Participants

Kameelah Martin was raised in a military family and has lived in all over the United States. She even lived in Okinawa, Japan for three years. She completed high school in Albany, Georgia then entered Georgia Southern University as a first generation college student. Graduating with honors with a degree in English in December 2000, she pursued a career in higher education. She earned a Master's degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of California Los Angeles in 2003. Moving directly into a doctoral program, Dr. Martin earned her final degree in English from Florida State University in 2006. Her area of focus is twentieth century African American literature with an emphasis in folklore and the African American conjuring tradition.

Dr. Martin's research explores the lore cycle of the conjure woman, or black priestess, as an archetype in literature and visual texts. In 2013, Palgrave McMillan published her first monograph Conjuring Moments in African American Literature: Women, Spirit Work, & Other Such Hoodoo which engages how African American authors have shifted, recycled, and reinvented the conjure woman figure primarily in twentieth century fiction. Dr. Martin is currently dedicated to the completion of a second book project, Envisioning Voodoo: African Spirituality in the Popular Imagination, 1980-2010, which explores the treatment of the priestess in American cinema.

Other areas of interest include the evolution of 20th century black folk heroes, the fiction of Tina McElroy Ansa, Gullah Geechee heritage and culture, African American genealogical research and the writing of family histories. Dr. Martin is a member of the College Language Association, Modern Language Association, and the African American Historical and Genealogical Society. She is the Book Review Editor of the College Language Association Journal and has published in Studies in the Literary Imagination, Black Women, Gender, & Families, as well as the African American National Biography. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the mother of a seven-year-old son. She has held faculty positions at Georgia State University, the University of Houston, and is currently an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Savannah State University.

Rachel Hopkins is currently a teacher at Sol C. Johnson High School. She has taught there for almost five years. For the 2015-2016 school year, Rachel teaches AP Psychology, IB Psychology Year 1 and 2, IB Theory of Knowledge, and US History. Along with teaching at the school, Rachel is the Governor's Honors Program coordinator at the school, a member of the PBIS committee, and flag team advisor. Outside of school, she enjoys volunteering at church as a youth leader, traveling, and going to the movies.

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Jacilyn Ledford is a secondary social studies teacher in the Savannah Chatham County School District. She moved to Savannah from Bahrain in 2009 to begin working in the school system. She is in her eighth year of teaching and is currently working at Savannah Early College High School. She has a great interest making deeper learning connections, with an emphasis on culture, to engage her students in the classroom.

Dr. Kisha R. Cunningham is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology Education at Savannah State University. She received her BS (1995) and MS (1996) from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCA&TSU) in Technology Education and her Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Training Development with a focus in Postsecondary Technical Leadership (2006) from The Pennsylvania State University. She was a Ronald McNair Scholar at NCA&TSU and her research focused on the shortage of African American Males in Education. She served as a Research Fellow at Penn State, where her research focused on Weekend Colleges, Postsecondary Technical Programs and Their Responsiveness to Industry, Vocational Choice and Gender Equity in Technology Education. Her research had been presented at the International Technology Engineering Education Association conference, MAP/MRO Conference, The International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA) in Hong Kong, The School-to-Career Connection Conference and The Association for Career and Technical Education Conference. Dr. Cunningham has been part of the leadership on numerous Gender Equity in Technology Education grants. In particular, she was PI on a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that focused on overcoming barriers that hinder high school female students from entering into nontraditional programs. She served as collaborator and managed The Summer Technology Institute for the Advancement of Gender Equity in High Technology grant (funded through The North Carolina Department of Education with Carl D. Perkins Funds). She has served as Technology Education faculty at North Carolina A&T State University, Druid Hills High School, East Valley Elementary School as well as for Neighborhoods focused on African American Youth.

