School of Liberal Arts and Education
English Department Faculty Bios
Chair, English Department
Augustine Okereke, an Associate Professor and Chair of the English department, received his PhD from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. He specialized in African Literature, with an emphasis on oral heroic narratives. His dissertation documents the African oral heroic narratives and examines and situates the narrative performances and heroes in the traditional and modern societies. It further argues that oral narratives are products of the societies which inform them and, therefore, serve both sociological and historical functions. Dr. Okereke has published a book entitled Oral Heroic Poetry of the Igbos of Nigeria, as well as articles in peer reviewed journals. He has presented at academic and professional conferences. In the summers of 2002 and 2003, the Department of Africana Studies, University of Massachusetts at Boston invited him as a visiting Assistant Professor to teach African and African American folklore. He teaches African Literature, Introduction to Literature, World Literature, and composition.
Susan Alice Fischer, Coordinator, Cross-cultural Literature
Susan Alice Fischer (Professor) received her PhD from the University in London, having previously studied at the Università degli Studi di Salerno in Italy, where she also began her academic career. She has been teaching in the English Department at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York since 2001. She is currently Professor of English and Cross-Cultural Literature Coordinator. She teaches a range of courses at the College, including British Literature I and II, Applied Literary Theory, and Literature of the Global City. She also teaches Composition I and II, Introduction to Literature, and World Literature. Dr. Fischer is the Editor of the peer-reviewed online London Literary Journal (www.literarylondon.org) and Co-Editor of Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education, a peer-reviewed journal published by Taylor & Francis. Dr. Fischer’s research interests are in contemporary British literature, particularly women’s London fiction and migration literature. She has written numerous published and forthcoming articles, essays and reviews on such authors as Monica Ali, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Richard Bean, Buchi Emecheta, Maggie Gee, Andrea Levy, Pauline Melville, Betty Miller, Joan Riley, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Sarah Waters, and Virginia Woolf. In addition, she has written on Black British women’s fiction and literary institutions, ethics in contemporary women’s fiction and other topics. She is currently editing a collection of essays on Hanif Kureishi (forthcoming from Bloomsbury) and completing a study of women’s London novels. Dr. Fischer has presented her research at numerous conferences internationally. She has been an invited to speak at Westminster University, University of Northampton, University of Greenwich and elsewhere, and she has given keynote addresses at conferences held the University of St. Andrews and at University of London’s Senate House.
Executive Director, Center for Black Literature
Brenda M. Greene is Professor of English and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. Professor Greene’s research and scholarly work includes composition, African American literature, and multicultural literature. She is editor of The African Presence and Influence on the Cultures of the Americas, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2010), a book of essays which focus on the impact of Africa in the Americas from the perspectives of literature, language, music, dance, and psychology. She is co-editor of Resistance and Transformation: Conversations with Black Writers, Morton Books (2010), Meditations and Ascensions: Black Writers on Writing, Third World Press (2008), co-editor of Redefining Ourselves, Black Writers in the Nineties, Peter Lang Publishers (1999) and co-editor of Rethinking American Literature, National Council of Teachers of English, (1997). Greene contributes essays and book reviews to Neworld Review. She holds a PhD in English with a concentration in education from New York University and has extensive essays, grants, book reviews and presentations in English Studies.
Keming Liu is Professor of English at Medgar Evers College. She holds an EdD in linguistics from Columbia University’s Teachers College and MA degrees in technology and ESL from Columbia University and Hunter College respectively. Her research explores the impact of language upon identity, politics, pedagogy and cognition. Her publications include refereed articles on composition, linguistics and literature. Her recent book, Voices of the Fourth Generation: China's Poets Today (Floating World Editions, 2010) includes an historical and critical introduction to an anthology of Chinese poems in English translation. Other publications include a chapter in Adult ESL: Politics, Pedagogy, and Participation in Classroom and Community Programs (Erlbaum, 1998) and a book-length primer, Fingertip Chinese (2nd ed., Weatherhill, 2011). Her articles have appeared in Urban Education, Geolinguistics and she regularly reviews linguistics and literature titles for Choice Magazine. She also writes about art and design for a Chinese fashion and lifestyle magazine and has contributed to Fodor’s publications on Chinese culture and customs. Her current work in progress is an anthology of contemporary Taiwanese fiction and poetry in English translation. She serves on the executive board of New York State TESOL and is a board member of the American Geolinguistics Society.
