Third Cohort of Graduate Teaching Fellows
Part of a two-year fellowship program, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Humanities Alliance Graduate Teaching Fellows represent a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences. Working closely with faculty mentors, program staff, continuing Graduate Teaching Fellows, and students at LaGuardia Community College, this new cohort of Fellows will learn pedagogical practices adapted for teaching in community colleges while contributing their own experience and scholarly expertise to the project, the institutions, and the public.
The following doctoral students have been selected as the third cohort of Humanities Alliance Graduate Teaching Fellows:
Tanzeem Ajmiri is a doctoral student in the Critical Social/Personality Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Some of her research interests focus on idology and how it is developed, as well as the radicalization of Muslim youth in Western societies. She hold a Bachelors degree in Sociology, Political Science and African American History and a Masters Degree in Non Profit Management and Community Organizing from the New School. Formerly a youth worker and community organizer in the Bronx Tanz looks forward to working with the students at Laguardia Community College.
Francine Almash is a doctoral student in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on race and disability, and the historical roots of biases in the evaluation of black students as maladjusted and emotionally disturbed. She has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and BA in Writing and Literature from The New School. She is currently working with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools on a landscape analysis of special education services for public school students and an evaluation of the New York City Department of Education’s ASD Nest program for students on the autism spectrum.
Arita Balaram is an activist/scholar pursuing a PhD in the Critical Social Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is interested in stories that circulate within diasporic communities, across migratory geographies, and through generations. Her current research integrates visual methodologies such as identity mapping to explore how Indo-Caribbean youth in the U.S. engage in acts of self-assertion and recovery in contexts where ideas of home, belonging, and community have been contested for generations. More broadly, she is interested in the utility of psychological theory for doing community-building and critical consciousness-raising work.
Davide Giuseppe Colasanto
Davide Giuseppe Colasanto is a PhD candidate in Modern European History. He studies the history of sexuality and emotions in contexts of war. His research investigates how Fascism, and World War II influenced Italian masculinities from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Previous works include an article on the American soldiers’ emotional life in allied occupied Italy, and a forthcoming research on the changing relation between sexuality and European identity within the EU student exchange program. He is deeply in love with teaching, interactive pedagogy, and digital humanities. For the past three years he has taught courses in Early Modern and Modern European history at Queens College.
Jadele McPherson is a artist-scholar who studies Afro-Cuban performance, intra-Caribbean migrations and black political resistance in Haiti & Cuba. As an arts educator in Chicago and New York she worked to develop bilingual curricula & creative pedagogies. She created DA CLOCK (2015) at Pregones Theater for Pepatian’s Creating Connections, and at JACK with support from a Brooklyn Arts Council Community Fund Grant (2015). She performed with Yosvany Terry’s Quintet at BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn tribute to Celia Cruz with Angelique Kidjo feat. Pedrito Martinez (2016) and La Sirene: Rutas de Azucar at JACK (2016).
Mike Rifino is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His interest in pursuing an academic career started when he was a LaGuardia student and participated in the Peer Activist Learning Community (PALC), a transformative activist research project organized with and for LaGCC students. Through reading critical theories and building solidarity with fellow PALC students, Mike cultivated a newfound relation toward learning, which ignited his quest to pursue an academic career studying the intersection of emotional development and learning. He is currently interested in the processes of emotional development and learning among community college students to better understand how transformations in both processes play a role in promoting student agency. Mike’s most recent presentation was accepted by the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO) titled, “Mobilizing emotions to critically engage resistance and passivity within a peer-based learning community”. Mike Rifino is a former Futures Initiative fellow in which he Co-Directed their Undergraduate Leadership program, which serves as a site for CUNY undergraduate students to become leaders within their colleges and communities. Mike Rifino has taught General Psychology and facilitated the e-Portfolio lab for First Year Seminar in LaGuardia Community College.
Oliver Sage is a doctoral student in the French program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. They joined the program after receiving their bachelor’s degree in French and Art History at Hunter College, where they now teach introductory French courses. Their primary interest is in twentieth century French literature, focusing on Jean Genet. However, their work is inherently multi-disciplinary and covers everything from 1970s science fiction to contemporary queer, feminist, critical race and dis/ability theory. Outside of the university, they’re involved in an ongoing series at Anthology Film Archive, The Cinema of Gender Transgression.
Lynne Turner is a doctoral student in Sociology with interests in Labor Movements, Social Movements and the American Class System. Lynne was raised in a working poor family in Newark, NJ, and worked for many years as an organizing director, researcher and educator within labor unions and labor-community coalitions organizing low-wage workers and building labor, community and global partnerships for economic justice. Her research on the SEIU’s “Fight for a Fair Economy” campaign constitutes a chapter of “New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement” edited by Ruth Milkman and Ed Ott. Lynne has taught Labor Studies at the CUNY Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies and Sociology at Hunter College, and serves as an instructor with the United Association for Labor Education’s Northeast Regional Summer School for Union Women. Lynne is completing the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate to weave digital techniques into a toolkit of student-centered, participatory teaching practices. She is also a coordinator for the CUNY Adjunct Project and on the executive committee of the Graduate Center Chapter of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY. Lynne holds a M.A. in Labor Studies from the CUNY Murphy Institute.
Mara Valderrama is a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY and she teaches in the Communication Department at Baruch College in New York. Her research focuses on representations of gender in Spanish contemporary theatre. She is the managing editor for Spain at The Theatre Times and the 2018 recipient of the IFTR New Scholars Prize. She studied Spanish Language and Literature as well as Comparative Literature and she holds an MA in Theatre and Performance Arts at the Complutense University in Madrid. In addition to her current ventures as a scholar, she has wide experience as a performer. Valderrama graduated from the Music Conservatory of Ferraz in Madrid and has been a Language and Literature teacher in public high schools in Spain and the US.