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CURRENTS: Sonya Squires-Caesar and Amy Tondreau

Humanities Work Now


Performing Arts & Humanities Building : 216 and Online

Date & Time

December 4, 2023, 12:00 pm1:00 pm


CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now is a lunchtime series that showcases exciting new faculty/student work in the humanities in a dynamic and inter-disciplinary setting. In general, two speakers will share the free hour with 2 short, informal presentations (10 min. ea.) and time for discussion.

Finding Face and Building Financially Resilient Spaces
Sonya Squires-Caesar, Ph.D. Candidate, Language, Literacy, and Culture Doctoral Program; Dresher Center Graduate Student Research Fellow (Fall 2023)

Sonya Squires-Caesar will discuss her project on communal savings practices, which is founded upon the synergy and connectedness of African Indigenous Knowledge (AIK). AIK draws on a wealth of wisdom from various African cultures, passed down through generations. Squires-Caesar will explore her initiative to create a storytelling, decorative mask exhibit and interactive workshop that infuses an important AIK process known as "finding your face," a pathway that explores uncovering your roots, spirit, and what matters most to you, to respond to economic challenges.


What is Hands-On Social Emotional Learning?

Amy Tondreau, Assistant Professor, Education; Kara Seidel, PhD Candidate, Language, Literacy, and Culture; and Erik Wikane, M.P.P Candidate, School of Public Policy

The Covid-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the socialization, mental health, and schooling of young children, which schools are still trying to mitigate. Amy Tondreau and her research team will discuss the partnership between UMBC’s Department of Education, the Department of Engineering, Arts for Learning Maryland, and a local elementary school, funded by the Charlesmead Initiative for Arts Education, which brought materials-rich hands-on STEAM projects to students. Analyzing focus groups of third, fourth, and fifth graders as well as elementary teacher interviews, the research team will explore how these projects can support the development of students' social emotional competencies (e.g., self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills) and foster new mindsets and capabilities.