Meet New DMA Team Member Sherri Cloyd, Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor & Chief Diversity Officer

Sherri Cloyd3

Diversity and Multicultural Affairs is pleased to announce the arrival of new staff member, Sherri Cloyd. Cloyd will serve as the Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer Taffye Benson Clayton, Ed.D.

As executive assistant, Cloyd will provide executive level coordination and support to the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer and will be responsible for administrative management of the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs unit. She will serve as the front line administrative professional representing the Associate Vice Chancellor/Chief Diversity Officer to a wide spectrum of constituents, to include faculty, staff, students, national partners, donors, alumni, unit and institutional stakeholders and community leaders and will correspond and engage with administrative professionals in the Chancellor’s Office, the Provost’s Office, as well as the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement and other Vice Chancellors, various Deans’ offices, corporations and organizations.

Cloyd brings to the DMA and UNC-CH, over 20 years of experience as an administrative professional. She has previously worked for different types of organizations, including non profits and most recently two different Chambers of Commerce where she supported high level executives. She carries expertise in developing processes and procedures. She has experience in supporting diversity and equity in her most recent position where she worked with the president of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce in Denver. The CWCC’s mission was to assist women in all areas including equality of pay as well as the success of women-owned businesses.

For more information about DMA and diversity efforts at UNC-CH, visit:

Related Links

THINKposium Challenges Participants to Engage in a “High Ordered Thinking Process”

Intersectionality is the idea that experiences depend on all aspects of a person’s identity rather than just one. This concept was explored and discussed among over 150 faculty and staff during the 3rd annual THINKposium. Intersectionality has been applied to examining the intersectional nature of any social identity including religion, ethnicity, immigration status, veteran status, age and sexuality within research, teaching and workplace dynamics.

One of the goals of the THINKposium was to not only provide to introduce concepts and provide promising practices but also provide a space that is this blend of think tank and brainstorming along with education, learning, and discovery. In addition to those things, the THINKposium was also an opportunity for members of the campus community to become better equip to transform working and classroom environments, and in turn, transform Carolina, said Dr Taffye Benson Clayton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) and Chief Diversity Officer at Carolina.

State Of Diversity at Carolina

Benson Clayton delivered the annual “State of Diversity at Carolina” that provided highlights from the 2014-2015 Diversity Plan Report and updates from institutional efforts towards advancing diversity at the institution.

“I would like for you to consider how Carolina is at an intersection. There have been a number of moments over this past year that is certainly shaping diversity and inclusion at Carolina, moments where we can think about “what’s at the intersection?” How is identity, place, and space being considered or in many cases, reconsidered? Think about it and lets roll up our sleeves and get messy,“ said Clayton.

Clayton’s message provided an overview of institutional efforts including the work of the Provost Committee on (PCIED), Provost’s Minority Male Workgroup, and the Faculty Governance’s Committee on Community and Diversity ad how these efforts connect to an Inclusive Excellence framework. She went to to review CArolina’s renaming of Saunders Hall; rededication of The GIFT by renowned artist and citizen of the Haliwa Saponi nation, Senora Lynch; launch of UNC Core – a program targeting military veterans returning to school, Carolina Conversations, the launch of DMA’s College to Corporate initiative to bridge the gap between employer expectations and student skills; and launch of Inclusive Excellence at Carolina – a new online resource that provides the campus and greater public with a framework for understanding and applying inclusive excellence in higher education.

Participants had the opportunity to share diversity initiatives from their departments and units as part of “Appreciating Achievements”. “Sharing promising programs and policies serve as creative ways that departments problem solve related to recruitment, retention and workplace climate and can share their practices with others who are looking for strategies.” said Sharbari Dey, assistant director for diversity education and special initiaitves at DMA and one of the THINKposium coordinators.

