Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts Sasha has always had a passion for empowering young people in her hometown and abroad. She believes in the power of a strongly connected community and of the impact even just a small group of impassioned minds can make. She’s remained involved in community activism and youth empowerment work for the past ten years as volunteer, youth worker, and now board member of a youth-led non-profit, and intends to do so for as long as she can! As a former student within the Ventures program at Fenway High School, Sasha has worked closely with Amy Carrier and can offer an organic view of the importance of having such a curriculum available to all students.
After graduating from Fenway High School Sasha went on to attend Emerson College where she graduated with a B.A. in Writing, Publishing and Literature. Along the way she sought out and successfully completed internships at VIBE magazine, Boston Public Radio, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, American Student Assistance, and NPR. All of which can be directly attributed to the networking, professional and presentation skills she obtained within the Ventures program. She now continues to support educational programs through her work with Project Hip Hop, as the Social Media representative for Empowerment Through Education and an Administrative Assistant and the Fellowship Coordinator at the Division for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Sasha enjoys writing, blogging, spoken word poetry, Zumba, and live music events. She intends to obtain her MBA as well as launch her own publishing and media company in the future.
You may reach Sasha at [email protected]
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master’s Degree in English from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Missouri.
Erik has helped design and implement curriculum for fifteen years at the local level (for Plymouth Public Schools) and the national level, including writing the teaching materials and lesson plans for Greenwood Press’ Pop Culture Universe and ABC-CLIO’s Pop Culture “Analyze” research-based units. Since early in his career, his research interest has been studying ways teachers at secondary schools and colleges/universities can better use and implement popular culture and media studies in curricula and teaching. In 2002, he created the “Teaching: Popular Culture and the Classroom” section of the Southwest Popular / American Culture Association to help gather scholars to study the critical uses of technology, culture, and media in classrooms, and he continued to chair that section of the conference until 2013. He now co-chairs the “Pedagogy & Popular Culture” section of that conference in Albuquerque, NM and has been featured in Scholastic’s Instructor magazine for his own innovative use of popular culture in teaching. Erik is currently on the Advisory Board for the academic journal Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture.
Erik is happy to be part of Empowerment through Education particularly because it focuses it provides opportunities for students to take charge of their own learning. In the past five years, Erik has studied the role of authentic assessment and differentiated instruction in the classroom, and he has seen first-hand how small learning communities, advisories, and senior-projects can impact student motivation and future successes. He has been part of visiting teams to assess how high schools across New England are using authentic assessments in order to provide strategies for improvement. Erik believes this is something that can be done in all schools and in all settings. In 2013, he co-presented at the Inspire Conference, sponsored by the National Institute for Student Centered Education (NISCE), “Envisioning New Realities for Education in a Traditional Setting,” which studied how differentiated classroom structure and authentic assessment can create rigorous opportunities for students to express themselves while still meeting state and national standards. He has led workshops and teacher in-service sessions on topics including differentiated instruction, assessment strategies, media studies, peer assessment and revision, and speaking/listening strategies. His current research interest involves investigating ways to extend authentic assessment initiatives from high school settings to post-secondary institutions and study how colleges can change the way they teach reading and writing tasks and have students work with local communities to make learning more authentic in the required “composition” cycles at two and four year colleges.
An educator with a passion for English and media studies, Erik has received several teaching honors and was recognized as the 2012 New England English Teacher of the Year, the recipient of the Ann Garland West Award for Excellence in English Teaching, given by the New England Association of Teachers of English. He also received the 2012-2013 Lorenz Adjunct Faculty Award for Best Adjunct Teaching from Quincy College. He has received more than a dozen grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for studies related to his classroom instruction. Yet despite the teaching awards he has received, he is most proud that his journalism students won the “All New England Award” for best television journalism news program in New England for four consecutive years, 2010-2013, in ceremonies given by the New England Scholastic Press Association at Boston University. Erik currently resides in Plymouth, Mass with his wife and two children.
Erik can be reached [email protected].