Welcome back, everyone! In the Autumn Quarter issue of Masterly Musings, we’ll introduce our new MAIS students for the 2018-2019 academic year. Our current students have also been busy over the summer break, and we’ll hear from two that attended conferences. We also have a new MAIS Steering Committee Student Representative; who could it be? Please continue reading for more!
New Students for 2018-2019
Please welcome our 2018 MAIS Cohort for Autumn 2018! They are a terrific group of students, and we’re excited that they’ve joined us to further their educational goals.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies (double major), cum laude, August 2018. First generation college graduate.
Current focus: Latinos studies.
“I am a 2010 Pacific Lutheran University alumna with degrees in ‘Responses to International Violence and Conflict Management’ and ‘Public Relations’ and a minor in Spanish. I am originally from Alaska but have found my home in Washington where my husband and I explore the mountains and ocean. I’ve worked in the non-profit sector since graduation and have found a passion for working with underserved and underrepresented youth. I am excited to join the MAIS team and hope it allows me to garner the skills, knowledge, and foundation necessary to create positive change in our region.”
Amy Klippert has worked in the non-profit sector for the last eight years and is thrilled to learn more about systems, best practices, and much more in the MAIS program. A native of Houston, TX, she attended Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK for her undergrad and moved to Tacoma a few years after graduating. The majority of her professional experience has been spent working with youth and children’s programs with a focus on meeting basic needs. She is passionate about social justice and currently sits as Chair of the Tacoma Coalition to End Youth Homelessness. In her free time, she likes to spend quality time with friends, grow her urban jungle, obsess over her cats (Spike and Linus), and play music with her husband.
“My name is Ryan Moriarty. I attended the University of Montevallo in Alabama where I got my undergraduate degree in Mass Communication: Broadcasting with minors in Biology and Deaf Studies. I moved out to Washington two years ago and have come to love Tacoma and the Northwest! I currently work at UW Tacoma as the photographer and videographer for the marketing department and also spend time volunteering at the Giving Garden on campus. I will be pursuing a MAIS graduate degree along the Non-Profit Management track and am excited to get started! I hope to learn more about empowering non-profits and those who work with them with a focus on housing, transportation, education, and food justice.”
“My name is Christopher Oliver, and I received my BA in Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies from the University of Washington Tacoma. My focus for the MAIS program is to investigate the reasons why troubled inner city youth find themselves as members of gangs, and to explore the similarities and differences in the ways that ethnicity and gender may play a role in gang membership. The goal is to find positive ways to provide these children with life choices other than those offered through gang membership and to find other options that prevent them from selecting this course of life.”
“I earned my B.S. in chemistry from SUNY Purchase College in New York in 2003 and my Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Syracuse University in 2008. After a NSF postdoctoral fellowship in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales in materials science, I shifted scientific focus to work at Columbia University researching the cancer niche, hematopoietic stem cells and acute myeloid leukemia. I have taught chemistry at universities and community colleges, written scientific and educational grants, and designed and managed STEM education programs. Currently, I am the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program Director at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington.
My passion is advocating for diversity, inclusion, opportunity and access in science and education, and changing the focus and dialogue that often surrounds underrepresented and underserved students in the STEM field. My current academic interests include STEM education, policy, language and student success. I am super excited to see how all these pieces work together, learn about topics I never imagined I would pursue and grow with all of you!”
Nora grew up in Tenino, WA and has been farming in one way or another with her family since 2001. She attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC for her undergraduate degree in Sociology/Anthropology and Traditional American Music and made her way back to the PNW two years ago. Currently, she works for the Thurston Conservation District as an Education & Outreach Specialist assisting landowners in managing their property for the benefit of working lands and a healthy natural ecosystem. In addition, she continues to work on her family’s farm, Hercules Farm, growing pasture raised turkeys, wool, and lamb. In her studies in the MAIS program Nora is excited to weave her professional and personal lives together to study food – from growing to eating – as a tool for community growth, communication, and prosperity.
