March 18, 2024

Volume 2, Edition 13

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Dean’s Letter 

Photo: Gwendolyn Brooks

We Are Each Other's Harvest


As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I am reminded of great women who have influenced my journey as a woman and as an educational leader. One of those women was my dissertation chair, Dr. Ellen “Annie” Herda, who not only encouraged me to dream big, but supported my proposal to conduct my study, boots-on-the-ground, during the latter days of the Soviet Union. In learning to navigate the vastness of the USSR, many women from many republics stepped forward to support my work.

One of them, Dr. Maria “Masha” Stepanova, who was completing her PhD in physics, served as my translator for many of my interviews. She opened her Moscow apartment so that I had a roof over my head and a meal to eat at a time when food was scarce and the bread lines long.

Although Masha was a scientist, she supplemented her income by translating English detective novels into Russian. Her entrepreneurial spirit, born of necessity, permitted her to care for her husband and daughter, and to extend her generosity and warmth to a stranger. 

In summer, we would take the train to the family dacha, which had no running water or electricity. In the morning, we hunted in the forest for raspberries and wild mushrooms, putting them up for the colder days to come. In the afternoons, we sat by a lake, read books, and took photographs.

In winter, Masha would keep me bundled in warm clothing and give me tea, along with a small saucer of the jam we had made the previous summer. I was privileged to attend her dissertation defense and to see her shine when she completed her doctorate just months ahead of me. 

The National Women's History Alliance, designates a yearly theme for Women's History Month.


The 2024 theme celebrates Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” This theme recognizes women who understand the need to eliminate bias and discrimination from individuals' lives and institutions.

Another woman whose work has had an impact on me is Gwendolyn Brooks. She was the first Black American to receive a Pulitzer Prize. A highly regarded 20th century poet, she was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first Black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate for the State of Illinois for 32 years.

According to the Poetry Foundation,

Not only has she combined a strong commitment to racial identity and equality with a mastery of poetic techniques, but she has also managed to bridge the gap between the academic poets of her generation in the 1940s and the young Black militant writers of the 1960s.

I believe her words frame what Women’s History Month seeks to remind us. In her poem, Paul Robeson, which she wrote in 1970 in tribute to one of America’s activists, whom she called the major Voice, the adult Voice, she wrote,

We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.

I invite you to engage every day in each other’s harvest and business, and to reap the magnitude of our bond.


Looking forward,



Elizabeth C. Orozco Reilly


Photo: Bettman/Getty Images


2024 Social Justice in Education Conference - It's a Wrap!

Photo: Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings delivers her keynote address.

On Saturday, March 2, the School of Education welcomed education colleagues, community members from across the region, state, and country for its 13th Annual Social Justice in Education Conference. If you missed the conference—or if you want a repeat performance—soon, you will be able to stream the webinar and hear Gloria Ladson-Billings address this year’s theme: Equity and Justice: Transforming the Educational Landscape. Attendees receive Dr. Ladson-Billings’ latest book, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Asking a Different Question, which she autographed after the conference. Click on the SOJU Photo Album to see where you are featured!

A highlight of the conference was the keynote address delivered by esteemed scholar Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings known for for her research on the pedagogical practices of teachers successful with African American students and her investigations into Critical Race Theory applications in education. 

Attendance at the conference was free and open to the public, aligning with CSUCI's commitment to making these critical conversations accessible to all. The event offered a platform for individuals from diverse backgrounds and walks of life to come together and collaborate on advancing social justice in education.

Participants had the opportunity to engage in a range of presentations, workshops, and networking sessions focused on showcasing social justice-oriented work in and around schools and educational institutions. Through meaningful dialogue and collaboration, attendees explored best practices for promoting equity, peace, and integrity in public education.

The conference also featured opportunities for individuals to present their own research and initiatives aimed at advancing social justice in education, further enriching the dialogue and fostering collaboration among attendees.

