Norah Alomary is a Ph.D. student in the Curriculum and Instruction, Urban Education program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She holds a bachelor degree in English from Al-Baha University and earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Winthrop University. Norah has taught English as a Second Language for three years, at Al-Baha University, Niagara College, and Al-Taif University in Saudi Arabia. Her research interests include minority girls in STEM programs, socioeconomic segregation, and immigrant bilingual students in the United States.
Deneen Dixon-Payne is a second year doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in the Curriculum and Instruction program with an emphasis in Urban Education. She attended Winston-Salem State University where she received a B.A. in Elementary Education. She then earned her M.A. in School Administration at Gardner-Webb University. Deneen has taught elementary and middle school students in both Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Forsyth County schools for over 20 years. She has been an academic facilitator, testing coordinator and new teacher coach. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in gifted education for Black girls , Black girls in STEM and culturally responsive leadership.
Sha’Derrickah S. Henderson is a first-year Doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction, Urban Education program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She attained a B.S. in Healthcare Management from Winston-Salem State University which led to the start of her professional career in behavioral healthcare. Through experiences working closely with children and adolescents, Ms. Henderson developed a desire to further her career in educational development -- focusing on the advancement of marginalized communities. Her research interests include School-to-Prison Pipeline, career placement and University and community partnerships, specifically for African American students. Currently, Ms. Henderson teaches Career and Technical Education courses to High School students which is where she has been for the last 4 years.
Olanrewaju T. Oriowo is a doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction program with a concentration in mathematics education. She is also the cofounder of Civitas Education Management, LLC.
Her educational journey spans 4 continents, starting in Africa, specifically Nigeria, where she was born, and continued in Europe, Asia, and North America.
In 2003, she received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. She followed this up with a Master of Business Administration in 2005, a Master of Science in Financial Mathematics in 2008, and a Master of Science in Education (Adolescent Young Adult Mathematics) all from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.
Professionally, she worked in Kuwait as an English Literature teacher, and in the U.S with Mangen & Associates as an Instruction project manager, and later with Central State University as a Tutor Coordinator and a mathematics adjunct instructor.
The common thread in her life is that she is a perpetual student who desires for others to share her passion for learning. She understands, however, that there are many whose feelings about learning have been tainted due to issues of lack of access to resources and to quality education delivered by passionate, well-prepared teachers. Pursuant to the completion of this program, she intends to collaborate with like minded individuals to help assure that all students receive the kind of education they are due.
RaQuaam Smith is a Doctoral student in the Urban Education program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a focus on upward mobility for underrepresented student populations. He received his B.A. in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science, and M.A.T. with a focus on Health and Physical Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. While serving as the Co-Founder and Chief, Procurement and Organizational Relations for 3E Programs Inc., he has developed programs both domestically and internationally that prepare each student for academic success in an era of unprecedented change through career base and college preparatory programming (www.3eprograms.org). RaQuaam is also a member of the Charlotte Shapers who have been tasked by the World Economic Forum to create local programs in Charlotte that will make a global impact.
Portia Marie York is a Doctoral Candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction: Urban Education program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Clark University, and a Master’s degree in Management, with a business concentration from Cambridge College. Portia has been in education administration for more than twelve years and has extensive experience in funding and development of youth programs. As a trained fiber artist, Portia also holds a Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques certification from The Crochet Guild of America. She teaches fiber arts incorporating math, science and social justice. Her research addresses issues of equity and achievement with middle grades Black students, particularly around STEAM education and arts integration.