Careers in Classrooms: From Early Childhood to Higher Education
Public education serves a vital role in the United States, and the need for enthusiastic young teachers is greater than ever. This presentation explores the opportunities and challenges educators face in a range of institutions and grade levels, and attendees are introduced to programs at YVC and other regional institutions. Travis draws on both research and experience, having taught in K-12 settings, flagship state universities, adult basic education, and ESL/ELL classrooms. (Adaptable for different age groups. Projector with web access ideal, but can be presented without tech upon request.)
New Media, Old Tricks: Rhetorical Analysis in a Digital World
With online discourse having increasingly important sociopolitical implications, many researchers feel a set of ethics for thoughtful, compassionate conversation are necessary. Travis lays forth some basic principles all social media users can follow to help create a more inclusive, less polarized world. (Adaptable for different age groups. Projector with web access required.)
Trash Talk and Toughening Up: Balancing Compassion and Criticism in Sports
The sports world can be cold, heartening, brutal, and compassionate—all within the same moment. In this presentation, Travis and audience members explore the rhetoric of sports. What’s over the line? Why? How can “trash talk” be fun without becoming offensive? What are the roles and responsibilities of parents at sporting events? How can coaches create an environment that both empowers and motivates players? (Adaptable for different age groups and contexts. Projector with web access can be used, but can be presented without tech as well.)
“Shut Up and Play”: The Role of Activism in Sports, Past, Present, and Future
Colin Kaepernick. Billie Jean King. John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Mohammad Ali. Over the years, scores of athletes have used their platforms to promote civil rights and equality in the United States (and elsewhere). At every turn, they were met with resistance and criticism. Why, then, do athletes continue to protest on and off the playing field, knowing they will draw backlash and potentially damage their careers and earning potential? What has been the result of their protests? Are they, as critics suggest, anti-patriotic? Should high school and young athletes follow suit? In this presentation, Travis explores the sociopolitical and rhetorical effects of becoming an “activist athlete.” (Adaptable for different age groups. Projector with web access required.)
Chicana Identity 101
How do we define “Latina”? How do we define “Chicana”? This presentation draws from Chicana feminist scholarship, art, activism, and local history to provide an introduction to Chicana studies.
(Middle School, High School, General Audience; Requires projector)
Chicana Punk Pedagogy
This presentation explores how writing classrooms can center punk music, and especially punk music by artists of color, in order to help students to engage with the voices and expressive possibilities of punk music as a resource and a site for analysis and understanding of identity, history, and activism in communities of color. In addition to the music as analytical text, punk music also introduces students to DIY practices such as blogging and zine making that prompts students to create community-facing composition projects about their own experiences and interests.
(Can be tailored either for other educators or for high school students; Requires projector and speakers)
This presentation provides a historical introduction to the Latinx superhero before exploring different textual examples of Latinx heroes in comics, films, television, and literature. Next, audiences will be asked to reflect on the importance of representation in heroic narratives. In groups, audiences will be asked to brainstorm heroes that represent their own communities.
(Middle School, High School, General Audience; Requires projector and speakers)
Community & College
In this presentation, I will discuss my own relationship to Yakima Valley College over three key experiences. My first experience with YVC was as a child attending evening classes with my mother. As a teenager, I attended YVC as a Running Start student. Now, I am part of the YVC English department faculty as an instructor. I would like to share my impressions of the importance of institutions like YVC for community members, especially for Latinas navigating the challenges and frustrations of higher education.
(Middle School, High School, General Audience)
US Economic Policy in the times of Covid -19
Why did the government spend so much money stimulating the economy during Covid-19? Will the U.S. government debt drive the country to bankruptcy? Will you have to pay for this debt? Why do we have inflation? This presentation focuses on what everybody should understand about the U.S economy in the era of Covid – 19, with emphasis on some common misconceptions about the wisdom of this economic policy, the risks associated with it, and the future of the country.
My Dungeon Shook: How Does Your Culture See You and What Can You Do About It?
On January 1st, 1963, the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves, James Baldwin published an “open letter” to his nephew, explaining the racism he will experience as a Black man in America. In 2015, Ta-Nahisi Coates published an updated version, advising his young son. These two letters are part of a tradition in the Black community called “The Talk.” For people like me, white, middle class, The Talk was an awkward and very short discussion with our parents about puberty. For people of color, The Talk is about life and death. For Black parents, The Talk describes what to do when you come in contact with the police, store owners, or other authority figures. In this workshop, we will look closely at this advice, reflect on how we become aware of our racial differences, and develop ideas for what we can do about it.