Linda Susan Jackson (Associate Professor) retired from a twenty year career in the public and private sectors, culminating in her appointment as Deputy Commissioner of Administration for The NYC Department of Transportation. She holds an MFA in Poetry, an MA in English with a concentration on modern American fiction, both from Brooklyn College and a BS in Accounting from New York University. Her first book of poetry, What Yellow Sounds Like (Tia Chucha, 2007), was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize (2009) and the National Poetry Series Competition (2006). She is also the author of two chap books, Vitelline Blues (2002) and A History of Beauty (2001), both published by Black-eyed Susan Publishing. She has received fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts, Frost Place, Soul Mountain Writers Retreat, Calabash International Literary Festival and Cave Canem Foundation. She has presented her work at conferences such as AWP, on the radio, at bookstores, libraries and at many colleges & universities in the tri-state area. Her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including The New Sound, Black Venus 2010: They Call Her Hottentot, So Much Things to Say, Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Gathering Ground, Crab Orchard Review, Rivendell, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, Heliotrope, Warpland: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas, African Voices and Essence and was featured on From the Fishouse audio archive.
Andrea Freud Loewenstein (Associate Professor) holds an MA in English from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a PhD from Sussex University (GB) Her revised dissertation was published as a critical study: Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women: Metaphors of Projection in the work of Post-war British writers (1994.) Her other books are a novel, This Place (1984) and a memoir, The Worry Girl (1993.) Before coming to Medgar Evers, where she has been for over twenty years, she worked in adult and community education, founding writing programs in a women's prison, a public housing project, and a state mental hospital, and writing interviews and reviews of books, theatre, and film for Gay Community News, Sojourner, Ms. Magazine, The Nation, the Women’s Review of Books and other publications. Her many articles and chapters in books reflect her eclectic interests including writing fiction and poetry, composition theory, the Victorian novel, children's literature, gay and lesbian fiction, post-colonial literature ,and fiction from the African Diaspora. She is a member of CLAGS, where she taught a seminar, “Queer Bloomsbury” in 2011. At Medgar Evers, some of her accomplishments include running a seminar for faculty new to the teaching of writing for three years and founding a college literary magazine, Hear Our Voices, which lasted for six volumes. She is happy to announce that she has just received a year-long sabbatical which she will use to return to her career as a fiction writer, attending writing residencies and completing two novels that have been in progress for too long. She lives in Brooklyn with her seventeen year old daughter and her cat.
Natasha Gordon-Chipembere (Assistant Professor) holds a PhD in English from the University of South Africa. She holds an MA in African Literature from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and an MA in Education and Curriculum Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in English from Vassar College. Her edited collection, Representation and Black Womanhood: The Legacy of Sarah Baartman was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. Gordon-Chipembere has a number of publications, including articles in Scrutiny 2, Agenda, Callaloo, Dialagues Across Diasporas: Women Writers, Scholars and Activists of Africana and Latina Descent in Conversation, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and Changing English. She was a Fulbright Specialist at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, summer 2010. She is the co-convener of the African Studies Association's Women's Caucus (2013) and is a senior editor of the new AfroLatino Diasporas Book Series published by Palgrave Macmillian. Her current scholarship includes a long-term project on 17th century slavery in Costa Rica and the veneration of the Black Madonna, La Negrita. Much of her current intellectual work is around Afro-Latino populations in the Diaspora.
Tonya Cherie Hegamin (Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Creative Writing) is the noted author of the YA novel M+O 4EVR, listed as one of CosmoGirl.com’s “Best Summer Reads” 2008. Her picture book Most Loved in All the World, was winner of the 2010 New York Public Library's Ezra Jack Keats Award and listed as USA TODAY’s pick for best books of Black History Month 2009. She is co-author (with Marilyn Nelson) of the YA poetic novella, Pemba’s Song, listed as a "best book for reluctant readers". Her books, lauded as “lovely”, “fresh” and “compelling”, have each received much admiration from the publication world. She has worked with “at-risk” and institutionalized girls and women in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Tonya received her BA in Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School University in New York. Ms. Hegamin is an alumna of Cave Canem, the first fellowship retreat for African-American poets, and Hedgebrook, a writing retreat for women. Hegamin's research interests include teaching literature with multimedia technology, 'reluctant learners' and inclusion education, folklore and gender studies. Her fourth book (YA historical fiction), Willow will be published in early 2014 by Candlewick Press. Her website is www.tonyacheriehegamin.com.
