AmeriCorps Alums Presents: Opportunities in Social Justice And Human Rights
For many AmeriCorps alums and current AmeriCorps members, social justice and human rights are core concepts that motivate and inspire them toward an ethic of service. With so many examples of unfair outcomes, a critical mass of AmeriCorps Alums have turned their professional aspirations toward addressing the inequities that exist in today’s society. On Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 from 12-1PM Eastern, AmeriCorps Alums will conduct its monthly professional development webinar on post-Americorps Opportunities in Social Justice & Human Rights. The webinar will feature an all-star panel of AmeriCorps alumni who have significant experience in the area of social justice and human rights. Our vision is to provide you with insight into what is possible in this space, from continuing education opportunities to career and professional opportunities. Click here to register.
The webinar will be sponsored by Prescott College’s Master of Arts in Social Justice and Human Rights Program. AmeriCorps Alumni Panelists will include:
Dr. Bettina Love (AmeriCorps ’05): Assistant Professor, University of Georgia
Dr. Love is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities. A continuing thread of her scholarship involves exploring new ways of thinking about urban education and culturally relevant pedagogical approaches for urban learners. More specifically, she is interested in transforming urban classrooms through the use of non-traditional educational curricula (e.g., Hip Hop pedagogy, media literacy, Hip Hop feminism, and popular culture). Building on that theme, Dr. Love also has a passion for studying the school experiences of queer youth, along with race and equality in education. She is the author of Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South (Peter Lang, 2012). Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Journal of LGBT Youth, Educational Studies, and Race, Gender, and Class.
As part of an interdisciplinary team at Legal Aid Society, Ms. Samimi-Luu’s role includes determining clients’ ability to understand the circumstances of their case, working with attorneys to develop strategies for courtroom advocacy, creating dispositional plans and finding alternatives to sentencing/placement, ensuring clients are receiving all necessary services, and communicating with juvenile justice and child welfare system personnel.
Typical activities on her cases may include reporting to the court by appearing on the record, testifying, and submitting written reports or affidavits, interviewing the client and conducting a bio-psycho-social assessment, reviewing records such as mental health evaluations, medical records, and Individualized Education Plans, gathering information from collateral sources including therapists, school personnel, and family members, making referrals for treatment, and other services.
Nicholas Pelzer (AmeriCorps ’04): Director of Public Service Leadership & Strategic Initiatives at National Urban Fellows
Mr. Pelzer brings over ten years of cross-sector experience developing and enhancing dynamic social initiatives. As Director of Public Service Leadership & Strategic Initiatives, Nicholas works to support long-term strategies and innovative approaches to ensuring diverse leadership in the public sector. He is responsible alumni support and development, partner engagement, and strategic initiatives.
Before joining NUF, Nicholas was a Project Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) where he coordinated the launch and expansion of several multi-million dollar grantmaking programs. During his time at RWJF, he managed national efforts designed to create a more highly educated healthcare workforce, introduce new and diverse researchers to the field, and improve access to quality healthcare for underserved communities. He is an alumnus of several public service and leadership programs including the AmeriCorps VISTA program, Leadership NJ, and the inaugural cohorts of NUF’s America’s Leaders of Change and Executive Leadership & Coaching programs.
Sean Coffman (AmeriCorps ’11): Disaster Program Manager, American Red Cross
Mr. Coffman is the Disaster Program Manager for the Minn-Kota Territory of the Dakotas Region for the American Red Cross, and is responsible for managing facilitating and coordinating the effective delivery of all emergency services programs, including preparedness, readiness, response and recovery for 35 counties and a population of approximately 600,000 people. Mr. Coffman is also currently the Vice Chair of the Cass Clay Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), sits on the board of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, and writes for the High Plains Reader covering topics about social justice and humanitarian issues. Mr. Coffman is an AmeriCorps Alumni, and served as a full-time member via the American Red Cross in Columbus Ohio between 2010 and 2011.
Andriana Bicanin (AmeriCorps ’09, ’11, ’12): Graduate Student, Prescott College Social Justice and Human Rights Masters Program
Ms. Bicanin is a current graduate student in the new on campus Social Justice and Human Rights Masters program at Prescott College. She spent years in political campaign work in her home-state of Illinois before serving as a VISTA member in Bremerton, WA, with Community Youth Services/Washington Reading Corps. Completely in love with VISTA, she served two more years as an AmeriCorps member; one year as a VISTA with the the IDA and Asset Building Collaborative, serving with the New Century IDA in Winston-Salem, NC, and her last year as a State/National member in Boston, MA, with Generations Incorporated.
Through her graduate school experience, she has traveled throughout Arizona, visited the Arizona/Mexico border wall, and crossed into Mexico to learn from groups directly affected by current policies, and visit community and grassroots organizations. She is currently in Los Angeles interning with two organizations that are run by communities directly affected by issues in housing and homelessness, food justice, incarceration, and city & state abuse. She plans to pursue public interest law, concentrating on housing justice.