STAR Mentoring Program

STAR (Scholars of color Transitioning into Academic Research institutions) Mentoring Program

In 2008, the Ethnicity, Race, and Multilingualism (ERM) Committee proposed the creation of a pipeline for promising emerging scholars of color who will continue the strong tradition of leadership, research, and service within our organization and who will commit and dedicate themselves to addressing issues of racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity within our organization and within the literacy field. This resulted in the establishment of the STAR (Scholars of color Transitioning into AcademicResearch institutions) program--a selective mentoring program for scholars of color who are beginning their careers as literacy researchers. The objectives of the STAR program are to:

  • Help instill a strong professional stance within scholars of color,
  • Increase their knowledge of our organization’s rich history and traditions,
  • Inspire them to continue its legacy of scholarship, leadership, and service, and
  • Increase the pool of viable scholars of color who have been mentored by our organization.

The STAR program is a 2-year cohort model for 6 scholars of color in the first two years of a tenure-track literacy appointment who are then matched with senior scholars of color in our field. As part of the STAR program, fellows and mentors participate in a post-conference retreat at each annual conference and in a spring writing retreat. Fellows also present at a guaranteed roundtable session at the conference in their first year of the program and in a guaranteed alternative session the second year.

Since 2009, the STAR program has mentored 4 cohorts of emerging scholars of color who are committed to conducting research on the literacy education and development of students from racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse backgrounds; who have the capacity to successfully navigate the tenure and promotion process at predominantly White research institutions; and who are active and productive leaders within our organization and in the literacy profession.

For more information about the STAR program, contact Millie Gort, STAR Director, at the University of Colorado Boulder mileidis.gort@colorado.edu, or Detra Price-Dennis ERM Chair, at Teachers College-Columbia. 

2015-2017 STAR Fellows
2013-2015 STAR Fellows
2011-2013 STAR Fellows
2010-2012 STAR Fellows
2009-2011 STAR Fellows
 

Cohort Five: 2015-2017

 

 

Dr. April Baker-Bell, Michigan State University 
Mentor: Dr. Tonya Perry, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. April Baker-Bell is an Assistant Professor in the department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. She also teaches courses in the English Education and African American and African Studies programs.

Dr. Baker-Bell’s research examines how African American youth construct their linguistic, cultural, and racial identities in relation to dominant language ideologies. Her research also explores how classroom instruction and counter-hegemonic pedagogies can be leveraged to support African American youth in constructing positive and transformative understandings of their linguistic and racial identities. 

  

Dr. Maneka Deanna Brooks, Texas State University 
Mentor: Dr. Eurydice Bauer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Maneka Deanna Brooks is an Assistant Professor of Reading Education at Texas State University where she works with in-service and pre-service teachers on topics related to equity and literacy education. Broadly, her scholarly interests focus on exploring the intersections of bilingualism and literacy. Her most recent work examines the literacy development of bilingual adolescents. However, she also studies the ways in which racial, linguistic, and ethnic diversity is conceptualized and addressed in teacher education. Maneka’s work has been published in Research in the Teaching of English, Language and Education, the Handbook of Bilingual and Multilingual Education, and other venues. 

  

Dr. Theda Gibbs, Ohio University 
Mentor: Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Teachers College, Columbia University

  
Dr. Theda Marie Gibbs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Ohio University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education with a specialization in Language & Literacy and Urban Education from Michigan State University. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate foundational reading and literacy research courses. Her research explores how to create more equitable learning spaces that embrace the literacies and lived experiences of African American youth both in and beyond school. Through a second line of research, she explores how teacher preparation programs prepare prospective teachers to develop culturally relevant teaching practices in all content areas, with an emphasis on reading courses.  

  

Dr. Bong Gee Jang, Oakland University 
Mentors: Dr. Ramón Antonio Martínez, Stanford University


Bong Gee Jang is an assistant professor in the Department of Reading and Language Arts. Bong Gee received his Ph.D. in Reading Education from University of Virginia in 2013. His main areas of research include literacy motivation and engagement in digital settings and disciplinary/content literacy. His research has appeared in Reading Research Quarterly, Educational Psychology Review, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, The Reading Teacher, and Assessment for Effective Intervention. Bong Gee teaches courses related to disciplinary literacy and language arts for both pre-service and in-service teachers. He also teaches introductory and advanced quantitative research method courses to doctoral students. 

