RISE Board

RISE is managed by the RISE board.  The following short biographies are of the current board members.  These bios are provided to show the multiple paths that have led us to RISE.

Carrie Allen Bemis is a PhD student in Educational Psychology and Learning Sciences. While working as a high school teacher in Seattle, she became interested in the ways that schools categorize students as different or “other” and how this labeling impacts students’ educational trajectories. Her current research looks at non-dominant students’ perceptions of self within STEM fields, educational equity and access for undocumented students, and the role critical education plays in reframing deficit perspectives in education. To Carrie, RISE is a place where current power structures can be problematized and discussed openly as a means to inform and push forward our teaching and research practice. Carrie has a BA in English Literature from Western Washington University and a Master in Teaching degree from Seattle University.

Ashley Cartun is a PhD student in Literacy Studies and Teacher Education. She received her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Connecticut and worked as a language arts teacher in middle and high school levels within urban and suburban public schools. Ashley’s research interests include critical theory addressing deficit discourses and policies of literacy practices in schools and how language diversity and social equity issues are taken up in teacher education programs.  

Mike Dominguez 

Alaina Feltenberger is a third year doctoral student focusing on Literacy, Curriculum and Instruction. My research interests lie primarily in composition; I am a firm believer that strong writing skills can change a person's life and lead to improved opportunities in education and employment. Thus, for me, and as I always told my New York City high school students, literacy is the key to civic engagement and fulfilled potential in all areas of life. With this social-justice commitment in mind, I am particularly interested in the shared practices that students and tutors engage in within writing centers, both in-person and in online environments. I value my work in RISE as an opportunity to connect with the CU community and beyond about issues of race and equity, and I look forward to the journey ahead!

Jackie Hernandez is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity program in the School of Education. Jackie has a bilingual, bicultural family where race and language play an integral role in shaping her family dynamic. After teaching and working as an ELL teacher in Phoenix, Arizona for five years, Jackie came to the University of Colorado at Boulder to learn how to critically examine the opportunities to learn for emerging bilingual students. Specifically, her current research is centered on exploring the opportunities forbiliteracy for emerging bilingual students within districts, which are highly influenced by high stakes testing.

Chelsey Shade is a PhD student in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity. She completed her BA in math and Spanish and her MA in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity at CU Boulder. Prior to starting the doctoral program, Chelsey worked as a high school math teacher. She is interested in looking at strategies for English language learners within secondary math classrooms.

Karla Teresa Del Rosal Bujanda

Kathryn Wiley is a PhD student in the Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice program (EFPP). She completed her BA in psychology at Wright State University and her MA also in the EFPP program at CU Boulder. Kathryn is interested in a variety of topics, particularly issues of race and economic segregation in schools, anti-racist / critical multicultural education, and school discipline.

Ex Officio

Andrea Bien was a fifth grade teacher  in central Massachusetts until her interests in equity and social  justice brought her to the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education.  She believes we must enable critical dialogue surrounding  systemic issues of race in order to disrupt inequity and injustice in  our nation’s schools. Her research interests include issues of equity  and access in K-12 literacy teaching & learning.  Andrea is a PhD student in Curriculum & Instruction: Literacy Studies.  She holds a Master of Science in Elementary Education from the  University of Pennsylvania.

Darrell "DJ" Jackson is currently a doctoral candidate in the school of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Immediately prior, he served the George Mason University School of Law as an Assistant Dean and Director of Diversity Services from March 2004 until May 2007.  Prior to joining Mason, he practiced law as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia from 2000-2004 and as an Assistant County Attorney in Fairfax County, Virginia, from 1994-2000.  Prior to joining the County Attorney's office, he served as judicial law clerk to The Honorable L.M. Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and to The Honorable Marcus D. Williams of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Virginia.  He received his J.D. from George Mason University School of Law in 1990 where he co-founded the George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal in 1989 and co-authored "The Sunset of Affirmative Action? City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co." 12 Black L.J. 73 (1990).  In 1987 he received his B.A. in Spanish with a minor in sociology from the College of William and Mary.

Christina Paguyo is a PhD student in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice.  Prior to graduate school, she worked as a higher education administrator with a focus on retention and recruitment of underrepresented student populations.  Impassioned about issues about race and equity, she aims to use qualitative and quantitative research to inform P-16 policy.     

As a high school special education teacher, Subini Annamma worked with students labeled emotionally, behaviorally and learning disabled. While collaborating with these amazing students, she recognized her passion for social justice teaching which led her to CU-Boulder's School of Education. As a PhD student in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity, Subini's research interests are in teacher education, special education and access and equity for diverse student populations in schools. Coordinating Committee membership aligns with her goals of creating a space for critical discussions of race in public education.


Rebecca Beucher - Becky is a PhD student in Literacy Education. She completed her BA in Psychology and English at the University of Minnesota, and her master’s degree in Secondary education at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. Prior to moving to Boulder, Becky served in Los Angeles as a secondary English Language Arts instructor. She is passionate about working for social justice and is interested in challenging dominant ideas about literacy. 

Ruth López is a PhD student in the Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice program. She received her BA in Mexican American Studies and also in Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. This degree allowed her to pursue her interests in Chicana/o cultural identity, immigration and Latin American Literature.  Upon graduating she became a college outreach counselor for middle and high school students in Houston, Texas. It was very rewarding to interact with students who came from a similar background as herself and who were also first-generation college students. She spent four years doing this work but then felt compelled to pursue graduate studies with the aim of improving access to higher education for underrepresented students.

Elizabeth "Liz" Mendoza is a PhD student in the Education Psychology/Learning Sciences program.  She received her MA in School Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado.  Liz has several years of professional experience in pre-colligate outreach programs.  Her research interests include college access and retention for first generation, low-income students of color.  Liz and her spouse, Jeremiah, are proud parents of two four-year old twin boys.


Deb Morrison was an forest ecologist in Canada prior to working as a middle school science teacher in north Denver.  Deb has a B.S.(Hon) in Geography and a M.S. in Plant and Environmental Sciences.  She came to CU to work on the issue of quality science teachers for urban students, a problem embedded in issues of race, economics, and teacher training.  Her studies and research work have brought her to a deeper understanding of how groups of teachers can work together within school contexts to understand themselves and their impact on student learning and success.



Additionally, we'd like to acknowledge the support of all members of R.I.S.E, the School of Education administration, faculty, students and other members who make up R.I.S.E. We'd especially like to acknowledge our student group advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Dutro. Information about Dr. Dutro can be found at: http://www.colorado.edu/education/faculty/elizabethdutro/