American Studies

Shelby Mack - Race and Education in the U.S.

Following graduation, Shelby Mack was the Post-Baccalaureate Shinnyo-en Fellow for Berkeley’s Public Service Center. As a Shinnyo fellow, she worked as a 6th grade Poetry Teacher and Research Fellow for the African American Female Excellence Program (AAFE) – the first school in the United States to create a Black female enrichment program at West Oakland Middle School. Her service project, “Empowering and Healing Girls of Color through Performing Arts,” incorporated peace building, mindfulness, and sisterhood in teaching girls not only how to identify systemic oppressions, gender violence, and family trauma they face but also how to create healing, gender empowerment, and social change through narrative art. Shelby also participated in the post-baccalaureate research education program at Yale. Beginning Fall 2020, Shelby will pursue a Ph.D. in Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

Area of Concentration Courses

Education 190AC - Critical Studies in Education
Education 182AC - The Politics of Educational Inequality
Education 140AC - Art of Making Meaning
African American Studies 139 - Selected Topics of African American Social Organization and Institutions
African American Studies 136 - Criminal Justice and the Community
African American Studies 241 - Special Topics in Development Studies of the Diaspora


#BlackGirlsWillAlwaysMatter: Understanding the Importance of Black Female Enrichment Programs in Oakland, California

In her honors thesis, Shelby used ethnographic methodologies to explore how the first Black female enrichment program, African American Female Excellence Program (AAFE) within Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), offers solutions for healing Black girls’ experiences with dehumanizing school practices (e.g., zero tolerance policies).

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