Arlette Houghton-Parker is a certified teacher whose love for teaching manifested as a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. She taught for 16 years in Chicago, Illinois were she enjoyed the diverse student population & curriculum opportunities for teachers. She was a WECEP coordinator & taught numerous high school courses over the years. Through a partnership with Bank America her stock market team went to the nationals after winning regionally, receiving a group prize of $100,000. She is a nationally recognized financial literacy educator, Gifted & Special Education facilitator & is trained in numerus educational strategies for instruction & of skill knowledge for life-long application. Arlette taught from 3rd grade through undergraduate as she has multiple instruction interests including AVID, reading, the humanities, and Biblical Studies & African-American studies before becoming a Georgia Studies teacher at DeRenne Middle School in Savannah, Georgia. She is energized, encouraged & motivated through her interaction with diverse learners.

Arlette enjoys reading, cooking & numerous outdoor activities including walking, bike riding & hiking. Arlette is an anointed & committed Christian fulfilling requirement for licensing ordination as a Minister (Teacher) 2002 & Elder, 2014. She lives in Georgia with her husband & they embrace every opportunity as world travelers having visited every continent.

Ja'Andra I. Wheeler, a rising senior, is a third year Africana Studies major at the illustrious Savannah State University. A native of the metro-Atlanta area, Miss Wheeler graduated from Pebblebrook High School before beginning her journey to the university. Throughout her matriculation, Miss Wheeler has become very involved academically and socially. As a member of the NAACP Collegiate Chapter, Sisters Striving for Excellence, Incorporated and a Career Ambassador, Miss Wheeler has held various leadership positions. As an Africana Studies major, Ja'Andra has excelled in courses dealing in topics such as African culture, African spirituality, African family systems, African-American history, African history, African-American religion, the Africana Woman and many more. With a previous semester grade point average of a 3.6, Miss Wheeler is a notable student in the department. Ja'Andra has aspirations to conduct research in the area of African spirituality and culture, as she plans to make the material suitable, relatable and exciting for the classroom curriculum. Wheeler has plans of being accepted into a graduate program, directly related to Africana/African-American Studies, as well as becoming certified to teach the subject on a high school, and soon, post-graduate level.

Dr. Benn L. Bongang is a professor of political science and chairman of the department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Savannah State University in Savannah, GA. He completed in April 2014 a year as a scholar of the Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) of the University System of Georgia. He was a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow at Boston University in 1992/93, Dr. Bongang also worked at the United Nations Radio and at the U.N. Department of Disarmament Affairs in New York. Before he relocated to the United States, Bongang worked for several years as a Journalist for Radio and as a TV Producer/Director for the Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation (CRTV).

Dr. Bongang earned degrees in both Journalism and International Studies: a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon; a post-graduate diploma in Television production and directing; a Master of Science Degree (MS) in Journalism from Boston University; a M.A. and a Ph.D in International Studies from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

During most of the 1980s, Bongang travelled and worked in Bostwana; at Radio Nederland, the Dutch international broadcasting station, and in Berlin, Germany among others, His TV documentary "Through Northern Eyes" was bought by German Television. He was the first executive - producer of "Tam-Tam Weekend," a popular live TV Magazine show on CRTV, the Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation.

Dr. Bongang's first book, "The United States and the United Nations: Congressional Funding and United Nations Reform" was published in 2007 by LFB Scholarly of New York. He regularly appears on WTOC Television "Tate Show" in Savannah. His views have been cited in other media outlets such as The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Des Moines Register, and Savannah Morning News.

Dr. Bongang writes and lectures about media, politics, and international affairs. He currently serves on the Board of the Savannah Council on World Affairs.

