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Stewards of Hiatt Center

The Hiatt Center is stewarded by the following team:

Katerine BielacaycKaterine Bielaczyc

Director, Associate Professor

Email: Kate

Kate Bielaczyc is the Director of the Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education and an Associate Professor of Education at Clark University. As Hiatt Director, Kate is dedicated to cultivating a collective where diverse knowledges, experiences, and perspectives contribute to creating relationships, advancing understanding, and generating innovations that promote social and political change.

Kate’s scholarship involves collaborating with students, teachers, school districts, and community organizations to investigate new approaches to learning and teaching. She studies the creation and impact of collectives such as learning communities and communities of researchers. As a design-researcher, she focuses on developing social and technological infrastructures to support participants in engaging in collective inquiry toward personal, pedagogical, and systemic transformation. Her work with youth and new media has also led to an exploration of transmedia sensemaking — how youth work to make sense of phenomena and construct understandings using a variety of cultural artifacts drawn from across multiple platforms and forms of media.

Over the past 25 years, Kate has been part of an international network of researchers, teachers, and educational stakeholders in over 20 countries engaged in the creation of Knowledge Building Communities (KBC) in K-12 and university settings. The KBC model of Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter has been a premier educational model within the field of the Learning Sciences for several decades. The central contribution of Kate’s research has been in advancing understanding of how to support the necessary epistemological and pedagogical shifts that teachers and students navigate in creating classroom knowledge building communities.

Kate received a B.Sc. Honours in computer science from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and a Master’s and Ph.D. in education from the University of California at Berkeley. She has been at Clark since 2012. Before joining Clark, she was Deputy Head of the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education in Singapore; Assistant Professor at Harvard University jointly in Teacher Education and Technology in Education; a Senior Scientist at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman; and Director of the Learning Communities Research Group at Boston College. Kate has also collaborated on educational projects in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Nastasia Lawton-SicklorNastasia Lawton-Sticklor

Associate Director, Research Scientist

Email: Nastasia

Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor joined Hiatt Center for Urban Education in 2013. Her research focuses on social, personal, and intellectual factors that can influence how students construct academic identities, particularly within the contexts of families and their historical relationships with schooling institutions, social and racial identities, and societal assumptions about students and schools.

Nastasia’s current projects include work through Hiatt’s partnership with Claremont Academy, exploring school change. She specifically works with students through conversations about how they approach and understand learning in school, how they perceive school change, and how they construct identities in the context of their school, social and family lives. She is also beginning work with families in Worcester to better understand how they build their identities and relationships within their neighborhoods and with schooling institutions. This work employs methodologies that elicit participation from community members taking part in the research such as photoethnography and group conversations and activities.

Before joining the Hiatt Center, Nastasia worked as a support person at Boston Day and Evening Academy, a Horace Mann Charter school in Roxbury, MA, whose mission is to serve students for whom traditional schools have not worked. She holds a PhD from Simmons College, and is also a graduate of Clark University, where she received a BA in Spanish and an MAT from the Adams Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice.

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Stephanie Jennings

Grant and Budget Coordinator

Email: Stephanie

Stephanie Jennings joined the Hiatt Center for Urban Education as Grants Coordinator in 2019, bringing experience in hands-on education and non-profit fundraising. Prior to joining Hiatt, Stephanie worked in elementary special education student support in Natick (MA) Public Schools. Her background includes professional work in donor research and corporate/foundation relations at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and McLean Hospital, as well as volunteer work as a grant reviewer for the Natick Education Foundation. Stephanie earned a BA in Art History and Biological Sciences from Wellesley College. Her experience as an educator, parent of students, and education volunteer, has instilled an appreciation for learning in all its varied forms – both inside and outside the classroom – and inspired moving to a professional role supporting education research and development.

Raphael Rogers

Raphael Rogers

Hiatt Youth Summit Coordinator, Associate Professor of Practice

Email: Raphael

Raphael E. Rogers received his B. A. from Clark University, an Ed. M. for Northeastern University, and an Ed. D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he wrote a dissertation titled Slavery on Their Minds: Representing the Institution in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Dr. Rogers has worked in and with schools throughout the past seventeen years. Starting with his work at the Dynamy Youth Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, he has worked to help young people thrive academically and to improve their educational settings. He has taught in the Newton, Amherst, and Springfield, Mass., public schools, and has served as literacy coach, consultant, teacher education program reviewer, and a university supervisor of student teachers in a number of urban schools in Massachusetts. Dr. Rogers has also been involved in a number of efforts that have focused on engaging young people in development of their urban communities and supporting youth leaders who are interested in being critical participants in urban and metropolitan change. Since 2013, Dr. Rogers has organized an annual Youth Summit on Race at Clark that brings students together from various schools throughout Massachusetts. As a researcher, Dr. Rogers is exploring interventions and methods that enhance student engagement with school and learning. He also has research interests in critical literacies, critical multicultural analysis of children’s and young adult literature, curriculum development, literacy education, and community/school/university collaboration. Rogers  recently contributed the fourth chapter ” Slavery on Their Minds: Representing the Institution in Picture Books” of a book published in 2016, titled Frontiers in American Children’s Literature.

