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Queering Interracial Intimacies while Advancing as Queer Womxn of Color in Higher Education RESIST

Sharon Chia Claros (she/her/hers), Associate Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Michigan State University

Oprah Jrenal (she, her, hers), Asst. Director for the LBGTQ RC

Kris Surla (she, her, hers), PhD Candidate, HALE & Coordinator for Student Leadership Training Course

Kirby R. Gibson (she, her, hers), Asst. Director for North Neighborhood

Dr. Christine Mata (she, her, hers), MSU Alumni and Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, UC Riversid

Ontario Room

Micshel’s (2016) study explored whether discrimination occurs against queer* women (relative to straight women) when they apply to jobs in the U.S. revealed that the women with LGBTQ indicators on their resumes were discriminated against and received 30% fewer job callbacks. Additionally, only 14% of women of color hold senior administrator positions at four-year colleges and universities (Johnson, 2016). This session brings to life the narratives of queer women of color (QWoC) and how they have navigated the culture of whiteness, patriarchy and heteronormativity while advancing in Higher Education and holding space for their interracial intimacies. Our speakers represent MSU community members from diverse walks of life and understand that although there are lived commonalities for QWoC while in interracial intimacies in higher education, no singular trajectory for a “QWoC’s experience” of leadership or interracial intimacies exist nor one path to advancement or sustaining those intimacies.

More on Sharon:

Sharon Chia Claros serves as REHS' first associate director of diversity, equity and inclusion. The role was created to strengthen the division’s collaboration across the university on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as well as efforts to create safe, sustainable and inclusive living environments for all members of the MSU community. She is a proud immigrant from the Philippines and embraces her queer womxn of color identity. 


More on Oprah:

Oprah Jrenal works as the Assistant Director in the LBGT Resource Center. She enjoys conversations about justice, equity, and how we can all serve each other better. 


More on Kristen:

Kristen Surla is a PhD student in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) Program at Michigan State University. Her research interests include Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Teaching and Learning, practices of Applied Critical Leadership amongst senior academic officers, and impacts of the academic socialization process upon Women of Color graduate students. Through the Department of Educational Administration, Kristen serves as the course coordinator and teacher for EAD 315, a long-standing undergraduate student leadership training course offered at Michigan State University.


More on Kirby:

Kirby R. Gibson is a student affairs practitioner of 5 years and pays homage to many mentors, faculty members, supervisors, and peers that played an instrumental role in helping her navigate her collegiate career. Their teachings serve as a guiding light and source of inspiration for helping students and staff discover their passions and develop wholistically. Some of her professional interests and contributions include: the decolonization of whiteness and its pervasiveness in higher education, residence education and curriculum development, social justice education and facilitation, supporting marginalized students in higher education, and lifelong learning and “professional” development of student staff and full-time practitioners. When Kirby is not busy being the ‘Olivia Pope of Student Affairs’ and spreading Black Girl Magic everywhere, she enjoys playing video games, watching anime, reading, traveling, cooking, and being a creative. 

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From Stressed to the Max to How to Relax (RE)CENTER

Jaimie Hutchison (she/her/hers), Lifespan & Family Services Coordinator at MSU WorkLife Office

Huron Room

There are ebbs and flows to the intensity of our stressors in our personal and academic/professional lives. Learn tools and strategies for identifying stressors, prioritizing responsibilities, and managing stress throughout your life. Participants will leave with an action plan for handling even the most stressful moments.

More on Jaimie:

Jaimie Hutchison is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Global Career Development Facilitator with over 20 years of experience working to empower women. Jaimie has her MA in Community Counseling and works to empower people to reach their goals.

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Women*s Student Services Listening Session  (RE)IMAGINE

Student Affairs Administration Office Consultation Project Students: Becky La (she/her/hers), Rachel Paris (she/her/hers), & Courtney Holland (she/her/hers) 

Michigan Room

The new department of Women*s Student Services was created in the summer of 2019 in the division of Student Affairs and Services in response to growing student needs after the closure of the Women’s Resource Center several years prior. In this session, we are providing space for students to help us (re)imagine what student services for women-identified students (including undergraduate and graduate students) might exist within and in collaboration with the department.

Advocacy vs. Inquiry  (RE)IMAGINE

Karlee Moxley (she/her/hers), Community Director Bailey/Emmons, Residential Education and Housing Services

Superior Room

Do you have strong beliefs? Do you get upset when people think differently than you? Do you take time to learn other's beliefs and experiences? This session explores the fine balance between advocacy and inquiry and reimagines the ways in which new understanding can occur through mutual learning. By examining these skills, you can discover the most effective ways to advocate for the things that matter most to you by recentering your beliefs to explore other's perspectives. 

More on Karlee:

Karlee received her masters in Student Affairs Administration from MSU in 2019 and has experience working in academic advising and housing and currently works as a community director here on MSU's campus. Karlee values direct student interactions and opportunities for growth and development. She has a passion for student wellness and hopes to continue being a support to students while they navigate the various identity development and periods of transitions coming to college brings. 

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Discouraged Activists: How to Avoid Feeling Depressed in a Depressing World  (RE)CENTER

Jessica Mariano (she/her/hers), Licensed Professional Counselor 

Huron Room

We are inundated with social media and news that are discouraging and disheartening which can lead to feeling depressed. I will work to provide tips and tricks on how to balance staying informed, aware, and feeling empowered to continue being an advocate for the people and topics you are passionate about.  


More on Jessica:

Jessica Mariano is counselor that has worked in the following areas: inpatient psychiatric hospital, correctional facility, abortion clinic, suicide hotline, sexual assault response team, and currently private practice. She has focused her advocacy career over the years and worked to find the balance of pushing to feel like she is making change and avoid burnout. Most recently she has been a leader of the advocacy for Licensed Professional Counselors for HB4325.

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