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2015-2017 Cohort

                                Dr. Keisha McIntosh Allen


Now Assistant Professor of Education at UMBC 


Dr. Keisha McIntosh Allen, alumna of Hampton University, received her Ed.D. from Teachers College at Columbia University in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. She engages in critical research across the fields of curriculum theory, cultural studies, and teacher education. Specifically, she is interested in the ways in which existing knowledge systems support or constrain historically marginalized students’, particularly Black male youths’, opportunities to learn. Through the lenses of identities-in-practice and critical race theory, she examines the ways in which youth’s identities are supported and constrained by Discourses such as curricula and the ways in which asset-based,culturally sustaining pedagogies influence how youth view themselves as learners and critically engaged members of society. She also theorizes how the knowledge systems teachers operate within support their identities as anti-racist, critical educators.




Dr. Nkiru NnawuleziNkiru

Now Assistant Professor of Psychology at UMBC 


Dr. Nkiru Nnawulezi earned her Ph.D. in Ecological-Community Psychology from Michigan State University. Her interdisciplinary program of research broadly integrates empowerment theory, organizational behavior theories, intersectionality, and the social-ecological model in order to understand the factors that promote or hinder the well-being of survivors who experience gender-based violence. She is primarily interested in exploring how social identity and culture influence Black women survivors’ disclosure and help-seeking practices, as well as determining ways to improve how formal support systems and communities respond to survivors. Dr. Nnawulezi has secondary research interests in organizational diversity and inclusion, critical pedagogy, white racial identity, program evaluation and transformative mixed-methods. As a postdoctoral fellow, she plans to publish manuscripts from her dissertation exploring how the construction of domestic violence shelter contexts contributes to survivor empowerment. She will also begin a new collaborative projects examining violence against Black women.



MejDr. Mejdulene Shomali

Now Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at UMBC 

Gender and Women’s Studies


Mejdulene B. Shomali received her PhD in American Culture at the University of Michigan.  She received her master’s degree in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University and her bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy from The University of Michigan, Flint. Her research investigates the representation of femininity and sexuality in Arab and Arab American literature, art, and film. Her book project focuses on three prominent icons of transnational Arab culture: the storyteller Scheherazade, the belly dancer Samia Gamal, and the revolutionary Leila Khaled. Currently, Mejdulene is developing two articles for publication and designing a new Gender and Women’s Studies course for the Spring 2016 term, titled “Trans/national Femininities.”