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Dr. Amber Sessoms is a nationally certified school psychologist for one of Pennsylvania’s largest school districts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in African-American Studies from Millersville University. She continued her studies at Millersville University and earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology.
Dr. Sessoms was a 2017 recipient of the Community Courage in Action Award and her district’s Educator of the Year award in part for her work on creating student-led dialogue and culturally-competent education to make visible the ways in which everyday microaggressions reinforce difference.
Dr. Sessoms remains driven by her passion to give voice to our underrepresented and marginalized populations, while also instilling in them a desire for lifelong learning and critical self-reflection. These desires helped shape her doctoral research, entitled: “The Merging of the Personal and the Collective: Reimagining Black Natural Hair Care Digital Spaces as Sites of Critical Public Pedagogy.”
Her work centers Black women who wear their hair natural and engage with Black Natural Hair Care Blogs. Dr. Sessoms’ findings speak to: (a) the sanctity of Black affinity spaces, (b) the fetishizing of Black women’s bodies, (c) deconstructing the angry Black woman stereotype, (d) the narrow representation of Black women in media, (e) the commodification of natural hair, (f) Black women’s sense of agency, and (g) social media sites as a sharing community and sisterhood.
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1 thought on “E16. Creating Safe Digital Space for the Natural Hair Community w/ Dr. Amber Sessoms”
Although students spend much of their personal time online, educators should not assume that this experience translates into proficiency in an education environment. The skill sets needed to navigate informal, personal social media exchanges are quite different from those needed for academic conversations and collaborative tasks. To highlight the different expectations for communicating in different spaces, we might begin by giving students an opportunity to discuss communication norms with their peers.
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