Our gratitude to this year’s sponsors: CSUCI Admissions & Recruitment, CSUCI School of Education, The Port of Hueneme, Myers Education Press, SAGE/Corwin Publishers, Taylor & Francis, and The Colleges of Law.

Thanks to all CSUCI faculty and staff volunteers this year—and a particular thanks to the SOJU Steering Committee: Lyzette Cornejo (Chair), Nicole Amato, Luz Herrera, Brittany Heery (Past Chair), Evan Hill, Elizabeth Orozco Reilly, Aura Perez-Gonzalez, Carolyn Shamowski, and Chuck Weis.

It’s not too early to mark your calendar for next year’s conference, which is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 1, 2025! The Call for Presenters will come out in Fall 2024. 

Photo: Social Justice Conference attendees enjoying one of the many breakout sessions.

School of Education Graduate Student Selected for

CSU-wide Research Competition

Photo: Morgan Stowers Presenting at the 2024 Social Justice in Education Conference

We are thrilled to announce that Morgan Stowers, our graduate student in the MA in Educational Leadership program at CSU Channel Islands, has been chosen to represent CSU Channel Islands at the prestigious 2024 CSU-wide Research Competition. Morgan's project, titled "Women and Girls with Hemophilia and School Accommodations," has been selected to compete at the event, scheduled for April 26 & 27, 2024, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Morgan's groundbreaking research sheds light on the experiences of women and girls with hemophilia, a condition that has historically received limited attention in medical research and clinical practice. Her work goes into the disability and gender spaces, and highlights sexism and bias against women with hemophilia. Morgan's thesis advisor is Dr. Tiina Itkonen and committee second reader Dr. Nicole Amato

The selection of Morgan's project underscores the commitment of CSU Channel Islands of promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in research and education. By addressing gaps in knowledge and advocating for marginalized communities, Morgan exemplifies the values of our institution.

Moreover, Morgan's participation in the CSU Student Research Competition is made possible through the support of CI Student Research, directed by Dr. Luis Sanchez, reaffirming our dedication to fostering academic excellence and professional development among our students.

In addition to her upcoming presentation at the CSU Student Research Competition, Morgan has already showcased her thesis research at the School of Education's Social Justice conference and will be submitting her work for the Grand Slam event for consideration for representing CSUCI. Her work has received attention for its innovative approach and profound insights into issues of sexism and bias in healthcare.

As Morgan continues to make strides in her research, she remains committed to amplifying the voices of women with hemophilia and advocating for their rights and inclusion in healthcare practices and policies, and for receiving school accommodations.

Upcoming Information Sessions

All sessions will be held via Zoom. Registered participants will receive an email with meeting details.

Please register in advance. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming session.

MA in Educational Leadership & Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Session

WEDNESDAY MARCH 20, 2024, 5:15-6:00PM

Please register here

MS in School Counseling Session

TUESDAY MARCH 26, 2024, 5:15-6:00PM

Please register here

Upcoming Events



Dia del Niño / Children's Day

North Quad, CSUCI Campus

9am-12pm, free to attend.

View our full School of Education Events Calendar

2024 Commencement Ceremony Assignment By Academic Program

Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 9 a.m.

Undergraduate students earning degrees in the following academic programs:

Anthropology, Art, Chicana/o Studies, Communication, Dance Studies, Early Childhood Studies, English, History, Liberal Studies, Music, Performing Arts, Psychology, and Spanish

Graduate students earning master’s degrees in the following academic programs:

Education, Educational Leadership

Students earning Credentials

Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 3 p.m.

Undergraduate students earning degrees in the following academic programs:

Applied Physics, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Environmental Science & Resource Management, Global Studies, Health Science, Information Technology, Mathematics, Mechatronics Engineering, Nursing, Political Science, Sociology

Graduate students earning master’s degrees in the following academic programs:

Biotechnology & Bioinformatics, Biotechnology/Business Administration (MSB, MBA), Business Administration (MBA), Computer Science, Mathematics, Nursing

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