Keynote Terrell Strayhorn

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a professor of higher education at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he also serves as director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE), senior research associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and faculty affiliate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and the Criminal Justice Research Center, delivered the keynote for the event and challenged participants to engage in a “high-ordered thinking process. ”

He offered experiences and strategies for disruption of bias from his own work as faculty and diversity advocate:

  • Embrace the role of a cultural navigator
  • Engage in intrusive mentoring with high expectations of the mentees
  • Using one’s power and positionality for social justice
  • Reframing conversations to center the experiences of marginalized groups
  • To question mono causal explanations for decisions
  • Use data to redirect and positively disrupt assumptions

Collective Learning

The afternoon session facilitated by associate professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dr. Tanya Shields and Sharbari Dey focused on using Lynn Weber’s framework to delve into applying an intersectional lens to disrupt dominant and unexamined power using five elements: historically and geographically contextual, socially constructed, power relations, macro socio-structural and simultaneously expressed. Participants engaged in small group discussions on three scenarios related to ‘how space matters’, ‘interpersonal communications’ and ‘the daily balancing of our colleagues’. The final part of the day was dedicated to implications for actions and processing the experience.

“It was exciting to hear an inspirational keynote, learn from colleagues and reflect on ways that we can be creative and disrupt the norm to create a truly inclusive Carolina,” reflected a THINKposium participant.

THINKposium was hosted by Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Faculty Excellence, and co-sponsored by the Office of Faculty Governance and Employee Forum.

For more information about this and other diversity education efforts, visit DMA’s Diversity Education and Research Center at

CLC Hosts Open House

The Carolina Latina/o Collaborative (CLC) officially kicked off the school year with its annual Week of Welcome Open House on Monday, August 17, welcoming over 100 students, faculty and staff. The CLC, located in the Craige North Seminar Wing, was filled with excitement and enthusiasm about the upcoming academic year.

DSC_0667New and transfer students had the opportunity to network and socialize with current undergraduates, faculty, and staff. As part of CLC’s commitment to developing a greater awareness of Latina/o issues, cultures and identities and building collaborative relationships across campus and the communities, the Open House serves as a space for students to explore the Latina/o community at UNC through learning about organizations: La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad, Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc., Omega Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc., Students United for Immigrant Equality (SUIE), and the Carolina Hispanic Association (CHispA)., academic programs and immersion opportunities to enrich their Carolina journey.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton welcomed students and encouraged them to continue to participate in the many learning and growth offerings of the CLC. Study Abroad advisor Rodney Vargas and director of the Program in Latina/o Studies Dr. María DeGuzmán introduced their programs and discussed ways in which students could increase their awareness and engagement with Latina/o issues.

First year students also had the opportunity to sign up for the Latina/o Mentoring Program (LMP). LMP matches all incoming first year Latina/o students with current undergraduates students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.

“Open House is one of the highlights of the year for us to create community, welcome everyone the wonderful space and showcase Latina/o culture at Carolina,” said Josmell Perez, Assistant Director for Multicultural Programs and Carolina Latina/o Collaborative at DMA.

CLC Open House group pictureCarolina senior and former CLC intern, Cecilia Polanco introduced her family-centered, innovative social change entrepreneurial venture – So Good Papusas. Polanco, whose family immigrated from El Salvador, started this food truck and catering business with her family to create community partnerships with local homecooks and has plans to use the profits to start a foundation that will provide scholarships for undocumented students to attend college. Polanco’s family provided a tasting of their inspiring culinary venture for the participants.

“If you really want to make a difference, you work with what you have. I have my family, I have papusas, and I have you [the customer] – I am going to make them work for me. You have the next few years to think about how you can make a difference, this is your Carolina and you can be the change,” said Polanco.

For more information about Latina/o culture at UNC-Ch or the CLC, please visit

Community-University Partnership Continues Tradition of Awarding Scholarships in MLK’s Legacy

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community-University Planning Corporation recently awarded scholarships to 12 local high school graduates in the Orange County area and two UNC students. These scholarships provide the high school graduate with assistance toward their first year of college and added financial assistance for currently enrolled college students. Students apply for these scholarships where applications are reviewed by selection committees.

Scholarship recipients included:

  • Cedar Ridge High School Students—Darian Ashley Lee, Marilyn Reyes, and Christopher Sisco
  • Chapel Hill High School Students—Sarah Clabo and Shera Chellani
  • East Chapel Hill High School Students—Aatia Davidson, Michelle Everette, Abigail Garcia-Baza, Ethan Malawsky, and Brandon Miles
  • Orange High School Students—Ashlyn McIver and Tikeya McQuillian

“I think awarding the MLK scholarship is very important as it helps relieve a little of the financial cost of students going to college and technical schools. It also says we believe in you, we support you and wish the best in all you do,” said Lillian Lee, a MLK Corporation board member, high school scholarship committee chairperson, and longtime educator and voting rights advocate in Chapel Hill.

