Presenter Biographies

Arango, Sara, doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and has an Ed.M. and M.A. in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. Sarah was raised in Colombia, the Netherlands, and the United States. She has volunteered and served on the board for organizations dedicated to advocating for LGBTQ and gender diverse youth in family-based, mental health, legislative, and political arenas. Her research interests focus on the intersections of minority statuses, identity development throughout the lifespan, and mental health correlates of oppression, discrimination, and prejudice.


Bailey, Marlon, doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a lifetime longhorn including a Bachelor’s and Master’s and is currently a licensed Social Worker. Marlon is a native of Austin, Texas. He has experience in mental health treatment, women and youth advocacy, and relationship and sexual violence prevention. Marlon’s research interests include prejudice and discrimination, ending educational barriers for minority students, resiliency, and men’s involvement in preventing violence against women.


Barner, Briana, a second year Masters candidate at the Center for Women's and Gender Studies. Her research interests include digital Black feminism, Black girlhood/womanhood studies and social media as a tool for social justice and activism. She received dual degrees from Bennett College for Women, a historically black women's college in Greensboro, NC.


Brodie, Stacie, first-year master's student in the Program in Higher Education Leadership in the Educational Administration department at the University of Texas at Austin. Brodie has research interests in the intersection of sports, race, and gender. She hopes to translate this interest into student-athlete support services and identity development programming. Brodie earned her B.A. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Caldas, Blanca, Doctoral Candidate – Bilingual/Bicultural Education


Coleman, Beth, second year doctoral student in the Cultural Studies and Literacies program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She returned to graduate school after teaching first grade for five years and holds her Masters in Elementary Mathematics Education. Her current research interests include critical forms of pedagogy in teacher education, particularly early childhood education.


Cook, Courtney, doctoral student in the Cultural Studies in Education Department at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in art's potential to inspire humanizing dialogue around systemic injustice, cultural trauma, and contemporary violence.


Costigan, Andrew, sixth year doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. His area of study in Human Development, Culture and Learning Sciences within the Department of Educational Psychology.


Czarnecki, Katelyn, senior cellular and molecular biology major at UT. Along with a love of science, I have a huge passion for social justice. I have worked in the largest residence hall on campus as a Resident Assistant for three years now, and I strive to foster a healthy community for students to succeed personally and then academically.


Del Real, Jose Viramontes, Research Associate for Project MALES. He is a second year doctoral student in Cultural Studies in Education at UT Austin. His research interests include issues around success for Chicano/Latino males at both two-year and four-year institutions.


Echternach, Julia, first-year doctoral student in Cultural Studies in Education and a mamá to a two-year-old. She is interested in how girls and women, especially pregnant and mothering teens, develop gendered, racialized, and sexual identities through their experiences in educational settings.


Ferguson, Lauren, 4th year undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin. Her main focus of research is children’s literature and oppressed and underrepresented voices within the genre. She is currently writing her honors thesis, which examines the effects of alternate realities within turn of the century and modern children’s literature for young female readers. Lauren is an active LBGTQIA+ and feminist activist and her main goal is to bring her experiences within her intersectional communities to her scholarly work.


Fink, Bentley, first-year Doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program at The University of Texas. He specializes in interdisciplinary studies, mainly focusing on complex cultural systems and the application of complexity theory as a framework to better understand laws of nature as it occurs within dynamical social systems.

Flagler, Moriah, M.F.A. candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at UT Austin. Moriah began her teaching career at a Montessori Middle School in Tucson, where she wove drama-based pedagogy into the curriculum. Before moving to Austin, she spent two years teaching English as a second language in Quepos, Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica, she began an improvisational theatre troupe for adolescents that toured and led community workshops, exposing many people to improvisational theatre for the first time.


Griswold, Lucy, current Urban Teaching Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin seeking an MA in Curriculum and Instruction and social studies certification. She co-founded the Austin branch of Students United for Public Education, an activist group composed of university students that seeks to advocate for K-12 education.


Hendrix, Aimee, doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas and a former Eastside Memorial High teacher. Alex Hargroder and Meghan Buchanan are current teachers and student advocates at EMHS.


