Education scholar receives Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship

by the Illinois News Bureau  /   Mar 6, 2018

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Fellowship champions vital role of the humanities in enriching public life

Ruth Nicole Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, received a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship for $50,000. The funding will expand Black Girls Genius Week, a series of humanities-based workshops for African-American middle school- and high school-aged girls, from central Illinois to Chicago, San Diego, and Columbia, South Carolina.

In 2006, responding to a need for spaces where black girls and women are seen and valued by each other, Brown created Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths, a collectively organized community practice for black girls to come together and celebrate the multiple meanings of black girlhood.

After a decade of honing the program, Brown designed Black Girls Genius Week, a structured set of after-school and weekend activities centered on humanistic inquiry that amplify the collective power of black girls, recognize them as experts of their own lived experience, foster deep critical thinking skills and creative practices, and exemplify genius.

Brown has piloted Black Girls Genius Week three times in central Illinois, refining the pedagogy and earning the Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement from Illinois. She is also a professor of gender and women’s studies.

Read the full article by the Illinois News Bureau.