Incorporated in 1993, the MLK Community University Planning Corporation was established to foster and promote coalition building among and across the diverse racial and religious communities in greater Orange County by educating the community about the humanitarian ideals and legacy of the Reverenced Martin Luther King Jr. Additionally, the Corporation awards educational scholarships to students in Orange County who exemplify service and community leadership, financial need, and scholarship.

One of the Corporation’s signature events include the MLK Community-University Banquet held on the Sunday leading into the observation of MLK and the MLK Day of Service. This banquet serves as the Corporation’s primary fundraiser for its scholarship program and features community, university, and government leaders. UNC Scholarship recipients are recognized during the UNC MLK Celebration Lecture, where an additional scholarship is awarded on behalf of the UNC MLK Fund.

The Corporation is led by Bishop L. Gene Hatley, leader of the Barbee’s Chapel Harvest Word Ministry and Taffye Benson Clayton, associate vice chancellor and chief diversity officer, serves as the UNC-CH faculty/administrator liaison with the Corporate and Ingrid Jackson ’17 serves as the UNC-CH student liaison.

Other members of the Corporation include: Delores Bailey, executive director for EmPOWERment, Incorporated; Nate Davis, director for Hargraves Center; Reverend Manuel Wortman, minister of visitation or University United Methodist Church; Fred Black, sr. vice president for Black Star Strategies and retired US Army Colonel; Ari Gauss executive director for NC Hillel; and Bishop Larry Reid, pastor for Cathedral of Hope Church and first vice president for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP.

For more information about the celebration of MLK at UNC-CH, visit

2015 Achieving Carolina Excellence focuses on purpose, ‘Find Your Way’

InCMZ2HXdUkAA8OK-clusive Student Excellence at DMA hosted Achieving Carolina Excellence (ACE) on August 13th and 14th. The annual program is designed to assist first year and transfer students from underrepresented populations with their transition to Carolina. More than 300 new students – first year and transfers and their families attended the two day program. Students and families had the opportunity to engage with University officials, faculty and student leaders as part of the experience. Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Dr Taffye Benson Clayton in her welcome address to the participating students gave them three plans of action for successfully navigating Carolina: Engage, Act and Lead. Engage – be willing to engage others; Act – apply your knowledge; Lead – be bold, courageous leaders who are role models to students who are following in your steps.

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a professor of higher education at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he also serves as director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE), senior research associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and faculty affiliate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and the Criminal Justice Research Center delivered the keynote address. Strayhorn lead participants in an engaging discussion and thought provoking exercises that empowered them to “Find Their Why” and better understand their purpose and how that might shape their path and pace in college and beyond. For students like Alton Peques 19′ in the audience, attending ACE and officially being welcomed as a Tar Heel was a moment where everything had come full circle. Peques participated in Uplift Plus as a rising high school and was one of the many students in the room who have been a part of DMA’s prospective st2udent programs such as North Carolina Renaissance, Project Uplift, Día de Bienvenida, High School Honors Day and Uplift Plus.

“For me, Uplift Plus served as a life-changing experience and comprehensive introduction to the life of a college student. As an Uplift Plus alum and current first-year student at UNC this program prepared me for the rigor and demands of this institution academically and socially. Being a college student requires you to learn how to deal with adversity, collaborate with people of different backgrounds, and challenge your intellectual capabilities. In just one summer Uplift Plus allows you to forge relationships and experiences that prepare you for this journey.” said Peques. He will continue his Carolina and DMA journey as a Carolina Millennial Scholar in his first year.

DMA has several partners who help make ACE a success: The Office of Student Academic Counseling, Division of Student Affairs, Black Student Movement, Carolina Indian Circle, Asian Student Association and the Carolina Hispanic Association. To learn more about this program and other programs and initiatives through ISE, please

DMA’s launches “Beyond Carolina” and the College to Corporate (C2C) program

College to CorporateAs part of a strategic effort to provide students with tools designed to advance their endeavors, take full advantage of their Carolina Experience and prepare for future goals, Inclusive Student Excellence (ISE), a division in Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) is announcing the launch of a new initiative – Beyond Carolina. “The launch of Beyond Carolina is the first step to creating a true continuum of success for Carolina Students,” said director of Inclusive Student Excellence in DMA, Ada Wilson Suitt, JD.

