Transforming Tension: Pedagogy, Learning and Empowerment

Transforming Tension: Pedagogy, Learning and Empowerment will be coming soon.

Bruin Voices

We’ve compiled a series of video speeches with follow-up dialogue among attendees that engaged the College on an array of topics and assisted in raising awareness and building the social and intellectual capacity of the Salt Lake Community College community.

Check the Bruin Voices presentations from 2016-2019

James Courage Singer is an educator and advocate. He teaches sociology and ethnic studies at SLCC as a Diversity Fellow and is also one of the co-founders of the Utah League of Native American Voters and the Utah Alliance for American Indian Education. He serves on the board of directors for the Rape Recovery Center and the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance. In 2018, he won the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Congress in Utah Congressional District 3. James grew up in Kearns, Utah and attended SLCC. He lives in West Valley City with his spouse and daughters.

Maria Estrada came to the U.S. from Colombia in 1988. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2001 and received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Education, Culture and Society. She is associate director of the Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion team at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In her role, she helps TNC build strong relationships of trust and mutuality, internally and externally, to reach the diversity of partners needed to assure that both nature and people thrive. This work involves building capacity to partner with communities and working on equity and inclusion aspects of conservation.

Dr. Cosgrove is a pediatrician with over 30 years’ experience in private practice. He is an active advocate for children and serves on many boards and committees striving to improve the lives of children.

Clifton G. Sanders, Ph.D., is the Provost for Academic Affairs at Salt Lake Community College. He has more than 25 years teaching, administrative and leadership experience in higher education, primarily at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). Prior to joining SLCC, Dr. Sanders was a senior research scientist and has several patents in biomaterials technology. His research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.

Dr. Sanders earned a BA in Chemistry from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN), a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Utah and a Certificate in Biblical Languages from Salt Lake Theological Seminary.

Brittney Nystrom joined the ACLU of Utah as Executive Director in August 2016.

Previously, beginning in 2012, Brittney served as Director for Advocacy at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) in Washington, D.C. where she advocated on behalf of refugees, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, and other vulnerable populations.

Before LIRS, Brittney was the Director of Policy and Legal Affairs at the National Immigration Forum, where her advocacy focused on due process concerns and overdue reforms to the immigration system. Earlier in her career, she represented detained individuals facing deportation and advocated for humane detention conditions as the Legal Director at the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. She spent several years in private practice, as well, as part of the litigation team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen, LLP, also in Washington, D.C.

Through her extensive work on immigration and refugee issues, Brittney has become a recognized national expert and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Born on Hill Air Force Base, Brittney is a graduate from Bonneville High School in Ogden. Brittney holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University School of Law, and is admitted to the bar in D.C. and Illinois.

Brittney, and her family, are excited to have returned to Utah to live near such beautiful natural diversity and take advantage the of the skiing and hiking opportunities available.

The Rev. France A. Davis was born in Gough, Georgia to John H. and Julia Davis. After high school, he attended Tuskegee Institute and later became an Air Force jet mechanic. He earned degrees in Afro- American Studies from Merritt College, Arts and Humanities from Laney College, Rhetoric from University of California at Berkeley, Religion and Philosophy from Westminster College, Master of Mass Communication from the University of Utah, and Master of Ministry from Northwest Nazarene College.

Pastor Davis was licensed in 1966 and ordained for ministry in 1971. He came to Salt Lake City in 1972 as a teaching fellow and graduate student at the University of Utah. He was appointed instructor in communication and ethnic studies courses, earning a distinguished teacher award. Pastor Davis retired July 1, 2014 from the University of Utah as Adjunct Associate Professor Emeritus.

Pastor Davis has been the full time pastor of the historic Calvary Missionary Baptist Church of Salt Lake City, Utah since 1974. In April 2016, Rev. Davis reached 50 years in the ministry.

Pastor Davis was appointed to the Utah Board of Regents, 2008, appointed Fifth Vice President of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education in 2009-2014, appointed as Vice President of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education in 2014, received the Utah Valley University “Excellence in Ethics Award” on September 24, 2014, was the commencement speaker for Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah on May 1, 2015, and received the Lifetime Achievement Heroes Recognition from the American Red Cross on March 31, 2016.

Pastor Davis is the husband of Willene, and the father of Carolyn, France II, and Grace. He has four grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Gardner Seawright is a doctoral candidate in the Education, Culture, and Society Department at the University of Utah, and is set to receive his PhD in May 2018. His studies focus on the everyday presence of whiteness within educational spaces, as well as the possibilities of challenging this reality. Particular attention is paid to the relationality and phenomenology of whiteness. Through this lens, Gardner has completed studies engaging the way racial hierarchies unfold within student-teacher relationships and how they are lived in educational spaces. The result of this work is primarily focused on improving teacher education. These interests also inform additional ongoing projects that explore the possibilities of place-based education, learning gardens, the potential and limits to white allyship, and the contemporary relevance of W.E.B. Du Bois.

