Musician, educator, writer and freedom fighter Kamila Muhammad is a candidate for a Master of Education degree in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A native of the South Side of Chicago, Kamila has worked as a professional musician, a teaching artist, and a restorative justice circle keeper. Her creative outlets include teaching clarinet and saxophone, singing, composing and arranging music, writing stories, essays and poems, and perfecting the quintessential baked mac and cheese. In her previous life, Kamila was an award-winning clarinetist and saxophonist who focused on jazz studies and classical music performance. After working with youth to create beats on GarageBand in Cook County's Temporary Juvenile Detention Center, she shifted her focus to education with aims to create culturally affirming spaces for youth to discover their power and potential through music. Kamila met Hip Hop ear-to-ear in 2007 with the release of Kanye West's Graduation, and currently keeps Noname's Room 25 on repeat.
Ashley Hunker is a 33-year-old native Ohioan who is excited to be a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Arts in Education program. She has just returned to the United States after spending two years working in Morocco, where she taught middle school social studies and wrote and directed two full length stage science integrated dance productions. She has a bachelors in history from Bowling Green State University and is passionate about narratives of the human experience and what we can learn about ourselves and the world from listening to individual people from all walks of life tell their stories. The narrative element of HipHop music is just one of many things that inspires Ashley to explore how to evoke the power of HipHop in the classroom. She is very excited to be part of HipHopEX! Through this experience she hopes to both inspire and be inspired by young learners as we work collectively to establish our own authentic and meaningful voices in and to take ownership of our soon-to-be-built learning community.
Miguel Santiago is a current master’s candidate at the Harvard Graduate School for Education studying Educational Policy and Management. His journey begins in the Eastside of Atlanta, GA, being raised in a household that placed music and education at the forefront of his upbringing. Upon being the first in his family to attend and graduate college, he embarked upon a career in education. He taught high school English in the Mississippi Delta for a year before transitioning back to his hometown of Atlanta to work in several Metro-Atlanta public schools to implement remediation programs that developed stronger literacy skills. He then made the transition into the world of higher education, focusing on college access for first gen Black and Latinx youth across the country. He worked for two college admissions departments before becoming the leader of a non-profit coalition of universities and colleges (NECBAC) working to create more bridges of access for underserved Black and Latinx students. At the core of Miguel’s work in secondary and higher education, Hip Hop has always served as a powerful instrument in grounding his own identity while also empowering his students to find strength and beauty within their own. He joins HHEX with the hopes of further bridging the gap between the narrative of academic achievement and the agency Hip Hop can instill within students.
“Everything that I did
Different things I was told
Just ended up being food for my soul”
- Thomas DeCarlo Callaway (a.k.a., CeeLo Green)