“When it comes to the types of skills and knowledge that employers feel are most important to workplace success, large majorities of employers do NOT feel that recent college graduates are well prepared. This is particularly the case for applying knowledge and skills in real-world settings, critical thinking skills, and written and oral communication skills — areas in which fewer than three in 10 employers think that recent college graduates are well prepared. Yet even in the areas of ethical decision-making and working with others in teams, many employers do not give graduates high marks,” says recent workplace study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU).

More than a hundred students volunteer for and staff programs led by DMA through the year. In addition, hundreds of students attend its programs and participate in service opportunities. ISE supports prospective and current students through a variety of programs and initiatives designed to spark curiosity, promote creativity, and define success. “ISE’s vision for student success starts at recruitment and does not stop. Our goal is to provide access to resources that can facilitate entry into high impact practices, internships, and global opportunities,” said Suitt.

About Beyond Carolina

Beyond Caroc2c2lina comprises of an online portal that showcases an “opportunity bank” where students can explore internships, job postings, study abroad opportunities and more. An additional feature of Beyond Carolina will be the College to Corporate (C2C) program. Designed as an interactive seminar series and an ambassadors program to bridge the gap between employer expectations and student skills using expertise provided by DMA’s Corporate Advisory Partners (CAPs), C2C’s mission is to maximize a student’s potential for excellence in corporate leadership and prepare them to thrive in corporate organizations. The program will incorporate innovative skill development strategies with executive leadership principles to enhance the professional and personal growth of Carolina students, along with competitive self-branding, exposure to relevant networking opportunities, strategies for navigating complex corporate environments and academic and career coaching. “I believe that both, the seminars and the ambassadors program will inspire students to reach their leadership and professional potential. Whether students are participating in the C2C seminar series or the C2C ambassadors program, participants will have an informative, substantive and developmental experience,” said Suitt.

The site will launch on September 1,2015 and College to Corporate will hold its inaugural seminar on September 2, 2015.

Upcoming ISE Event

On August 13th and 14th ISE will be hosting Achieving Carolina Excellence (ACE), a signature program designed to assist first year and transfer students from underrepresented populations with their transition to Carolina. Sessions include academic support services; breakout sessions and cultural activities. ACE participants will also meet University officials, faculty, and student leaders. There is also a special session for parents on Thursday, August 13th. Learn more about ACE and programs for current and prospective students at To learn more about this program and other programs and initiatives through ISE, please


Moving “Upward” toward College Success

DSC03228Northwood High School rising seniors, Arturo Carmona and Kyla White spent their summer interning with Diversity and Multicultural Affairs through the Upward Bound program at UNC. Actively engaged in school clubs and organizations, this was their first professional experience. Each year, UNC’s Upward Bound program welcomes high school students from traditionally underrepresented low-income and first generation communities ranging from rising 9th graders to rising seniors. The program offers a tiered experience where rising 10th and 11th graders participate in the Pre-Bridge program; graduating seniors who have been admitted to UNC participate in a six-week Summer Bridge experience and rising seniors like Carmona and White are placed in an internship program.

This year 8 interns had the unique opportunity to intern at UNC. Placements include Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, University Development, UNC Athletics, Carolina Leadership Development, Career Services and UNC Global among others. “Participating in such programs and experiences are important because they teach life lessons and prepare students like me for what living in the real world will be like.” says Carmona, who was introduced to Upward Bound through a cousin who participated in the program and is currently a sophomore at UNC Pembroke. “She said it would be a good fit for me and I decided to apply, I am glad I did it.” This is the second year that DMA has hosted interns from Upward Bound in their office. Whether business, law, gaming or media; the program is designed to match student interest with the departments where they are placed. The internship looks to give raising seniors insight into their future careers and eventually aid with college applications.” says Donald Livingston who serves as the academic advisor of Upward Bound.

