2017 Hip Hop Education Initiative Conference

Logo of 2017 HHEIC conference

Empowering Youth Through Hip Hop

April 22, 2017

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Empowering Youth Through Hip Hop was the theme for the inaugural conference of the Hip Hop Education Initiative. This day-long event that brought together Hip Hop artists, educators, and activists, as well as youth poets and emcees for workshops and performances.  

The Hip Hop Education Initiative was formed in the 2016-2016 academic school year by masters's students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).  The mission is to highlight how Hip Hop can be used by educators as tool to creatively engage and empower youth in connecting to academic and non-academic disciplines.  This is done by providing and sharing knowledge  through presentations and workshops that include youth voices as co-facilitators and teachers of Hip Hop.


Special Guests:

  • Steve Seidel, Director of Arts in Education Program at HGSE
  • Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager at ZUMIX
  • Toni Morgan, Social Change Activist
  • Sam Seidel, Author of Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education
  • Sneha Shrestha, Nepalese Graffiti Artist
  • Amanda Torres, Co-Founder & Artistic Director of MassLEAP
  • Aysha Upchurch, Dancer/Choreographer and Hip Hop educator
  • ZUMIX Youth Performers


Conference Co-Founders:

  • James An, HGSE Ed.M 2017
  • Maria Kirgin, HGSE Ed.M 2017
  • Samantha Wiratunga, HGSE Ed.M 2017
  • Carolynn Ianello, HGSE Ed.M 2017
  • Cynthia Cassella, HGSE Ed.M 2017


  • HGSE Arts in Education Program
  • HGSE Office of Student Affairs
  • Hiphop Archive and Research Institute


Graphic design by 2018 Ed.M Arts in Education students: Dima al-Mabsout, Cora Higgins & Jessica Metzger