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Teaching and Learning: TC's Minority Postdoctoral Fellows

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Teaching and Learning: TC

Belkis Suazo-Garcia

Belkis Suazo-Garcia

A sociologist and Ph.D. graduate from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Belkis Suazo-Garcia grew up in the Bronx and attended a boarding school in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  She focused her dissertation on black and white young adults transitioning from high school to postsecondary education. She became interested in the fact that more women and fewer men were reportedly attending college, and also found that black males are at a greater disadvantage in their academic preparation for four-year colleges. While working on her dissertation, Suazo-Garcia received a Minority Access and Graduate Network (MAGNET) dissertation fellowship.

At Teachers College, Suazo-Garcia will be working on two projects with similar goals. She will look at data from the Department of Education to investigate the institutional features of universities and students' backgrounds prior to entering higher education. She hopes to determine the role these two factors play in students' success in college. Her second project will investigate the educational achievement gap between young blacks and whites and how they develop the academic preparation given to them during their early years of schooling.

Maisha Fisher

At the University of California, Berkeley, Maisha Fisher's dissertation was based on an ethnographic study of teaching and learning spaces in non-school settings for spoken-word poetry events. Fisher also wrote about two black-owned and operated book stores. "I looked at the way people created practices around literacy and also interviewed participants-owners of the venues, organizers of the events, poets and writers, and audience participants-to find out what their motivation was for participating in these activities," she explained. "I'm really interested in people making choices about their learning and what types of choices they make, particularly when it is in an out-of-school setting."

Her study, "Choosing Literacy: African Diaspora Participatory Literacy Communities," explores the diversity and the continuities among people of African descent. Fisher has taught elementary school and high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District and also supervised student teachers in the Multicultural Urban Secondary Education (MUSE) program at UC Berkeley. While at TC, Fisher will be working with two teachers in the New York City public schools who have organized spoken-word poetry writing workshops with their students. In the spring, she taught the class Reclaiming Literacy Through Ethnography, which was based on her dissertation research.

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