Fairfield’s Young Adult Literacy Labs Receive 2025 Divergent Award for Excellence

Since 2014, Fairfield’s Connecticut Writing Project (CWP) programs have benefited more than 2,500 students in grades 3 through 12.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (May 3, 2024)— The Young Adult Literacy Labs program of the Connecticut Writing Project (CWP)–Fairfield was recently bestowed the 2025 Divergent Award for Excellence in the Implementation of Literacy in a Digital Age. This award comes from the Initiative for Literacy in a Digital Age, which recognizes excellence in programs and initiatives surrounding writing and digital literacy.

Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, associate professor of educational studies and teacher preparation in the School of Education and Human Development, serves as director of CWP–Fairfield. The programs offered at Fairfield emphasize collaboration, publication, and embracing the diverse demographics of southern Connecticut. Students and teachers showcase their work in an annual published anthology, POW!—Power of Words.

“This recognition is for the teachers and young people,” said Dr. Crandall. “Too often our classroom leaders and the young people they work with are not celebrated for their brilliance, creativity, hard work, and dedication to learning. This award sees the wonderful educators who teach our programs and the success of our writers.”

This Divergent Award for Excellence recognizes the pivotal role literacy plays in the digital landscape, and those who diverge from traditional pedagogies and research approaches. It recognizes the contributions of educators and scholars who have dedicated their careers to the theoretical and practical study of 21st century literacies.

“We received a record number of nominees for the 2025 class. The educators, librarians, community organizers, K-12 educators, college and career leaders, and students honored by this recognition are transformational difference-makers in the field of literacy,” said Shelbie Witte, PhD, senior director of outreach and teacher education at Oklahoma State University, and founding director of the initiative for literacy in a digital age.

Honorees will share their work as part of the Literacy in a Digital Age lecture series in April 2025.

Allison Fallon (Greenwich Public Schools), Tim Huminski (Easton-Redding Region 9), Stefania Vendrella (Greens Farm Academy), Abu Bility (Syracuse Academy of Science), and Dave Wooley (Stamford Public Schools) currently lead the literacy labs with Fairfield University alumni William King (Bridgeport Public Schools), Emily Diggs (Westport Public Schools), Jessica Baldizon (Bridgeport Public Schools), and Stefania Vendrella (Greens Farm Academy).

Through this recognition, CWP will continue to lead writing practices and programs under The National Writing Project, a collaborative network dedicated to advancing writing education.