Stacy Gumbs: Here to Help | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Stacy Gumbs: Here to Help

"When we stereotype, we miss out on the beauty of -'the other'."
By Joe Levine

“When we stereotype, we miss out on the beauty of ‘the other’.” 

Stacy Gumbs, a first-year master’s degree student in TC’s social-organizational psychology program, is explaining her interest in the field of conflict resolution, but she could just as well be describing her philosophy of life.

Gumbs grew up in the tiny Caribbean nation known as the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. She describes herself as the classic middle child, often being “the mediator and peacemaker” not just within the family but also among her peers and colleagues. Her mother, a photographer, believed in sharing what the family had with others in need. Gumbs was also reared in a strong religious tradition that emphasized service to others and giving back. As a result, she says, she was “nurtured with a sense of compassion, altruism and community.” 

Those are the values that have since shaped Gumbs’ career. Since earning a Certificate in Teacher Education and subsequently a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology (with minors in Human Resource Management) at the University of the West Indies, she has worked as an employee of the St. Kitts Ministry of Education. At Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, she lectured in psychology for trainees in Teacher Education and Health Sciences; served on the Disciplinary Committee for student matters; coordinated the teaching practicum; and supervised and assessed teacher trainees.

But those responsibilities simply made up her day job. Gumbs also was active as a lector (Scripture reader) and youth group coordinator for her church as well as a Sunday School teacher and coordinator. She volunteered with the St. Kitts Christian Council (she served as the National youth representative at World Day of Prayer sub-Regional Planning Meeting in January, 2011) and did volunteer work for a production company, Elmes Communications, whose motto is, “Positive messages for positive development.”   In 2007, when St. Kitts and other Caribbean islands hosted the Cricket World Cup, she helped the company researching a segment of a program commissioned by the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism. 

As a Fulbright scholar, Gumbs will return home to St. Kitts after completing her work at TC, with the goal of contributing to faculty development at Clarence Fitzroy B. College. Longer term, she hopes to promote greater cooperation and peaceful problem-solving, not just in her own nation, but across the wider Caribbean region as well. In particular, she also hopes to work with Caribbean Court Justice in the area of conflict resolution and mediation. 

“The Caribbean had institutionalized slavery up until the 1800s, and as islands of the region teased out issues of self-governance and independence, its history has been steeped in conflict and, to varying degree, resistance,” she says. “We also have a lot of diversity that has to be creativity managed. We’re positioned now to experience the best of both worlds if we employ more constructive ways of addressing and harnessing the varying levels of diversity that we have. “

Published Friday, Oct. 7, 2011