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Doctoral Student Jennifer Mann Receives Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant to Further Work Using Critical Literacy to Address Inequities Among Refugee Students

Jennifer Mann, a doctoral candidate in the NC State College of Education’s Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences’ literacy and English language arts concentration, has been selected as one of 12 students nationwide to receive the Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant.

The $2,500 grant will help fund Mann’s “Refugees Pursuing Education and Community Excellence (R_PEACE)” project, which was created as part of her dissertation work. The project is a social design-based experiment that teaches young adults from refugee backgrounds about critical literacy and engages with them to use critical literacy to act on inequities in their worlds. 

More specifically, the project is addressing equity in college access among refugee students and crafts a course of action through reading, writing and speaking. Young adults who participate in R_PEACE share their stories of getting into college through live speaking events at nonprofit organizations and high schools, the distribution of a multilingual brochure and Instagram. 

“The group of young adults I’ve been working with are focused on increasing equity and access to higher education through telling counter-stories at refugee-serving nonprofit organizations across the state. They are concerned that only 6% of students attend college, but many more than that have hopes of doing so,” Mann said. “This award provides a means to continue the program and reach more youth from refugee-backgrounds with the hopeful message of possibility and continue building upon critical literacy understanding and use for these young adults from refugee-backgrounds.”

Mann was previously awarded funding for this project in the fall of 2021, when she was one of 200 students selected to receive the Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award.