Faculty member, Peter Plourde, performing at the TEDxPiscataquaRiver event. Photo by Clear Eye Photo.
Foundation Year and Undergraduate programs faculty member Peter Plourde, also known as Professor Lyrical, spoke at the second annualTEDxPiscataquaRiverevent on Friday, May 9, in Portsmouth, NH. The event was part of the independently organized TEDx program, which aims to bring the larger TEDbrand to local community experiences. Plourde shared the stage with sixteen other guest speakers and performers, where he spoke, and rapped, about the transformative power of Hip Hop culture and its potential to be integrated into the academic experience, and the media's misrepresentation of Rap music and Hip Hop.
Plourde's battle rapper persona, Professor Lyrical, is described in his speaker biography as "an artist and educator known for using the positive aspects of Hip Hop culture to empower citizens to self-advocate for socioeconomic change." Plourde believes the TEDx experience will serve as an opportunity for him to build upon his vision, which he expressed as "to one day open a program or free standing college or university that uses Hip Hop culture as its theoretical lens and cultural backbone while preparing folks in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] or STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics] based disciplines."
In addition to promoting his vision of utilizing Hip Hop as a scholastic tool, Plourde's involvement with TEDx hits closer to home. "My work as a scholar-practitioner is informed by higher education's inability to recruit and retain a diverse student population," he said. Plourde further explains his goals within the College and, more specifically, Foundation Year, stating "my work here deals with helping an extremely diverse population navigate both mathematics and university life towards the end-goal of earning a college degree."
Plourde's latest album and book combo, which he refers to as an 'Albook,'Put Em All to Shame was released in August 2013, and is available through the Professor Lyrical website. The full Professor Lyrical TEDx performance can be viewed here.
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