Visiting Scholar Speaker Series dates announced for 2024

January 22, 2024

To enhance this year’s “One Book, One GSE” program, Penn GSE’s Visiting Scholar Speaker Series is welcoming four scholars to campus this term to share their research and explore connections to this year’s book, Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizen, in addition to interacting with students and faculty.

Under the direction of Dean Katharine Strunk, “One Book” organizer Raquel Arredondo, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, said her objective for this year’s series was two-fold: identify speakers whose research correlates with the “One Book” themes and relates to one of GSE’s four core program divisions.

This is the first time the Visiting Scholars Speaker Series has tied into the “One Book” program, where faculty and students read and explore a book as a community.

Written by Jose Antonio Vargas, Dear America explores the Filipino author’s experiences as an undocumented student navigating the public school system, digging into themes of inequity, racism, and sexual identity.

To help identify potential speakers, Arredondo asked faculty to nominate scholars, particularly emerging researchers, whose work aligned with their division.

“We identify early career scholars to help elevate their work and give them additional exposure by bringing them to Penn GSE,” she said.

In addition to their featured lectures, the visiting scholars will attend VIP sessions with students, speak to classes related to their research, and join Penn GSE community members for dinners.

“We want to take advantage of these scholars’ time on campus, and we’re trying to be more intentional about these visits,” Arredondo explained. “We’re using a more enterprising approach to ensure the scholars reach a broad audience.”

Taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Stiteler 355 on various dates, the 2023–24 Visiting Scholar Speaker Series will feature:

Dana Miller Cotto, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Kent State University. Her research focuses on the role and context that early life experiences play in child development, including how trauma impacts the development and educational success of traditionally underserved students, including low-income, Black, and Latinx children.

Date: Jan. 24

Sponsoring Division: Human Development & Quantitative Measurement


Anjali Adukia, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and the director of the MiiE Lab (Messages, Identity, and Inclusion in Education). Her work investigates ways to reduce educational inequalities and improve access to education for students with disadvantaged backgrounds. She studies ways to support underserved students, including providing basic needs and how to create an environment for children to learn and grow.

Date: Feb. 28

Sponsoring Division: Policy, Organizations, Leadership & Systems


Roland Sintos Coloma, a professor of teacher education at Wayne State University focusing on cultural differences in education based on race, gender, class, and sexuality. A former community organizer, he also addresses the role of educators in activism. He was born in the Philippines and raised in California.

Date: April 10

Sponsoring Division: Learning, Teaching & Literacy


Ariana Mangual Figueroa, an associate professor of urban education and Latin American, Iberian, and Latino cultures at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her upcoming book, Knowing Silence: How Children Talk about Immigration Status in School, addresses undocumented students’ experiences and will be published in April 2024. She will share her book and discuss topics of immigration status at schools and how educators can better support students.

Date: April 17

Sponsoring Division: Educational Linguistics


The Visiting Scholar Speaker Series is open to all Penn GSE students, faculty, and staff.