Educational Studies & Leadership

Alumni Profiles


As you consider matriculating into the Humanistic/Multicultural Education Program, our alumni can give you a clear sense of the impact of this program on their personal and professional development and of their current work in a broad range of fields, including K-12 teaching, early childhood education, higher education, and not-for-profit organization/community work. Here is an initial sampling of alumni profiles.


Chanel Ward,
Associate Director, Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, New York University

In 2010, I graduated with a Master of Professional Studies in Humanistic/Multicultural Education Studies. This degree was fundamental to my professional growth because it allowed me to develop a holistic understanding of not only educational theory and philosophy, but more importantly, it provided me with a critical awareness of the institutional inequities often faced by students of color. This knowledge was truly fundamental and prepared me for my roles as the Director of the Scholar's Mentorship Program at SUNY New Paltz and Associate Director at NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education and Programs.


Felipa Gaudet,
Grades 1-3 teacher, George Washington Montessori School

For many years since graduation from the Humanistic and Multicultural Education Program, I have taught in two Title One public schools. My experience has included teaching kindergarten at Violet Avenue Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, New York, for seven years and three to six year olds in the Montessori Children's House at George Washington Elementary School, a public Montessori school in Kingston, New York, for three years. Currently, I am teaching Elementary I (grades one through three) in the Montessori program at George Washington Elementary School. Situated in the Midtown section of Kingston, our school serves a large portion of students whose families fall below the poverty line, students of color, and those for whom English is their second language. In addition, for 6 years I have taught the Issues of Racism and Sexism in Education course as an adjunct instructor in the Humanistic/Multicultural Education Program.

My work in the Humanistic/Multicultural Education Program has prepared me to meet the needs of the economically, socially, ethnically, racially and linguistically diverse children in my class, as well as cultivate cooperative relationships with their families. The humanistic coursework provided me with useful techniques to enable students to connect on a personal level, to cooperate and communicate effectively with one another. The multicultural focus of the program enabled me to better understand my students and their families in the context of equity and diversity, as well as best analyze and prepare curriculum to meet their needs. Furthermore, I have been able to create and implement workshops on topics related to cultural diversity with my colleagues both in my work setting and at conferences.


Kevin Lam,
Organizing Director, Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), Boston, MA

 I am working with AARW as the Organizing Director where I coordinate the Dorchester Organizing & Training Initiative (DOT-I), a leadership and organizing development program for Vietnamese young adults. I am also responsible for creating opportunities through various programming efforts to engage AARW members and the broader Asian American community. I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, due to my family being displaced from their homelands because of the war in Southeast Asia, “The American War.” Currently, I am serving on the Board of Directors for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and on the Steering Committee for the Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (QAPA). My family and community’s histories are the foundation that grounds me in the way that I organize.

I moved to Boston in 2015 after receiving my degree from the Humanistic Multicultural Education program. This program created space for me to reflect and process my past organizing experiences, as well as enabled me to strengthen my foundation and understanding about different ideologies and theories which have helped to inform my current organizing work. As a queer, second-generation, Southeast Asian man, the Humanistic Multicultural Education program challenged me to critically think about the identities I hold and how they interact with the larger systems in our society. This program also pushed me to envision the different possibilities of how what I am learning in the program can be applied in the form of “community education,” where what is learned within institutions can be shared with those who may not have access.


 Dr. Edward Pittman,
Associate Dean of the College at Vassar College

I had not thought once about a career in higher education until I was called one morning to consider an Admissions position at Dutchess Community College. Two years earlier I’d completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology and was working at IBM, waiting for a career opportunity. As a sociology major I’d imagined doing community social work but took a job unrelated to my career goals to support my family. The phone call that morning from the Dean literally set me on a career journey that has spanned over three decades. But my decision to enroll part-time in the Humanistic/Multicultural Education program in 1985 really solidified what I wanted to do in higher education. Less than a year into the admissions job, I started the Masters in Humanistic Multicultural Education Program, knowing that I wanted to advance in the student affairs field. Three years after graduating from the program, I took a leadership position at Vassar College to address student concerns about the quality of campus life and lack of diversity in the curriculum.

