From Becoming Othello to AI Ethics, Catch Up with Bundles Community Scholars

Maggie Barrows
October 26, 2021

A'Lelia Bundles Community Scholars are residents of Upper Manhattan who join the Columbia community for three years to work on projects that are of interest to the community, such as historical research and developing nonprofit organizations. The program gives them ways to deepen their research, expand their knowledge, and benefit from a broader platform for their work. Current scholars recently gathered to welcome the incoming 9th cohort and share updates on their work. Read on to learn more about their exciting projects.

Debra Ann Byrd: 'Becoming Othello'

On October 7, Debra Ann Byrd gave a Bundles Scholars Lecture about her one-woman show, Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey. She’ll be performing the show at Theater Row on West 42nd Street as part of the United Solo Theater Festival on November 4 and November 20. Get tickets ($41.50). Missed her talk? Read about it in the Columbia Spectator or watch the video below.

Marie Winfield: Calling for Environmental Justice

Marie Winfield, a new scholar this year, spoke to The City about sanitation, garbage collection, and environmental justice in East Harlem: “It’s just a continued environmental justice issue where other communities are, somehow, getting relief from these types of conditions, and fancy new garages,” she said, citing a $200+ million, LEED Gold-certified sanitation facility on Spring Street and the West Side Highway completed in 2015 that serves three downtown Manhattan districts. 

Kevin O’Connor: Helping Authors

Kevin O’Connor, whose project is focused on establishing a Center for Nonfiction to help authors in Upper Manhattan connect with publishers, hosted a panel discussion with Columbia University Life about how nonfiction books are developed, sold, and marketed.

Renée Cummings: On AI Ethics

Criminologist and AI ethicist Renée Cummings was one of the speakers at the Data Science Institute’s Race + Data Science Lecture Series. On October 6, she discussed reimagining artificial intelligence, technological tokenism, and coded patronization. 

Regan Sommer McCoy: Archiving Hip-Hop History

Regan Sommer McCoy has been awarded a research grant from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) that will allow her to visit mixtape collections, and she’s joined the Museum of Pop Culture's Early Hip-Hop Online Collection Outreach Committee to advise on marketing, outreach, and public relations for the collection's launch. Additionally, Mixtape Memories: Hip-Hop Community and Culture at NYC’s Mixtape Museum will be published in the Winter 2021 ARSC Journal as part of a community archiving series.

Karioki Crosby: Teaching Robotics and Computing

Karioki Crosby, the founder of Latimer Heights, is hosting Funkey Fridays at the New York Public Library's Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library Teen Center, which will expose teens to emerging careers in technology by letting them participate in circuitry, coding, game design, robotics, music, and art projects. Check out the October 29 event or follow Funkey Fridays on Instagram and Twitter.

Debbie Meyer: On Literacy, Dyslexia, and Incarceration

Debbie Meyer wrote for Harlem Women Strong about literacy rates in Harlem: "Nationally, we have a clear dyslexia to prison pipeline, recently highlighted by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams' proposal that incarcerated people on Rikers Island be screened for dyslexia and taught to read. Yet, the dyslexics are simply canaries in the coal mine, calling for better literacy instruction."

Chris Pellettieri: Preserving the Art of Stone Carving

Chris Pellettieri's Stone Carvers' Academy now offers an even wider range of programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. They recently launched a new and improved organization website with in depth information about the Academy and the various opportunities available.

The A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholars Program, administered by the Office of Government and Community Affairs, the School of Professional Studies, and the Office of the Provost, enables members of the Upper Manhattan community to pursue aspirations and projects through a three-year affiliation with the university.