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Makuu Director: Brian Peterson

September 27, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03


Brian Peterson, an author and educator based in Philadelphia, has joined Makuu Black Cultural Center as Director effective September 12. Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he attended the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and then remained at the University as a full-time employee and part-time graduate student. He attained his masters in secondary teacher education and is currently completing his doctorate at Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Access Will Gipson said, “We are delighted to have a broad-thinking, engaged, and committed Penn alum to take on this position and to lead students, faculty, and staff in the next chapter for Makuu.”

Mr. Peterson’s primary research interests include urban youth and communities, college student development, learning systems, and nonprofit organization development. He is also interested in media (printed fiction and nonfiction, music, film, internet/social networks), sports culture, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.

In 1999 Mr. Peterson co-founded Asé Academy, an academic and cultural enrichment program for secondary students in Philadelphia. Four years later, Mr. Peterson created Lion’s Story, Inc., a nonprofit educational research and development group to support Asé’s growth and nurture other projects connected to education and culture.

“Makuu means ‘home.’ For the past two decades Penn has been a home for me, as an undergrad, graduate student, staff member, writer, instructor, and community partner. In becoming the Director of Makuu, my goal is to work with students, departments, alumni, and partners in Philadelphia and beyond to further develop our academic and cultural homebase. It’s truly a privilege to be able to give back to this place that has given so much to me, and I very much look forward to beginning this next chapter in my Penn story.”

Mr. Peterson is the author of four books: Move Over, Girl (Random House, 2000), Spoken Words (Chance22, 2003), The African American Student’s Guide to Excellence in College (Chance22, 2005), and Higher Learning: Maximizing Your College Experience (Chance22, 2010). He also produced a documentary film, It’s Your World: The Legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois College House, in 2005. He is a former staff writer at Okayplayer.com, the website for the Grammy-award winning group The Roots, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and many more.  There he launched Okaybooks, a literature-oriented subsection, in addition to his primary role as news writer and content provider.

At Penn, Mr. Peterson has taught or co-taught three courses: Without Struggle: Contemporary Culture and Extended Identity; Topics in Africana Studies: The History of Women and Men of African Descent at the University of Pennsylvania; and Culturally Revelant Teaching, Learning, and Intervention.

Almanac - September 27, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03