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Featured Guests


Teresa L. Smallwood JD, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow & Associate Director

Public Theology & Racial Justice Collaborative (Vanderbilt Divinity School)

*MLK Kickoff (January 18th|12p|BCC) *

Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood, Esq. was born in Windsor, North Carolina.  She graduated with a B.A. Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she majored in Speech Communications and Afro-American Studies.  She received the Juris Doctor Degree in 1985 from North Carolina Central University School of Law.  Dr. Smallwood began her legal career with Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont in Charlotte, NC. She also worked as a staff attorney for the Children’s Law Center in the same city.  In 1989, she served as an Assistant District Attorney until she commenced her private practice that spanned more than two decades. Dr. Smallwood currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee having graduated with the PhD degree May, 2017 from Chicago Theological Seminary with concentrations in Theology, Ethics, and Human Sciences. She now serves as Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Director of the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Dr. Smallwood was licensed and ordained to public ministry while serving Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Lewiston, NC. She is a member at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings.


Lindsey Lieck

Social Studies & Secondary Education

*Teach-In: Countering Islamophobia Everyday|1.15-2.30p|Commons Center 235 *

 Lindsey Lieck is a first-year Professional Student at Vanderbilt University studying Social Studies Secondary Education. She grew up in Rhinelander, Wisconsin and graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Political Science in 2016. For the past two years she lived in Chicago and was an active volunteer with the American Friends and Service Committee’s (AFSC) Communities Against Islamophobia project. Through this work Lindsey developed and implemented a campaign to stop the implementation of counter-terrorism programs that unjustly target Muslim communities.  


Sabina Mohyuddin

American Muslim Advisory Council

Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University Class of 1993

*Teach-In: Countering Islamophobia Everyday|1.15-2.30p|Commons Center 235 *

 Sabina Mohyuddin is a Bangladeshi American Muslim born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee.  And graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1993 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She is an active member of the Muslim community participating in interfaith and youth programs. In 2010, Sabina helped launch the Sons and Daughters of Abraham which brings Muslim, Christian, and Jewish youth across Middle Tennessee together through interfaith dialogue and outreach programs. Sabina has published a number of articles in The Tennessean and was an outspoken critic of the 2011 anti-sharia bill in the Tennessee state legislature. She is a founding board member of the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), which fosters mutual trust and respect among all people through civic engagement, community building and media relations in order to protect all Tennesseans from prejudice and targeted violence. She serves as the chair of AMAC’s yearly Empowering Women conference. Additionally, Sabina serves on the Community Nashville board which combats bias, bigotry, and racism among youth and serves on the National Organization of Workforce Diversity board which helps promote diversity in the workplace.


Kimberly Goins, JD, MTS

TennCare Appeals Division

*Teach-In: Stop & Frisk|2.45-4p|Commons Center 235 *

Kimberly Goins graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in political science and Spanish, magna cum laude, with honors, in 2007. During her time at UA, she was a Presidential Scholar, a William P. Bloom Award Recipient (University Premier Award), Founder of Multicultural Day, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She also attended UA for law school and graduate school, and in 2011, she was the first student to graduate with the dual degree in law, juris doctor, and a Master’s Degree in political science. She also graduated with the Certificate in Public Interest and Order of Samaritan honors. During her time at UA Law, she was President of the Public Interest Student Board and member of the Managing Board for Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review. In 2011, she took the New York Bar Exam, which she passed on the first try. She remains licensed and in good standing with the New York Bar. She has practiced in New York City and has also done legal work in Nashville. She has worked as an E Discovery/Document Review Attorney; as a Law Clerk for Judge Penny Harrington; as a Law Instructor for Vanderbilt Summer Academy, Summer Academy at Vanderbilt for the Young, and Weekend at Vanderbilt University Program; and as a Legal Research Assistant for law firms. In 2017, she graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School with the Master of Theological Studies Degree. During her time at VDS, she was a Cal Turner Fellow, Chaplain Intern, and Coffee Hour Coordinator. Her thesis topic was Women Professionals of the Ancient Near East. She currently is a proud state employee who works for TennCare Appeals Division, Litigation Unit, through which she has served as a Resolution and Preparation Specialist and as a Litigation Assistant.


