UMass Dartmouth to Host K-16 Community Event April 11

"Building Community through Mindfulness, Where Literacy and Diversity Intersect"

UMass Dartmouth will host "Building Community through Mindfulness: Where Literacy and Diversity Interact," a free education event, Friday, April 11, 2014, at 5:00 p.m., at UMass Dartmouth's Woodland Commons. Members of the K-16 community are invited to this evening of thoughtful exploration of ways to develop a community of faculty, staff, administrators, students, and parents from local higher education institutions and elementary, middle, and high schools. 

Dr. Maureen P. Hall in the STEM Education and Teacher Development department is the organizer of this event.  The overarching goal of this gathering is to bring together the many stakeholders in education to see how we can begin to build community through the intersections between and among mindfulness, diversity, and literacy.  Currently, Drs. O'Hare and Hall are conducting research on the emotional and cognitive influences of mindfulness with area teachers and graduate students at UMassD. Drs. Waxler and Hall wrote the text, Transforming Literacy (2011); one of the main themes in this text is to build a "New Neighborhood" through reading and writing.  Dr. Hall believes that interdisciplinary learning holds the key to transformative education. 

Dr. Hall will be the moderator of this event, and there will be three speakers (whose biographies are outlined below).  The three speakers and Dr. Hall will be on a panel at the end of the event in order to create an interactive dialogue with participants. Hors d'oeuvres and dessert will be served. 

Dr. Aminda O'Hare, 
Assistant Professor of Psychology, UMass Dartmouth 
Dr. O'Hare, who oversees the Cognitive and Affective Psychophysiology and Experimental Science (CAPES) Lab at UMass Dartmouth, will discuss how mindfulness can support community through cognitive development and the development of empathy. 

Dr. O'Hare broadly studies the intersection of emotion and cognition using tools of neuroscience. Recently, she has been investigating the moderating effect of mindfulness meditation on emotion-cognition interactions. Dr. O'Hare received training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and uses that experience to conduct Mindfulness Attention Training in her research. Dr. O'Hare received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 2010. 

Ms. Neida Rocha 
English Language Learner (ELL) Guidance Counselor, BMC Durfee High School 
Ms. Rocha, who speaks fluent Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish, will offer remarks on the importance of meeting the needs of diverse students and communities. 

Neida Ferro Rocha was born in the city of Praia, Island of Santiago, Cape Verde. She immigrated to the United States of America in 1996, at the age of 13, with her mother and older brother. She grew up in the state of Rhode Island where she attended East Providence High School and was an ELL student. She attended Eastern Nazarene College where she obtained her Bachelor Degree in Psychology in 2006. She worked as a Social Worker for the child protective agency in the state of Massachusetts. She continued her education and in 2012, she obtained her Master's Degree in Education, Guidance Counseling, at Cambridge College. 

Dr. Robert P. Waxler 
English Professor, UMass Dartmouth 
Dr. Waxler, who co-founded the internationally known Changing Lives Through Literature program in 1991, and is the co-founder of the UMass Dartmouth Center for Jewish Culture, will speak on the power of literacy to build a "new neighborhood" and creating community. 

Professor Waxler has served as Chairman of the English Department, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of Continuing Education. He has authored or co-authored several books, including Changing Lives Through Literature, Finding a Voice, Transforming Literacy, Losing Jonathan, and Courage to Walk. He has recently finished writing a new book, The Risk of Reading, exploring the relationship between linguistic narrative and the contingent experience of everyday life.

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