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LLC News

Alumni Archives

White House's Black History Month Panel with Kaye Whitehead

Dr. Kaye Whitehead, LLC graduate, was one of four historians chosen nationwide to speak at the White House's Black History Month Panel.

Dr. Whitehead stated that

"My interdisciplinary training in black women's history, historical sociolinguistics, history, and education prepared me with the knowledge I needed to speak about a range of topics (from the Emancipation Proclamation to Health Care to the 'Classroom to Prison Pipeline'). I truly believe that I am very well-trained scholar and though I may not know everything, I do know how to conduct research and find the information that I need".

See the article here -

LLC Grad Kaye Whitehead Talks About Her New Book

Click below on the You Tube link to listen to LLC graduate, Kaye Whitehead, talk about her book (from her dissertation research) on Emilie Davis, a freed black woman who lived in Philadelphia and wrote daily in her diary.

LLC Grad Danika Rockett presentation at NACBS

Danika Rockett, 2012 LLC Ph.D. grad presented a paper at the NACBS (North American Conference on British Studies) in Montreal, November 9-11, 2012.

Program link:

"Those Lady Guerrillas of Philanthropy": Women, Religion, and Philanthropy in Victorian Britain

Eleanor Welsh - Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Chesapeake College

On August 16, LLC grad Eleanor Welsh (2nd Cohort) started a new appointment at Chesapeake College as Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She shared that the LLC program prepared her well for the challenges of the new job, where she needs academic leadership skills as well as a strong understanding of literacy and adult basic education.

Congratulations to Eleanor Welsh, PhD
Dean, Liberal Arts and Sciences
Professor of English
Chesapeake College
Wye Mills, MD 21679

LLC Ph.D. Karsonya “Kaye” Whitehead Profile at Loyola University

Communication Professor Balances Teaching, Research, Professional Development, Community Service, and More

As newly minted Ph.D. Karsonya “Kaye” Whitehead considered where to continue her academic career, she was drawn to Loyola University Maryland and its Ignatian character—even though she had never experienced Jesuit education before. Whitehead, who holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University—the nation’s oldest historically black college—an M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Language, Literature, and Culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, knew just enough about the life of St. Ignatius to know she wanted to know much more.

Read full article -

Juanita Ashby Bey, Baltimore Women's Issues Examiner

Juanita Ashby Bey, Ph.D., is an educator who has been an advent follower of spiritual teachers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Wayne Dyer, Rhonda Byrne, and many others. She has presented in many national forums, including at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as at conferences in Chicago, Illinois.

Read her article "Value in Awareness" here -

Hannah M. Mugambi

Hannah M. Mugambi (Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences, American University of Nigeria) will be in Yale this summer working as curriculum counsellor for Exploration Schools, and starting a new project in Yola. Their university's vision is to become a development university, so all students are working with community projects to solve local problems. She is teaching the Freshman seminar, and giving a lecture on women and development once a semester. She has also developed a project on health and violence against women in which students work with abused women to train them in IT or entrepreneurship.

Juanita Ashby Bey

Juanita Ashby Bey, Ph.D., is an educator who has been an advent follower of spiritual teachers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Wayne Dyer, Rhonda Byrne, and many others. She has presented in many national forums, including at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as at conferences in Chicago, Illinois and North Carolina. Juanita Ashby Bey began using her knowledge of cognitive development and pedagogy to develop empowering activities to help women transform their lives and create authentic happiness, joy, and progress. Juanita Ashby Bey facilitates workshops and seminars to bridge cognitive processing with the work and research of prominent spiritual leaders to help women connect to and embrace their spiritual essence, support them in their process of spiritual development, encourage them to rely on their individual inner ability to persevere, assist them in recreating themselves, and advocate for the expression of their individuality. She has recently become a writer for writing about women's issues.

