Rachel Razza, PhD
Rachel is an Assistant Professor of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University. She earned her doctorate in human development and family studies from Pennsylvania State University and completed postdoctoral work at the National Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on self-regulation in children and youth; current projects highlight mindfulness as an intervention strategy to enhance these skills. She teaches courses on child development and developmental theory, serves as the coordinator for the Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies minor, and is a member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.
Marcelle Haddix, PhD
For Dr. Marcelle Haddix, yoga, wellness, and healthy living are deeply personal and political. Known as The ZenG, she is a 200-hour certified registered yoga instructor who specializes in yoga for underrepresented groups and for community-based organizations. She also practices veganism and healthy, soulful living. Her goal is to bring yoga to more communities of color and to challenge the misrepresentation of people of color and yoga, healthy living, and healthy eating.
Why ZenG? Her sistafriends nicknamed her ZenG because of her blissfully zen yet “I don’t take no mess” attitude. She is unapologetic about living well and creating spaces for people of color to honor and care for their bodies and each other. Her community engaged approach to yoga and wellness culminates in yoga and writing retreats for women and couples of color, yoga and mindfulness workshops in urban school contexts, and regular yoga classes and sistercircles in her community.
In addition to her work as a yoga and wellness instructor, she is a dean’s associate professor and chair of the literacy department at Syracuse University and a nationally-recognized literacy scholar committed to centering Black literacies in educational practices and spaces. She directs two literacy programs for adolescent youth: the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban middle and high school students within and beyond school contexts, and the Dark Girls afterschool program for Black middle and high school girls aimed at celebrating Black girl literacies. For The ZenG, living well zen gangsta style is not only personal, it is deeply political. It is a revolution.
Joshua Felver, PhD
Joshua is an assistant professor of psychology at Syracuse University, the director of the Mind Body Lab, a New York State licensed psychologist, and a certified specialist in school psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He has a longstanding interest in both the research and application of contemplative interventions that stem from his personal practice of meditation and yoga. He has completed advanced training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and is interested in adapting these various intervention modalities for youth, schools, and families.
Professor Deborah Kenn is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Clinical and Experiential Education at Syracuse University College of Law. She is Director of the College of Law’s Office of Clinical Legal Education and teaches the Community Development Law Clinic. She has also taught Not-for-Profit Organizations Law, Property Law, and Animal Law. Before joining the College of Law faculty in 1989, Professor Kenn practiced environmental law and poverty law.
She is a member of the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, a founding co-chair of its Practice Division on Legal Education; on the editorial board of the Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law; and a member of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education. She is the co-editor of two SSRNs, one on Housing and Community Development and one on Animal Law. Professor Kenn authored the book, Lawyering from the Heart, about the practice of public interest law, and co-authored a textbook on community economic development law.
Ryan Blackwell is well established in the world of basketball. Ryan is a native of Chicago, Illinois but graduated from Pittsford Sutherland high school in nearby Rochester, NY in 1995. There he earned many honors including 1st team Parade Magazine All-America and New York State Class B player of the year. Following high school, Ryan attended the University of Illinois for his freshman year before transferring to Syracuse University where he started every game for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim and was co-captain from 1997-2000. Following college, he embarked on a 10-year playing career in Europe, South America, and Japan. After retiring in 2010, Ryan began coaching professionally in Japan and has continued his career at the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida and is now in his 4th year teaching and coaching at Liverpool High School right outside of Syracuse. Recently, Ryan was named the USA Today High School coach of the year after leading his team to its first state title and amazing undefeated season (26-0). Besides being a great leader in the community through his coaching endeavors, Ryan has a wealth of experience working with kids through the Boy Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Club, and numerous other organizations.