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April 30, 2021

OIIR would like to share some exciting news regarding some of our colleagues and units:

  • Teryl Brewster, Interim Director of Educational Programming in Diversity & Social Justice Education, is one of 24 participants selected for the Illinois Supervisory Skills program this summer. The Illinois Supervisory Skills program is offered by Illinois Human Resources and the Chancellor's Office.
  • The We RISE series was awarded Outstanding Program by the 2021 Student Affairs Outstanding Staff and Program Awards. We RISE explored the history and progression of abolitionist efforts, the interconnectedness of abolition work across communities, and opportunities to civically engage in that arena further. The Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, La Casa Cultural Latina, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Resource Center and the Women's Resources Center collaborated on this series, which included four events titled: Ain't Nothing New About Abolition, Abolition in the Now, Solidarity Across Communities and Policing, Civic Engagement, and Liberation.

February 9, 2021

La Casa Cultural Latina is pleased to announce that the University of Illinois Latina/Latino Alumni Association (IllinoisLLAA) contributed $2,500 to assist with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals for this year. The substantial financial burden of this renewal process can weigh heavy on students, La Casa Cultural Latina is grateful for these meaningful contributions from Latinx alumni.

Supporting DACA and undocumented students is a key priority of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. La Casa and OIIR will continue to advocate for DACA and undocumented students as we foster an environment where students can gain the access, support, and guidance they need to prepare for civic engagement and productive careers upon graduation.

Madeline Farrell and Akua Forkuo-Sekyere, Advocacy and Wellness Coordinators at the Women's Resources Center, have been selected to present at the 13th annual EIUnity Diversity Conference at Eastern Illinois University on March 5th at 1pm CST. Their presentation, titled A Collaborative Approach to Anti-Oppression Work at a Predominately White Institution, is based on the Women's Resources Center embedded partnerships at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center and La Casa Cultural Latina. 

Registration for the entire conference is free, here is the link to sign up.

January 28, 2021

The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations is pleased to share that three proposals through the Broadening Inclusions Grant from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have been awarded to OIIR and its units and members. 

The Asian American Cultural Center was awarded $5,000 for its proposal: Lunar New Year Celebration- Pandemic Activity Kits. This culturally significant event provides students a sense of belonging during a most difficult time due to COVID-19.

Jennifer Mendez, Assistant Director at the Asian American Cultural Center, alongside the Illinois Promise program at Illinois, was awarded $5,000 for the proposal: 'Proud to be First Gen' Workshop Series. This series is targeted towards an important population- first generation students- as they navigate higher education. 

OIIR, alongside the Office of Minority Student Affairs and Sisters of the Academy, were awarded $5,000 for the proposal: Supporting DEI Co-Curricular Initiatives Through Grantmanship. This grantmanship training will have positive effects for participants crafting co-curricular development. 

January 15, 2021

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Women's Resources Center has been awarded a $300,000 Office on Violence Against Women grant through the Department of Justice's Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking on Campus Program. This award is the first of its kind at the university, and will support a broadscale effort to enhance prevention, intervention and response efforts across the institution for the next three years, with a targeted focus on the issue of stalking. Across university and college campuses, stalking remains a prevalent yet under addressed public health issue (1). Research reports nearly a third of women and men first experience stalking between the ages of 18-24 years old (2). The U of I student body experiences stalking at similarly alarming rates, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men report experiencing stalking (3). Titled "Community Solutions to Ending Sexual Misconduct: Coordinating Response and Prevention Efforts", this interdisciplinary project will craft a campus-wide collaborative effort comprised of community partners and campus stakeholders across key divisions in and around Illinois. Funding allotted for this project will establish a strengthened campus collaborative to enhance existing services, streamline response efforts, generate new approaches to prevention, and develop and facilitate the first Illinois Stalking Prevention & Response Summit for campus practitioners and students across the state to address issues of stalking more effectively.

Jaya Kolisetty, Associate Director in the Women's Resources Center, was awarded the 2020 Gies College of Business MBA Peer Impact Award. 

And Sarah Colome, Director of the Women's Resources Center, was selected to serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. Her term will run from January 2021 to March 2024.

January 5, 2021

OIIR is excited to announce our four Spring 2021 Interns: Jewel Bourne, Chequita S. Brown, Nina Owolabi and Amari Simpson.