White entered the program being undecided about her future and spent her summer interning with the Director of Inclusive Student Excellence, Ada Wilson Suitt, J.D. She had the opportunity to develop research skills through exploring issues related to minority male and first generation student success and retention in Higher Education. Additionally, White practiced her public speaking skills by presenting her findings to staff members and tried her hand at legal matters- researching and drafting a liability waiver for DMA’s Achieving Carolina Excellence Field Day. In her last week of the internship White reflected, “My internship has conjured a new interest in law for me. I am excited in a bright new possibility – studying law is a possibility for me.”

While in DMA, Carmona made some important connections. Interested in in graphic design or computer science, he spent part of his internship taking an introductory course in Photoshop with Dr. Spencer Barnes at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Carmona was also part of a diversity education design project where he had weekly meetings, assisted with diversity educations trainings, and observing new student orientation sessions facilitated by Interactive Theatre Carolina and DMA. In his final week, he was provided with a resource list – tips, and online resources to increase his competencies and skills in design and to develop a competitive college application.

At the culmination of this internship experience Carmona had some advice for high school students who aspire to college:

“Open yourself and explore your choices. Don’t just blindly follow a career path that could inevitably leave you unhappy. Instead, continue to adventure, search for better opportunities, keep pushing forward, and climb to greater heights until you’ve truly found something you can stick with for the rest of your life that makes you happy and, to never give up on your dream.“


Upward Bound at UNC, a federal TRiO Program is a part of the Office of the Provost and has existed on Carolina’s campus since 1966. The program serves six area high schools. From Durham county- Hillside Tech High school and Southern High School; from Chatham county – Northwood High School, Jordan Matthews and Chatham Central High School and from Lee county – Lee Senior High School.

For more information on Diversity and Multicultural Affairs visit,


Terrell Strayhorn to deliver keynote for Diversity THINKposium and Achieving Carolina Excellence

“Research tells us thStrayhorn, Terrell 9-12at academic factors such as time spent studying, access to rigorous courses in high school, mastery of concepts of math and science and financial factors only account for about 40% of successful post-secondary outcomes…leaving 60% unexplained.” Reflects Dr. Terrell Lamont Strayhorn in a recent TEDx talk.

The nationally recognized speaker and scholar has been named “one of the most highly visible scholars in his field,” by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education will deliver the keynote and opening session for the 3rd annual Diversity THINKposium to be held at UNC Chapel Hill on August 12, 2015. Strayhorn will also be the keynote for the 2015 Achieving Carolina Excellence (ACE), pre-orientation program designed to welcome new and transfer students from underrepresented populations and their families to Carolina on August 13 and 14, 2015.

“Students belonging in college – a factor often overlooked, accounts for a large percentage of successful post-secondary outcomes.”

UNC Diversity ThinkPosiumThe topic for this year’s THINKposium will be “Intersectionality: Unpacking the Interactions of Identities”. The day long program will provide participants tools and resources for using an inter-sectional framework to explore the multiple ways- race, class, gender and other aspects of identity interact with classroom, workplace and educational experiences for students and faculty/staff at Carolina. Registration for the THINKposium is now open and space is limited. The program will be held at the Carolina Inn and lunch is included.

“Only about 55% of the 19 million students enrolled in college will complete their degrees in 5 years and the numbers are startlingly lower for women and minorities.”

Strayhorn, a professor of higher education at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he also serves as director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE), senior research associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and faculty affiliate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and the Criminal Justice Research Center has focused his research and teaching interests center on two central issues: (a) assessing student learning and development outcomes and the ways in which college affects students and (b) identifying and understanding factors that enable or inhibit the success of historically underrepresented and misrepresented populations in education, with a particular accent on the experiences of racial/ethnic minorities, college men, economically disadvantaged individuals, and marginalized groups in postsecondary education.

In addition to the keynote, there will be two breakout sessions in the afternoon for participants to engage in a simulated interactive workshop led by Dr. Marcus Collins, Assistant Dean at the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling and Dr. Tanya Shields, Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies.

More about the Keynote: Strayhorn has additional faculty appointments in the Ohio State John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Department of African American and African Studies, and Education Policy, Engineering Education, and Sexuality Studies programs. He has received numerous national awards and honors, including the ASHE Early Career/Promising Scholar Award, ACPA Annuit Coeptis Award, among others. Diverse Issues in Higher Education named him one of the nation’s Top 12 Diversity Scholars, BusinessFirst Magazine named him one of the “Top 20 to Know in Education,” and he was named an ACPA Diamond Honoree in 2014.

