Nadia De Leon
Community Engagement Coordinator at the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships
Where do you currently work?
I am currently the Community Engagement Coordinator at the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. Part-Time Adjunct Faculty, Department of Folklore and Anthropology, Western Kentucky University.
Tell me a bit about your career?
The Center aims to be a bridge between the campus and the community. Part of my work involves keeping track of campus and community needs and assets so I can initiate and support partnerships and collaborative initiatives.
I also coordinate and support engaged scholarship opportunities for students and faculty on campus, including service-learning and community-based research. I am particularly involved with multicultural services and working with immigrant and refugee populations in our community. Much of my work is oriented towards social work or educational leadership, but I am also able to focus on traditional cultural expressions, knowledge, and practices, occasionally. I am currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at WKU.
I am also a dancer and teach folk and ethnic dances. I am co-owner of InMotion Dance & Yoga Studio and Multicultural Center. I also truly enjoy teaching college courses at the Folklore and Anthropology Department, the Gender and Women's Studies Program, and the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility.
Finally, I am currently writing for the Encyclopedia of Latino Folklore to be published by Greenwood Press, and consulting for the Panamanian newspaper La Prensa for a series on Panamanian Folklore.
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
Folklore helps me frame all of my work as a theoretical lens and as a set of practical tools. My background in folklore helps me understand and work with communities, and the knowledge I gained from courses and internships in public folklore prepared me for educational and organizational tasks, including grant writing and curriculum development, as well as shaped my awareness of community needs. Folklore has prepared me well for a career in the educational and community development fields, as well as the many other initiatives I am involved in, particularly in cultural sustainability and arts education. I am interested in researching and understanding folklore, but also invested in finding ways in which a community's traditions can help sustain or improve its quality of life.