Tri-State diversity conference set for Sept. 28 | ACTC

Tri-State diversity conference set for Sept. 28

Sept. 20, 2018


The fifth annual Tri-State Conference on Diversity and Inclusion will be Friday, Sept. 28 at Marshall University.
The theme of this year’s conference, co-sponsored by Ashland Community and Technical College, “Intersectionality: Celebrating the Difference Among Us.” Community leaders, educators, college and high school students, counselors and area residents are invited to the conference to celebrate individuals from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives and to share dialogue and engage in critical thinking exercises to enhance multicultural awareness.
Laura Tussey, associate professor and program coordinator of ACTC’s Appalachian studies program, will help present a workshop called A Conversation with Diverse Women about Being Students, Professors and University Administrators. Other presenters on the panel are Dr. Alicia Chavira-Prado of Ohio University-Athens, Dina Lopez of Ohio University Southern, Dr. Nancy Preston of Morehead State University, Dr. Ellen Rodrigues of West Virginia University and Dr. Chantel Weisenmulller of West Virginia University.
Tussey and her fellow presenters recently co-authored a textbook about female faculty members in higher education, specifically in Appalachia, called, “The Feminist Alliance Project in Appalachia: Minoritized Experiences of Women Faculty and Administrators in Higher Education.”
The book, an idea that blossomed from a previous year’s Tri-state Diversity conference, illustrates the minoritized experiences of women faculty and administrators in higher education and highlights Appalachia as a geographic and cultural region, a sector in academia that still remains relatively ignored in mainstream feminist studies. The book is based on autobiographical and autoethnographic narratives of diverse women who discuss their similar and unique forms of oppression as students and as professionals in the academic workplace within Appalachia.
Other workshop sessions offered during the diversity conference are:
• Understanding Systemic Appalachia by Jennifer Hayes of North Central University.
• The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity by Ken Cornwell of Shawnee State University.
• Erasure of the Data: Representing the Diverse Populations We Serve by Dominique Barnes-Walker and Christina Jones of Shawnee State University.
• Lessons on Courage in Leadership from the #MeToo Era by Dr. Beth Wolfe of Marshall University.
• Exploring the Differences Among Us via a Board Game by Andy Hermansdorfer of Marshall University.
• The Green Zone by Eric S. Spurlock of Mountwest Community and Technical College.
• For the Culture: Legacy Building Leadership by Natalie Williams, founder of Nat Will Speak.
• A Conversation About Bi-Racial Children by Dr. Miki Crawford, Noel Payne, Imani Smith and Dr. Kristi A. Barnes of Ohio University Southern.
• Can You See Me Now: Conversation that Promote Change, by Robert Pleasant and Teresa McKenzie of Ohio University Southern.
• Where are They From: Challenges of International Students and Strategies for Success by Kae Bradley and Amelia Hsu of Marshall University.
• Crossing the Line: Admiring Intersectional Identities Through an Appreciate Diversity Lens by Dr. Feon Smith-Branch, Dr. Sherry Early, Dr. Conrae Lucas-Adkins, Dr. Ruthann Arneson and Dr. Kimberly McFall of Marshall University.
• Fearlessly Authentic: One Woman’s Journey Through Identity Confusion by Michaela Bishop.
There will also be a lunchtime session called Signing Together: A Hands-On Approach to Diversity Education by Zadokite Wood. Wood will describe her experience bringing hearing children and deaf children together to learn to sign for her production of Annie Jr. in American Sign Language and spoken English.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Eric Alva, Iraq War veteran and LGBT rights activist.
The first American soldier injured in the Iraq War, Alva was hailed as an American hero, and individuals from Donald Rumsfeld to President George W. Bush visited the Marine veteran during his recovery. While he lost his leg in combat, Alva’s spirit remained strong: Upon retirement, he came out as gay, and went on to play an instrumental role in the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay, lesbian and bisexual service members, working with members of Congress to end the discriminatory practice.
A former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, Alva shares his story of hope and courage, urging audiences to make the world a better place for those who have felt the pain and anguish of hate and discrimination. Drawing on his experience in the battle for equality, he discusses the difficulties faced by gays and lesbians in the military, emphasizing that by doing the right thing, working hard, standing for what you believe in and being true to yourself, any obstacle can be conquered.
Registration is $40 per person or $15 per student (secondary/post secondary). The fee includes continental breakfast, luncheon, workshops, panel discussion and a Certificate of Cultural Competency. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) and university credits are available for additional fees. To register online, visit
Other cosponsors are Marshall University School of Pharmacy, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Morehead State University-Ashland/Morehead State University, Mountwest Community and Technical College, Ohio University Southern/Ohio University and Shawnee State University.