  

Dr. Lamar Johnson, Miami University 
Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Danridge Turner, University of Maryland

Lamar L. Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Literacy for Racial and Linguistic Diversity at Miami University in Oxford, OH. He received his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Curriculum Studies and Language and Literacy. His research focuses on Black education. Within the context of Black education, he is interested in the complex intersections of race, literacy, and education. Johnson’s work is featured in the Journal of African American Males in Education, The Journal of Negro Education, and English Education. His awards and recognitions include Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color research program through the National Council of Teachers of English and Asa G. Hillard III and Barbara A. Sizemore Research Institute recipient from the American Education Research Association. 

  

Dr. Bonnie Farrier, California State University, Fullerton 
Mentor: Dr. Carmen Kynard, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY

Bonnie Farrier’s research centers on issues in composition studies including theorizing African American literate and rhetorical traditions, understanding the intersections of gender and language in relationship to black female discursive practices, applying the perspectives from critical race studies and culturally relevant pedagogy to issues of teaching and learning, and highlighting new pedagogical approaches to African American language and literacy. 

Cohort Four: 2013-2015

Antonieta Avila
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Mentor: Aria Razfar

Antonieta Avila is an assistant professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She teaches courses in the Second Language Education Program. She completed her Ph.D. in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from the University of Texas at Austin. Antonietahas been an educator for over 20 years, and taught in Mexico City, Los Angeles and Austin.Her scholarly interests focus on exploring the intersections of science learning, literacy, and bilingual education in elementary classrooms. Through her work with teachers, parents, and students she advocates for access to equitable education highlighting the need to support students’ cultural and linguistic resources. As an emerging scholar, her research work and academic excellence have been recognized and supported by competitive merit-based fellowships and scholarships such as the UT Austin’s Center for Mexican American Studies Dissertation Fellowship, the MetLife Scholarship Fund, the Cora Merriman Martin Scholarship Fund, and the E.D. Farmer International Fellowship.

Soria Colomer
University of South Florida
Mentor: María Fránquiz and Eurydice Bauer

Soria Colomer is an assistant professor of in the College of Education at Oregon State University. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor of Foreign Language/ESOL Education at University of South Florida and a core faculty member of the Second Language Acquisition & Instructional Technology (SLA/IT) doctoral program. Her research focuses on the positioning of Latina/o teachers and bilingual faculty in schools with growing Latina/o student populations. She is particularly interested in teacher recruitment policies and teacher preparation practices. She has been the recipient of a Southern Regional Education Board Dissertation Scholarship, an American Evaluation Association Graduate Education Diversity Internship, and an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Graduate Fellowship.

Mary McGriff
New Jersey City University
Mentors: Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz and Tonya Perry

Mary McGriff is an assistant professor in the Literacy Education Department at New Jersey City University, and her research and teaching focuses on English learner literacy, content area literacy and professional development related to these areas. She is the author of Teacher Identity and ELL-Focused Content Area Professional Development (Action in Teacher Education). She is a contributing author in the books Beloved Educators, Women of Color Who Inspire Us and Language-based Approaches to Support Reading Comprehension. She received a New Jersey Department of Education grant to fund a professional development network for seven New Jersey schools. Prior to earning her Ed.D.from Rutgers University, she served as a school administrator and a middle grades language arts teacher in New Jersey and Texas public schools.

Maria Selena Protacio
Western Michigan University
Mentor: Robert Jiménez

Maria Selena Protacio is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies at Western Michigan University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education with a Language and Literacy specialization from Michigan State University. Her research interests focus on increasing reading motivation and engagement among English Language Learners and preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to work in diverse classrooms. Her work has been published in Reading Teacher and Asia-Pacific Journal of Education. She is currently the Co-Editor of the Reading Horizons journal.

Kwangok Song
Arkansas State University
Mentors: Eurydice Bauer and Mileidis Gort

Kwangok Song is an assistant professor of reading and literacy studies in the department of Teacher Education and Leadership at Arkansas State University. Her research areas include, but not limited to, emergent bilingual students’ language and literacy experiences in and out of school settings, and their language and literacy development. She has published in Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.

