South Sudanese Enrichment for Families
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Saturday Bridges - Presenter Bios

Whole-family programming & community connections

The Bridges Program - Saturday Bridges Presenters

FALL 2018

Janie Ward
B.F.A., New York University
M.Ed. Counseling and Consulting Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ed. D. Human Development, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Professor of Education and Chair, Departments of Education, Africana Studies, Simmons College

Dr. Ward is the co-editor of three books, Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women’s Thinking to Psychological Theory and Research (Harvard University Press, 1988), Souls Looking Back: Life Stories of Growing Up Black (Routledge, 1999) and Gender and Teaching, with Frances Maher, published in 2001 by Lawrence Erlbaum. She also wrote the book, The Skin We're In: Teaching Our Children to be Emotionally Strong, Socially Smart and Spiritually Connected (Free Press/Simon and Schuster, 2000). 

In 1990-92 Dr. Ward was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture, University of Pennsylvania, and in 1996-97 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Wellesley College Centers for Women. From 2000-2003, she served as the Director for the Alliance on Gender, Culture and School Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Education. With Harvard Professor Wendy Luttrell, she was Co-Principal Investigator of Project ASSERT, a five-year school based research study and curriculum development project exploring issues of gender, culture and school practice for urban elementary and middle school teachers. This project ended in 2006.

For over twenty years her professional work and research interests have centered on the developmental issues of African American adolescents, focusing on identity and moral development in African American girls and boys. Along with her teaching responsibilities she works with youth counselors, secondary school educators and other practitioners in a variety of school-based and out-of-school settings. She recently completed a study of socialization practices of White mothers of Chinese daughters and a chapter on educational and clinical interventions with children in schools against everyday colorism.

Barbara Thomas-Slayter
IDCE Research Professor
Department of International Development, Community, and Environment
Clark University

Barbara Thomas-Slayter received her doctorate in political science from Brandeis University in 1981. Her research interests include local institution-building; women and public policy; peasant behavior, household and community resource management; and dynamics of class, ethnicity, and gender in African development. Recently, Barbara Thomas-Slayter was Chair of the CIES Fulbright Selection Committee for Scholars from Africa. She served on the Board of Directors at Oxfam America and was Chair to the Board’s Global Committee. She was also an advisor for PROWID, a project sponsored by the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), promoting women’s organizations in the South.

Thomas-Slayter participated in a conference hosted by the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory University and by CARE, USA titled “Women’s Empowerment, Impact Assessment of Development Programs, and Forms of Knowledge: New Horizons for Cross Disciplinary and Participative Research Methods.” She also gave a series of three lectures as part of the Watson International Scholars of the Environment Program at Brown University. The lectures focus on participation, poverty, and the environment.

Thomas-Slayter carried out an assessment for Oxfam America that provided the basis for re-conceptualizing the role of gender and the ways in which gender concerns might be implemented in programs of the East Asia Regional Office. Currently she is working with a small group of Oxfam America colleagues to prepare a history of the organization since its inception in 1971. She also works with the International Foundation for Science, a Swedish organization that specializes in funding scholarly research of applicants from developing countries. She has assisted by evaluating research grant applications for the past year.

Lori Leo

Lori is the Director of Magic Garden Childrens’ Center in Lincoln, MA. Leo has a bachelor’s degree in education from Lesley University in Cambridge and spent several years working in Boston’s inner city in various grassroots educational programs, including Zero to Eight Coalition, Community Partnership for Children programs and the Early Education and Care for All Campaign. Before becoming director, she taught for two years in Magic Garden’s pre-kindergarten Starburst Classroom and then served as interim director.

Health Issues
Ellen Altschaefl

Dr. Altschaefl graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 1983. Dr. Altschaefl works in Boston, MA and specializes in Pediatrics. Dr. Altschaefl is affiliated with Brigham & Womens Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital.


History of Sudan
Michael La Rue

Dr. LaRue grew up in Michigan, attended the University of Michigan, and had a Junior Year abroad at the Univeristé d’Aix-en-Provence. After graduation, He joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Gafsa, Tunisia for two years. He is a trained Africanist, with a Ph.D in African history from Boston University. He did field work in Dar Fur, Sudan on the social and economic history of the Dar Fur Sultanate, 1785-1875. Dar Fur developed a system of land tenure based on sultanic land grants, which overlaid earlier patterns based on kinship and ethnicity. Dar Fur also was a major source of slaves for Egypt, and he conducted several hundred interviews with former slaves, their descendants, and the descendants of former slave traders and trans-Saharan caravan leaders.

