Keisha I. Wiel
Anthropology PhD, College of Liberal Arts ’21
“The opportunities that I was able to get through Temple, such as attending the Linguistic Summer Institute, opened me up to further my goals. Because of this, I’ve been able to present my research at conferences all over the world and meet with scholars that have dominated my field.”
Keisha I. Wiel is a 2019 Fulbright-Hays Scholarship awardee pursuing a PhD in anthropology from Temple’s College of Liberal Arts, studying Creole languages of the Caribbean and their place in education. After earning her BA in anthropology at the University of North Florida and her MA at the University of Central Florida, she spent time teaching at York College, CUNY before coming to Temple.
Keisha’s current research—conducted in Aruba and Curacao, the islands of her parents’ birth—makes particular note of Papiamentu and the dichotomy between its use in cultural settings and formal educational settings. Through being immersed in the culture of the Caribbean, including the Papiamentu language, she became interested in notions of language and identity on the islands.
This was propelled further by her experience at York College, teaching Caribbean studies to a mostly Caribbean populace. What struck Keisha was students’ reactions to their language being treated as actual language, rather than as “bad” versions of other languages. This spurred her research further into how and why languages are perceived as they are in the Caribbean, and the ensuing discourses surrounding their place in education.
As a future professor, Keisha hopes to inspire students of color to pursue their academic dreams.