Jewel Bourne (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, with a concentration in higher education in the College of Education. As a former community college transfer student and Sally Casanova Scholar, her research interests revolve around the promotion of access, persistence and empowerment of traditionally underrepresented populations in higher education, with a focus on the experience of Black female identifying students transition from community college to 4-year institutions. Jewel's professional experience includes serving as an academic advisor and program coordinator assisting historically underrepresented populations achieve and accomplish their transfer ambitions through the transfer sending and receptive culture frameworks.


Chequita S. Brown (she/her/hers), a Chicago native, is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, with a higher eduation concentration in the College of Education. Professionally, she has over ten years' experience working in postsecondary administration, instruction, and course and program development. Chequita's research interests center on the lived experiences of foster care collegians and other minoritized student populations in higher education, including college access and retention, student engagement and development, and educational equity and diversity. Beyond coursework, she works as a research assistant for the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) and a teaching assistant for the College of Liberal Arts and Science. Additionally, Chequita is a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and The Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC).

Nina Owolabi (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a higher education concentration in the College of Education. Her research centers on the Black student experience at community colleges and examing how ableism and racism interact to marginalize this population. She intends to leverage this work to evaluate and inform institutional practice, effectively crafting welcoming spaces for minoritized students. Owolabi's professional background includes a decade of education justice work focused on student, program, and curriculum development. Before joining OIIR, she served as a community college advisor and faculty member.


Amari Simpson (he/him/his) is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership in the College of Education. He is also a Graduate Assistant at the Illinois Leadership Center and a research assistant for several ongoing projects related to STEM education, equity, and inclusion.



November 12, 2020

Nichole Boyd, Director of the Native American House, has been appointed a Member of Governor JB Pritzker's Native American Employment Plan Advisory Council. Big congratulations to Nichole!

Director of OIIR, Dr. Shawna Patterson-Stephens, will be a participant in one of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 2020 Conference Presidential Sessions. Full Participation through Public Scholarship takes place on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 from 1:45-3:00pm. Additionally, Dr. Patterson-Stephens will present "Letters of the Spectrum: Informed Engagement Through Embodied Memory Among Queer Black Letter Organization Members" during ASHE next week. And she will also serve as Chair during the following session: "More than Words: Interpreting Missions and Governance Roles to Promote Equity and Student Success Across Institutional Types."






October 23, 2020

Congratulations to Mariana Ortega, Director of La Casa Cultural Latina, and Dr. Shawna Patterson-Stephens, Director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, for being named to the Central Illinois Business Magazine's 13th Forty Under 40 Class. And congratulations to the Asian American Cultural Center for celebrating its 15 year anniversary on campus!

September 18, 2020

It is with great excitement that we announce Madeline Farrell and Akua Forkuo-Sekyere, Advocacy and Wellness Coordinators in the Women's Resources Center, have been selected to participate in Emerging Women Leaders. Madeline and Akua were nominated to participate in the 9-week program by senior administrators. The intent of Emerging Women Leaders is to equip participants with leadership skills and strategies that will positively impact their departments, the University, and the communities in which they live and serve. Congratulations to Madeline and Akua!

July 31, 2020

Diversity and Social Justice Education (DiversityEd) has undergone changes in leadership in the past weeks. Ross Wantland, former director of DiversityEd, has accepted a new role in the University. He is the new Director of Curriculum Development and Education in the Academic Inclusive Excellence department of the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Congratulations to Ross, who worked in OIIR for 11+ years and has been a staple of the department. 

With his departure, DiveristyEd's leadership infrastructure will look differently with staff members taking on new roles. Teryl Brewster will be the Interim Director of Educational Programming, Dr. Joycelyn Landrum-Brown is the Interim Director of Assessment and Dr. Joe Minarik is the Interim Director of Pedagogy and Curriculum. 

Women's Resources Director Sarah Colome, who serves as the Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention, Education and Response Vice-Chair within the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), recently co-authored a blog titled The Difference Between "Being Better" And Just Looking Like It: How We Harm Our Black Communities. OIIR is proud of Sarah's continued contributions to the field of higher education. 