Strayhorn is co-editor of Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men, published by Indiana University Press; former associate editor of the Journal of Higher Education and the NASAP Journal; and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Student Affairs Research & Policy, The Review of Higher Education, College Student Affairs Journal, Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships, and International Studies in Widening Participation, among others. Grants totaling more than $2.5 million have supported his research program, including funds from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and several professional associations.

THINKposium Workshop Facilitators:

Tanya Shields is an associate professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and recent recipient of the Carolina Women’s Center Faculty Fellowship. Dr. Shields teaches classes on Caribbean women, the arts of activism, growing up girl globally, and the continuing influence of plantation economics and politics.  She is the current chair of the Association for Women Faculty and Professionals (AWFP) and a board member for the Maryland-based Carivision Community Theater, which seeks to use theater as space of exchange between Caribbean and U.S. theater audiences.

Sharbari Dey is the assistant director of education and special initiatives in diversity and Multicultural Affairs at UNC. She facilitates trainings and workshops for faculty, staff and students related to  implicit bias, cultural competency, hiring, tenure and promotion practices, and workplace climate and leadership development. In addition, Dey executes programs related to increasing diversity in education, access, and research in higher education. Her research interests include gender-based violence prevention, gender equity in higher education, undocumented student’s access to higher education and women’s leadership in higher education settings.

Achieving Carolina Excellence:

ACE is a pre-orientation program designed to welcome new students to Carolina. ACE will take place Thursday, August 13- Friday, August 14, 2015. ACE is designed to assist first year and transfer students from underrepresented populations with their transition to Carolina. Sessions include academic support services; breakout sessions; service learning projects; and cultural activities.   ACE participants will also meet University officials, faculty, and student leaders. There is also a special session for parents on Thursday, August 13th. Learn more about ACE and other Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs programs for current and prospective students at

Related Links


The Beginning of a Carolina Story

With temperatures hovering in the 90s, it’s now officially summer, but at Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) that doesn’t mean it is time to take a break – recruitment is in full swing. It’s Tuesday afternoon, two days before the start of the first week of Project Uplift and all the 80 student staff for Project Uplift gather in a DSC01898meeting room at the Student Union. Introductions of the leaders, reading off of task assignments, substitutions and calls for additional volunteers. Angel Washington ‘16, the on-campus programs coordinator and lead student staff for Project Uplift reminds her team, “Communicate with each other, have each other’s back, approach the lead coordinators with problems and remember- your attitude is everything.” Two days later, with a bullhorn in hand, Washington organizes the first session of Project Uplift’s nearly 300 high school students at the Top of Lenoir into neat little groups. The experience is in full swing as participants attend academic sessions with faculty and staff, meet with departments, and engage in this UNC immersion.

For over four decades, DMA and Undergraduate Admissions have hosted high-achieving rising seniors from historically underrepresented populations around the nation at UNC through Project Uplift and have provided a first-hand experience of undergraduate life. The program exposes participants to a typical day in the classroom, creates spaces to discuss personal challenges that may pose barriers to academic, social or even spiritual achievements; and, create opportunities for the students to network and interact with faculty, staff and current Carolina students.

Project Uplift’s undergraduate student staff take on the challenge of providing the students with a life changing experience that not only shapes their perspective on college but enhance their self-confidence and understanding of academic and social success. “My job is to know every little detail,” said Washington, in her second year of leading the program. In 2015, there were 80 student staff members and approximately 1,000 students who attended PU. Washington will have one more year in her role and is getting ready to select and train an intern to fill her shoes and continue the legacy of Project Uplift.

In addition, a few memBlueprintGroupSillybers of her team are getting ready to tackle the newest program on the recruitment block – Uplift PLUS. Uplift PLUS (UP) is a five-week, high impact program invitation-only program for students who successfully complete Project Uplift. High achieving, Project Uplift participants are invited to participate in the residential program based on their applications. Through a collaborative partnership with UNC Summer School, UP participants live on campus, attend SAT/ACT preparation programs and enroll in English 105 – a 3 credit hour course, and participants participate in sessions facilitated by campus partners and faculty members. The program is directed by Ada Wilson Suitt, director for Inclusive Student Excellence, but is primarily operated by eight student staff members with a lead student coordinator, Meshay Long (Cherokee)’ 16. the program has already seen success since its inception in 2014. Nine of the twelve Uplift PLUS participants from 2014 will be enrolling at UNC-CH this fall as part of the Class of 2019.