Hyo Kim (Assistant Professor) received his B.A. from New York University and his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. He has taught courses in composition, literature and theory in Medgar Evers College (MEC) since 2003. His areas of interest include Asian American Literature/Studies and Ethnic literatures; and Post-colonial literature and theory. His essays appear in the peer-reviewed journal Changing English. Professor Kim’s essay on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee will appear in a forthcoming issue of Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, a scholarly journal included in the Thomson Reuters’ Arts & Humanities Citation Index. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the City University of New York’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program. He is the coordinator of MEC’s course in World Literature: The Evolving Canon.
Lorraine Kuziw, an Assistant Professor, received her PhD in English and American Literature from New York University, and her MA in English and American Literature from St. John's University. She earned a BS in Music from Hofstra University. Her dissertation topic was Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. She has been the Chief Reader at the college for the WAT, ACT, and currently the CATW. She also worked as CPE Liaison and is currently Deputy Chair. She published a review of a book about Shakespeare in Changing English, a peer reviewed journal, and co-authored a chapter in a book about collaborative high school/college WAC programs. She teaches the following courses: Shakespeare, Introduction to Literature, and Composition 1 and 2.
Joanna Sit (Lecturer and Coordinator of Composition) has a BA from SUNY at Stony Brook and an MFA from Brooklyn College. She has studied Modern European Literature at New York University. Her poetry has appeared in The Ledge, Context South, Mudfish, The California Review, and The River Reporter. Her translations have appeared in Seneca Review and Ezra: An Online Translation Magazine. Her current book of poetry, "My Last Century" was released in Spring 2012. Her upcoming work, "Mickey Rourke Rondelets," is forthcoming in the anthology "Wreckage of Reason." She is currently working on an oral narrative/translation project that is partially funded by a PSC-CUNY Research Grant entitled "The Reincarnation of Red."
Ivor Baker Coordinator of Developmental Skills is an Editor and Lecturer in Critical Literacy and English Composition. He holds ACT and CATW certifications. His editorial works include books on linguistics as well as children’s literature. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York’s CUNY BA Program and a Master of Arts degree from Brooklyn College of The City University of New York.
Karen Pitt, (Instructor) a graduate of Medgar Evers College (MEC) and the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, received her BS/BA in Public Administration and English in 2003. While a student at MEC, she worked as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and Peer Mentor. Her experience as a TA encouraged her to concentrate in teaching composition. With that experience, she continued her academic pursuits and completed her MA in English at Long Island University (LIU), Brooklyn Campus in 2007. LIU ignited her desire to further explore the praxis of teaching writing, which encouraged her to apply to the CUNY Graduate Center PhD Program. Her research in composition and rhetoric and Africana Studies focuses on students’ sense of identity, as it pertains to their history and language. She is particularly interested in the impact that students’ home languages have on the academic language, and she seeks strategies on how to reconcile the discrepancy, with the understanding that respect is due to both languages.
At present, Ms. Pitt is a full-time instructor at Medgar Evers College, CUNY in the English Department. She teaches composition at various levels: Basic Skills, Composition I and II, and Intermediate Composition. In the Department, she serves on the composition committee and is actively involved in all composition concerns. Her reading interests are works from African, African American, and Caribbean writers and scholars; these readings help to ignite students’ interest in reading about themselves in connection to their community, the society, and the world and encourage students to engage fully in writing.
Kamau Chow-Tai (Coordinator and Supervisor of the Reading and Writing Labs) has a BA from Boston University and an MA from Brooklyn College/CUNY. Among numerous other duties as a College Lab Tech (CLT), he is responsible for the operation of the Developmental Skills Section (DSS) reading and writing labs and supervision of the 15 Lab Assistants. He is also a certified CATW reader.