Garden Exchange with Virginia Tech Friday 10/15 | 12:00-7:00 pm | Group will depart from W&L's Campus to travel down to the VT Indigenous Community Garden

Join CKWL and the Native American and Indigenous Cohort over undergraduate Reading Days for an afternoon spent with Dr. Mae Hey and students from Virginia Tech exploring and working in the Indigenous Garden they cultivate. Dr. Hey has a wealth of experience working around the state of Virginia on food sovereignty projects with indigenous communities, and holds a strong belief in the importance of physical place and context in regards to education. This workshop will be an opportunity to learn from Dr. Hey, and to connect with students at Virginia Tech that share an interest in and passion for food systems.

There are limited slots for participation in this event, so please register in advance by emailing Ryan Brink to confirm participation.

About Dr. Mae Hey:

Mae Hey's undergraduate education focused on geology and geography, human-Nature relationships. Her two graduate degrees are in curriculum and instruction. Her PhD research focused on the confluence of Indigenous worldview/ knowledge and science education, a natural blending of traditional local knowledge and practices-practices that support creative problem-solving, human empowerment, community capacity building, and a more sustainable future. Additionally, her dissertation work allowed her to explore strategies for effectively working with Native populations as well as maintaining the integrity of authentic Indigenous voice through the process of research and reporting.  

Hey completed a two-year InclusiveVT postdoctoral fellowship under the Office of Inclusion and Diversity with the American Indian and Indigenous Alliance. In that position, she nurtured relationships with tribal communities in Virginia to aid in experiential learning and applied research programs at Virginia Tech. She also created bonds with Virginia tribes and continues to work with them on a number of grants for community viability projects related to Land-centered learning. 

Much of Dr. Mae Hey's work is focused on critical participation, which is defined as reflective actions in the real world, occurring in real time, for the purpose of knowledge production and transformation in the present. As a  critical participant she creates relational spaces through thoughtful and persistent engagement within communities. This work is often highly undervalued within the settler-colonial system that promotes objectivity as a  'participant observer.' Therefore, her work becomes challenging for the academy to frame,  forcing it into a 'Negative space'-a space previously unimagined by many to be in existence or necessary. However, as having been a geologist, she knows that much life-sustaining potential, like the interstitial  spaces between rocks that store water, are often overlooked until needed, but ultimately become imperative and sought after to enable survival. 

She is now an InclusiveVT Faculty Fellow for the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies, Faculty Fellow for the Leadership and Social Change Residential College at Virginia Tech, and Faculty Fellow for the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. She is a Sequoyah Fellow and serves on the Curriculum Committee for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. She is an active member of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance's Indigenous culinary mentorship program.