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Alumna awarded National Council of Teachers of English Fellowship

Lauren Leathers

July 21, 2020

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Stephanie Toliver (Ph.D. ’20), an alumna of the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s department of literacy and language education, received a 2020 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Cultivating New Voices Fellowship to support her research with Black girls and speculative fiction texts. The fellowship begins in August and lasts two years.

For more than 100 years, NTCE has recognized dedicated scholars and helps to guide their research in substantial ways. Toliver’s research emphasizes reading education, literature and language arts specifically in science fiction literature. While in the fellowship, Toliver will attend workshops and conferences and visit institutions to enhance her research.

“This fellowship supports new voices and helps us learn our process as we plan and conduct research and be part of the English education community,” she said. “The goal is to be able to do this work on our own.”

Within a specialized literary field, Toliver focuses upon representations of, and responses to, people of color in science fiction texts to discuss the implications of erasing youth of color from futuristic and imaginative contexts.

“I wrote my dissertation as a science fiction novel,” Toliver said. “I have all these data that I didn’t use and through this fellowship, I hope to work through that data and ask new questions of this work to see how it can better impact English education.”

Previously, Toliver was a 2018 recipient of the American Library Association's Diversity Research Grant, which she used to create a speculative fiction book club for Black girls in Athens. She also received the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation fellowship, the Hugh Agee award for excellence in research focused on the teaching of literature and a teaching assistantship award from the College.