Hicks, Kevin, second year PhD student at the University of Wisconsin Madison in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. He achieved a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests lie in understanding the intersection of education and athletics for Black high school students, specifically how student-adult relationships can be beneficial for the educational development of these students.


Johnston, Lyla, raised in Taos, New Mexico and is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her personal mission in life is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper. This prayer has taken her on many journeys and materializes in diverse ways. She is a student of global cycles of violence that eventually gave rise to The Native American Holocaust and the destruction of many cyclic relationships between human beings and nature. This exploration birthed her passion for revitalizing spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and cultivating spaces for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur between cultural groups.


LaFuente, Clint, first year Master's student in Cultural Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently I teach 7th grade English in Round Rock Texas. I have been teaching for four years.


Lee, Yookyung, graduated from Seoul National University (SNU) in Korea with two majors in Psychology and Korean Music Theory and a minor in Family and Child Studies. After I have completed all coursework for the master’s program in developmental psychology at SNU, I moved to California and worked as an RA in the Culture and Emotion Lab at Stanford University, and have completed my master’s in developmental psychology at San Francisco State University. I am currently a doctoral student in Educational Psychology at UT Austin and have interests in how parenting affects children’s adjustment and how such processes differ across cultures.


Lopez, Edgar, currently a 4th year, Political Science and Chicana/o Studies major with a minor in Education. He currently resides in Inglewood, California. His research interests significantly aligns with his own transitional experience from the K-12 to higher education. Growing up, his undocumented parents feared engaging with his school progress. As a first-generation college student and oldest of four children, he wants to improve the school curriculum and discard the negative stigma that Inglewood youth carry such as being criminals and delinquents. He continues to mentor disadvantaged youth, improve teaching methods, shrink the education-to-prison pipeline, and increase graduation rates.


Lopez, Juan, Lead Mentoring Site Coordinator for Project MALES Student Mentoring Program. He is a second year graduate student in the Master’s in Education with a specialization in College & University Student Personnel Administration (CUSPA) at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on Chicano and Latino male dropouts and how being an English Language Learner is attributed to these drop out rates in the K-16 pipeline.


Luna, Veronica, Doctoral Candidate in the Social and Cultural Studies program in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Veronica’s research interests include higher education equity and access for Latin@ students, intersectionality theory, and testimonio methodology. Her research aims to counter culturally deficit representations of Latinx community college students in ways that decolonize higher education opportunity structures and co-create transformative learning spaces. Veronica draws upon her past and current teaching and college advising experiences.


Marshall, Laurie, has used Radical Love and Social Imagination, empowering young people to have a positive impact on negative settings through inquiry-driven learning and the arts. She is a K-12 certified social studies and art teacher who has worked with underserved youth in rural and urban communities in VA, PA and CA. Her specialty is unleashing the genius of youth through co-creating projects that help heal community heart-break (violence, poverty, homelessness, water, autism). On the cutting edge of peace building through art for decades, she is author of "Beating The Odds Now". She is founder of the Singing Tree Project, where 15,000 people from 50 countries are envisioning solutions to challenges.


Martinez, Yalitza, third year undergraduate student from the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She is studying to become a Bilingual teacher and will enter the PDS semester this Spring of 2016. She is a native from Houston but also considers "La Frontera" to be her second home since she grew visiting that area constantly.


Muñoz, Angélica, first generation college student and is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Severe and Multiple Disabilities at Boston College to become a teacher. Following her present graduate program, Angélica plans to become a K-12 special education teacher working in low-income communities and ultimately pursue a Ph.D. in Special Education. Angélica was first introduced to disability studies as an undergraduate in her gender studies courses. Angélica aspires to continue conducting research in the areas of race and disability in education. Her education is supported by love from her family, in particular her mom and nephew Nicholas.


Ogungbure, Bayo, PhD student, Texas A&M Department of Philosophy


Peace And Love El Henson, graduate student in the Department of African & African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She draws on ethnography, sociology, education, Black Feminist Theory, and archival and historical research methodologies to study the educational experiences of black women and girls from low-income neighborhoods in the United States.


Provenzano, Samantha, current Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities candidate. She graduated with a B.A. in Acting from the University of Northern Colorado, where she toured Theater for Young Audiences pieces, including directing and collaborating on a devised bilingual piece that was recently published (El Viaje de Beatriz).