Laura Columbo to work with CONICET

Dr. Laura Colombo has been granted a two-year postdoctoral scholarship from the CONICET (National Council of Technical and Scientific Research in Argentina) to conduct research on academic writing at the graduate level. Dr. Colombo will be working at the University of Buenos Aires, Linguistics Institute as part of an interdisciplinary research team on academic writing and she will be exploring the role of social relations on thesis writing process in PhD students in Argentina.

UB Ethics Week Panelists from LLC

Chris Justice and Dr. Rita Turner were panelists on March 6th for an event
that examined the ethical, social, political, and cultural
significance of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. The event was held at
the University of Baltimore for its annual Ethics Week and also
celebrated the 50th anniversary of Carson's groundbreaking
environmental text. Rita and Chris were joined by Dr. Stanley Kemp, an
ecologist, environmentalist scientist, and UB professor.

Article by Kaye Whitehead - Black history is American history

Black history is American history
Instead of a special month for African-Americans, their stories and everyone else's should be told throughout the year

by Kaye Wise Whitehead
1:03 PM EST, February 15, 2012

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, through his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History), founded and promoted Negro History Week. He selected February because Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass' birthdays fell during this month. His desire was for Americans to recognize and celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of black people. The response was overwhelming, as black schools, black churches and black and white community leaders around the country rallied behind this call and pushed Negro History Week to the forefront.

In 1976, the celebration was extended to a month and became internationally known as Black History Month. Since then, the world has slowly changed — and because the racial, social and political landscape finally looks different, perhaps it is time for us to agree that this will be the last year we celebrate Black History Month.

I have never been a supporter of Black History Month. Even as a young African-American girl growing up in Washington, D.C., I often wondered why we did not celebrate a White History Month or a Jewish History Month. Why just a Black History Month? Why did we need a special month where we could finally talk about black people?

I remember that the school cafeteria would always serve greens, fried chicken and cornbread and that the bulletin boards would have pictures of Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman (I dubbed them the "Big Three"). I was never taught about the accomplishments of black people at any other time during the school year. I never learned the full extent of black history; instead, for 12 years, I learned about this history in pieces: slavery was taught during week one, the civil rights movement was taught during weeks two and three, and during the final week we talked about King's dream and how we should believe in it, accept it and try to live it.

The first year that I became a Baltimore City middle school social studies teacher was the last year that I celebrated Black History Month. At first, I followed the history curriculum, played it safe, and in February tried to cram 400-plus years of black history into one month. When I asked my students at the end of the month what they had learned about black history, one said, "So, Harriet Tubman was Frederick Douglass' sister. She then married Dr. King and now they can ride in the front of the bus."

Even though I knew that she was joking, I realized then that this is what happens when teachers try to condense history; dates and events are no longer important, they just focus on getting through the material. My students would never have confused George Washington with Abraham Lincoln or thought that the Civil War and the Revolutionary War happened at the same time. They were well versed in what they thought was the complete story of American history because they had been learning it all of their lives. The white American history that erased black people for 11 months out of the year was the only history that they knew.

I vowed then not to ever separate black history from American history again. It is one story that has many different parts, but the parts all work together. We are a nation that has come through slavery and have moved past legalized segregation, and though we are not yet living in a post-racial society, we are not where we used to be. We have witnessed a slow but steady change in American race relations, and things that were once taboo are now commonplace. I believe that the next step in our development is to reintegrate black history back into American history.

(I know that this will not be an easy task, because there are some people in America who would rather not teach or discuss anything other than white history. Such people — the ones who seem to be trapped in Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," creating their own version of reality — really must be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a better world.)

We should no longer celebrate or recognize Black History Month; instead, we should teach black history alongside white history, Asian-American history, Latino history, women's history and others. By pulling all of these histories together, we can then finally call it what it is: American history. I am convinced that we will never become post-racial, or colorblind, or even better than what we are, until we do.

