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HERstory: WOC Redefining Research Recap

Hopefully you were able to join us for the first official Scholarly Sewist event HERstory: WOC Redefining ResearcHER. If you did not, I will try to recap the event, but it was AMAZING, so that will be hard to do.  

First, I am grateful to SDSU for to SDSU for sponsoring this event and allowing me the opportunity to use my creativity to design, develop, and implement HERstory in collaboration with The Scholarly Sewist to reimagine what a scholar is.the sponsorship of this event to allow me to use my creativity to design, develop, and implement HERstory to reimagine what a scholar is. We, as SDSU students have the opportunity to apply for a grant to host events and programs to support the university campus? Usually these benefits are exclusively for university students, but in this virtual panini alternate universe, I was able to extend the reach of the event to those outside of SDSU.  

I knew I wanted to do something different.  Not a one and done moment.  Something that centered women of color.  Something that was not a “sit-and-get.”  I needed it to be something more, something interactive, wide-reaching, and engaging.  

I wanted to also put some people on as I did this work.  I wanted to center WOC in every facet.  So I did. I only invited dope WOC scholars, writers, and leaders to sit on the panel of the event.  I purchased books from women-owned businesses such as Elizabeth’s and Charis Books, and directly from the author’s websites. I invited my amazing friends and colleagues to be moderators for the event.  We elevated and promoted the event on social media which garnered support of other WOC who would not commonly be included or invited to participate.  

I was able to use my creative brain to envision an event that included a panel of exceptional women across a diverse educational landscape, each with published works, both books and articles, which attendees read prior to the event. 

The result was magical. 

It started with the PhemmeD Panel.

Six phenomenal Women of Color sat on the panel and answered questions about their journeys and experiences in the academic space. They talked about their current roles, the intersection of their identities and what was salient to them as they progressed on with their journey, in and out of university settings, and their research and self-care tips. The phenomenal panel consisted of: 

Dr. Venus E. Evans-Winters (Dr. V) is Senior Researcher at the African American Policy Forum, a former Professor of Education, and she researches at the intersections of race, gender, and policy. Dr. Evans-Winters is also a clinical psychotherapist, certified clinical trauma professional (C-CTP) in private practice, and a health and wellness coach. Her research interests are educational policy analysis, racial trauma inside and outside of schools, and Black girls’ and women’s psychosocial development across the African Diaspora. 

Dr. Dina C. Maramba is Associate Professor of Higher Education in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University. She also worked in higher education/student affairs administration for over ten years. Her research focuses on equity and social justice issues within the context of higher education and the experiences of first generation BIPOC students and Filipinx Americans. 

Dr. Angel Jones is a passionate educator with 15+ years of experience in K-12 and Higher Education. Broadly, her research focuses on the experiences of Black and Brown students at historically White institutions. More specifically, she examines how their experiences impact their mental health and overall well-being. Her areas of interest include microaggressions, racial battle fatigue, gendered-racism, and the psychological impact of each on Students of Color.

Dr. Malika Grayson is the founder of STEMinist Empowered LLC, an organization focused on the empowerment of Women of Color who pursue graduate degrees through workshops, personal statement reviews, and graduate mentorship.

She is a Fortune 100 global speaker, bestselling author, and mechanical engineer. She currently works in the defense industry and has used her platform as a speaker to discuss her experiences both in academia and industry.

Dr. Robin M. Boylorn is Associate Professor of Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication at the University of Alabama. Her research interests center the lived experiences of black women, especially black women in the American South. 

Dr. Gina Ann Garcia is an associate professor in the department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research centers on issues of equity and justice in higher education with an emphasis on understanding how Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) embrace and enact an organizational identity for serving minoritized populations.

After the panel, each speaker led their own book club session, allowing other WOC and students to share space with the authors, up close and personal, all from the comfort of their Zoom screen. These book clubs were small and intimate, and spanned over topics from the book but also the process of writing and publishing and personal experiences. The authors also answered questions that attendees had about higher education.

The book club was followed by our Writing Workshop. Dr. V dropped all kinds of “trade secrets” as she walked us through her Mosaic for Writing Like A Scholar.  What resonated with me most was that my issues, at the intersection of being Black and female, are indeed systemic issues which deserve research and scholarship.  I can also choose the audience I write to, for, and with.

We ended the day with attendees sharing their takeaways and meaningful moments of the day. Many of these statements were quotes and gems dropped by the panel, and others were just statements of gratitude for creating such a powerful and fulfilling space.

It was a pleasure to be in community with everyone that attended, and I am so grateful for opportunities like this, to really exercise the purpose and focus of The Scholarly Sewist brand, to center, encourage, and be in community with WOC across the academic universe. I am committed to creating more spaces and experiences, for us and by us. Please reach out if you’d like to collaborate in some way on a future project!

Oh, and to see so much TSS Merch!  I literally cannot express in words the amazing feeling of seeing people in my creations. Thank you to all of my PhrienDs and ResearcHERs who logged onto Zoom decked out in ResearcHER and PhemmeD Tees and Sweatshirts.


And special thanks to Dr. Melissa Vang for all of her help behind and in front of the scenes.  She definitely helped me along every step of the way, and it was great working with her on this amazing project!

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