AERA GSC Online Library of Resources
AERA GSC Online Library of Resources
GSC Video Library

AERA GSC FEB Fireside Chat

 Save the date for our February #AERAGSC Fireside Chat: “Returning to our Restorative Roots: A Critical Conversation on Black History, Hope and Healing” Webinar register link coming soon, but in the meantime, check out the full bios of our amazing panelists:

Mark Godoy Jr. is a fine artist, a motion designer, an advocate, and a survivor of child sexual abuse. Mark grew up in Queens, NY where he lived until age 14 at which time he moved out of state to attend a boarding school in Simsbury, CT – an opportunity provided via the A Better Chance Program. Mark graduated from The Savannah College of Art and Design with a M.F.A. in Animation and a B.F.A. from UCONN in Illustration & Printmaking where he was also a member of the Men's Track & Field Team. Over the past 7 years, Mark has been working on a body of mixed media paintings entitled “The Tribute Series”. The series highlights the issues of police violence and racial discrimination that communities of color face here in the United States. This also began his advocacy work for survivors of sexual assault and abuse through panel discussions, speaking engagements, and interviews for a variety of organizations and platforms including: 1in6, NoMore, RAINN, CIR, 100 Black Men of America, Life’s Brick Wall, and Voice of Reason. Mark currently lives in NYC where he works as an Art Director at Complex Networks and volunteers regularly as a victims rights advocate. You can view more of Mark’s work through his website,


Dr. Desirée Anderson (she/her/hers) was born in San Diego, California. She earned her B.A. and Master’s from the University of Louisville and her Ph.D. from the University of New Orleans studying the use of campus-based restorative justice approaches as a response to racially motivated bias incidents. Before becoming the Associate Dean of Diversity and Student Affairs at the University of New Orleans, she held positions at Saint Mary’s College of California, Tulane University, and Texas State University. Desirée occasionally serves as an adjunct instructor and an RJ Trainer and Facilitator. She has released two book chapters in Colorizing Restorative Justice and Ethics in Higher Education. In her free time, she watches an unnecessary amount of TV, especially dramas.


Dr. Lessie Branch (@lessiebbranch) is a Racial Policy Scholar and a Fulbright Specialist in Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Politics, and the Inaugural Director of The Think Tank Policy Center, launched in 2020, at The Thinkubator. She is also a Scholar with Scholars Strategy Network and the Director of Programs Community Relations at Citizens Committee for New York City.

Her scholarship and practice examine the gulf between Black optimism about group progress and the actual data on continuing disparities, questions of social knowledge, social beliefs and relative group position through the transformative application of rhetorical criticism to interrogate narratives that structure social practices in ways that privilege some and marginalize others. 

Dr. Branch is a graduate of Fordham University with a B.A. in Political Science and earned her Ph.D. and M. Phil in Public and Urban Policy from Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy as well as an M.A. in Political Science from the New School of Social Research.  She is the author of Optimism At All Costs: Black Attitudes, Activism, and Advancement in Obama’s America (2018) with University of Massachusetts Press and a contributing author to the Edited Volume Reimagining Historically Black Colleges and Universities with Emerald Publishing Don’t Believe the Hype: HBCUs and MSIs Are Still Necessary to Black Political and Socioeconomic Development and Advancement (2021).

Dr. Branch  has been cited in the media and serves as an advisor to nonprofit organizations. To learn more about Dr. Branch, visit


Dr. LaWana Richmond could be referred to as a Black female Di Vinci or modern day Hatshepsut (hat-SHEP-suit)       

At UC San Diego she serves as the Organizational Development Manager for Transportation Services where she creates frameworks, systems, and tools to support engagement, learning, and innovation. Academic background and credentials include BS - Business/Ops Mgt., MS Information Systems, Ed.D. Educational Leadership, PMP from PMI, LSS Green Belt, and Prosci Change Management Certification.

Cofounder and Organizer of Afrofuturism Lounge and Afrofuturism Dream Tank

President of Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego

Treasurer for DETOUR Empowers – nonprofit supporting teen girls academic and economic success while focused on developing focused and naturally confident youth.

She has been reading and watching science fiction and horror for more than 40 years and she still hasn’t had enough.

Last year, Lovecraft Country had her enthralled, terrified, and overjoyed – all at the same time.

She is a Mother and Grandmother

Her favorite word in the dictionary is nebulous (because it describes something that can be anything).

I am because we are and because we are therefore I am from the Ubuntu people aligns and resonate with her spirit and how she moves in the world.

Event Title: January AERA GSC Chair Fireside Chat "#SuperheroParents: Celebrating the Lived Experiences of Educational Warriors Thriving During COVID" 

Date: January 31, 2022 

Hosted By: Dre Abeita, AERA Chair and Andii Layton, AERA GSC Chair Elect

Panelists: Songtree Pioche, Lupe Bright, Dr. Shiv Desai, and Dr. Rijasoa Andriamanana

Event Title: October AERA GSC Chair Fireside Chat "Critical Race Theory As A Way of Life: A Evening of Critical Discourse, Revolution, and Activism:”

Date: October 29, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST

Hosted By: Dre Abeita, AERA Chair and Andii Layton, AERA GSC Chair Elect

Panelists: Dr. Shiv Desai, Assistant Professor, The University of New Mexico - UNM, UJIMA CRSEA Mentor, Angela Kuykendoll, UJIMA CRSEA Mentee, Dre Abeita, UJIMA CRSEA mentor, and Andii Layton, CRSEA 2020 Conference Presenter

Event Title: September AERA GSC Chair Fireside Chat "How to plan your own AERA Fireside Chat/Academic Panel: From Beginning to Success!"

Event Date: October 1, 2021 at 6:00 PM-7:30 PM EST

Hosted By: Dre Abeita, Chair; Pablo Montes, Senior Program Chair; and Roti Chakraborty, Division D Junior Representative


Event Title: July AERA GSC Chair Fireside Chat "Thriving and Surviving During COVID: Celebrating the Lived Experiences of AERA International Graduate Students" 

Event Date: 07.24.21 at 6 p.m. EST 

Hosted by: Dre Abeita, Chair of AERA GSC and Andii Layton, Chair-Elect of AERA GSC 

Panel Chaired by: Roti Chakraborty, Dean's Research Doctoral Fellow, Georgia State University 

Featured Panelists: Qiyang Zhang, Doctoral Student, PhD in Education, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, US
Ezgi Ozyonum, Public Scholar and Doctoral Candidate in Education, Concordia University, Canada 
Ethan Trinh, Doctoral Student, PhD in Middle and Secondary Education (Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies), Georgia State University, Georgia, US

Event Title: June AERA GSC Chair Fireside Chat "Using CRT to Navigate AERA Proposals: Best Practices and Strategies for Success"

Event Date: June 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm EST

Hosted by: Dre Abeita, AERA GSC Chair; Andii Layton, AERA GSC Chair-Elect; and Rachel Terlop, 2020-2021 Interim Newsletter Editor

Full Event Details: Open to anyone interested in submitting an AERA Annual Meeting Conference Proposal (Open until July 12, 2021) Conference Theme: "Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century."
Modeled after our annual meetings AERA GSC Division Fireside Chats, we will have an open meeting hosted by your AERA GSC Chair on the 4th Friday of every month from 7-8:30 pm EST. We invite all of our 7k AERA graduate student members to join us! We will be reporting on our progress so far, give updates on upcoming events, ask for volunteers for our ad hoc committees, discuss opportunities within AERA GSC and finish with a training on how to successfully submit your own AERA proposal.