As summer slides into fall, the student counselors will go back to their course loads, but their work will continue to live on through the lives of the participants. “The impact that our summer staff members have on the students of Project Uplift and Uplift PLUS is immeasureable. From building confidence to developing academic capacity, the student staff make these summer experiences unforgettable,” said Wilson Suitt. “When the PU and UP alumni arrive at UNC this fall as Carolina students, they will reconnect with student staff members who changed their lives and officially become a part of the DMA family.”

For more information regarding these and other recruitment programs, visit

21st Health Equity Webcast addresses “Violence Prevention”

The communities know what they need. We need to listen to them first…” said Dr Pamela Jumper Thurman, as she advocated for taking into consideration and utilizing the existing resources within a community, the strength of the culture within the community, and the readiness of a community to engage and mobilize to build stronger and more effective efforts in both research and service to create a sustainable and community supported model for change. Thurman was one of the three panelists for the 2015 National Heath Equity Research Webcast and shared her experiences of working with marginalized communities especially native communities towards reducing interpersonal violence.

UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—in collaboration with numerous institutional partners—hosted the 21st National Health Equity Research Webcast on June 2, 2015. This live-audience webcast, hosted on UNC’s campus, in the Tate-Turner-Kuralt Auditorium of the School of Social Work, is an annual interactive, live-streamed symposium that explores the intersection of health, policy, and diversity through panel discussions with experts in their field followed by a question-and-answer segment. The webcast is an interdisciplinary and community effort with representatives from multiple campus departments and partner institutions formed to help build knowledge on health disparities and its impact on our local and global communities.

The topic for this year’s webcast was “Advancing a Community-Based Model for Violence Prevention and featured three twenty-minute presentations by panelists engaged in groundbreaking work around community-led action: Pamela Jumper Thurman, affiliate research professor, Ethnic Studies Department and National Center for Community Readiness at Colorado State University; Frank Perez, national program director for Cure Violence, and Leon T Andrews Jr, director for Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) at the National League of Cities. The panel was moderated by Nia Wilson, executive director of SpiritHouse in Durham.

There are no easy answers to complex problems for violence prevention,” said Dean Jack Richman, UNC School of Social Work as he introduced the webcast. He highlighted projects where the School was making an impact in the state in addressing violence prevention in its many forms. The panelists framed violence in communities as a public health issue and provided examples of evidence–based practices from their organizations that are empowering communities, schools, and local organizations to prevent violence and discussed strategies to mobilize stakeholders by affirming strengths and encouraging culturally competent problem-solving.

A disproportionate number of black boys are dying because of violence…” said Andrews as he talked about the work of Cities United and Leaders Initiative, two initiatives through the National League of Cities, that are bringing together city mayors, community leaders, youth and local stakeholders to reduce violence in communities. Prior to the webcast, Andrews, moderator Wilson and planning committee member Dr Stephanie Baker-White shared their expertise on violence prevention strategies and the importance of community-based solutions on UNC-TV ‘s Black Issues Forum. The interview was aired on June 14, 2015 and can be viewed here.

Violence is contagious…it cannot be viewed as something the criminal justice system takes care of…” said Perez as he outlined the Cure Violence philosophy of shifting the paradigm of violence from a criminal justice issue to a public health issue, one with solutions. With over a decade of experience in working with undeserved communities in Chicago, Perez challenged the audience members to reflect on our bias towards incarcerated youth and their potential to be change-makers within their communities. Over a 150 live studio audience were joined by hundreds of viewers who tuned in from across the country to view the live broadcast.

The webcast was co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Student Wellness, the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, Wake Forest UniversityCarolina Higher Education Opportunity Programs, Center for Health Equity Research, Gillings Global Gateway, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, School of Information and Library ScienceDepartment of Biostatistics, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, School of Social Work and the Community Academic Resources for Engaged Scholarship, North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute.

To learn more about the webcast, its history and work, you can connect through Facebook (, Twitter ( or the website (