I’d always gravitated toward social justice and education work, which was a major attraction of the curriculum. The first course I took was Group Dynamics where practices of empowerment and cooperative strategies resonated with advising work I did with the Black Student Union at the community college. Everything about the curriculum—the courses, the professors and open classroom environment—was conducive to building a trust for sharing ideas about student development as well as how to push for institutional change to support students. Courses like Dynamics of Planned Change and Issues of Racism and Sexism in Education were a perfect match for the kind of work I wanted to do on a college campus and eventually as a school board member and President in the Poughkeepsie City School District. In my work with students, the President, Deans, faculty and other administrators, I felt prepared by what I had studied in HME. The coursework, class discussions and research papers had allowed me to test the waters, so to speak. There was never an assignment where I could not draw from an experiential place in my life and professional work. I continue to use HME frameworks as a dean and in national work with liberal arts colleges. I was also blessed to earn a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. We prepare today for tomorrow’s opportunities. HME at SUNY New Paltz helped me to do that.


Ryan Judge,
Assistant Principal, Highland High School

Ryan M. Judge is an award-winning educator, author, and school administrator. His student-centered, experiential approach to education fosters student success and achievement. Ryan has a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Education with concentrations in Culinary Arts and Leadership Studies from Johnson & Wales University, Denver, Colorado, a Master of Professional Studies in Humanistic and Multicultural Education from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Building Leadership from Niagara University. In 2015 Ryan authored his first book, Getting Students Seasoned: An Educator's Guide to Teaching Students of All Ages To Cook and Maintaining Your Professional Shelf Life. Ryan continued to share his expertise by publishing Club Funding Smarter Not Harder in December of 2017.

In reflecting on his time at SUNY New Paltz Ryan said, “The Humanistic & Multicultural Education program at SUNY New Paltz has transformed the way I see my role as an educator. After having earned a Bachelors in Education, I had a full pedagogical tool box to work with, but I viewed my purpose as the conveyer of knowledge. The courses in the HME program provided me with the tools needed to truly understand students and the ability to form strong relationships. The program was empowering as it focused on ways to transform students, not just teach them. Through studying Humanistic & Multicultural Education, I now feel that my role is to set up educational opportunities for students to self-discover information and and motivate them to achieve their personal best. Without the help of this program, its wonderful professors, and powerful courses, I do not believe I or my students would be achieving such successes." Today, Ryan continues to use the knowledge and skills he gained in the HME program in his position of Assistant Principal at Highland High School in Highland, NY.



Helena Bratman,
Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County

I have been the Program Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County’s Green Teen Program in Beacon, New York, since 2004. In 2009 I graduated with a MPS in Humanistic Multicultural Education. It felt like this degree was made for the Green Teen Program. Everything I learned in my classes I could directly apply to the work that I was doing with the youth who we hire. Green Teen is a youth empowerment program that uses farming and gardening to teach vocational, life and work skills. The youth learn how to work together, communicate, respect each other, and explore who they are and who they want to be in the world.

I use principles and methods with Green Teen that I learned in the HME program. I learned how to make decisions using a HME lens, whether it was committing to using more inclusive language so that everyone I hire feels accepted or understanding the history of education and institutional racism and how it plays out on a daily basis. I think the program is beneficial to people in any profession. No matter what we do, we are all educators in some way. 


Shelly Squires-Tani,
Director, Dutchess Community College Campus Childcare Center

I began working at the Dutchess Community College campus childcare center as a preschool teacher in 2002. In January 2013, I took over as director. The center provides childcare and early childhood education for the children of staff, faculty and students of the college. In addition to working directly with all the families, I also supervise a team of nine full-time staff members, as well as several part-time student aides. The teachers and I also act as mentors to college students who are placed in our classrooms as part of their early childhood fieldwork requirement. Since taking on the role of director, I have been hired to provide trainings and workshops to local childcare providers through various early childhood organizations, such as The Childcare Council and Infant/Toddler Coalition.

My journey through the Humanistic/Multicultural Education program at SUNY New Paltz was one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. Through each course, I learned the skills I needed to advance personally and professionally, which ultimately led to a promotion from preschool teacher to director. I have been able to implement what I learned into every aspect of my job. Working cooperatively with others and understanding group dynamics has helped me supervise the teachers and run efficient staff meetings. Exploring issues of racism, sexism and diversity has helped me see things from the perspective of each new family, teacher and college student that I meet. Working in groups has guided me towards learning how to design and implement new early childhood trainings. Most importantly, however, is the self-awareness I gained, which has helped me realize the responsibility we all have to each other. I have a greater confidence in who I am and what I believe in. I approach issues and ideas with more critical thinking, and I am able to lead the staff with a clear vision, while still understanding the value of transformation and change. The Humanistic/Multicultural Education program, along with the guidance of the dedicated professors, helped me change my life.