Black Girls Virtually STEAMing Through Dance:
Dr. Ayana Allen-Handy is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education and the Founding Director of the Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab at Drexel University’s School of Education. A native Philadelphian and former elementary school teacher and high school counselor, Dr. Allen-Handy's 19-year career has been dedicated to advancing justice in all of its forms, particularly education, racial, and social justice. She received a PhD in Urban Education from Texas A&M University, a MEd from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX, and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, double majoring in Management & Society and Spanish. She is also a former Post-Doctoral Fellow of The Urban Education Collaborative at UNC-Charlotte.
Raja Schaar, IDSA is Program Director and Assistant Professor of Product Design at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. She also co-chairs IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. She is an industrial designer with an extensive background in museum exhibit design and healthcare design who is passionate about ways design can make a positive impact on society at the intersections of health equity, the environment justice, and STEAM education. Raja’s interdisciplinary research focuses on addressing inequities in maternal health through wearable technology; methods for engaging black girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM/STEAM through design and technology and dance; innovation and entrepreneurship education; and biologically-inspired design and sustainability. Raja studies the ethical implications of design and technology through the lenses of science fiction and speculative design.
Dr. Michelle L. Rogers is a program officer at the National Science Foundation in the Computing and Networking Systems division of the CISE directorate. There she is working on the Broadening Participation efforts with the Education and WorkForce working group. In addition, she is an associate professor in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. For over 15 years, Dr. Rogers has used human factors engineering methods and socio-technical systems theory to study the impact of health information technology (HIT) on clinical workflow and usability of technology with and by medically under-served populations. Most recently, Dr. Rogers has been investigating the usability and utility of patient portals and electronic medical records. Internationally, her investigations are focused on HIT in Uganda health systems. In addition, she is collaborating with faculty from industrial design, dance and education to understand how making, arts, and coding can assist in making the realization of a career in STEM fields achievable – BlackGirlsSteamingthroughDance (BGSD).
Valerie Ifill is an active dance artist, educator and researcher interested in the intersection of dance and community as well as making dance more accessible. Valerie is an independent collaborative dance artist and Associate Teaching Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Her work in higher education is focused on university-community dance education initiatives and using the Africanist perspective to support university dance curriculum. Her written research is centered on university-community partnerships; race and power in education; and making dance accessible. Valerie has founded and directed university-community dance programs at Drexel University through Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships in Philadelphia, PA, and at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. Certified to teach Inside-Out Prison Exchange courses, facilitating classes for groups of university students and incarcerated citizens. Black Girls STEAMing through Dance is a collaborative project making Dance, Code, and Making with electronic textiles accessible to 7-12 year old African American girls. This research has been presented nationally and internationally. Valerie earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Oregon, completed the Independent Study Program at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a Dance minor from Kent State University.
Moe Woodard is a third year PhD Candidate in the School of Education. With a background in digital media, she has led workshops and a summer camp engaging minoritized youth in culturally responsive computing activities. Her research focuses on supporting creative processes in Black girls as they learn to design and code virtual environments.
Kalila Dozier is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Product Design at Drexel University. She has experience working in Drexel’s Hybrid Making Lab where she offers orientations to teachers and students. The orientations include step by step guides on how to operate and send files to laser cutters and 3d printers. Kalila uses her interpersonal skills to help others in her environment learn how to utilize new equipment safely. She has spent her sophomore and junior year as a research assistant for the Product Design department. She assists with youth to encourage their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) related activities to prepare them for a potential design or engineering career. She also illustrates and designs graphics for BGSD.
Destiny Bugg has spent the past several years as an arts administrator and coordinator in the non-profit sector of Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Drexel University, class of 2019, and is heavily involved in the arts. She is an advocate for arts education and strives to support educational programming in various aspects of her life. Destiny is specifically focused on continuing to make the arts accessible and increasing exposure in communities where the arts disproportionately lack funding. She has multiple years of experience as a dance teacher for the youth and also as a company member for a Philadelphia dance company, Danse4Nia. Destiny is now the Project Coordinator for Black Girls STEAMing through Dance, an interdisciplinary program that encourages and engages young Black girls in dance, design, and coding activities.
Ashley Pollard is the K-12 Digital Access Program Manager in the Office of Innovation and Technology at the City of Philadelphia. In this role, she manages PHLConnectED, Philadelphia's initiative to connect all K-12 households to free, consistent, and reliable internet access. She also serves as a Co-Chair of the K-12 Workstream within the City's Digital Equity Coordinating Committee. Beginning her career as a 2nd grade teacher, Ashley has focused her work on students and has been able to merge her passion for children with her belief that local governments have a responsibility to ensure that all of its students have access to a quality, equitable public education. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Dr. Kareem Edouard is an Assistant Professor for Drexel University's School of Education. His research focuses on bridging the digital divide, providing equal and equitable access to internet and computer technology to minority students in underserved communities. Through this access, students can develop the necessary cognitive and social skills to become productive and contributing members of an emerging digitally connected community.
Dr. Bettina L. Love, Athletic Association Endowed Professor, University of Georgia is an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. She is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers. Her writing, research, teaching, and activism meet at the intersection of race, education, abolition, and Black joy. Dr. Love is concerned with how educators working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in Abolitionist Teaching with the goal of intersectional social justice for equitable classrooms that love and affirm Black and Brown children. In 2020, Dr. Love co-founded the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN). ATN’s mission is simple: develop and support teachers and parents to fight injustice within their schools and communities. She is the author of the books "We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom" and "Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South".
We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving.The program also includes brief presentations and a panel discussion with Drexel faculty. Participation is free and ACT 48 credits are available for Pennsylvania teachers.