Tyree D. Wright is a junior, third year Political Science major at Savannah State University, class of 2017. A native of the Atlanta area, Mr. Wright graduated from Langston Hughes High School as a leader, athlete and law firm intern before enrolling as a Savannah State Tiger in 2013. While at SSU, Mr. Wright continues his leadership and involvement as the NAACP Political Action Chair, mentor at Notre Dame Catholic Academy, participant in the Model United Nations and a model for Kreative Coaching Clothing Line. While making academics a priority, Tyree's previous semester's grade point average stood at a 3.45. Mr. Wright is passionate about supporting under-served youth in Atlanta and Savannah and this comes through in his work as Mentor and Youth Advisor at Twenty-First Century Shuman Elementary School. Tyree is known for engaging peers and classmates in conversations related to International Relations, politics, NFL statistics, current events and pop culture.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Mr. Wright's plans to travel and continue his Post-Baccalaureate studies in Secondary Education to inspire, challenge and educate future generations.

Dr. Anderson attained his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Northwestern State University. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from Southern University and a PhD in Social Work from Tulane University. Most of his work experience in Social Work has been direct practice in clinical settings ranging from psychiatric hospitals to long term residential treatment facilities. Dr. Anderson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the states of Louisiana and Georgia. Prior to relocating to Georgia, he worked as a Clinical Manager for several Mental Health Rehabilitation agencies, and was in Private Practice. Dr. Anderson taught full time in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Georgia (UGA) prior to his current teaching post at Savannah State University. He teaches practice and clinical courses in the Master of Social Work program.

Dr. Anderson has served as a Curriculum Reviewer for Morehouse School of Medicine in which he examined clinical practice modules to be adopted by several universities in the United States with clinical practice concentrations in Social Work. Dr. Anderson has served as a test proctor for Harvard University, and has coordinated the Mary Jane Stinson Scholarship award offered by the Clinical Social Work Association of Savannah. Dr. Anderson has been awarded "Social Worker of the Year" by the Clinical Social Work Association of Savannah, and an appreciation award by the National Association of Black Social Workers for his service to the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Dr. Anderson was appointed to the Presidential Delegation that traveled to Ghana in 2012. The delegation visited the University of Ghana in Legon, Asheshi University in Berekuso, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, and Cape Coast University in Cape Coast. The delegation was tasked with developing strategies to revive Savannah State University's study abroad program. During the summer of 2015, Dr. Anderson led a group of Savannah State University students to Ghana. The Study Abroad program included learning experiences in Accra, Cape Coast and Kumasi. Dr. Anderson provides clinical supervision, a requisite before licensure, to post graduate Social Workers in the state of Georgia. His research interests include parenting practices among African Americans, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in children and Social Service Delivery Systems in Ghana.

Carey Bray currently works as a French teacher at Windsor Forest High School, but the majority of her teaching experience over the past six years has been as an ESOL instructor. She prepared for her work in the field of language study and language education by studying French and Linguistics at Columbus State University (CSU) in Columbus, GA, where Carey was also a recipient of the Servant Leadership Scholarship as well as an active participant in the program for all four years of college. Following her graduation, Carey spent time teaching English overseas in South Korea and in France. Upon her return to the U.S., Carey spent three years teaching ESOL for the English Language Institute at her alma mater, CSU, before moving to Savannah in November of 2014 to teach French. Outside of the realm of work and school, Carey has a wide variety of interests and hobbies ranging from foreign languages, international cultures, and traveling to camping, running, and sewing. She loves meeting and getting to know new people, and she strives to form meaningful connections in that process.

Dr. Boniface Kawasha received his B.A. (Ed.) in French and English from the University of Zambia, M.A. in French Literature, M.A. in Linguistics, and Ph.D. in Linguistics in Linguistics all from the University of Oregon. He is an Associate Professor of French and Linguistics in the Department of English, Languages, and Cultures at Savannah State University, Georgia. He has taught several French language, culture, literature, and civilization courses, Linguistics courses as well as Critical Thinking. Dr. Kawasha has a few years of high school teaching experience. He has taught at the University of Oregon and Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee. As a linguist, he has presented and published on various aspects of morphosyntax of languages spoken in Zambia. Dr. Kawasha's research focuses on morphosyntax of Bantu languages, particularly Zambian languages, French, English, and language typology. Some of his articles have appeared in Studies in African Linguistics, Journal of African Languages and Africana Linguistica.