We are in the midst of a generational shift of seismic proportion regarding the acceptability of gender fluidity and gender diversity. Schools in Utah are adapting to meet the needs of the growing number of transgender and gender-creative students coming to school as their true selves. Join Jesse Fluetsch for an overview of the research on transgender children and a discussion of issues facing local families in Utah schools.

Jesse is an advocate for transgender and gender-expansive children and their families in our local Utah community. He is the founder and facilitator of two youth groups at the Utah Pride Center: Kids Like Me is a play group where gender expansive children and their families come together in the spirit of fostering acceptance, and Teens Like Us is a social and mutual support group for middle-schoolers. Over the last 10 years, he has filled many other leadership roles in Utah’s trans and queer communities. Fluetsch is a proud graduate of Salt Lake Community College and is currently a junior in the special education major at the University of Utah.

Cindy O. Fierros is a recent PhD graduate in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah. In addition, she holds a graduate student certificate in gender studies. Fierros has taught gender studies and multicultural education courses at the University of Utah and psychology at Salt Lake Community College. Her research focuses on spiritual activism as a pedagogical tool in the classroom and feminist pedagogies. She identifies as a Chicanx mother, runner, partner, and educator. Cindy and her spouse live with their two children and corgi in Salt Lake City. She can often be found greeting the sun on the beautiful trails surrounding Salt Lake.

Joshua Stern owns and runs the No. 1 Residential Resale Team in Utah. He is a real estate coach for Keller Williams International, the No. 1 real estate and training company in the world. Stern is a partner and co-founder of Keller Williams Real Estate in Salt Lake City. He is a co-founder of three other businesses outside of his real estate practice. Prior to his real estate career, Stern had over 40 jobs and lived in five different states on his quest to live the biggest life possible. Stern attended Salt Lake Community College in 1993-94.

Thornton is a co-founder of Unshackled, a Utah-based nonprofit that is creating a religious third space for individuals who find themselves marginalized in society, because of either addiction and/or incarceration. As someone that has experienced homelessness and incarceration, Thornton is intimately aware of the many difficulties that people face when seeking basic needs like housing, employment and community.
Thornton is a civically engaged alumnus of SLCC, where he received an AAS in Culinary Arts in 2011. He participated with the Student Leaders for Civic Engagement at the Thayne Center for Service & Learning, where he co-organized a community garden at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. While a student, Thornton was an active member of the Sustainability Committee. In 2013, Thornton was awarded the Utah Campus Compact Presidential Award for Engaged Alumni.

Thornton and his wife, Andrea, have two young daughters and are pregnant with one son. As a family, they have regularly engaged in social justice actions that support marriage equality, women's rights, criminal-justice reform and environmental causes.

Shannon Cox currently serves as the founder and executive director of Journey of Hope, a Utah-based nonprofit organization. Journey of Hope provides support to women whose status puts them at-risk for criminal charges by providing them loving support and friendship through mentoring and case management. Ms. Cox has been successful at building bridges and partnerships through one common goal -- harmed girls do not have to grow into or remain harmed women. Ms. Cox has an extensive background in the criminal justice system, and her work spans across the nation. She understands that proactively engaging with the systems that work with these harmed girls long before they begin to self-medicate, self-sabotage, and find themselves caught in criminal justice system, could allow hundreds of girls in Utah to find healing and self-love long before their lives spiral away from them. Ms. Cox has helped change institutional systems by proving that intervention in early stages is much more successful than treatment at the backend of the criminal justice system. Her groundbreaking work has given her a voice in advocating on behalf of social, racial and female justice reform while asking leaders to see these issues differently.

Dr. Bewar was born in Kurdistan of Iraq. He migrated to the United States as a refugee when he was 23. He learned first-hand the challenges faced by refugee and immigrant students in navigating post-secondary education. Understanding how to support others who faced similar difficulties became his passion. He earned an Ed.D. from Argosy University in Higher Educational Leadership and wrote his dissertation on Support and Obstacles Perceived by Kurdish Immigrant Students in Reaching Higher Educational Goals.

Dr. Bewar taught Kurdish and Arabic, along with Middle Eastern culture, to the U.S. Department of Defense for over 10 years before accepting a position as a financial aid advisor at Salt Lake Community College. He also has experience in teaching Muslim culture and learning styles. He is founder and president of the Kurdish Community of Utah. Dr. Bewar is married and has a young son.