Monica Yoo
University of Colorado at
Colorado Springs
Mentor: Allison Skerrett

Monica S. Yoo is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where she teaches courses in literacy and secondary teacher education. Her scholarly areas of interest include students’ uptake of strategies for reading and writing, connections between reading and writing, and content area teachers’ understandings of literacy within their disciplines. She was awarded a University of Colorado Diversity and Excellence Grant to start a university-high school mentorship project in which university tutors act as literacy coaches to urban high school students. Her work has appeared in the Colorado Reading Council Journal and in the following books: Reading and Writing with Understanding; Secondary School Reading and Writing: What Research Reveals for Classroom Practices; and Talking Science, Writing Science: The Work of Language in Multicultural Classrooms.

Cohort Three: 2011-2013

Marva Solomon
Angelo State University
Mentor: Wanda Brooks

Marva Solomon is an assistant professor in the department of teacher education at Angelo State University. Her research interests center around the intersection of culture, creativity and technology for primary aged readers and writers. She received an internal grant to research the role of technology in improving the academic language growth of English Language Learners. Publications include a chapter in Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change and Assessment in the 21st Century Classroom (2010) concerning 2nd graders' writing on the internet, as well as a 2012 article published in Talking Points (NCTE) titled, “Why can’t you just say, ‘It’s cute?’” The role of audience in first graders’ digital storytelling. Dr. Solomon is the director of the Pearl of the Concho Writing Project at Angelo State University and facilitated writing camps for teachers, teens, and young writers in the summer of 2014.

Silvia Noguerón-Liu
University of Georgia
Mentors: Patricia Enciso and Marjorie Orellana Faulstich

Silvia Noguerón-Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. Her teaching, research and service are grounded ion socio-cultural and critical perspectives to digital literacies in classroom, family, and community contexts. In her instruction and scholarship, Dr. Noguerón-Liu aims to create learning environments where educators recognize and leverage as resources the funds of knowledge of culturally and linguistically diverse students, including student and family participation in literacy practices in local and transnational spaces. Her publications, courses, and grant activity all contribute to the following interrelated areas: (a) the study of literacy practices in transnational contexts from ethnographic perspectives, where learning resources flow across individuals’ sending and receiving nations; (b) the study of digital literacies’ potential for identity construction through digital writing, reading, and communication practices; and (c) participatory action research approaches to adult and family literacy projects. Her work has been published in the 61st Yearbook of the Literacy Research Association, Learning, Media & Technology, and the International Multilingual Research Journal.

P. Zitlali Morales
University of Illinois at Chicago
Mentor: Kathleen Hinchman


P. Zitlali Morales is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, and affiliated faculty of the Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She examines the linguistic interaction of students and teachers through the use of discourse analysis and other qualitative methods. She views language acquisition from a sociocultural perspective as participants learning to use language through the use of cultural practices, and specializes in additive models of language acquisition for emergent bilinguals. Her research focuses on preparing teachers to meet their multilingual students' needs by leveraging the language and cultural knowledge that students bring to the classroom. Other research projects include exploring the learner identities of linguistic minority students in Spanish-English dual immersion programs and studying how language ideologies affect the context of schooling for immigrant students and multilingual learners. She is co-PI on a National Science Foundation funded project, “Literacy and New Communication Technologies in Contexts of Transnational Migration” studying the digital literacy practices and transnational ties of immigrant youth. Her most recent co-authored manuscript can be found in Anthropology and Education Quarterly titled, “¿PurasGroserías?: Rethinking the role of profanity and graphic humor in Latin@ students’ bilingual wordplay.”

Cohort Two: 2010-2012

Tisha Ellison
Georgia State University
Mentor: Gwendolyn McMillon

Tisha Lewis Ellison is an assistant professor in Language and Literacy at Georgia State University. Her research interests explore how agency, identity, and power among African American families are constructed as they use digital tools to make sense of their lives. She was the 2012 recipient of the NCTE Promising Researcher Award, a finalist of the 2011 IRA Outstanding Dissertation Award, and a former fellow of the NCTE Research Foundation’s Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color Program. She was a recipient of the J. Michael Parker Award and is currently serving as a board member. She is an editorial review board member for the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Literacy Research Association Yearbook, and Reading Horizons. She is also a journal reviewer for the LRAArea 7 and Qualitative Research. Her current research study: Dig-A-Fam: Families’ Digital Storytelling Project, funded by the NCTE Research Foundation Grant, explores the digital stories, practices, and experiences of African American parents and youth. Her work has appeared in the Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Education, Literacy Research Association Yearbook, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Language Arts, Journal of E-Learning and Digital Media and the International Journal of Qualitative Methods.