Kaye Wise Whitehead is an assistant professor of communication at Loyola University Maryland, a former middle school social studies teacher, and the 2006-07 Gilder Lehrman Maryland History Teacher of the Year. Her email is

Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun -,0,4150681.story

Frederick News-Post Article: Yasuko Walcott

Something to prove: Student, 70, earns doctorate after 11 years
Originally published December 21, 2011

By Blair Ames
News-Post Staff
Photo by Travis Pratt


Yasuko Nadayoshi Walcott, who recently defended her doctoral dissertation, is set to graduate today from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

If you quit, Yasuko Walcott says, you won't survive as a first-generation immigrant.
Walcott emigrated from Japan in 1969 to live in New Mexico with Bill, the American husband she married in Japan.

"First-generation immigrants have so many different kinds of problems, but you still have to keep going to prove that you're an acceptable citizen," she said.

Walcott had lived in America from 1962 to 1966 while studying at San Francisco State University. She returned home after graduation but had no success in finding a job in her field.

"Japanese society wasn't ready for educated women," she said. "I was only 30 years too early."

Even with an American college education, she had a hard time adjusting to the American lifestyle when she returned to the U.S.

Walcott overcame those challenges to become an educator, teaching Japanese at the high school and college levels.

It was that same determination that allowed the Frederick County resident, now 70, to accomplish another goal recently.

In August, she successfully defended her dissertation to the faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and will be awarded a doctorate in philosophy 11 years after beginning the program.

She is slated to graduate today with about 150 other students. Walcott is the oldest UMBC graduate to earn her Ph.D. this year, according to Elyse Ashburn, UMBC director of communications. Ashburn said the university does not track graduates' ages, which makes it hard to determine if Walcott is the oldest to ever complete a doctorate.

While most graduate students finish in five to seven years, Walcott juggled a cancer diagnosis and a full-time teaching load at UMBC as she completed her degree.

"I'm very grateful, as much as I'm grateful to my family, but also to school because they never threw me out," Walcott said, laughing, during an interview in her home just outside of New Market.

After being diagnosed in March 2006 with colon cancer, she has been in and out of the hospital. Her most recent stay was in September 2010.

A Japanese professor at UMBC since 1994, Walcott taught three four-credit courses each semester during her studies.

"Students come first before I study my own," she said. "That made it even harder."

Walcott has also taught at Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools and Loyola College.

Despite being a teacher, Walcott said the early course work was so difficult, she cried nearly every day for the first two years while earning her doctorate.

"It was too difficult and so demanding," she said.

It took her five years to finish the course work before she even started her dissertation.

Walcott's 490-page dissertation was on a familiar subject: "Experiences of Japanese women who married American military personnel and emigrated to the United States between 1945 and 1965."

Walcott interviewed six women in Washington and Virginia, asking them to describe their lives in Japan and how they changed since moving to America.

She found that they all share characteristics of being independent, strong, intelligent, flexible and full of common sense.

"They are very strong because so many of them had to cope with lots of problems by themselves because husbands, soldiers -- they may be gone for months at a time," she said.

Some of the women were disconnected from their family or didn't have the money to travel back to Japan while their husband was gone, Walcott said.

"Their families just cut them off because they married Americans -- the enemy," she said.

Many of the women moved to the U.S. with very little knowledge of English, she said.

Another challenge for Walcott while writing her dissertation: English is her second language.

"I may sit there half a day and write only one line," she said.

During her research, Walcott interviewed the women in Japanese, and then translated the interviews word by word to English before she wrote.

After taking 11 years to complete her doctorate, Walcott said she has no plans to continue her education.

Her son's family planned to travel from Oregon and her daughter planned to travel from Tokyo to attend the diploma ceremony.

It's one of the few times her entire family will be together.

"That itself means a lot," she said. "Especially for our grandchildren to show them your grandmom could do it. Hopefully that will inspire them."

This article has been corrected. Walcott lives just outside of New Market.

Susan Finn Miller

Susan Finn Miller works as an adult literacy teacher and teacher educator in Lancaster, PA. She serves on the expert team for ELL-U, a national professional development network for adult ESL teachers, where she designs and delivers online study circles for adult ESL teachers across the nation. She also serves as the ESL Content Specialist for adult ESL teachers in Pennsylvania. Susan teaches graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught a course in Adult Literacy since 2004, and at Eastern Mennonitie University, where she has been involved in mentoring teachers through the action research process for many years. Susan has published articles and book reviews in the TESOL Quarterly, ESL Magazine, Essential Teacher, and other publications. She is currently collaborating with Jodi Crandall on a book chapter focused on professional development for ESL teachers.

