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June 14, 2022

Alumni named National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellows

Michigan State University Spartans have been named among the scholars for the 2022 cohort of National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

The annual program supports early career scholars who are engaging in “critical areas of education research.” In addition to professional development and networking activities, the scholars will receive $70,000 in support to fund their research proposals. Nearly 260 scholars applied for the fellowship, only 25 were selected.

Kongji Qin and Stephen Santa-Ramirez
Kongji Qin (left) and Stephen Santa-Ramirez (right)

Kongji Qin, a 2016 graduate of MSU’s Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education doctoral program, is an assistant professor of language education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

As a former language teacher and a transnational scholar trained in China and the United States, Qin’s overall research examines and addresses inequality in and through language and literacy education of immigrant youth in U.S. schools. With the NAEd/Spencer Fellowship, Qin will conduct participatory action research with both teachers and immigrant youth to explore how an intergenerational research collective of educators, students, activists and university-based researchers can support immigrant youth to engage in critical inquiry and linguistic activism to counteract xenophobia and racism.

“This project,” Qin explains, “aims to build a theory of anti-oppressive language and literacy pedagogy that centers immigrant students’ concerns, voice, and agency in teaching literacy for immigration justice, equity, and dignity.”

Qin shares: “As Spartan, I’m deeply grateful to the support from both NYU and MSU, particularly my advisor Professor Lynn Paine and many other scholars in the Department of Teacher Education. Thank you for inspiring me to do this critical work!”

Stephen Santa-Ramirez, a 2013 graduate of MSU’s Student Affairs Administration master’s program, is an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Buffalo.

Broadly, Santa-Ramirez’s work investigates ideological, historical and structural inequalities impacting racially minoritized and migrant communities. In his work with NAEd, he will focus on the transitional experiences of college-aged individuals who are either undocumented or “DACAmented.” According to the abstract on the NAEd site, about 2.1 million college-aged individuals fit these categories.

“The results,” the abstract continues, “will contribute to existing literature centering undocu/DACAmented collegians’ lived experiences, offering exigent implications for institutional agents and policymakers interested in retention, student success and post-graduation preparedness to more effectively engage with and holistically support these collegians as they transition in, through and out of college.”

Another Spartan, Jazmen Moore, was also among the honorees. Moore is a two-time graduate of MSU, earning a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was among the 35 scholars named Dissertation Fellows. Moore is a doctoral candidate in the Culturally Sustaining Education program in the University of Washington’s College of Education.

This story originally ran on the College of Education website.

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