Alumni Spotlight: Ann Moretto, Kenya V. Beard
When I was in my mid-40’s, I decided on a career change. Before I had children, I was working in Manhattan, but once I had a family, I thought about becoming an elementary school teacher, since I would have the same vacations as my two young daughters. I did my undergraduate at SUNY Old Westbury in Elementary Education K-6. From there, I went to Dowling College for my Master’s degree. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but one of my professors suggested going into Special Education, since there would be more openings in that field.
I had a wonderful experience at Dowling College. The classes were small and the professors were all so enlightening. We visited adult group homes, sheltered workshops for adults and children with physical disabilities at the Henry Viscardi School. After visiting the different facilities, I knew that Special Education was what I wanted to do. One of my professors also suggested that I should take a course in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which would help me a great deal in working with children with Autism. I graduated in 1997 from Dowling, and shortly after, I received a full-time job at Western Suffolk B.O.C.E.S. I am retired now, but I am subbing in my local districts. The career choice of teaching and the wonderful experience I had at Dowling College were the best decisions I could have ever made.
Kenya V. Beard
Beard received her Doctoral degree in education administration from Dowling College in 2009. Her research focuses on strengthening the capacity of academia to graduate a culturally diverse person prepared to meet the health care needs of all patients. Her research earned her the distinction of being selected as one of five, 2012 Josiah Macy Faculty Scholars.
Since becoming a scholar she has created an interprofessional workshop that strengthens the preparedness of educators to create learning environments that foster academic excellence. Many educators have benefitted from her training and are using a multicultural curriculum to promote socially just environments and shape the future of healthcare.
Her work around educational reform has earned her several awards and distinctions. Most notably, she will be inducted into the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education. She attributes her passion and commitment to improve healthcare to the awesome educators who guided her throughout her doctoral studies. Specifically, Dr. Stephanie Tatum, Robert Manley and Sophia Morote — educators who epitomize the ideals of Dowling College and provide students with life-changing experiences. Their belief in a democratic society that responds to the needs of all individuals has significantly influenced her research and helped define who she is today.
Dr. Beard is the Associate Vice President for Curriculum and Instruction and the Director of the Center for Multicultural Education and Health Disparities at Jersey College. She currently serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Nursing and the New York State Board of Nursing. She also co-produces the Healthstyles program on WBAI, 99.5 FM that seeks to broaden conversations around healthcare disparities. As the chair of the New York State Action Coalition committee on diversity she directed the development of Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit that provides resources for institutions seeking to strengthen diversity in nursing and build inclusive environments. As a visionary leader she is using her research to entrench best practices for diversity and inclusion throughout healthcare and to one day eliminate healthcare disparities.