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Inclusive Excellence Symposium Program

Oct. 29, 2018

8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Eccles Conference Center

Session titles in orange will be made available to Regional Campuses.

Welcome: 8:00 - 8:15 | Auditorium

Aggies Think, Care, Act chairperson Eri Bentley

Opening Address: 8:15 - 8:30 a.m. | Auditorium

President Noelle Cockett

Morning Keynote: 8:30 - 9:15 a.m. | Auditorium

Understanding Our Differences and Loving Each Other Anyway

Darren Parry, the Chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation


Afternoon Keynote 12:30 - 1:20 p.m. | Auditorium

Title: Five Myths about Immigration (and Why They Matter)

Angela Morrison, Associate Professor, School of Law, Texas A&M University


Immigration policy is hotly debated. But immigration policy is not an abstract debate topic to the families and communities that the U.S. immigration system impacts.
This talk corrects five common myths about immigration. From incorrect assumptions about how the U.S immigration system operates to widely held but incorrect beliefs about immigrants, common myths about immigration are destructive to productive public discourse about immigration policy. More significantly, they result in the inequitable and unjust treatment of immigrants.
The talk concludes with a challenge to avoid further perpetuating myths about immigration. It asks audience members to educate others, build understanding, and engage respectfully in dialogue about U.S immigration policy.

QPR: Training and Building Personal Resiliency | Room 205

Dr. Justin Barker and Dr. Kimberly Meyers, USU Counseling and Psychological Services


QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer: three simple steps anyone can learn to potentially help save a life from suicide. Additionally, participants will learn about the concept of resilience and how they can build resiliency in themselves and others.


Let's Talk About the Academic Needs of Students of Color – A conversation of inclusive excellence through a critical lens from student voices. | Rooms 201/203

Isael Torres, Program Advisor in Student Leadership and Involvement, University of Utah
Zitlalli Herrera, Graduate Assistant Programing, University of Utah


As students navigate concepts and spaces of power, what support can we offer to our minoritized students that often are not considered and largely underrepresented? Specifically from a first-generation/student of Color perspective, we will critically analyze how institutions can discontinue failing to meet student's social and academic needs.


Keynote follow-up session | Room 207

Darren Parry



Accessibility Learning Materials Benefit All Students | Rooms 303/305

Christopher Phillips, Center for Innovative Design and Instruction, Academic and Instructional Services, USU


Creating online materials that are accessible for students with disabilities is a legal requirement. However, there are also significant benefits to all students that come from creating inclusive content. We will discuss the responsibilities and opportunities to both students and instructions that come from creating content usable by everyone.


LGBTQA+101 | Rooms 307/309

Macy Keith, LGBTQA+ Program Coordinator, Access and Diversity Center, USU


Learn the basics of LGBTQA+ identities and their unique struggles in this safe-space seminar. We will define sex-assigned-at-birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation followed by an experiential activity and discussion. This seminar is open to all. Come with questions, leave better equipped to help the LGBTQA+ community.

Interfaith Ally Training on Campus: A Tool for Inclusive Excellence. | Room 201/203

Dr. Bonnie Glass-Coffin, Professor, Department of Social Work, Sociology and Anthropology; Director of Interfaith Leadership Certificate Program, USU


Description: This stand-alone program was developed and has been used to build capacity for appreciating and engaging with religious difference on campus since 2015. After providing a brief overview, participants will be able to experience a "speed-faithing" activity, which is a key part of the training program.


Considerations of a Strength Based Approach for Fostering a Latino-Friendly Climate on Campus | Room 205

Dr. Celina G. Willie, Extension Assistant Professor, USU
Dr. María Luisa Spicer-Escalante, Professor, Department of Languages, Philosophy and Communications, USU


Moving away from past stereotypes, this presentation examines the value of a psycho-socio-cultural approach to understanding and supporting first-generation Latina/o students to graduation. Discussion focuses on how Latino students’ increased psychological, social and cultural well-being can translate into increased persistence. Strength-based practices to implement on campus are illustrated.