Seemi Aziz
University of Arizona
Mentor: María Fránquiz

Seemi Aziz is a visiting and adjunct assistant professor in Global Cultures, Literacy, and Literature in the Department of Teaching and Learning and Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include children’s and young adult literature, issues of representation and religious freedom, and arts and visual cultural analysis in education. She has published in Journal of Children’s Literature, School Library Journal, and the 58th Yearbook of the National Reading Council.

Carol Brochin
University of Arizona
Mentor: María Fránquiz

Carol Brochin is an Assistant Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a language arts and literacy teacher in her hometown Laredo, Texas located on the US/Mexico border. It was in this transnational, multilingual context that she cultivated her research and teaching interests in preparing teachers to develop pedagogical practices that affirm the literacy practices of diverse students across educational settings. Her research interests include teacher education and preparation, LGBTQ and bilingual literature for youth, and multimodal literacies. Her research has been supported by grants from the American Association of University Women, the Texas Education Agency, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Association for the Study of Higher Education/Lumina Foundation, and the National Council of Teachers of English. Prior to joining the College of Education, she was an Assistant Professor of Literacy and English Education at the University of Texas at El Paso where she also directed the West Texas Writing Project (2012-2014). She received her Ph.D. (2010) in Culture, Literacy and Language from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Yoo Kyung Sung
University of New Mexico
Mentor: Kathy Au

Yoo Kyung Sung is an assistant professor of literacy and language arts at University of New Mexico. Her research interests includepolitics in children's literature; cultural studies; immigration literature and young readers; ideology and identity in language studies; postcolonial studies and children’s literature; translation studies and international children’s literature. She has published in the Journal of Children’s Literature and Bookbird: Journal of International Children's Literature.

2009-2011 STAR Fellows

Marcelle Haddix
Syracuse University
Mentor: Mark Conley

Marcelle Haddix is a Dean’s Associate Professor and program director of English education in the Syracuse University School of Education. Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of students of color in literacy and English teaching and teacher education. She also directs the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban youth within and beyond school contexts. Haddix’s work is featured in Research in the Teaching of English, English Education,Linguistics and Education, and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Her awards and recognitions include the American Educational Research Association Division K Early Career Award; the National Council for Teachers of English Promising Researcher Award; and the Syracuse University Meredith Teaching Award, one of SU’s most prestigious teaching honors.

Ying Guo
University of Cincinnati
Mentor: Lee Gunderson

Ying Guo, Ph. D. is an assistant professor of Literacy Education in the School of Education at University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on reading and writing development for children who exhibit developmental vulnerabilities in academic achievement. Specifically, her work is directed towards the development and evaluation of early interventions to prevent reading and writing failure. In addition, she is interested in identifying teacher and classroom factors that predict reading and writing achievement. She is co-principal investigator of an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Goal II Study (R324A130205). The main purpose of this study is to develop a supplemental book reading intervention that uses expository books to teach language and expository text skills to preschool-age children with language impairment. Her work is featured in a variety of journals, including Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Research in Reading, Journal of Early Intervention, Reading and Writing, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Education and Development, The Elementary School Journal, and Teaching and Teacher Education. She was recognized in 2013 and 2014 with the university faculty awards (UC Faculty CECH Scholarship Incentives Award for Research and Scholarship).

Grace Enriquez
Lesley University
Mentor: María E. Fránquiz


Grace Enriquez is an assistant professor in the Language & Literacy Division at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.Her scholarship focuses on critical literacies; intersections of literacies, identities, and embodiment; and children’s literature for social justice. Awards include being selected as the winner of the 2013 Children’s Literature Assembly Research Award and a recipient of a 2013 National Council of Teachers of English Research Foundation Grant, both for her research on children’s literature and critical literacy teaching. In 2011, she was also selected as a finalist for the 2011 International Reading Association Outstanding Dissertation of the Year for her research on issues of embodiment and school literacy learning. She is co-editor of a book project titled Literacies, Learning, and the Body: Bringing Research and Theory into Pedagogical Practice. Other publications include the book The Reading Turn-around, co-written with Stephanie Jones and Lane W. Clarke, and various journal articles in Reading Research Quarterly, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Journal of Education, Journal of Children’s Literature, and English Teaching: Practice and Critique. She is the LRA Field Council Chair beginning 2015.
 
STAR Director 2009-2010
Jennifer Danridge Turner
University of Maryland
STAR Director 2010-2012
Julia Lopez-Robertson
University of South Carolina
STAR Director 2013-2017
Marcelle Haddix
Syracuse University