FDI Faculty Scholars, Fellows and Student Ambassadors

KU FDI Faculty Scholars

Kutztown University is committed to enhancing and nurturing faculty excellence and supporting the needs of the diverse student body. To that end, Kutztown’s Frederick Douglass Institute Tenure-Track Faculty Scholars Program works to attract and retain faculty from historically under-represented groups. 

The FDI Tenure-Track Scholars Program is a cohort-hiring practice that provides teaching and other professional experiences, mentoring, and employment within the academic departments of KU that are in need of qualified faculty committed to cultural and academic diversity.  

Applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds are considered for the program. The program provides tenure-track teaching opportunities to scholars who have earned doctoral degrees, or are in ABD status, foster their growth and mentorship within Kutztown’s faculty, and supports KU’s commitment to diversity. 

FDI Tenure-Track Faculty Scholars participate in the development of programs, workshops, and activities supported by the Office of the Provost and organized through collaborations between the FDI and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching. In recognition of this work, FDI scholars will receive a course release in the spring semester during years one and two of their appointment. 

Recent hires in the program include Dra. Leslie Sotomayor and Dr. SungEun Min.  

Leslie Sotomayor

Dra. Leslie C. Sotomayor II is an artist, curator, writer, and educator. As a first-generation bilingual scholar, she holds dual Ph.Ds. in Art Education and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Sotomayor focuses on Gloria Anzaldúa's theory of conocimiento and autohistoria-teoría, a feminist writing practice of theorizing one's experiences as transformative acts to guide her teaching methodology and curate curriculum for empowerment. She has curated numerous art exhibitions: Hide and Seek: Neighborhood Maker Space: Let’s Pretend: Borrandofronteras/Erasingborders and Hilos Rojos. Sotomayor’s publications include her books Teaching In/Between: Curating Educational Spaces with Autohistoria-teoría and Conocimiento (Vernon, 2022) and BIPOC Alliances: Building Communities and Curricula (IAP, 2023), and articles/chapters: Testimonio in a Sculpture Series of Muñecas: Needlework: Forging Spaces for Making Through Conversation: Talking about Belonging and Survival and Teaching In/Between: Curating Educational Spaces with Autohistoria-teoría and ConocimientoSotomayor and García’s forthcoming book (2024) with Routledge, Art Borderlands Through Theory, History and Art Practice centers on Latina/x and Chicana/x methodologies and ways of doing. Her scholarship, research, and curating embrace creative culturally responsive critical reflections for healing and transformations. Currently, Sotomayor is an assistant professor in Art Education and a Frederick Douglas Institute Scholar at Kutztown University.  

SungEun Min

Dr. SungEun Min is an assistant professor in the Elementary and Middle Level, Library, and Technologies Education Department at Kutztown University. Min earned his Ph.D. in elementary education and teacher education from the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. Before coming to America, Min taught as a tenured elementary teacher in South Korea for eight years. Min’s primary research centers on ethnographic studies of teaching and learning from transnational and comparative perspectives. Presently, Min is engaged in research focused on Asian American students, aiming to challenge stereotypes associated with this group and combat racism and white supremacy in society using Asian Critical Race Theory. Additionally, Min seeks to challenge the Northern-centric hegemony in global knowledge production within academia. Min accomplishes this by reimagining learning and teaching through the lens of non-Western theories, such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and traditional sociocultural concepts from South Korea, such as "noon-chi" and "soo-da."https://sites.google.com/view/sungeun-min/hom 


The State System seeks to foster an innovative curriculum and instructional environment. The State System is committed to the recruitment, retention and professional development of a diverse faculty. As such, the State System is focused on advancing the hiring and success of underrepresented minorities, a commitment that is reflected in the Board of Governors five strategic priorities 

The State System offers teaching fellowships to graduate students pursuing careers as university faculty and entering the final year of terminal degree and/or doctoral programs. 

Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholars Fellowships are designed to provide teaching and other professional experiences, mentoring, and potential tenure track employment opportunities within universities strongly committed to cultural diversity. Applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds, especially those from historically underrepresented groups, are encouraged to apply. 

FDI Student Scholars

  • Shavon Smith  
  • Laquan Drago  
  • Maia Bondonese  
  • Mark- Handy Phanor  
  • Damaiya Turner  
  • Sienna Sky, Graduate Assistant  
  • Aaliyah Nelson, Undergrad Student, Staff 

Several studies point to the positive benefits of a diverse student body regarding educational outcomes. In other words, all students learn better when the student body is diverse. Pennsylvania is becoming more diverse, and we must support our commonwealth citizens, regardless of their means or backgrounds. This critical support will ensure that our students graduate and serve their neighbors in our communities. Our graduates are leaders. They become professionals who serve in various capacities as innovative, compassionate problem solvers. 

As an FDI student scholar, you are committed to becoming the best version of yourself. It means recognizing that we have a lifetime to continue learning and serving our neighbors. An FDI student scholar commits to the ideals of curiosity, service, learning, and courage.  

One flagship program is the Douglass Debate Society. This program engages first-generation, low-income, and students of color in high-impact educational opportunities. Through competitive debate, undergraduates across the State System will develop leadership, public speaking, and advocacy skills that are cornerstones of success. 

Students can apply to be an FDI student scholar by contacting the Frederick Douglass Institute Director, Dr. Amber Pabon @fdouglass@kutztown.edu