Building Bridges through Mentorship: How to Connect with Students of Diverse Backgrounds | Room 207

Dr. Kathryn Weglarz, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Utah State University
Dr. Emily Sadler-Pitts, Lecturer, Department of Biology, USU
Curtis Frazier, Faculty, USU Eastern, Blanding
Dr. Alan Savitzky, Professor and Head, Department of Biology, USU
Elizabeth Ogata, Graduate Student, Department of Biology and Ecology Center, USU


Engagement is essential to student success, particularly those who are underrepresented in academia. Here we present lessons we learned from successfully connecting with Native American students during the formation of the Native American Summer Mentorship Program and translate them so others can apply these lessons in their practice.


Using Motivational Interviewing to Collaborate for Change | Rooms 303/305

Dr. David E. Christian, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, Logan
Sharla Hart, Director of Elementary and Secondary Field Experience, USU


ATCA's mission promotes collaboration between people of diverse identities and values. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to Motivational Interviewing (MI), a powerful set of research based communication and collaboration skills. Participants will learn and practice MI in pairs, on a diversity-related topic of their interest.


Connecting Communities of Color: A Historical Exploration of Art, Activism, Law and Popular Culture | Rooms 307/309

Dr. Marisela Martinez-Cola, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, USU


In this program, Dr. Martinez-Cola takes you on journey as she reveals the numerous ways communities of color have been connected throughout history. She introduces the audience to the oft-unknown connections and similarities in the areas of activism, law, the arts, and popular culture.

Aggies Elevated: Neurodiversity Meets Opportunity at Utah State University | Rooms 201/203

Dr. Jeff Sheen, Associate Director or Research and Training Division, Center for Persons with Disabilities, USU
Sue Reeves, Graduate Student, Disability Disciplines, USU


Young adults with intellectual disabilities are an underrepresented, yet increasingly important part of diversity in traditional four-year college campuses. A panel of Aggies Elevated students discuss their experiences at USU, and their impact of a college experience on a future employment opportunities and quality of life.


Promoting Inclusion and Understanding in the Multicultural Classroom | Room 205

Dr. Ekaterina Arshavskaya, Assistant Professor, Intensive English Language Institute, USU
Marta Halaczkiewicz, Senior Lecturer, Intensive English Language Institute, USU
Dr. Jim Rogers, Professor, Intensive English Language Institute, USU


Participants will be introduced to a model of intercultural competence understanding and then use the concepts to analyze critical incidents which highlight various misunderstandings. Using the incidents, participants will identify the source of the misunderstanding, brainstorm solutions, and then discuss applications to their own classrooms.


Keynote follow-up session | Room 207

Angela Morrison, Associate Professor, School of Law, Texas A&M University



Transformation of (Mis)Perception | Rooms 303/305

Dr. Mehmet Soyer, Temporary Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, USU
Panel members:
Simone Regan
Kylen Kaminski
Gonca F. Soyer
Tasha Bauck


This panel will focus on identifying and addressing sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia against Muslim Women and other forms of oppression in everyday interactions. Participants will learn how to consider context (e.g., relationship, setting, external factors such as stress) in order to challenge such comments with greater confidence and efficacy.


Working with Veteran and Service Member Students | Rooms 307/309

Tony Flores, Coordinator, Veterans Resource Office, USU


The intent of the workshop is to give participants tools to assist veterans and service members pursuing their education. We will examine military language, life, and experience to develop a cultural understanding of veteran and service members.

Hands-on Methodologies to Create an LGBT+ Inclusive Environment in USU | Rooms 201/203

Rachel Hager, Graduate Student, Ecology, USU
Macy Keith, LGBTQA+ Program Coordinator, Access and Diversity Center, USU


Improving the campus climate for LGBTQA+ students is an essential step to create a more inclusive institution at USU. Through a hands-on approach, participants in this session will leave with an extensive toolbox of methodologies to create an LGBTQA+ inclusive environment at USU.


The Interconnectedness of Disability Models, Biases, and Inclusion for Individuals with Disabilities | Room 205

Kayla Currier Kipping, Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Transition and Rehabilitation Counseling, USU
Sue Reeves, Graduate Student, Disability Disciplines, USU
Dr. Trenton Landon, Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, USU


We are all impacted by the attitudes of those around us. The aim of this presentation is to describe the constructs of implicit and explicit bias and their relation to disability. Specifically the presenters will discuss the influence of implicit and explicit biases on the college experiences of students with disabilities.


