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Bloomfield College Triplets Look Forward to Their Next Chapters
2017 will close the chapter on an impressive family educational achievement, as triplets Kenechukwu, Ikechukwu , and Rishana Ubah will all earn Bachelor’s degrees from the College by year’s end.
Bloomfield College Now Offers Tuition Discount to Wakefern Employees
The College now offers a 25% tuition discount to Wakefern employees and their dependents. The discount can be applied to both the College’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
Bloomfield College Announces New Director of Student Financial Services
“I am so excited to welcome Lisa Shaheen to Bloomfield College. Her wealth of experience and commitment to improving student satisfaction and financial literacy made her an ideal candidate to lead our financial aid functions,” said Adam Castro, Vice President for Enrollment Management.
Bloomfield College Hosts Summer Program for Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark
Thirty Eagle Academy scholars participated in the programs this June. The programs were led by Bloomfield College professors and staff and increased the students’ knowledge of the PSAT and SAT tests.
Bloomfield College Alumnus Joins the AmeriCorps Literacy Coalition
Bloomfield College Alumnus Earvin Casciano ’17 will be participating in an 11-month literacy project in Palm Beach, Florida, through AmeriCorps.
NiCori Studios & Productions Presents Into the Woods at Bloomfield College
NiCori Studios & Productions’ Teen Performance Ensemble will perform on Friday, August 4, at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, August 5, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, August 6, at 2:00 p.m.
Bloomfield College Announces New Women’s Basketball Coach
A member of the Newark Athletic and New Jersey State Coaches Hall of Fames, Vanessa Watson comes to Bloomfield College after a storied 31-year career at Malcolm X Shabazz High School.

Ada McKenzie: Sankofa's Songbirds

By: Andrew Mees, Director of College and Athletics Communications       communications@bloomfield.edu

Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes.

For Assistant Professor of World Literature Dr. Ada McKenzie, the inspiration for her recent paper Sankofa’s Songbirds: African American Children as Culture Bearers in Jazz-Infused Children’s Literature came in pint-sized form; the kindergarten students she taught in the early stages of her career in education.

It was during a typical period of youthful unrest when McKenzie gathered her students together to read them the popular children’s book Jazzy Miz Mozetta, a story illustrating the powers of jazz music in an urban African-American neighborhood. McKenzie was amazed by her students’ reaction and enthrallment in the tale, from the language utilized to accentuate the sounds of music to the artwork accompanying the story.

Through this educational experience, Sankofa’s Songbirds was born, a paper published in October by Routledge African Series in an anthology entitled IdentityQuest: African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Examining jazz-infused children’s literature and its ability serve as an educational tool, the work utilizes the Akan word “Sankofa” in its title, meaning, “to go back and retrieve what has been lost”. The choice highlights the musical genre’s ability to connect people of all ages (including the “Songbirds” of America’s younger generations), and further the cultural impact the style continues to have for years to come.

“In African-American and Afro-Caribbean cultures, the connections between various disciplines are invaluable, because the arts have played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural narratives which resound throughout the children’s literature,” McKenzie said. “That is why I felt jazz music was such an important topic to shed light on ⎯ it serves as a vehicle to connect generations, and these connections are so important to maintaining our cultural heritage.”

Earning a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UMass-Amherst in 2007, McKenzie has presented numerous academic papers, and while an undergraduate at Columbia University served as a Co-Editor of the book Building Self-Esteem in Young Women (published in 1999). Joining the Bloomfield College faculty in Sept. 2013, McKenzie hopes her work will help inspire educators to take a closer look at the powerful impact music can have on the preservation of cultural traditions.

“My hope is that this research will inspire other scholars and K-12 educators to think deeply about the connections between African-American music and literature, and to value the synergy that results from an interdisciplinary explanation of both,” she said. “My work shows that jazz can be used as an entertaining way to educate our youth, and pass our heritage on to the next generation. It is now up to us, as educators, to utilize its powers.”

 

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