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Dean Announces New Postdoctoral Fellows

Dean James Ryan announces three postdoctoral fellows as part of the newly developed Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Faculty Development.

Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan announced today three postdoctoral fellows — Diamond Bravo, Mariam Durrani, and Jarvis Givens — as part of the newly developed Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Faculty Development. The fellowship, supported in part by the President’s Office, prepares outstanding recent doctoral graduates from diverse backgrounds for successful faculty careers in the education. They will join HGSE this July for the two-year fellowship.

“I am thrilled to welcome Diamond, Mariam, and Jarvis to the HGSE community. Their backgrounds are incredibly impressive, as is their current work. Each has conducted essential research on how educators can better serve diverse populations,” Ryan said. “Just as I know our students and faculty will benefit from their scholarship and teaching, I am sure that each of these fellows will also have a powerful impact on the broader field of education, and I am delighted that HGSE will play a role in preparing them to do just that.”

The postdoctoral fellowship focuses on cutting-edge research and faculty careers, specifically developing fellow’s research and teaching. Under the close mentorship of HGSE faculty members, fellows will undertake a research project of their choosing aimed at catalyzing their research, and teach one course each year in their area of expertise.

The faculty search committee for the postdoctoral fellows was chaired by Professor Nancy Hill, who lauded each fellow’s interdisciplinary work which explores the educational experiences of diverse youth. “Individually, their work will deepen our understanding of how youth from Muslim, Mexican-American, and African-American backgrounds navigate educational contexts, bring their cultural heritage and strengths to the classroom, and are shaped by the acculturative processes of the classrooms,” she said. “Together, their diverse disciplinary focus and populations converge on the common threads at the intersection of individual identity and ecological contexts.”

Hill noted that the committee reviewed a large number of applications and that “Jarvis, Mariam, and Diamond represent the very best of this next generation of scholars focused on the most pressing issues facing American education.”

Diamond BravoAs a doctoral candidate in the Program in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University, Bravo’s research focuses on the cultural mechanisms and constructs that contribute to the academic success and well-being of immigrant-students and students of color in the United States. In her recent research, she studied a group of low-income, Mexican-origin adolescents to determine how much valuing one’s family and learning about one’s own ethnic identity and heritage predicts higher educational expectations. As a fellow, she plans to continue this research with the goal of enhancing diversity in higher education pathways by designing culturally focused interventions. Professor Nancy Hill will serve as her faculty mentor. Bravo received her bachelor’s in psychology from University of California – Riverside and her master’s in general experimental psychology from California State University – Northridge. 

Mariam DurraniAs a doctoral candidate in anthropology and educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, Durrani’s research explores how schools teach about Muslim communities and practices, as well as the impact of this teaching on both Muslim and non-Muslim students. She’s dedicated to helping educators better understand and incorporate into practice the national, cultural, and ethnic nuances that exist across the broader Muslim faith community. As a fellow, she will continue to research this area, specifically how the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the ongoing “War on Terror” are currently being taught in schools through curriculum and pedagogy.  Assistant Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson and Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot will act as her faculty mentors. Durrani received her bachelor’s in systems engineering from the University of Arizona and her master’s in English rhetoric from the University of New Mexico. Additionally, she has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Hunter College in New York, and Lahore University of Management Science in Lahore, Pakistan.

Jarvis GivensAs a doctoral candidate in the African American Studies Department at University of California – Berkeley, Givens’ research centers on African-American history during the 19th and 20th centuries and how schooling shapes the experiences of Black people. His dissertation analyzes the efforts of Carter G. Woodson, an educational theorist whose work in the early 20th century challenged the cultural politics of white supremacy and recognize the humanity of Black people. Through his fellowship, Givens will deepen his review of Woodson’s contributions — for example, he plans to collect the oral histories of about 20 senior members of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History founded by Woodson.  He will also continue studying the contemporary schooling experiences of African American students in Oakland, California. Professors Julie Reuben and Meira Levinson will mentor his work. He received his bachelor’s in business and his master’s in African American Studies from University of California – Berkeley.