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Teach-In on Race: Deans’ Fellows Highlight Arts Festival, Syllabi Mapping Project

As part of the 2023 Teach-In on Race last week, the Deans’ Fellows presented two projects they’ve been working on to enhance equity on campus: a curriculum mapping project and a weekend arts festival happening in March.

Sean Myers
Sean Myers ’24 (Photo by Bobby Wu)

The Deans’ Fellows are a group of undergraduate students who work to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) on Emerson’s campus. Beyoncé Stringer Martinez ’24 and Pranit Chand ’23 served as the presenters.

“They were selected to be a part of Emerson’s efforts to ensure that our values are reflected in our pedagogy, our co-curricular programming, and all academic initiatives,” said Samantha Ivery, Emerson’s Director of Diversity and Equity Initiatives.

Gabriella Perez ’23 joined the Deans’ Fellows after Emerson’s Dark Side podcast ended due to COVID. She had hosted the podcast, which was run by students of color. “I thought [the Deans’ Fellowship] was a really great way to still continue my involvement towards racial equity on campus and ever since then it’s just been home,” she said.

“It’s really hard being the only Black girl in all of your classes and I really wanted to find out if there were ways to change that…I found that the Deans’ Fellowship was a great way to do that,” said Justina Thompson ’24.

Applications for 2023-2024 Deans’ Fellowship are now open. The deadline to apply is March 6. Students can reach out to their deans with any questions or learn more at

Group photo of Deans' Fellows and advisors
Group photo of Deans’ Fellows with Tikesha Morgan, Assistant Dean Global and Equity Education, front left, and Samantha Ivery, Director, Diversity and Equity Initiatives, front right. (Photo by Bobby Wu ’24)

School of Communication and Marlboro Institute Presentations

The Deans’ Fellows from the School of Communication and the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies presented their two ongoing projects for this semester: DEIA Faculty Recognition Project and the DEIA Syllabus Mapping Project.

The DEIA Faculty Recognition Project is recognizing Emerson faculty members nominated by students through a survey for going above and beyond in matters of DEIA. The faculty to be recognized will be named soon.

“What we looked for were faculty nominations that had incorporated global perspectives, created a safe space, enhanced accessibility, and just encouraged DEIA topics,” said Clarisa Carrillo ’24. “It’s been really awesome to see that there’s some professors mentioned more than once by many students, and again it really just affirms and shows us that there are so many professors that are doing the work.”

The DEIA Syllabus Mapping Project looks at required readings and sources listed in syllabi, and maps where the content is coming from.

Students present info on the DEIA Faculty Recognition Project
The DEIA Faculty Recognition Project is recognizing Emerson faculty members nominated by students through a survey for going above and beyond with DEIA. (Photo by Bobby Wu)

“We’re not trying to see the deficit in classes, we’re not trying to uncover things that classes lack, we’re trying to see what they have and how we can grow on that,” said Daniel Luppino ’23.

As an example, they showed a source map for Behavioral Economics, a 400-level course. Sources ranged from Flint, Michigan, to Zimbabwe, to Lamalera, Indonesia. However, when looking at sources from 100-level courses, they all came from the Western world.

“Not that it’s a bad thing, but obviously there’s more room for courses as well as sources that we can gather from,” said Pranit Chand ’23.

School of the Arts Presentation

The Deans’ Fellows from the School of the Arts completed their search to commission a mural in the Paramount last semester. Through an extensive interview process, they found artist David Teng Olsen, “who really represented our goals and what we wanted to bring to campus, which was inclusion, diversity, and representation,” said Martinez. The mural can be seen in the third-floor atrium of Paramount.

Students speak on stage
Left to right: Daphne Bryant ’25, Jake Tolentino ’24, Gabriella Perez ’23 and Kyoko Itoh ’25. School of the Arts Deans’ Fellows spoke about their work on creating the Embrace Our Hearts Festival happening in March. (Photo by Bobby Wu)

This semester, the School of the Arts Fellows are putting together the Embrace Our Hearts Festival, which will be held in March and include three events. The goal of this festival is to “initiate community engagement within the Emerson community as well as enforcing togetherness as BIPOC students,” said Martinez.

The first event will be a film festival on March 24 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm in the Student Performance Center Theatre (SPC) in the Little Building. Student short films made by BIPOC students will be showcased.

“We wanted to create this opportunity for students of color to showcase their films and have their voices heard,” said Kyoko Itoh ’25. Students may submit any films shorter than 20 minutes that have been made in the past two years via google submission form before February 24 at 11:59 pm.

The Into the Spotlight Performance event will be at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on March 25, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

“This is an opportunity for us to celebrate ourselves and express ourselves creatively and to show off all of our diversity and express all that in an amazing way,” said Sean Myers ’24. Any type of performance is accepted, and auditions are not required, but students can audition via google submission form.

The final event for the weekend will be a Book Sale & Open Mic Night at the SPC Theatre on March 26 from 8:00 to 9:00 pm. Books by authors of color will be sold, including titles from Toni Morrison and Joy Harjo.

“We created this event so that students on campus have the ability to not only direct access to works by authors of color, but also have the opportunity to read their own work and really highlight their artistry,” said Perez. Students can submit their work to be featured as part of the open mic via google submission form.

The following are a list of the 2022-2023 Deans’ Fellows

Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies

Pranit Chand ’23, Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS): Data Science and Economics

School of Communication

Sharon Boateng ’23, Journalism

Clarisa Carrillo ’24, Political Communication

Laura Gonzalez ’23, Communication Sciences & Disorders

Kristin (ZuEr) He ’23, Political Communication

Daniel Luppino ’23, Communication Studies

School of the Arts

Daphne Bryant ’25, Creative Writing

Shehrbano Hasan ’24, Creative Writing

Kyoko Itoh ’25, Media Arts Production

Brianna Jackman ’22, 4+1 Publishing & Writing

Minseo Kwon ’23, Media Arts Production

Beyoncé Martinez ’24, Theatre & Performance

Diego Mejia ’25, Media Arts Production

Sean Myers ’24, Theatre Education and Performance

Gabriella Perez ’23, Writing, Literature, & Publishing

Justina Thompson ’24, Media Studies

Jake Tolentino ’24, Theatre BFA

Lyna Zidane ’23, Media Arts Production BFA

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