committee whose Guidelines for Peer-Review of Community-based Research are available at

DeeDee Williams has more than twenty  five years’ experience working in the field of HIV/AIDS; her other work experience includes more than 7 years with high risk women and children affected by substance abuse, early childcare development, program implementation, women’s issues and community activism. She has more than fifteen years of managerial level experience and her dedication to direct services has earned her a notable reputation in the community.  She is devoted to her community and works tirelessly for women’s issues. As a Licensed Minister she reaches out to the hurt and broken children of God and those who are underserved. DeeDee was awarded the John Hope Settlement House Outstanding Women’s Award for community service, the Women of Achievement Award from YWCA of Northern RI and the Working Angels Award from the AME Women’s Missionary. She held the position of co-chair for the Community Planning Group for HIV Prevention for 4 years and was selected as a Commissioner for the Human Relations Commission of Providence RI. As the current author of “the gurlz” a book for women, by women, about women she is continually working to help women love themselves and others.

Megan Smith is an outreach worker and case manager with the PATH program of the House of Hope. I fell in love with the homeless community while an undergraduate and have worked in a variety of capacities with people experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island for the past decade. My current areas of focus include combatting the criminalization of homelessness and poverty and building partnerships to improve access to quality medical care for the homeless community. I hold a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University and am completing my Masters of Social Work at Rhode Island College.

Justin Blinder, artist and programmer

Justin Blinder is a Brooklyn-based artist, programmer, designer, and educator. His work examines how our claims of ownership, criteria for an object’s value, and ways of interacting with others have changed in the digital landscape. His projects aim to simultaneously provide public, usable tools and a critical analytical lens, sparking community dialogues on how technology and digitization shape our social behaviors. Selected projects have been featured in online publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the BBC, and the Guardian, among others. He holds a degree in Design and Technology from Parsons in New York.

José Serrano and Alexandra García, Queens Museum

José Serrano has been the Community Organizer and Corona Studio Coordinator at the Queens Museum of Art since 2010. José grew up between his native Dominican Republic and NY/NJ (including some time in Corona), before working as an economic analyst at the Federal Reserve in New York and then co-founding a non-profit called Trust Art, dedicated to creating self-sustaining communities around public art projects with the potential to create social and economic opportunities for their local communities. His Queens Museum position was created as a joint position working with both the curatorial and the community engagement teams at the Museum, and involves bringing to life a new public art initiative at the Museum called Corona Studio, as well as working with Corona community leaders on discovering a common agenda and some innovative ideas for the cultural and economic revitalization of the neighborhood. One example of the kinds of interesting challenges that lie ahead for me is Corona Plaza, a highly trafficked but underwhelming public square which the DOT plans on re-imagining with the help of QMA and its community partners. He continues his efforts to understand, imagine, and invent.

Alexandra García is a community organizer for the Queens Museum of Art, working to build agreement on project priorities and to get everyone to work together, especially as many of them have limited time beyond keeping their businesses and organizations going from day to day. She has also worked as an organizer for ACORN and volunteer for numerous CBO and advocacy groups focused on immigration issues, voting rights, and fair housing and workers rights, such as Housing Here & Now. She has participated in public art initiatives and supports independent film and social media production, and has been drawing upon her various skills and experiences to work on the next phase of the Heart of Corona Initiative.


Reclaiming the commons:

Alternative strategies for racial economic justice

Ben Ndugga-Kabuye and Nina Macapinlac, Enlace Prison Divestment Campaign

Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye works at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Ben’s commitment to building infrastructure for social movement stems from seeing how policies from past social movements aided his immigration journey from Uganda. This journey has included advocating for a range of community development issues impacting black communities in California, Washington, D.C. and New York City. Ben has continued this work by pursuing education in Criminology at UC Irvine, Public Policy at The New School and a number of policy related fellowships and coursework.

Nina Macapinlac is the Coordinator of Alumni & Community Outreach for the Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC). She works and builds with alumni and community organizations from around the country, getting them involved with divestment efforts at their alma maters and in the larger movement for responsible endowments.  Nina especially supports university prison divestment campaigns with REC, which is a steering committee member of the National Prison Divestment Campaign. Born in the Philippines, she is a Rutgers University graduate and longtime New Jersey resident who has fought alongside many others for immigrant and labor rights. She is currently the Northeast Regional Coordinator of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. As the only international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. Nina also supports local efforts to organize immigrant youth and migrant workers in New Jersey.

