Our Staff

Lori Barcliff Baptista, Ph.D., directs the African-American Cultural Center, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre & Music, and is a Faculty Affiliate of the Program in Museum and Exhibition Studies at UIC.  An interdisciplinary scholar/artist, she integrates arts, humanities and social science practices and perspectives to examine and cultural representations and their impact on marginalized communities.  Her diverse career features more than 15 years of experience with research, development, and participation in cultural programs and initiatives that convene artists, civic leaders, students, faculty and staff, cultural institutions, and grassroots organizations to address social concerns. She is especially interested in creative practices that individuals engage in to honor, validate or convey their sense of connectedness to multiple places or traditions, and has published a number of articles, working papers and book reviews on these topics. Dr. Baptista earned a Ph.D. in performance studies from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rutgers University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches film, literature, ethnography and performance-based courses.

Kay McCrimon is the Museum Educator at the AACC.  She comes to the Center from the DuSable Museum of African American History where she created public programs and designed educational materials and publications for museum visitors.  Ms. McCrimon also has extensive experience as a museum researcher/historian.  Kay is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio/Television and a Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Arts. In addition, she is a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Marketing.

Edith Tovar is the Program Coordinator for both the AACC and the Latino Cultural Center. A native of Chicago’s South Lawndale- Little Village Community and the youngest of four siblings, Edith was the second in her family to graduate from a university. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish-Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Edith works to enhance UIC students’ knowledge of and appreciation for African-American and African-Diaspora identities and Latino culture through various program initiatives.

Jacqueline Yvonne Smith is the Graduate Assistant at the AACC.  She graduated with a BA in Art History from Columbia College Chicago in 2011 and is currently in her first year of the Museum & Exhibition Studies program at UIC.  Her academic background is in contemporary to modern art and her focus is the body in relationship to art.  She looks forward to applying the skills and tools she learns throughout her program to her work with the AACC.

Brittney Hopgood is the Student Marketing Assistant at the AACC, assisting with exhibition preparation and research as well as creating signage for events and programming.  She is currently in her last year as an undergraduate honors student in the Industrial Design Program at UIC, and aspires to continue her education in graphic design.  Aside from contributing to the AACC and studying design, Brittney spends her time volunteering for various events, exploring numerous ways to practice inventiveness, and working part time in retail.  She enjoys creating effective visualization of ideas and practical solutions for all projects that she is involved in.