Sense of Belonging Speakers Series Announced

Black image with gold text which reads Sense of belonging speakers series. Includes logos for the Michigan Technological University Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and the Advance initiative.

The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion announces the launch of the Sense of Belonging Speakers Series with two virtual panel discussions scheduled for spring 2022. These events gather academic diversity leaders and retention experts to discuss and share proven best practices with Michigan Tech and the wider community.

Chief Diversity Officers Panel Discussion

The Chief Diversity Officers (CDO) Panel Discussion will feature prominent higher educational leaders for a conversation on institutional best practices for winning and achievable diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging (DEIS) goals. This event will be held on April 14 at 1pm via Zoom. Registration is free.

Impacts of Culturally Responsive Mentoring Panel Discussion

The Impacts of Culturally Responsive Mentoring Panel Discussion includes former Bridges to the Doctorate Program trainees and their mentor to discuss culturally responsive mentorship and its relationship to retention and career success outcomes for underrepresented graduate students. This panel is scheduled for April 19 at 5pm via Zoom. Registration is free.

Chief Diversity Officer Panelists

Candy McCorkle

Dr. Candy McCorkle

Dr. Candy McCorkle currently serves as the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Prior to joining the senior administration of WMU she served as the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Alma College, Alma, MI. In her more than 20 years in higher education she has served as faculty member, program director and assistant dean. Dr. McCorkle has served regional public universities, private liberal arts colleges, community colleges and taught abroad. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Wright State University, Dayton, OH, her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Dr. McCorkle has always demonstrated her commitment to moving organizations toward inclusivity.

Robert Sellers

Dr. Robert M. Sellers

Robert M. Sellers received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Howard University and his doctorate in personality Psychology from the University of Michigan. He is responsible for overseeing the University’s five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and serves as a principal adviser to the President as a member of the University’s executive leadership team. Dr. Sellers works with the Provost on matters related to diversity at the University as well as a broad range of academic issues including the budget, faculty tenure and promotions, and student enrollment. He oversees operations of three central administrative units.

Dr. Sellers provides strategic leadership to increase access and success for all students, recruit and retain diverse faculty, and develop academic programs that prepare all students for success in a diverse world. Prior to joining the Provost’s Office, Dr. Sellers was chair of the University of Michigan Department of Psychology. His research interests include ethnicity, racial and ethnic identity, personality and health, athletic participation, and personality. He has published several research articles and book chapters that examine factors associated with the psycho-social development of African American student-athletes.

Marcus Whitehurst

Dr. Marcus A. Whitehurst

Dr. