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Since she arrived in Knoxville, Black scholar and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, sociologist Enkeshi El-Amin has been building bridges between academia and local communities.

The first PhD graduate of the Department of Sociology’s critical race and ethnic studies concentration, El-Amin now serves as a lecturer for the department. Her doctoral studies at UT led her to identify the need for Black community space in Knoxville. Earlier this year, she founded The Bottom, home to a podcast studio, a bookstore that features Black authors, and Sew It Sell It, a community sewing camp that teaches crafts and entrepreneurship skills to children.

El-Amin is also co-host of the Black in Appalachia podcast.

“I didn’t take the path you’re supposed to take as a PhD student,” El-Amin says. “I stayed when I was supposed to leave. Knoxville became home. And now I have the opportunity to create something for the community—to infuse research with social and public life. That’s what I’m here to do.”

Read the full story in Torchbearer magazine.