Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) Symposium: Learning from its Past and Mapping its Future

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Jersey Cosantino (they/them), a former K-12 educator, is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University, holding certificates of advanced study in women’s and gender studies and disability studies. A Mad and trans studies scholar and oral historian, Jersey’s research utilizes disability and transformative justice frameworks to center the experiences and subjectivities of Mad, neurodivergent, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals. Jersey identifies as Mad, neurodivergent, queer, trans, and non-binary and is white with education and citizenship privilege. A co-facilitator for SU’s Intergroup Dialogue Program's course Dialogue on Racism and Anti-Racism, Jersey holds a master’s in education and graduate certificate in mindfulness studies. They are also the co-editor of the International Mad Studies Journal, a consulting editor for the Journal of Queer and Trans Studies in Education, and a former Trans Lifeline call operator.

Easton Davis (he/him) is a doctoral candidate in the Cultural Foundations of Education (CFE) department at Syracuse University and is pursuing certificates of advanced study (CAS) in Women’s and Gender studies, and Disability Studies. By centering the well-being of Black bodies, Easton’s research interest seeks to move towards an understanding of racial and emotional embodiment in dialogue when teaching and learning about race and racism. Utilizing a healing justice framework, Easton’s research and work engage Black feminist and dialogic pedagogy as an opportunity for educators and students to unlearn systemic oppression enacted on and through the body and situate the body as a site of reclamation. Easton co-facilitates SU’s Intergroup Dialogue on Racism and Anti-racism.

  • Session Description: Forthcoming soon.


Dr. Nina Tissi-Gassoway (they/them & she/her) is a Professor of Practice in Higher Education and Social Justice Education and Coordinator for the Social Justice Education program. A scholar-practitioner, prior to their faculty position Dr. Tissi-Gassoway spent 10 years as a student affairs practitioner in residential life, cultural resource centers, new student orientation, and student success. The foundation of her teaching, research, and practice is the critical, intersectional exploration of how systems of power, privilege, and oppression shape inequitable social and material realities for marginalized communities in higher education and how experiential and dialogic practices can support collaborative relationships necessary for social change and liberation. 

Dr. Tissi-Gassoway’s recent articles addressing the experiences of students with disabilities– particularly those with marginalized gender and sexual identities have appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly and the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. Their current research focuses on intergroup dialogues that incorporate intersectional perspectives on race, gender, and sexuality to support queer and trans college students in making meaning of their own and other’s social identities, strengthening kinships, and fostering social justice commitments. 

  • Session Description: Forthcoming soon.


Dr. Rani Varghese, LMSW, Ed.D. (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Adelphi University, School of Social Work, teaching across the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral curriculum. Drawing on her training in the fields of Social Work, Social Justice Education, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, she brings an interdisciplinary and social justice approach to her teaching, practice, research, and consulting. Rani has spent her social work career working in the context of colleges and universities supporting survivors of gender-based violence. Her scholarship, grounded in qualitative methodology, focuses on dialogic practices and educational models of teaching about social justice and oppression. She is a contributor to the Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, (3rd and 4th ed.) and Readings for Diversity and Social justice (4th and 5th ed.) textbooks. Outside the classroom, she works with faculty about pedagogical and curricular issues and provides DEI training and coaching across a range of organizations and institutions. 

  • Session Description: In this session, Rani discusses the course she teaches at her institution, simultaneously teaching students how to dialogue and how to facilitate dialogue. She shares how she draws on the campus and larger community to support co-facilitated dialogues, modeling cross group interaction and collaboration.

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  • Emi Wilson
  • Meredith Madden

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