Educating the children of immigrants

3:30 pm, Diamond 153

  • Immigrants and refugees in Lewiston-Auburn today: Robin Fleck, Auburn School Department
  • Somalis in Lewiston-Auburn today: Muna Mohamed, Lewiston High School Class of ’15
  • Jews in Lewiston-Auburn during the early 20th century: David Freidenreich, Colby College Jewish Studies Program
  • Francos in Lewiston-Auburn during the early 20th century: Mary Rice-DeFosse, Bates College French and Francophone Studies Department
  • moderator: Mark Tappan, Colby College Education Department

Robin FleckRobin Fleck has been an educator for thirty-six years. She has worked for the Auburn School Department for the past twenty-seven years as an English as a Second Language teacher. Auburn experienced a 400% growth in their English Language Learner student population between 2000-2010 and it was during that time that Robin became the coordinator of the ELL program. The majority population in the Auburn ELL program is Somali. Robin has been a member of the Advisory Council for United Somali Women, served as US Delegation Leader at Seeds of Peace Camp, is a Bates College Community partner, and works with several local community service agencies that provide services to our immigrant and refugee populations. Robin enjoys singing with the Androscoggin Chorale, spending time with her family and two dogs, traveling and reading.


MohamedMuna Mohamed attends Lewiston High School and serves as the Senior Class president, and is also the student representative to the Lewiston School Board. She is involved with Mock Trial, the Civil Rights Team, and Speech Team, among other projects and community service activities.  Muna enjoys public speaking and found her voice after attending Seeds of Peace, a conflict resolution camp.  Her future plans include pursing her interests in education, political science, and international affairs.


Freidenreich photo thumbnailDavid Freidenreich is the Pulver Family Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Colby College and director of its Jewish studies program.  As a member of the religious studies department, he teaches a wide range of courses on Judaism, comparative religion, and Jewish history, including “The Jews of Maine.” David also directs Colby’s Maine Jewish History Project.  When not researching local topics, his scholarship focuses on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic attitudes toward adherents of foreign religions.


Rice-DeFosseMary Rice-DeFosse is a professor of French and Francophone Studies and Chair of the Division of Interdisciplinary Programs at Bates College.  She holds a PhD from Yale University. Her research focus on nineteenth-century French literature, women writers, and Franco-American literature and culture. She is past president of the international organization Women in French; she serves on the boards of the Franco-American Collection of the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College and Lewiston’s Franco Center for Heritage and the Performing Arts.


Colby Committed Headshot from February, 2015Mark Tappan is Professor of Education and Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Colby College. His research and teaching interests include boys’ development and education, risk and resilience in childhood and adolescence, and multicultural/social justice education. He is also the chair of the Greater Waterville Communities for Children and Youth Coalition and a founding member of the Maine Boys’ Network. He lives in Waterville with his partner, Lyn Mikel Brown, two dogs, and three cats.

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