Reverend Buford, Allen Temple Baptist Leadership Institute

Reverend Daniel A. Buford heads the Prophetic Justice Ministry at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA.He is a founding organizer and trainer of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond based in New Orleans, Louisiana and has conducted Undoing Racism workshops throughout the United States, South Africa, Japan and Puerto Rico since 1980. He is the past President of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, a peace and justice law think tank organization located in Berkeley, CA. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Rev. Buford was educated in the Cincinnati Public School system and attended the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. He has a B.A. Degree: “Born Again”. His graduate studies are in the belief that he can do all things through Christ that strengthens him. Reverend Buford received a license to preach in 1974 and was ordained in 1977 by the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati, OH. Rev. Buford has taught Doctor of Ministry students as a faculty member of the University of Creation Spirituality and the Wisdom University since 1997 in courses on wood sculpture and the creative process, and his sculptures have been exhibited in museums and galleries in San Francisco, New Orleans, Oakland, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

Mark Nowak and Davidson Garrett, Worker Writers School

Mark Nowak is the author of Shut Up Shut Down (Coffee House Press, 2004), a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” and Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009), which Howard Zinn called “a stunning educational tool.” He is a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, a recipient of the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock (2015) and a Lannan Literary Fellow (2015). A native of Buffalo, Nowak currently directs the Worker Writers School at the PEN American Center.

Davidson Garrett is originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, and moved to New York City in 1972 to study theatre at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He is a graduate of The City College of New York and a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity. He was in the PEN Taxi Drivers Writing Workshop in 2013 and has been a student in the PEN Worker/Writers School under the direction of poet Mark Nowak. Davidson began taxi driving in 1978 to help subsidize his acting and writing pursuits. For over 20 years he traveled all over the United States to hear the opera singer Leontyne Price sing.

Ayodamola Okunseinde, artist and interactive designer

Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde is an artist and designer. He studied visual arts at Rutgers University in N.J. where he earned his B.A. His works range from painting to physically interactive works, wearable technology to explorations of Afrofuturism. Okunseinde co-founded, Dissident Display Studios, an award winning studio based in Washington DC. Okunseinde art residency participation includes Finland’s Invitation to Helsinki, IDEO’s Fortnight, and Eyebeam’s Creative Residency. Ayodamola (Ayo) Okunseinde holds an MFA in Design and Technology from The New School, Parsons School of Design where he is currently adjunct faculty. Ayo lives and works in New York, NY.


With ears to the ground, in tribute to Marilyn Jacobs Gittell:

What’s next for justice in the city?

Liza Featherstone, The Nation, amNY

Liza Featherstone lives in Brooklyn and is a columnist for amNY, where she advocates for the idea of a robust commons, whether writing about public education, transit, parks or discourse. She is also a contributing writer to the Nation magazine. Featherstone is the author and editor of  several books, including Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers’ Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic Books). She was the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor of Public Policy at Brooklyn College from 2013-2015, and currently teaches journalism at New York University and at Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs.

Charles Price, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Charles Price is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Charles’s research, writing and activity focus on Black identity, Rastafari identity, life narrative genres, action research, community organizations and community organizing, people-centered community development, and social movements, with a geographic concentration on the United States and Jamaica. Charles authored the book Becoming Rasta: The Origins of Rastafari Identity in Jamaica (2009, New York University Press), co-authored the monograph Community Collaborations: Promoting Community Organizing (2009, Ford Foundation), and is under contract with NYU Press to write a sequel to Becoming Rasta. Charles is developing a historically grounded qualitative approach to explaining collective identity formation. Another project in development involves a collaboration with a Department faculty member to develop an action-oriented study of how Black men in North Carolina and Connecticut negotiate challenges and obstacles in their lives.

Joyce King, Georgia State University

Joyce E. King holds the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning & Leadership, Georgia State University. She received her doctorate (Sociology of Education) and BA (Sociology) from Stanford University. She has served as AERA president, chaired AERA’s Commission on Research in Black Education ( and edited the resulting volume, BLACK EDUCATION: A TRANSFORMATIVE RESEARCH AND ACTION AGENDA FOR THE NEW CENTURY. Her concept of “dysconscious racism” continues to influence research/practice in education and sociology in the US and other countries. Her publications include numerous articles, book chapters and seven books.  Dr. King is a member of the National African American Reparations Commission.

Phil Thompson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Phil Thompson is an Associate Professor at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Phil is an urban planner and political scientist. He received a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1977, a M.U.P. from Hunter College in 1986, and a PhD. in Political Science from the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1990. Phil is a frequent advisor to trade unions in their efforts to work with immigrant and community groups across the United States. Phil’s most recent work is on local implementation of the Affordable Care Act, development issues on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, S.A., and a book project black political economic thought.

Within and beyond the nation:

Reimagining immigration politics

Naved Husain, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

Naved Husain is the Lead Organizer with CAAAV’s Public Housing and Chinatown Tenants Union/Rezoning campaign. He has a background in labor organizing with UNITE HERE (Local 2, San Francisco) as well as with the National Union of HealthCare Workers (NUHW). Naved  worked on consumer legislative advocacy in New Jersey and co-founded a community organization that pushed police accountability measures in Oakland. He has lived in Queens, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Bay Area and received his BA in Political Science with a minor in Religion at Hunter College. He is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Forum on WBAI where he produces content on Muslims and social justice issues in the US.

Carl Lipscombe, Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Carl Lipscombe is the Policy and Legal Manager at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. For over a decade, Carl has organized poor Black and immigrant communities; litigated on behalf of indigent criminal defendants and undocumented immigrants; and worked with grassroots organizations, worker centers, and unions to affect policy change locally and nationally. Carl received a B.A. in philosophy from Brooklyn College, a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and studied public policy and planning at NYU.