Brandon Byrd, PhD

Assistant Professor of History (Vanderbilt University)

*Teach-In: Black Lives Matter|1.15-2.30p|Sarratt 325/327 *

Brandon R. Byrd is an Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and an intellectual historian of the 19th and 20th century United States with specializations in African American History and the African Diaspora. He is currently completing his first book, The Black Republic: African Americans and the Fate of Haiti (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). Beyond that book, he has published articles and chapters in numerous outlets including Slavery and AbolitionPalimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black InternationalThe Journal of Haitian Studies, and Radical Teacher: A Socialist, Feminist, and Anti-Racist Journal on the Theory and Practice of Teaching. He is also an editor of the Black Lives and Liberation series published by Vanderbilt University Press, vice president of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), and a writer for Black Perspectives, the online publication of the AAIHS.


Richard Pitt, PhD

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Director of Graduate Studies (Vanderbilt University)

*Teach-In: LGBTQ & The Civil Rights Movement|2.45-4p|Sarratt 325/327 *

Dr. Richard Pitt is a sociologist who studies religion, education, and work with an emphasis on professional/academic identity formation and negotiation. He is coauthor of a major study on double majoring, the author of Divine Callings: Understanding The Call To Ministry In Black Pentecostalism (NYU Press), and is currently working on his second book which advances a general theory of church-planting as social entrepreneurship. Both a Cross-College Scholar and recipient of the Jeffrey Nordhaus Award For Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Dr. Pitt teaches core sociology courses on race, religion, gender, family, and education.


Austin Darling

Child Studies & Clinical/Development Research

*Teach-In: Microagressions. The Hate You Face Everyday|1.15-2.30p|Rand 308 *

Austin Darling is a first-year master’s student in the Child Studies program, specializing in the Clinical and Developmental Research Track, and works as a Graduate Area Coordinator in the Office of Housing and Residential Education. He graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and dual minors in Forensic Science and Public Health. Austin is interested in optimizing outcomes for children who experience early life adversity, such as maltreatment and severe illness. Additionally, he is interested in the mechanisms by which identity develops, especially in sexual and gender minority youth, and how various factors influence this development. Austin intends to pursue further training as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and hopes to work with underserved youth and their families.


Claudine Taaffe, PhD

Senior Lecturer in African American & Diaspora Studies

Director of Undergraduate Studies for African American and Diaspora Studies (Vanderbilt University)

*Teach-In: Black Girls Speak Truth to Power|2.45-4p|Rand 308*

Dr. Claudine Taaffe is a Senior Lecturer in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. Taaffe is an ethnographer, who engages critical qualitative methods in her work with African American girls. Her research is centered in examining the ways in which Black girls, who are constructed as “at‐risk”, negotiate spaces of decision‐making, identity, and community‐building using the creative arts. In her work with Black girls, Taaffe focuses on the use of photography and performance texts in the creation and documentation of the stories Black girls tell about their lives in schools. Taaffe is committed to utilizing a cacophony of theories, methodologies, and, ultimately, powerful stories that act as counter-narratives to the myths of a Black girlhood that is considered deficit, in crisis, deviant, and in need of saving. Taaffe considers her work with Black girls to be a purposeful attempt to broaden the aperture into Girlhood Studies and Education by being intentionally inclusive of a Black girlhood that matters. Taaffe is the author of several book chapters on Black girlhood and the use of photography as a disruptive qualitative method in education. She received her doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign. She is currently working on her book project, Black Girl Gaze: A Visual (Re)membering of Black Girlhood as an Act of Resistance and is a 2017-2018 recipient of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching Junior Faculty Fellowship.