Co-Creating Social Change: Transformative Learning in a Community College

Wed, Feb 14 | GC Skylight Room (9100) | 12:00pm to 2:00pm EST  | RSVP | Live stream
Social Media: #fight4edu | @FuturesED


Join the Futures Initiative on February 14th from 12-2pm for “Co-creating Social Change: Transformative Learning in a Community College.”

This discussion will showcase a collaborative inquiry project conducted with and for students participating in the peer activist learning community (PALC), a student-based co-curricular program. Drawing on Stetsenko’s notion of Transformative Activist Stance (2008), PALC offers an alternative model to improving retention in community colleges by highlighting the centrality of students’ activist contributions to their educational practices as key to emancipatory approaches in higher education. This project engaged students as co-researchers in critically examining and transforming their conceptions and practices of learning. It provided students with the space and tools to actively co-author their knowledge about learning as a social practice grounded in their own pursuits to address their struggles as community college students.

Part of the UNIVERSITY WORTH FIGHTING FOR Initiative #fight4edu

The event will be livestreamed. For more information visit

Header image shows a stick drawing of a classroom with a student daydreaming, with their thoughts represented by colorful patterns.

Panelist Bios

Dr. Eduardo Vianna is Professor of Psychology at LaGuardia Community College. He received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology at the CUNY-Graduate Center after completing his medical studies, including a specialization in child psychiatry in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following recent advances in Vygotskian theory, especially the Transformative Activist Stance approach, he has carried out research in various settings that serve underprivileged populations. His current research on applying critical-theoretical pedagogy to build the peer activist learning community (PALC) in a community college was featured in the New York Times. Among his awards, Dr. Vianna received the 2010 Early Career Award in Cultural-Historical Research SIG of the American Educational Research Association. Dr. Vianna is chief editor of the international journal Outlines Critical Practice Studies and he also writes as an expert on community colleges for the education website Noodle.

Mike Rifino is a doctoral student in Human Development and Graduate Fellow of the Futures Initiative program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Through his work with the Peer Activist Learning Community (PALC), Mike Rifino’s research interests focus on investigating the processes of emotional development and learning among community college students to better understand how transformations in both processes play a role in promoting agency. He is an alumni from LaGuardia Community College.

Francisco A. Medina is a doctoral student in the Urban Education program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is currently a MAGNET mentor for the Pipeline program and a research assistant in the Peer Activist Learning Community (PALC). In general, his research interests fall in the intersection of the philosophy of science, human development, social justice, and their relationship to learning and identity — primarily focuses on issues of colonialism, racism, and other isms.

Sukhrob Abdushukurov is a Psychology student at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY.

Courtney Cameron is an aspiring poet studying Psychology at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY.

Lucia Dikaczova is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at City College, CUNY. Besides studying philosophy, she participated in the CUNY Undergraduate Research program where she worked on a project in astronomy and astrophysics in collaboration with Natural History Museum.

Marianna Fervenza is a Computer Science major at LaGuardia Community College.  

Thiago Lucena is a LaGuardia graduate and currently a Leadership Fellow for the Futures Initiative Leadership program. He is studying Psychology at Hunter College, CUNY.

Araminta Poole is Psychology student at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309