Amber Bryant is a Detroit-native and a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While at Michigan, Amber completed her B.A. in English Literature and Language and worked closely with intiatives that sought to aid Michigan prisoners and "at-risk" youth. After moving to North Carolina in 2010, Amber attended North Carolina State University where she received her M.A. in Teaching Secondary English. She has taught in both Michigan and North Carolina and continues to find her passion in the classroom. Currently, she is studying Urban Education and Literacy as a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests are: secondary education, emergency management in schools, and African/African American literature and Education.
Laurie Garo is a Doctoral student in Curriculum & Instruction for Urban Education, specializing in education interventions for children exposed to gang and gun violence. Laurie has worked with the Department of Justice as a research analyst and gang outreach specialist for Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) since 2004 where she utilized Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool to study juvenile delinquency, to recommend and evaluate intervention and prevention strategies, and to explore neighborhood violence indicators that may impact child well being. Laurie served as a board member for the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council for four years and is currently a board member of the Mecklenburg County Gang Prevention Coalition. Through collaborative grant writing she has helped to obtain over $600,000 in grant funds for PSN programs and related youth empowerment initiatives. Her youth outreach project involvement includes the Belmont Youth Council, Youth Leadership Academy, Literacy through Photography (at Turning Point Academy), and most recently, Transformative Life Skills for the Gang Reentry Intervention Team (GRIT) with Gang of One. GRIT serves to assist youth released from Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center with life and job skills as they transition back to home and school life.
Tiffany Hollis is a doctoral student in the Urban Education Program at UNC Charlotte. Ms. Hollis served as a Doctoral Fellow in the Urban Education Collaborative. Hollis is a certified K-12 special educator and has taught in the special education field for 7 years, at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Her current research interests include: promoting resilience among urban youth, vulnerable youth, and marginalized youth, educational equity among vulnerable populations, student motivation and engagement, culturally responsive pedagogy and culturally responsive classroom management. Hollis is currently works with students with aggressive behaviors, ADHD, mental health issues, and behavioral and emotional disabilities and is an active member of Urban Educators for Change and the Urban Education Collaborative.
Sheikia Talley-Matthews is a urban education doctoral student and a graduate research assistant in the College of Education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Previously, Sheikia taught high school social studies in Charlotte, NC. Sheikia holds a B. A. in history from Johnson C. Smith University and Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus in secondary social studies education from UNCC. Her research interests include: international teacher/and student preparation, student achievement, and equality for underserved populations.