". . . your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."
Dr. Erica WOmack | Founder & CEO
Erica Womack, Ph.D. is the Founder of Black Gurl Institute, a social learning platform for Black women. For three years, Erica served as Chief Operating Officer of OASIS (Opening Access to STEAM in Informal Settings), a K-8 STEM enrichment company that she co-founded with her husband, Maurice, in 2015. Before beginning her journey as an entrepreneur, Erica worked as an Assistant Professor at Otterbein University teaching language arts methods and literacy education courses to pre- and in-service teachers.
Erica earned her Ph.D. in Education from The Ohio State University, specializing in adolescent literacies, content area literacies, critical pedagogy, and urban education. She has presented aspects of her work at various local, state, and national conferences including NCTE, AERA, NAME, NWSA. Erica is also the author of “Lessons in love, literacy, and listening: Reflections on learning with and from Black female adolescents” (a chapter featured in the 2014 American Educational Studies Association Critic’s Choice Book Award Engaging culture, race, and spirituality in education: New visions, new dialogues) and co-author of “Cultivating literacy and relationships with adolescent scholars of color,” “From pin to pen: The multimodality of black girls (re)writing their lives” and more. In addition to her work in academia, Erica also taught high school English Language Arts for a number of years in the Columbus City Schools district.
In her spare time, Erica enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, reading lots of non-fiction, listening to music, watching Netflix, and mentoring young girls and women. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Heather Hill | Instructor & K-12 Curriculum SPecialist
Dr. Heather Hill is an instructor for the new Black Gurl Gifted K-12 curriculum. Her course is entitled, "Write it, Rule it, Run it: Exploring the Leadership of Black Women in Politics for Black girls in grades 2 & 3. Dr. Heather Hill joins us from Cleveland, Ohio where she serves as an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Cleveland State University. In this role she teaches courses in learning and development theory and the social, cultural and political foundations of education. Through curriculum that centers the scholarship of Black and Brown researchers and examines the intersectional influences of race, class and gender in education and teaching, she facilitates critical dialogue and community that develops teachers for equity-centered teaching, leading, and social action. Her approach to teaching emerges from lessons learned through research with Black girls reading and writing across urban public language arts classrooms and digital reading and writing environments. Her research highlights the historical and sociopolitical aspects of literacy education and points to possibilities for contexts of schooling to serve as spaces and places for empowerment, community building, critical consciousness raising, and academic achievement for and among Black youth generally, and Black girls in particular.
She also serves as the CEO-consultant-researcher-advocate-educator-coach for companies, Evergreen Educational Consulting & Coaching and Parenting for Equity and Social Justice where she partners with caregivers, teachers and administrators to create equity-centered contexts of teaching and learning where the histories, interests, experiences and voices of marginalized communities, are centered.
Heather is an unapologetic Christ Representative, 14-year wife to her college sweetheart, and mother to 2 Black girls - lovingly committed to creating spaces and places where Black girls can nurture their gifts, recognize their individual and collective value and, can take pride in being and becoming members of a community of peoples who’ve made and continue to make substantive contributions to the world. Email: email@example.com
"There are two ways to worry words. One is hoping for the greatest possible beauty in what is created. The other is to tell the truth."
- June Jordan