Dr. LaRue has taught African history at several universities, including Boston University, Wellesley College, Brown University, the University of North Carolina (Greensboro), El Collegio de Mexico, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania (where he spent the bulk of his career). Recently, he has been following the lives of enslaved Sudanese (in the nineteenth century) into Egypt and beyond. This has led most recently to research in Paris at the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Saint-Simonian Archives, and the Church Missionary Archive at the University of Birmingham (England).

Storytelling and the African Diaspora
Hugo Kamya

Dr. Kamya is a professor of social work at Simmons College School of Social Work. He teaches courses in clinical practice, trauma and narrative therapies at both the masters and doctoral levels. His professional identity weaves together several backgrounds and narratives. Originally from Uganda, he came to the United States over twenty years ago. He studied at Harvard University, Boston University, Boston College, and began a career in the interrelated practices and trainings of social work, psychology, and theology.

Dr. Kamya has integrated several realms of teaching, research, clinical, and social justice work. He has practiced in community mental health settings with a variety of populations. His teaching, research, clinical work and larger systems interventions greatly enrich each other. In 1995, he participated in a network assembly for the Children's AIDS Project at Boston Medical Center. This work helped him begin to combine social network and community work with consulting for organizations working with children affected by HIV. His commitment to providing collaborative family services to children living in HIV-affected families has been very rewarding, particularly in Uganda, where he brings students and colleagues to interact and work with people in HIV/AIDS clinics, and where he continues to do research on child and granny headed families, and children of war. His work in Uganda has culminated in serving on the Makula Fund for Children, an organization which provides tuition, medical attention and breakfast to children living with HIV. In 2004, Dr. Kamya received a U.S. State Department Grant to conduct service learning Citizens Exchange project between U.S. and Uganda citizens. As a member of CSWE, he serves on the Global Education Commission, and has chaired the track for International Issues.

Parenting and Stress Management
Jessica Bethany
Jessica Bethney, a professor at Bunker Hill Community College, has two master’s degrees--one in Intellectual History from Brandeis University and the other from Tufts University in Cross-cultural Counseling. During her tenure at Bunker Hill, she designed and developed the English as a Second Language Program, served as assistant to the president in International Education, and taught both English as a Second Language and American Culture.

Currently, Bethany is teaching the honor’s seminar entitled “Wired for Culture” and a seminar in American Culture for visiting university students from Poland. She has also done a workshop in East/West culture for the honor’s program.

She has been certified as an intercultural trainer by the Interchange Institute in Brookline and has done a number of cross-cultural workshops at M.I.T, Wellesley College and Parenting in America at several Chinese language schools, as well as the communities of Brookline and Lexington

Parenting and Stress Management
Margaret Hosmer Martens
Margaret is a seasoned senior leadership coach with over 30 years of international experience in consulting and training in human development and organizational change. Her professional life has always been global and she brings the breadth of this experience to her coaching. She has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe and, more recently, the United States, and her experience has long been across sectors, industries and cultures.

Margaret regularly serves as a leadership coach to the public and non-profit sector working with such groups as the UN Secretariat, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the UN High Commission for Refugees, and the International Rescue Committee.

For over 20 years, Margaret was an Adjunct of the Center for Creative Leadership, coaching for both their Brussels and Greensboro, NC campuses.   She recently left to focus her coaching on humanitarian agencies and to return to school for an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This is to help her new focus, helping refugees to recover from trauma and adjust to life in the United States.  She is also engaged in building leadership skills in grassroots organizations, particularly refugee associations.

Margaret has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Goddard College (USA), a master’s degree in French from the University of Dakar (Senegal) and a master’s degree in public sector management from the University of Maryland (USA). Margaret is originally from the United States and recently returned after 35 years abroad. She has been certified as an intercultural trainer by the Interchange Institute in Brookline, MA.  She is a dual citizen of both the USA and Belgium, and is bi-lingual in French and English.

Living in Two Worlds
Anna Ornstein, M.D.

Anna Ornstein, M.D. is a Professor Emerita of Child Psychology at the University of Cincinnati and a Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is a Holocaust survivor, and has written a memoire titled, "My Mother's Eyes," along with a collection of psychoanalytic articles. In her articles, she examines psychoanalytic psychotherapy, child psychotherapy, and the process of post-Holocaust recovery.

Boston Basics: What Young Children Need and Want
Ronald Ferguson

Ronald F. Ferguson is an MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges.  He has been on the faculty at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983, after full time appointments at Brandeis and Brown Universities. In 2014, he co-founded Tripod Education Partners and shifted into an adjunct role at the Kennedy School, where he remains a fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and faculty director of the university-wide Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI).