NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University students and faculty members recently participated in the 18th Annual Region Five Texas National Association for Multicultural Education Conference at the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center.

This conference focused on social activism and making multicultural education accessible for everyone. Participants engaged in workshop and panel sessions, paper presentations, poster sessions, and an ideas and issues discussion.

SFA education majors Traci Dorsett, Kaitlyn Shamburger and Karisa Stokley presented research. Dorsett’s presentation focused on advice teacher candidates and in-service teachers want and need. Shamburger discussed reconciling religious identity with teacher identity using interviews with Instagram teacher influencers. Stokley’s research emphasized special education reform and asked if following the law was enough. Dr. Mychelle Smith, associate professor at SFA, and Christopher Kyle Manuel, an education major, co-presented on culturally responsive teaching in local music education classrooms.  

Two SFA faculty members were recognized at the conference. Dr. Jim Ewing, assistant professor in elementary education, was the recipient of the 2019 Texas NAME Service Award, which honors an individual who advocates for the advancement of multicultural education in the community, work settings and NAME. Ewing’s teaching, research and service focus on how to best meet the needs of Latinx emergent bilinguals. He regularly hosts free professional development opportunities for local teachers emphasizing culturally responsive practices.

Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey, assistant professor in the Department of Human Services, received the 2019 Texas NAME Outstanding Postsecondary Teaching award, which is reserved for those advocating for the advancement of multicultural education in their courses and demonstrating culturally diverse and responsive teaching practices. Ellis-Hervey is a licensed psychologist, certified life coach and vlogger.

Dr. Heather Olson Beal, associate professor, and Dr. Lauren Burrow, assistant professor, also discussed Barrio Writers, a summer community program that provides participants with the chance to learn different forms of writing, such as poetry, spoken word, short stories and essays.