E-Teacher Scholarship Summer Workshop successfully organized by LLC graduate Dr. Joan Kang Shin and her team

The E-Teacher Scholars’ Conference was held at UMBC on August 11-12, 2011. The conference was the culmination of the E-Teacher Professional Development Workshop 2011, which was held on UMBC’s campus July 23-August 13, and was moderated by Joan Kang Shin ’08 Ph.D., Language, Literacy and Culture, Clinical Assistant Professor of Education and Director of TESOL Professional Training Programs in Continuing and Professional Studies.

The conference included presentations from the 26 English teaching scholars from 25 countries who developed projects during their three-week stay at UMBC. The final presentation was streamed live through the US Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs' website. On the final day the number of visitors who tuned online were 1,193 unique viewers from 87 different countries!

To find out more about the conference, visit:

Click here for more information about the E-Teacher Scholarship Program.

Polina Vinogradova

Polina Vinogradova has accepted the position of Director of MA TESOL
Program with the Department of Language and Foreign Studies at American
University in Washington. D.C. She will be defending her dissertation on digital storytelling on June 27.

Joby Taylor


LLC Alum and affiliate faculty member Joby Taylor (3rd from left) at the White House, where he joined a "Champions of Change" roundtable meeting as a member of a Peace Corps delegation.

Jiraporn Meechai

Jiraporn Meechai (LLC 7th cohort) successfully defended her dissertation
today on "Thai EFL Online Diaries: Literacy Practice and Self-Expression"
in spite of the loss of power and light!

Congratulations, Jira.

Her dissertation advisor is Professor Thomas Field.

Faida Abu Ghazaleh

Faida Abu Ghazaleh has published her dissertation as a book.

Ethnic Identity of Palestinian Immigrants in the United States: The Role of Cultural Material Artifacts, focuses on Palestinian cultural material artifacts and their connection with the preservation of cultural identity. The Palestinian participants were acutely aware of the potential instability of their diaspora, especially in the United States since 9/11. This study provides a perspective not generally presented in Western media of the Palestinian people striving for the peaceful preservation of their nationality through their cultural artifacts, and social identity practices. For Palestinians, material culture artifacts connect them to their homeland even as it is relentlessly reduced to a fraction of its former landmass. Although the Palestinian people may be scattered around the world, they still retain a powerful connection to each other and their land.

About the Author

Faida has her doctorate in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research focuses on social identity practices and preservation through material culture of populations in Diaspora. She conducted an ethnographic study of Palestinian material culture in Maryland.

Currently, she is working as a researcher at the department of World Cultures at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada on special archeology collection from Palestine.

Dr. Helen Atkinson

President Hrabowski highlighted the accomplishments of Dr. Atkinson during the
December 2009 commencement ceremony: "Helen Atkinson will receive the Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture today. Originally from the U.K., Helen returned to graduate school as a non-traditional student, balancing her studies and research while helping to raise five teenagers. She worked in the Baltimore City School system for many years, most recently as the founder and leader of the Blum Mentoring Program and as a founder and lead teacher for a new alternative high school. Her research focused on the impact of students' alternative curricula, including wilderness experiences. She will be working with UMBC Professor Christine Mallinson on research projects in City schools.

Congratulations, Helen. Your commitment to finding new ways to teach students and
support teachers is impressive -- and honorable. Your dedication to balancing
work and family is inspiring. "

Congratulations to LLC Graduate Salif Diallo

Mamadou Salif Diallo, who received his Ph.D. in LLC in 2007, has just accepted a
position as Assistant Professor of English at Qassim University in Saudi Arabia.
He will be teaching on the main campus in Buraydah.

Congratulations, Salif!