Current Student News
Students on the Move
Rachael Williamson (right) at the Performing the World Conference
Rachael Williamson, who is about to finish her master’s thesis, recently traveled to New York City to present her research at the 2018 Performing the World Conference. Her Research Advisor, Tony Perone, had this to say about Rachael and her trip:
For nearly 15 years, I have been a builder of the international performance movement. One of the highlights of building the movement has been to organize, attend, and present at the biennial event, Performing the World (PTW), held in New York City. This event, co-convened by the East Side Institute (where I serve as one of its associates) and the All Stars Project, is an enriching and powerful opportunity for hundreds of play and performance activists, academics, therapists, community organizers, and artists from all over the world to come together and share/support/develop the activities that we are doing to co-create life-span human development and social and community transformation via play and performance. While our 2018 gathering was amazing overall, three activities stand out for me. First, along with fellow play and performance activists from Canada, Costa Rica, and the United States, I facilitated a workshop called “Clowning and Caring: Join the Love/Play Revolution” that was based on our ethnographic scholarship with and community engagement as humanitarian clowns. Second, I promoted my new book co-edited with Carrie Lobman: Big Ideas and Revolutionary Activity: Selected Talks, Essays, and Articles by Lois Holzman (on Amazon, East Side Institute). To close, I was so honored to share and create PTW 2018 with current MAIS student Rachael Williamson. Rachael presented a fabulously revolutionary workshop “Diagnosis: Performing Our Way Out of the Box” based on her MAIS thesis and work as a Registered Behavior Technician.
Rachael with her Research Advisor, Dr. Tony Perone
Rachael revels more about her experience at the conference:
In September, I had the opportunity to travel to New York and present my research on play and performance pedagogy at the 2018 Performing the World Conference. It was hands down one of the most exhilarating conference I have ever been to. The connection, collaboration, inclusion, and genuine caring put forth by everyone I came in to contact with is something unlike I have ever experienced. The workshops, and performances brought me to tears on more than one occasion. It was so deeply moving to witness so many different people from all around the world embracing play and performance as powerful pedagogical tools—tools that have the power to transform and revolutionize communities, cultures, industry, medicine, education, and everything in between.
During my presentation, I used the opportunity to collaborate/build with my current research, and the results were nothing short of magical. So many fantastic ideas on how to utilize play and performance within the neurodiverse community and how I might alter my current practices to be even more inclusive and developmental. It was such an honor to have so many passionate attendees offer their insights and wonders. It was by far the most engaging and enjoying presentation I have ever done. The fact that we spent most of the session playing/performing how learning can lead development (which interestingly enough is accomplished through play and performance) was such a joy to behold. I’m still buzzing from the experience.
Out of all the workshops I attended, my favorite was one put on by our very own Dr. Perone on humanitarian clowning. After a short and deeply inspirational opening, we were encouraged to put on clown noses and wander the streets of Midtown clowning around with the locals and spreading a bit of cheer/love. I hugged three strangers, got several high fives, numerous confused/terrified looks, and watched Patch Adams moon the police station. I’m not sure an afternoon in NY City can get much better than that. I made amazing connections, met many new friends, and clowned around in ways that have forever changed who I am. If you would like to know more about this amazing conference, feel free to email me at email@example.com for more information. The next Performing the World takes place in 2020 and we’d love to see you there!
Alyssa Urish also attended the National Race and Pedagogy Conference September 27-29th, which was held at the University of Puget Sound here in Tacoma.
Alyssa Urish and friends as the National Race and Pedagogy Conference in September 2018
In this project I aim to understand the consequences of desegregation policies in Tacoma Public Schools when they first were implemented and in present day, through a two part-study. First, I will be applying a CRT lens to a historical analysis of educational policies and programs passed in Tacoma between 1960 and the mid-1990s. Second, I will be implementing a youth participatory action research (YPAR) project with 4-7 youth of color, with whom I have worked in my capacities as community center program director at one of the first desegregated schools in Tacoma. My project will be aimed at addressing two questions: “What does a critical race lens tell us about Tacoma’s desegregation program from the early 1960s until the mid-1990s?” And, “How does the history of the district’s desegregation connect to the reality for today’s youth of color?” This research aims to center students’ experiences and utilize a youth participatory action approach to support students’ to build knowledge, a collective understanding and to take action that they define. The SCRA mini-grant fund will allow me to pursue a more equitable approach towards the third goal of this study by offering a stipend to student participant-researchers and providing a supportive space for our research offering supplies, nourishment and transportation assistance to our meetings.
The SCRA Community Mini-Grants Program was designed by the Community Psychology Practice Council in 2010. With the support of the Executive Committee, the grant program began awarding funds in the summer of 2011.
The purpose of this program is to support and help catalyze small scale, time-sensitive community interventions, whether action or research-based, which are consistent with the SCRA vision, mission, principles and goals. The grant program is intended to encourage meaningful work that SCRA members (and their community partners) are doing in their communities around the world. It is a fast decision-cycle mini-grant program.
Closer to Home
In one of our closest elections for Student Representative to the MAIS Steering Committee, Shadyar Omrani was this year’s elected candidate. She will be one of two students that serve on the Steering Committee, and will serve a two-year term. Congratulations to Shadyar, we know she will make fabulous contributions to the Steering Committee and the MAIS program!