What Would Black Lives Matter Activists Say to Martin Luther King?
A new era of Black civil rights protest began in the summer of 2015 and exploded in 2020, following the murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter movement is not only a turning point in public opinion, it represents a split with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as well. In this workshop, students will learn about how BLM and CRM differ in their approaches to activism. We will investigate the changing perception of riots, feminism, LGBTQ rights, and the historical role of the Black church in the struggle for civil rights.
A Tale of Two Dons: How Donald Trump Split My Little Town in Two
Selah, Washington, has always been a sleepy, rural community where families move to raise their children. I grew up here in a perfect bubble in the 1970s and ’80s. 2020 changed all of that. Our town, known as the “Apple Juice Capital of the World,” erupted in open conflict over a Black Lives Matter march, Covid restrictions, and even chalk art. At the center of it all were two Dons: Donald Trump and our city administrator, Donald Wayman, a former Marine with a history of sexual misconduct and love of conflict rivaled only by the president. The battle for our town has gone to court, landed in the New York Times, twice, and resulted in resignations, firings, and a sense that the perfect bubble we lived in is lost for good. Together, we will examine the way the national debate trickles down to the local level. Did either side take it too far, and what can be done to bring us together?
How to Robot-Proof Your Education
There is a wave coming, and we have our back turned to it. In 2013, Oxford University published a report that concluded nearly half of all jobs were automatable “over the next decade or two.” My students have been researching this question for the past five years. We have yet to find a career that is completely safe. In this workshop, students will learn what skills we can automate and where humans still hold the advantage. We will ask, what should we be learning to protect our future? How should we be learning it? And who should be teaching it to us?
The Use of Sign Language by Cross-Fostered Chimpanzees
In 1966 Allen and Beatrix Gardner introduced the infant chimpanzee Washoe into their human cross-fostering laboratory. They used American Sign Language as a means of two-way communication. Over several years the Gardners replicated their study with additional chimpanzees. This presentation will provide basic information about chimpanzees, cross-fostering, and how these cross-fostered chimpanzees acquired and used the signs of American Sign Language. This presentation can be adapted for elementary school students.
Dr. Heidi Shaw
Pointing Gestures in Humans and Chimpanzees
Simple, common behaviors are often the most interesting. Developmental and cognitive psychologists consider it an important developmental milestone when human infants begin to point. This presentation will describe the developmental pattern of pointing in human infants and the importance that psychologists attribute to this milestone. It will also describe evidence of pointing in cross-fostered chimpanzees.
Dr. Heidi Shaw
The Salem Witch Trials
In 1692 over 160 people in Massachusetts Bay Colony were accused of witchcraft. At least twenty-five people died. Nineteen were executed by hanging, one tortured to death, and at least five died in jail due to harsh conditions. During the Salem trials, more people were accused and executed than in all the previous witchcraft trials in New England. This presentation will provide basic information about the events of 1692 but will focus on the nature of evidence used by the courts and the debates at the time about what constitutes good evidence. Dr. Shaw is a descendant of Sarah Averill Wilde, a woman hanged in 1692 under charges of witchcraft.
Dr. Heidi Shaw
Why People Believe Weird Things
We all like to believe that we are critical thinkers, and indeed evidence supports our belief. However, the strategies that are normally so effective can also lead us to make some major thinking errors under other circumstances. Psychologists study these thinking tendencies and provide insight into how to recognize faulty thinking. This presentation will introduce the audience to some common thinking errors and will provide strategies for recognizing and perhaps even overcoming some of these errors.
Dr. Heidi Shaw
How to Think Like a Psychologist
When many people hear “psychology”, they think of TV psychiatrist Frasier Crane or the mental health equivalent of Florence Nightingale. Shelves full of self-help books under “Psychology” at local bookstores promote this notion. The field of psychology is actually much more diverse and interesting than that. This presentation will introduce the audience to how psychologists form questions and develop methods for investigating them. In the process, it will highlight some interesting subfields of psychology.
Dr. Heidi Shaw