Juan Gomez, MILPA

Juan Gomez is a Co-Founder and Director of Programs and Innovation at Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement (MILPA) a grassroots multi-racial, trans-disciplinary think tank that is advancing a policy and systems change agenda for health and racial equity. He also serves as a Senior Policy and Strategy Advisor with the National Compadres Network. Prior to that he was an inaugural health equity fellow with The California Endowment. He served on numerous statewide and national initiatives that advanced boys and men of color strategies focused on healing informed and culturally based frameworks. Juan, was raised by his grandparents in Watsonville, CA.

Sujatha Fernandes, Queens College & Graduate Center, CUNY

Sujatha Fernandes is a Professor of Sociology at Queens  College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of three books: Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela (Duke University Press, 2010), Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, and the Making of New Revolutionary Cultures (Duke University Press, 2006), and most recently, Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation (Verso, 2011). Her current project traces the contemporary use of storytelling by social movements in a range of global contexts, including immigrant worker social movements in New York City. In Spring 2014, Fernandes was a Distinguished Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has been awarded several other distinguished fellowships, including a three-year Wilson-Cotsen fellowship at Princeton University, a Mellon Foundation fellowship at the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, and a Mid-Career Mellon Fellowship at the CUNY Graduate Center.  In 2008, she was awarded the Feliks Gross Award from the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences in recognition of outstanding research. Her writing has appeared in academic journals and popular forums, including The New York Times, The Nation, and The Huffington Post. She has been featured in New York’s Daily News, and has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, American Public Radio, BBC, and many other news outlets globally.

Closing plenary

José Calderón, Pitzer College

José Calderón is an Emeritus Professor in Sociology and Chicano/a Latino/a Studies at Pitzer College and President of the Latino and Latina Roundtable of the Pomona Valley and San Gabriel Valley. As an immigrant and the son of immigrant farm workers, he has had a long history of connecting his academic work with immigrant rights organizing, student-based service learning, participatory action research, critical pedagogy, and community-based coalition building. After graduating from the University of Colorado, he devoted fourteen years to community organizing efforts, particularly in Northern Colorado.  While working on his Ph.D. at UCLA, between 1984 and 1991, he helped organize multi-racial coalitions to defeat an English Only movement in the city of Monterey Park and to elect various local leaders to political offices. More recently, he has connected his academic work with community organizing in California’s Inland Empire region. Between 2004 and 2006, he was the inaugural holder of the Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair in Multicultural Studies at Cal Poly University, Pomona. For his work in building partnerships between communities and higher education, the California Campus Compact has honored him with the Richard E. Cone Award for Excellence and Leadership in Cultivating Community Partnerships in Higher Education. In January, 2009, he was presented with the “Unsung Hero and Dreamkeeper Award” by the California Alliance of African American Educators. For his “dedication in serving the community by inspiring  the pursuit of higher education and advocacy for human rights,” he received the Goddess of Pomona Award from the City of Pomona.  The United Farm Worker’s Union has also honored him with their Sí Se Puede award for his lifelong contributions to the farm worker movement.

Shawn Ginwright, San Francisco State University

Shawn Ginwright is an Associate Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and Senior Research Associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy at San Francisco State University. In 1989, Dr. Ginwright founded Leadership Excellence Inc. an innovative youth development agency located in Oakland, California that trains African American youth to address pressing social and community problems. His research examines the ways in which youth in urban communities navigate through the constraints of poverty and struggle to create equality and justice in their schools and communities. He is the author of “Black in School- Afrocentric Reform, Black Youth and the Promise of Hip-Hop Culture” and co-editor of Beyond Resistance!: Youth Resistance and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America’s Youth. He has published extensively on issues related to urban youth in journals such as Social Problems, Social Justice, Urban Review, and New Directions in Youth Development. He is a highly sought speaker to national and international audiences.

Qu’ána Madison, University of Colorado-Boulder

Qu’ána Madison is a doctoral student at University of Colorado-Boulder and an education professional with over 10 years of experience working in public, private and international schools in the United States and China. Her background and training has focused on educational equity, diversity and urban education. She served in key leadership roles at Yew Chung International School in Shanghai, served as an educator for New York City Public Schools and worked in the higher education, specifically in residential life & student affairs at New York University and Colorado College. Quána is pursuing a PhD in Education Foundations, Policies and Practices, with an emphasis on equity, cultural diversity and social justice. Her research training includes: qualitative research, community-based research and youth participatory action research. She is particularly interested in refugee education advocacy, especially within the United States. She works as a researcher and graduate assistant with the Office of Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement. In this role she assists the Assistant Vice Chancellor on outreach, advocacy, theory to practice research and evaluation of policies & practices. Quána is a university instructor for the Leadership Studies Minor and a Community-Based Research Fellow through CU Engage. Her current community-based research project focuses on refugee youth identities within educational spaces.