Blog Post

Introduction and connections

Hi HASTAC Scholars (and everyone else too)!

You can tell my semester is off to a busy start when it takes me three weeks to get to one of the things I'm most excited to be participating in... I thought I'd follow suit on John Bell's introduction that showed up in my mailbox last week and introduce myself.

I'm a Ph.D. and MSW (Masters Social Work) student at the University of Minnesota. The focus of my work is in our Youth Studies program. I'm currently finishing coursework and teaching two classes - Teaching in Higher Education and Youthwork in Schools. For the three years prior to now, I worked for our Leadership Education and Development Undegraduate Programs office. There I developed curriculum, taught several courses, and conducted research. My primary job, however, revolved around coordinating training and development for our 50+ adjunct teaching staff. So my interests include leadership education, organizational development, teaching & learning, and training in addition to young people and youth work.

The particular spin I take on all of this comes from radical social change/movement organizing and critical theory perspectives. Part of my work as a doc student has been studying the Black Panther Party, the Highlander Research & Education Center, the Citizenship Schools, and other international movements for social change. These lenses inform every aspect of my work as well as the ways I think and act. They also influence the kind of youth work I study with my advisors: Civic Youth Work (see first two results).

If you can't tell by now, I've got a difficult time introducing myself in less than a million words. So let me add a few more... I grew up a self-taught coder when the web was just starting to gain steam. I learned (begin techno language) HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Then I picked up ASP and PHP. This carried me into my college career, where I worked in a college web development shop and started getting integrated into university and academic systems (another, ancillary interest of mine). Back when I learned JavaScript, it had nothing like the capabilities it had today. We wrote most of our libraries from scratch (and still used CVS if any kind of versioning scheme at all). Now I'm trying to re-learn some of my programming history and pick up on all the new things going on in the HTML5 world. It's amazing! I've kept up on evolving technologies and backend infrastructures pretty well. I'm now especially trying to keep up with open source technologies in relation to a project I've recently proposed called OpenTogether (real name still up in the air). 

So, I'd love to talk about: open source everything, MOOCs, #openknowledge, #openscience, #openaccess, #opendata, #opengovernment, #opensociety, or #openresearch (my idea to promote what Arjun Appadurai calls The RIght to Research).

Places you might connect to other things I do...





1 comment

Hi Alex!

Thanks for the amazon link to Civic Youth Work!

I will be working with youth at the Free Library of Philadelphia for the next year as part of my capstone project (B.S. Industrial Design). We're currently focused on implementing "maker" programming in a couple branches around town. I look forward to reading and discussing about your work and interests. 

bk | @bklvnc