James Jackson III is the Assistant Vice President of Community Development at Zions Bank. He founded the Utah African-American Chamber of Commerce in 2009 and is the Executive Director. He is in the process of launching the chamber's charitable foundation to serve the progressive development of African refugees. Jackson is a board member or committee member of several non-profits and is an adjunct personal finance professor at Salt Lake Community College. Jackson recently started his own company, J3 Motivation, where he is a professional coach, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell team. His areas of expertise include, but are not limited to leadership, sales and organizational development. Jackson received his undergraduate degree in marketing and finance from the University of Utah in 2002 and his MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2010.

Alaa Al-Barkawi is an English and sociology major at Westminster College, where she is serving her senior year as a McNair Scholar. Al-Barkawi has focused her research as a McNair Scholar on the depiction of the hijab in popular culture, media and literature. As the editor in chief of Ellipsis, a nationally recognized literary journal, as well as a fiction writer and poet, Al-Barkawi believes some of the most effective activism is through art. Al-Barkawi strives to create stories that will reshape the views and depictions of the hijab within the Islamophobic and xenophobic views of people from the Middle East and beyond.

Ms. Nubia Peña received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in May 2016. She was recently selected as one of 25 law students in the nation to be recognized and highlighted for her social justice activism in the National Jurist, a leading news source in legal education. Ms. Peña has actively sought to bring awareness to issues of violence and systemic oppression through her personal and professional endeavors. She has close to a decade of experience assisting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and victims of violent crimes as a Law Enforcement Victim Advocate. Since 2007, Ms. Peña has been the Training and Prevention Education Specialist at the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) where she developed trainings on Teen Dating Violence, Latino Youth Empowerment, Assisting and Empowering Immigrant Survivors, and Understanding Rape and Sexual Assault. Her most recent endeavors include bringing awareness to the intersections of violence prevention and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, a national epidemic that targets our most vulnerable youth with disproportionate school discipline practices that streamline them into juvenile detention centers. In addition, Ms. Peña is the Program Coordinator for the Racially Just Utah Coalition where their mission is to positively and proactively ensure racial equality in Utah through policy reform, accountability, and education. Ms. Peña received a Bachelor's in Sociology with a Criminology emphasis and graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors from the University of Utah in 2006.

LaShawn Williams-Schultz has been a social worker since 2001 where she worked in the school system on behalf of children and youth who needed therapeutic support in the classroom. She also coordinated treatment statewide for youth in residential care. LaShawn is a Masters Level social worker who has since worked with youth in state custody as a mental health therapist and currently works with individuals, families, and couples at Wasatch Family Therapy. LaShawn is also an assistant professor of Social Work at Utah Valley University where she trains helping professionals in the practice of connection using Relational Cultural Theory. She is completing her Doctorate in Education this year by studying the experiences of faculty who teach diversity in the classroom setting, in particular, how they resolve the conflicts that inevitably arise. It is her belief that the ability to connect across difference and reconnect after disconnection matters most in times of ongoing social change. It is this passion that drives her work to educate those who have an investment in changing the world. LaShawn is a passionate Multicultural Educator, Practitioner, and Parent who believes that using inevitable conflict as a tool for growth helps create the lasting changes necessary to move society forward - one relationship at a time.

Nicole Tyler is a sophomore majoring in English with a psychology minor at Westminster College. Since finding the slam community in September of 2014, Nicole has been part of the Westminster College 2015 Collegiate Union Poetry Slam Invitational team, was a finalist for both Salt City Slam and Sugar Slam's 2014-2015 season, took fourth in the 2015 Utah Arts Festival Team Slam with Westminster College, represented Salt Lake City at the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam, is the current Slam Master of Westminster Slam, and will be representing Salt Lake City in the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Outside of school or slam, Nicole can be found volunteering at Best Friends Animal Shelter and looking for ways to give back to her community.

Join President Huftalin as she leads a discussion on the dynamics of change and how it impacts us as SLCC community members. The discussion will focus on what drives change, what are the implications of change and how we can individually embrace change rather than run from it.

Lisa Bickmore's poems and video work have appeared in a number of publications, including Quarterly West, Tar River Poetry, Caketrain, Sugarhouse Review, The Moth, Terrain, Mapping Salt Lake City and Southword. Among her honors is the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize for 2015. Her book flicker was published by Elixir Press in 2016. It won the 2014 Antivenom Prize. Bickmore is an associate professor of English at Salt Lake Community College and one of the founders of its Publication Center.

Dr. William A. Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Education, Culture & Society and the Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Utah, where he has served as the associate dean for diversity, access & equity in the College of Education, as well as the special assistant to the president & NCAA Faculty Athletics representative.

Dr. Smith is the co-editor with Philip Altbach & Kofi Lomotey of The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education: The Continuing Challenges for the 21st Century (2002). His work primarily focuses on his theoretical contribution of racial battle fatigue which is the cumulative emotional, psychological, physiological and behavioral effects that racial microaggressions have on people of color.