What projects and new ideas are exciting you personally, academically, professionally?
I’m currently based in New York City and working as the research coordinator for the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution while working towards my Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia. I’m also doing some grant-writing projects for a collective-impact on public education non-profit in my hometown. That’s where my heart really lies, and I’m hoping to return to the education sector more full-time once I finish my program so I can apply ideas about conflict analysis and systems-thinking within school systems. I also started taking ceramics classes this year which has been a fun change of pace.
Have you been keeping in touch with your Bezos Scholar Alumni, and if so — how?
Less than I’d wish! I really enjoyed catching up with folks at a recent reunion, and would love to do more of that. It’s been a busy year professionally and academically and a challenging one personally, but I am incredibly excited to reset a bit in 2018. Anyone free for coffee or a wander in New York? I’d love to catch up.
Which influential books, albums, podcasts, or films would you personally recommend to the BSP community of curious minds?
I love Charles Payne’s book, So Much Reform, So Little Change, about the forces that resist change in urban public schools, and Peter Coleman’s book, The Five Percent, about the way patterns in social systems coalesce into seemingly intractable forces, and what that means for conceptualizing systemic change. I’ve also been revisiting Howard Zinn’s A Peoples History of the US—if you haven’t read it recently, I couldn’t more highly recommend it.
I listen to a ton of podcasts on my long commutes, and some of my favorites are The Daily (for deeper dives into current news from the NYT), Radiolab, Embedded, This American Life, and More Perfect (about the Supreme Court), Code Switch, On Being, and Invisibilia. I’m also way late on this bandwagon, but I’ve also recently been really excited about The Wire and think anyone interested in complicated people navigating complicated institutions should watch it (and give me a call if you want to discuss it obsessively).
Who or what are you finding inspiration in right now?
While it's insufficient and imperfect, I am heartened by the fact that more conversations about issues such as injustice and inequity, racism, sexism, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., are happening in more circles and across more levels than I’ve seen before. Thanks to the tireless work of so many activists, I see a growing and more shared vocabulary around systemic injustice, systems of oppression, white supremacy, white fragility, and conversations about what racism is and what it looks like, and while we have a lot of learning and struggling ahead (in a pretty scary context), I am hopeful that more conversations are happening and spreading.
Anything else you want to share with the BSP community?
Sending everyone best wishes for a 2018 that holds all you hope it will!