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Diversity & InclusionStudent Profiles

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To show support and gratitude for health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers keeping communities safe during the COVID-19 emergency. Old Dominion University is illuminating its Education Building blue during May, as part of the national #LightItBlue campaign. Photo Chuck Thomas/ODU

Bianca Augustine

Hometown: Leonville, Louisiana

Program of Study: PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: I am committed to advocating for the inclusion of individuals from diverse and historically oppressed communities in all arenas. As Critical Race Theory teaches us, society can learn so much from those that are oppressed and silenced in society.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: I have presented internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally and published research pertaining to the equitable treatment and inclusion of individuals from minoritized communities in counseling and counselor education to ensure that these individuals receive multiculturally sensitive and aware mental health treatment. Furthermore, my cohort-mate and I have established a social justice interest group within the Department of Counseling and Human Services to foster enhanced knowledge of and advocacy for oppressed populations. Through the development of this group, we have held bi-weekly open forums to encourage dialogue regarding social justice issues and the impact it has on students, as well as biweekly action committee meetings to develop direct actions that can be taken to decrease the oppression of minoritized groups. I am also a member of multiple regional and national professional organizations to continue to enhance my knowledge and advocacy efforts in diversity, inclusion, equity, and multiculturalism.


Brenna Bond

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Program of Study: Masters of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity and inclusion should be considered one of the most integral factors of any organization or community. It is imperative that we meld our belief in the need for diversity and inclusion with the actions we take to ensure it.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: I served as Vice President of Student Engagement for the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) during the 2019-2020 academic year. I continue my active work of promoting diversity within the field of speech-language pathology as a member of the NSSLHA Diversity Conversations subgroup. As one of two African American women in my cohort, I find it important to promote the need for diversity within my chosen field. My Instagram page, "TheSpunkySpeechie," was started with the intent to serve as a platform for individuals to collaborate, share experiences, and fortify relationships through various walks of life. I truly believe that when our differences are acknowledged and accepted by others, the overall state of a community will flourish.


Perrin Davis Jr.

Hometown: Virginia Beach

Program of Study: Master of Science Elementary Education

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: I am committed to creating a learning environment where every student feels represented both culturally and social-emotionally. Through this representation, I commit to instruction that is inclusive and culturally responsive to my students.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: My work in diversity and inclusion began in the Fall of 2017 while I was taking a Teaching and Learning course. I created a lesson plan titled Culturally Responsive Discipline and School Wide Positive Behavior Supports; which was chosen as an exemplar that became required reading for future students enrolled in the course. Since then I have dedicated my academic study and classroom pedagogy to being culturally responsive. I am currently completing my thesis which focuses on the relationship between culturally responsive teaching materials and student academic success.


Kendra Hall

Hometown: Portsmouth, Virginia

Program of Study: Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Educational Psychology and Program Evaluation

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity is a fact; inclusion is an act. Creating a culture of inclusion is not an optional exercise; it is the indispensable precondition that enables us to capitalize on our diverse skills, perspectives, and experiences, so that we can foster success for all.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: As an avid researcher, my goal is not to simply recognize diversity, but to intentionally utilize diversity to create inclusion. My inclusion research ranges from exploring a culturally-responsive learning framework to implement in diverse classrooms to exploring and understanding the perspectives of diverse educators. Representation is important; it is also the lack of cultural competency that has proven to be a barrier in meeting the academic, emotional, and social development needs of diverse students. Therefore, we must push for equity for all students in the delivery and content matter of instructional material.


Kristin Herman

Hometown: Downingtown, PA

Program of Study: Doctorate of Education (Instructional Design and Technology)

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Edtech claims to be apolitical; instructional design to be universal. What process or product was ever completely free from its creator's values, beliefs, or interests? As America struggles with its inherent systemic racism, those of us within the American education system cannot turn a blind eye to the racial biases of our own field.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: proctoring technologies surrounding assessment in online education often use biometric keystrokes and facial recognition software to identify students as potential threats to academic integrity. When student support turns to student surveillance-- and this student surveillance is built upon racially biased algorithms, it's time to redesign the technology-- or maybe even the assessment itself.


Mia Knowles-Davis

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Program of Study: PhD Instructional Design and Technology

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: It is simple, I want to see more people like me in STEM. Black and queer people have had their voices silenced and dismissed in academic literature for too long.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: I have written a book chapter about using Black Twitter as educational resource to integrate critical pedagogy in classrooms. The chapter discusses the ways that critical pedagogy in the classroom will foster more diverse and inclusive academic spaces in higher education. It emphasizes that institutions have an obligation to mold students that are aware and sensitive to social injustices in their communities regardless of their field of study.


Elisa Shaffer

Hometown: Stillwater, Oklahoma

Program of Study: Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Instructional Design and Technology

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: My hope is that I will continue to learn daily about my identity, biases, and privilege, and help others to do the same. I know that our differences make us better and stronger together.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: I am a part of a workgroup of professionals, in an association committed to the growth and development of academic advisors and the advising profession, that is specifically tasked with addressing the developmental need of leaders within the association related to race, ethnicity, and inclusion. We are currently hosting live training sessions for these leaders, as well as a supplemental online course. I work closely with the training teams to develop this online course to further the learning process for this wonderful group of over 100 volunteer leaders. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with this team.


Gabrielle Smith

Hometown: Bear, Delaware

Program of Study: Higher Education Ph.D. Program (First Year Student)

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: I am committed to breaking institutional barriers by amplifying silenced voices to advocate for radical change, equity, and access.

Summary of work in Diversity and Inclusion: My passion for social justice and prison reform has guided my research and practice. With a focus on system impacted individuals, my love for serving marginalized students has led me on a journey from traditional education environments to correctional facilities. As a writer, researcher, and educator, I leverage my abilities and get proximate to make change from the inside out.