The University of Alabama

UA Professor Consults for Sesame Street

Jamie Naidoo

Dr. Jamie Naidoo

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The pressing question being asked of Dr. Jamie Naidoo, assistant professor in The University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies, these days is: “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”

And the answer is … yes, he can.

Naidoo was contacted in early February by Rocio Galarza, Sesame Street’s senior director of content planning and design for outreach, after she read some of his research and his blog on Latino children’s literature.

She “thought I would be able to assist them in their new initiative to reach out to the growing Latino population in the United States,” Naidoo said.

Naidoo was one of four expert consultants to the television show who discussed how to incorporate authentic, accurate portrayals of Latino cultures into the Sesame Street brand’s multiplatform channels.

“My specific role was to describe how Latinos are represented in children’s print materials, both positive and negative portrayals, and suggest ideas for including Latino cultural content into their various outlets to go along with their new initiative,” Naidoo said. “I made broad suggestions as well as very specific suggestions on how specific Sesame Street characters could better represent the Latin cultures.”

Naidoo’s work with Sesame Street is ongoing. He said the opportunity to work with the well-known brand benefits SLIS and the College of Communication and Information Sciences by demonstrating their commitment to actively engage in children’s media.

As for Naidoo himself, the rewards of the work are obvious.

“I am passionate about effecting positive social change in the world,” Naidoo said. “The Latino population in the U.S. is rapidly increasing, but our children today, particularly those in Alabama, often encounter negative or stereotypical images of Latinos in media. By working with publishers and TV producers of children’s media to improve their Latino content and appeal to young children, I am providing opportunities for non-Latino children to make intercultural connections with their Latino counterparts.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.