Narrating America in the Contemporary Community College

Composite image of a book with handwriting on one page and another empty page, overlaid with a picture of diverse college graduates

A Public Storytelling Research Forum

Friday, October 23, 2015

Narrating America in the Contemporary Community College will be a one-day workshop with key participants defining the public role of community college as an inclusive democratic space. Educators and researchers at the Graduate Center, CUNY are organizing this forum for increased public engagement and collaborative research in higher education.

At the forum, research with students’ stories will be the basis for collaborative working groups of students, faculty, administrators, community leaders, and public officials interpreting those stories to improve the community college mission and practice. The ultimate goal of the day is to use this public forum to take students’ voices seriously as the basis for collaborative reflection and action. What is at stake is public reflection on a transforming site of American participation.


10:00 a.m. 
The Importance of Narrating America in the Community College – Welcome & Forum Vision
Colette Daiute, Professor, Ph.D. Programs in Psychology/Human Development; Urban Education; Educational Psychology

The Meaning of Community College for U.S.-born and Immigrant Students
Philip Kreniske, Lecturer Hunter College & Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology/Human Development at the Graduate Center, CUNY
Colette Daiute, Professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY

‘Undocumented’, ‘Illegal’ and Beyond: Language Matters in Community & Colleges
David Caicedo, Lecturer Borough of Manhattan Community College & Ph.D. Candidate in Social Personality Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Community College Students’ Goals, Relationships, and Academic Success
Tanzina Ahmed, Lecturer, Bronx Community College & Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology/Human Development at the Graduate Center, CUNY

11:00 a.m. Breakout Session One

12:00 p.m. Breakout Session Two

1:30 p.m.
Digital Problem-Solving in the Community College Context
Jessica Murray, M.A. Liberal Studies & Ph.D. Student in Psychology/Human Development at The Graduate Center, CUNY
Digital Fellow, Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center CUNY

1:45 p.m.
Moving Forward
Colette Daiute, Professor, Ph.D. Programs in Psychology/Human Development; Urban Education; Educational Psychology


• Community College Administrators
• Community College Faculty
• Community College Students


Colette Daiute is Professor at the Graduate Center, CUNY in the Ph.D. Programs in Psychology, Urban Education, Educational Psychology, and the Masters program in Child and Youth Studies. Dr. Daiute was a professor at Harvard University before joining the Graduate Center faculty. Colette Daiute does research on human development as the interaction of individuals and society in rapidly changing and challenging contexts. She focuses on cultural tools like writing, digital storytelling, schooling, and community organizing in that process. Daiute’s book publications include Narrative Inquiry: A Dynamic Approach (Sage, 2014) and Human Development and Political Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Philip Kreniske is currently a Developmental Psychology Ph.D. Candidate and a Frances Degan Horowitz Dissertation Fellow at The CUNY Graduate Center. His interest in psychology stems from five years teaching in high needs public schools in San Francisco and New York. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College. In addition, drawing from experiences teaching in the San village of Tsumkwe, Namibia, Kreniske published a report on the uses of digital technologies by the San of southern Africa. His recent work focuses on the intersection of technology and education with a particular emphasis on narrative writing in digital contexts.

David A. Caicedo received his M.A. in General Psychology, Pre-Clinical Concentration, at Adelphi University, and his B.A. in Psychology from St. John’s University. He is a doctoral candidate in Social-Personality Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Prior to his arrival at BMCC, he taught at Brooklyn College, John Jay College, and Bronx Community College within CUNY, and at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Prof. Caicedo’s research centers on the Latino/a experience in the U.S., including Latino/a demographic patterns in the Tri-State area. His dissertation work focuses on the psycholinguistics of the (contemporary) immigration debate, political ideology, and the complicity between the news media, policymakers, and popular opinion.

Tanzina Ahmed is a Ph.D. candidate in the Human Development program at the Graduate Center CUNY, working under the supervision of Dr. Colette Daiute. Her research focuses on understanding how the long-term academic trajectories of community college students are influenced by their educational environments, relationship experiences, and academic activities. She also teach at Bronx Community College as a lecturer and lead workshops on Adolescent Development for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

Jessica Murray is a doctoral student in Human Development at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a Digital Fellow for the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center. Her interests include mobilities, transportation, technology, disability studies, accessibility, and disability rights. She earned a BFA in Design from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and worked as a graphic designer in a variety of media before coming to The Graduate Center in 2012. She completed an MA in Liberal Studies, on the Psychology of Work and Family track in 2014. Her thesis topic was Work-Life Experiences for People with Mobility Disabilities Living in New York City, which examined the myriad issues that impact the daily lives of adults with physical disabilities.


Svetlana Jović is a writing fellow for the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) program at Bronx Community College. She received her undergraduate and master’s degree at University of Belgrade, Serbia, and is currently a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Svetlana is a visiting lecturer at the Social Sciences and Cultural Studies Department at Pratt Institute, New York, where she teaches courses in psychology.

Tara Bahl is a substitute instructor of urban studies and social sciences at Guttman Community College. She holds a PhD from CUNY Graduate Center in the Urban Education program, with a concentration in education policy. Her dissertation explored the often disconnect between how education policy (college & career readiness) is made, and how high school students experience it in their everyday lives. She is interested in exploring viable strategies that reimagine the college experiences of first-generation-to-college students as student-centered and meaningful—what this looks like in policy, practice, and the lives of students.

Trikartikaningsih (Kiki) Byas is Associate Professor of English at Queensborough Community College of CUNY where she teaches an advanced writing course on the immigrant experience in addition to the regular College Composition classes.  Her research interests include Collaborative Learning, Cross-cultural Communication, Technology Enhanced Learning, and Digital Storytelling.

Rachel Ihara is an Associate Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, where she teaches literature and composition classes and helps to direct the Freshman Writing Program. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center, focusing on American novels and serial publication. Current research interests include writing pedagogy and the relationship between Freshman Composition and college-wide reading and writing practices.

Jesse W. Schwartz is an Assistant Professor at LaGuardia Community College, where he teaches courses in composition and American literature. He received his PhD in English and American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2013, and his interests include radical American literature, periodical studies, Marxian theory, and critical race and ethnic studies.


Introduction and Research Presentations:

Reports from First Breakout Group:

Reports from Second Breakout Group:
Video Game Concept Presentation:


For more information, contact:

Colette Daiute
Jessica Murray, jmurray(at)