Quintero, Marlen, currently a senior Ronald E. McNair Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles. I am conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Alison Bailey, who is in the Education Department at UCLA.


Reese, Joseph,  is an education major and Peer Learning Consultant.


Reyes, Ganiva, PhD Candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Cultural Studies in Education.


Rodriguez, Jorge, Mentoring Site Coordinator for the Project MALES Student Mentoring Program. He is a first year graduate student in the Master’s in Education with a specialization in College & University Student Personnel Administration (CUSPA) at The University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include minority males in Higher education, low-income students, and equity in education.


Rodriguez, Noreen, Social Studies Education doctoral candidate and assistant instructor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. She was an elementary bilingual teacher in Austin ISD for nine years.


Rothrock, Racheal, Doctoral Candidate – Cultural Studies in Education


Rubin, Jessica Cira, former teacher of secondary English and a doctoral student in Language and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.


Ruwe, Dalitso, PhD student, Texas A&M Department of Philosophy


Scardamalia, Kris, doctoral candidate in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Texas. Additionally, she is Licensed Specialist in School Psychology and previously practiced in two large urban Texas schools districts. Her research interests in implicit social cognition, as related to special education eligibility determinations, stem from her many years of work with students in both the public schools and juvenile justice systems. Her dissertation study is a reflection of her passion and commitment to improve educational outcomes for historically marginalized students.


Segovia, Jorge, Curriculum and Engagement Coordinator for the Project MALES Student Mentoring Program and the Graduate Adviser for the Project MALES Student Organization. He recently completed his Master’s in Education with a specialization in College & University Student Personnel Administration (CUSPA) at The University of Texas at Austin in the spring of 2014, and is starting his Doctorate Program in Higher Education Leadership (PHEL) this upcoming fall. His research interests focus on Latino males in higher education, as well as the role of mentorship.


Sikes, Chloe, has worked as an educator in college access, admissions, and student engagement programs. A key interest in her professional and community work has been immigrants’ rights, and how immigrant students and communities mobilize for greater access to social and political resources. She has coordinated a campaign to protect in-state tuition eligibility for undocumented students during the 2015 Texas legislative session, and supported the sanctuary campaign of a local woman facing deportation this summer.


Soto, Andrew, PhD student, Texas A&M Department of Philosophy


Taylor, Laura, doctoral candidate and assistant instructor in Language and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include the role of language in the literacy classroom, critical discourse analysis, and the development of preservice and inservice teachers as critical educators. Prior to entering graduate school, Laura taught at a public elementary school in Houston, Texas.


Tillis, Gina, First Year Experience, Education as the Practice of Freedom Project Coordinator and Adj. Instructor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Ethnic Studies at Huston-Tillotson University.


Turner, Jaylin, Communications and Psychology major and Peer Learning Consultant.


Vásquez, Arturo Agüero, teacher and researcher based in Austin, Texas and raised on both sides of the U.S./México border. He has taught internationally using a community and arts-based approach to cultural and language learning. He holds a BFA in Visual Art Studies and is in the process of completing a MA in Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Texas at Austin. His current research addresses the depictions of queer children in Spanish and English language picturebooks.


Villagrana, Antonio Rosales, fourth year Political Science major and Education & Chicana/o Studies minor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a UCLA McNair Scholar and his research focuses on how Latino male students conceptualize academic achievement and masculinity at institutions of higher education. He currently serves as a bruin connector for Connecting Communities to UCLA by facilitating college access and matriculation for Los Angeles youth to UCLA through educational events.


Wang, Yidan, second-year Master's student at HDCLS (Human Development, Cultural, and Learning Sciences) program in Department of Educational Psychology. I am interested in cross cultural experiences of second language learning of college students, as well as how phoneme awareness influence the children in learning a second language. Currently I am doing my Master's thesis on negative emotional experiences of Chinese college students in their learning English as a Foreign Language.


Youth Rise Texas, youth-led organization dedicated to using mentorship and community organizing to develop the leadership of youth who are directly impacted by parental incarceration, immigrant detention, and deportation. Through popular education, mentorship, community organizing, and activist cultural production, Youth Rise is cultivating the cutting edge of leadership in the struggle against mass incarceration and immigrant criminalization while contributing to the movement for racial and economic justice.