Hiatt Center – Cohen Undergraduate Research Fellows

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Libby Fontana

Undergraduate Research Fellow

Email: Libby Fontana

photo of ellanora lernerEllanora Lerner

Undergraduate Research Fellow

Email: Ellanora Lerner

Ellanora Lerner (she/they) is an undergraduate student at Clark University double majoring in History & Spanish with a minor in Education. They are currently a Hiatt Research Fellow studying the perspectives of LGBTQ+ K-12 teachers on student support for LGBTQ+ students and the incorporation of LGBTQ+ topics in curriculum. She hopes to work as a high school history teacher and is particularly interested in bilingual education

Hiatt Center Research Assistants

Savannah Croft-LevinSavannah Croft-Levin

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Email: Savannah Croft-Levin

Savannah Croft-Levin is a current undergraduate student at Clark University studying Community, Youth, and Education Studies and Psychology. She began her work during a course with Professor Lawton-Sticklor and has continued to work on research through the Hiatt Center, particularly from an education and social justice standpoint. Currently, she is working under Professor Lawton-Sticklor with other undergraduate students to develop an after-school program for youth in Worcester. This program will allow students to discuss Sustainability in conjunction with Social Justice movements using photography, which then we will be interviewing students about their experience in the program. For Savannah working on this research has provided a connection with youth in Worcester as well working with others to develop a plethora of co-constructed knowledges.

Aaron Kirshenbaum

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Email: Aaron Kirshenbaum

Hiatt Summer Fellows

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508 Discussions Team

Youth Research Fellows (Summer 2021)

JOYS Leadership Team

Dimas Blanco

Dimas Blanco

JOYS Design Editor

Email: Dimas Blanco

Dimas Blanco is a graduate of Worcester’s Claremont Academy and is currently an undergraduate at Quinsigamond Community College studying interactive media and digital design. He served on the JOYS design team starting in 2015, conducting research with students and teachers, engaging in community outreach and designing JOYS materials. For Dimas, creating JOYS has been an expression of his belief that youth should have a place to express themselves and work together.

picture of KleinKlein Ngoga

JOYS Managing Editor

Email: Klein Ngoga

Klein Ngoga is a graduate of Portland High school in Maine, and is currently working on his bachelor degree in Political Science at Clark University. He served as the managing editor for JOYS since 2020, and is looking to lead a social justice themed issue in the spring of 2022. JOYS has provided Klein with the opportunity of empowering youth through education

Ruth Weche

Ruth Weche

JOYS  Editor (2018-2020)

Email: Ruth Weche

Ruth Weche, or Ruthy, is a graduate student of Brockton High School and is currently an undergraduate at Clark University studying Biochemistry on a pre-med track. She joined the editorial board in the fall of 2016 serving as the managing editor of JOYS, working with authors, and providing outreach for the journal. For Ruthy, being a part of JOYS is an exciting and rewarding opportunity to help provide youth with the space they need to be heard.

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Samantha Pham

JOYS Youth Coordinator (2019-20)

Hiatt Youth Council

Linda Mindaye

Linda Mindaye

Hiatt Youth Council Coordinator (2017-2019)

Additional Hiatt Contributors

Helen SegilHelen Segil

Community Outreach (2015-2019)

Helen Segil is an artist, researcher and educator who has made Worcester her home for nearly a decade. With a focus on arts-based learning, creative space making, and community engagement, Helen aims to bring creative learning and alternative forms of education into the classroom and afterschool spaces. In accordance with the Hiatt Centers mission, Helen’s goal is to create full circle sustainable learning environments that put youth at the center of the work. Helen seeks to encourage students and teachers to challenge the ideology of the conventional classroom and think outside the box (or school). Among other things, Helen has worked with to bring Hip-Hop Education into high school history lessons, as well as helped to create Zero Waste classroom principles, and integrated arts-based curriculums. Outside of her work at Clark, Helen maintains a practice as a working ceramicist and artist in Worcester.

Anais DerSimonianAnais DerSimonian

Communications Director (2018-2019)

Anais DerSimonian is a writer and filmmaker whose interests lie at the intersection of culture, media and the arts. A Clark Alumni (’17), who studied Culture Studies and Screen Studies with an emphasis on education, she believes film, if used effectively, can be one of the most influential tools in revealing facts and truths and galvanizing social change. Anais has produced various documentary and narrative projects, including Forward & Forward – a profile on an NGO in Yerevan, Armenia that provides micro-loans to cottage industries and entrepreneurs based in rural regions to help create jobs, self-sufficiency and to stimulate the post-Soviet economy. Besides filmmaking, Anais enjoys reading good fiction and watching sketch and stand-up comedy. She currently lives in Worcester, Mass.

Hiatt Center Researchers

In order to bring together diverse knowledges, experiences, and perspectives toward advancing research in urban education, the Hiatt Center engages a distributed network of researchers in forming a research-practice collective, the Hiatt Community of Inquiry (COI). This includes collaborations involving Education faculty and other Clark Centers and Institutes. The diversity of the work is reflected in projects such as our Youth-Led Research, Educator-Led Research, and Clark-Led Research.

Contact Information

Hiatt Center for Urban Education

Office Location
  • Jonas Clark Hall
    Clark University
    Worcester, Massachusetts 01610

  • 1-508-793-7722
  • 1-508-793-8864 Fax