June 11, 2020

The Women's Resources Center is proud to announce its 2020-2021 Verdell Frazier Young Award recipients. The Verdell Frazier Young Award was established to assist womxn who have had an interruption in pursuring a college degree. Through the distribution of more than $18,000 this year, we are thrilled to highlight the following five awardees and their continued successes during, and after their time at Illinois: 

  • Kyndal Gragg, BA in Art History, Class of 2021
  • Jenny Baldwin, BS in Human Development and Family Studies, Class of 2021
  • Omosalewa Agboola, BS in Accountancy, Class of 2021
  • Erinn Dady, BS in Earth, Society & Environmental Sustainability, Class of 2022
  • Journey Slowikowski, BS in Psychology, Class of 2021

May 18, 2020

Asian American Cultural Center Director David Chih recently received the Outstanding Commitment in Education Award from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, as Illinois celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Congratulations to David, who is the founding Director of the AACC. Thank you for your continued service to Illinois!

May 7, 2020

Women's Resources Center Students selected for 2020 campus honors:

  • Special recognition in Graduate Student Leadership (awarded by the Graduate College): James Steur, a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, for his contributions to sexual assault prevention efforts at the University of Illinois. Steur worked with the Women's Resources Center to enhance the assessment of bystander intervention training and served on a University system-wide task force on sexual misconduct.
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award (awarded by Diversity & Social Justice Education): Jameelah McCregg.
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award (awarded by Diversity & Social Justice Education): Sudarshana Rao.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award (awarded by Diversity & Social Justice Education): James Steur.

April 27, 2020

Shawna Patterson-Stephens, Associate Vice Chancellor for the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, was recently elected to the Governing Board for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Dr. Patterson-Stephens will serve as the Member-At-Large, Senior Level for the next three years. 

Shawna is also the recipient of the 2020 Advocate Award. The Advocate Award is afforded to individuals in ACPA who continuously advocate for the voices, experiences, and values of the members of the Coalitions & Networks.

April 17, 2020

Sudarshana Rao (Women's Resources Center peer educator, President of Students Against Sexual Assault, and Director of the ISG Sexual Assault Prevention Department) discusses Sexual Assault Awareness Month with the Daily Illini:

March 27, 2020

Nathan Stephens, Director of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC), has accepted a faculty position at Illinois State University as an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. He will continue supporting the educational goals and personal aspirations of students until his departure on July 6, 2020. 

Nathan started his career at the University of Illinois in January 2017. During his tenure as director of BNAACC, he made it his goal to balance old traditions with new and innovative programs to serve our students. A highlight of Nathan's service while at the U of I includes his participation in the planning and construction process that resulted in the construction of a new, state-of-the-art BNAACC facility. He was also instrumental in expanding the services and programs available at BNAACC through collaborative partnerships with the Counseling Center, the Office of Minority Student Affairs, McKinley Health Center, the Center for African Studies, the College of Education, the School of Social Work, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPHR), the Department of African American Studies, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research in conjunction with the Beckman Institute. In addition, he has supported the soon-to-be relaunched WBML (Where Black Media Lives) radio program that will feature Black media programming.

Effective July 7, 2020, Jazmyne Kellogg, BNAACC Assistant Director, will assume the role of interim-director. Jazmyne has been the assistant director since January 2019 and is excited to assume the role, continue serving students, and foster relationships with internal and external stakeholders. 

The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations (OIIR) congratulates Nathan and wishes him the best in his new role and thanks Jazmyne for her willingness to step forward until a new director is identified. 


In recognition of their efforts to support women and gender justice, staff from the Women's Resources Center were invited as honorees to celebrate the Urbana City Council's 2020 Women's History Month proclamation.

February 26, 2020

Jaya Kolisetty, Associate Director at the Women's Resources Center, presented at her first national conference in January (NASPA Stategies) alongside Women's Resources Center Director Sarah Colome. The presentation was titled "More Than Words: Embedding an Intersectional Praxis in Campus Sexual Misconduct Initiatives" More than 60 people were in attendance for the session in New Orleans, LA.

Student Success Story- "When I started at the university I was majoring in biology because I wanted to help people through biomedical research or medicine. However, being involved with the WRC taught me that my true passion is to help survivors of sexual assault and I changed my major to social work. I have also progressed greatly as a leader. Three years ago, I would have never thought that I would be a successful campus leader. However, the WRC has given me the tools to grow and challenge myself as a leader."- FYCARE Facilitator, Class of 2020.