Cultural Adaptation Theory as a Pathway to Enhancing a Culture of Inclusion | Room 207

Dennis Kohler, Director, Academic Success Center, USU


Cultural adaptation is the process of integration within a new culture. This session will address both the challenges and success strategies of cultural sojourners, and also discuss how adaptation is integral to the human experience. The session will discuss how to promote empathy and understanding to support inclusion efforts.


Not My Place to Speak: Encouraging Risk in Classroom Discussions | Rooms 303/305

Dr. Christopher González, Associate Professor, Department of English; Director of Latinx Cultural Center, USU


How do you talk about controversial or difficult topics in your classroom? How do you handle topics that concern marginalization on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, and disability in a classroom that may not identify with such marginalized groups? This workshop will identify obstacles and propose strategies for creating a classroom environment conducive to grappling with challenging material.


Strategies for Speaking out against Everyday Prejudice | Rooms 307/309

Dr. Mollie Murphy, Assistant Professor, Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies, USU
Dr. Mehmet Soyer, Temporary Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, USU


This program will focus on identifying and addressing sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression in everyday interactions. Participants will learn how to consider context (e.g., relationship, setting, external factors such as stress) in order to challenge such comments with greater confidence and efficacy.

A Qualitative Investigation of How Student Parents Cope with Multiple Roles

Kristen Hall, Graduate student, Human Development and Family Sciences, USU
Audrey Juhasz, Graduate student, Human Development and Family Sciences, USU


Student-parents are an invisible group coping with additional burdens on their time, finances, and emotions. Qualitative interviews with student-parents attending USU illuminate challenges faced, motivation, and coping strategies. Recommendations for being sensitive to this population's needs will be presented as well as an opportunity to discuss personal experiences with student-parenting.


Leaveraging Mobile Games for Civic Engagement

Julia Lamarra, Graduate student, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, USU
Apoorva Chauhan, Graduate student, Computer Science, USU
Dr. Breanne K. Litts, Assistant Professor, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, USU


This research poster reflects the findings of four ARIS (an open source platform to create location-based games) workshops conducted with 33 kids (ages 9-16) during Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, and Spring 2018. We specifically look at youth perceptions of civic issues after their interaction with ARIS.


Culturally Responsive Making: Lessons Learned from Designing with Indigenous Communities

Dr. Breanne K. Litts, Assistant professor, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, USU
Dr. Kristin A. Searle, Assistant Professor, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, USU


We will share about our process co-designing with Indigenous communities to develop culturally responsive making and makerspaces with Indigenous communities in Arizona and Utah. We partner with these communities to design maker activities utilizing technologies that complement existing cultural practices where the communities are located. Project funded by NSF.


Being Secular: Challenges & Community

Muriel McGregor, Graduate student, Political Science, Former President of USUSA Secular Student Alliance, USU
Chase Gabbitas, Undergraduate student, Biological Engineering, Former President of USUSA Secular Student Alliance, USU


Organized religions often play a critical role in providing students with friends, guidance, and support. However, an increasing number of students identify as religiously unaffiliated and/or non-religious. These students often struggle to find communities and support when entering a new community, and often find themselves rejected by roommates and/or family.


Increasing the Level of Diversity and Inclusion of the USU AIAA Chapter

Joel Mork, Student, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, USU


A major problem in aerospace is a lack of diversity. As the future leaders of the aerospace industry, the USU AIAA chapter seeks to increase its level of diversity thereby increasing the aerospace industry’s level of diversity. An outline of USU AIAA’s vision and plan for diversification is given.


Group Play Therapy for Siblings of Children with Disabilities

Dr. Megan Oka, Assistant Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy, USU
Jennifer Walker, Graduate student, Marriage and Family Therapy, USU
Ashley Tuft, Graduate student, Marriage and Family Therapy, USU
Travis Spencer, Graduate student, Marriage and Family Therapy, USU
Macy Winegar, Undergraduate student, Human Development and Family Studies, USU


This poster is based on a group play therapy for children with siblings with disabilities that began at USU in 2015. We will discuss the purpose, structure, and outcomes of the group. Participants will learn how we provide weekly sessions addressing the needs of these often-forgotten children and parents.

Download the program pdf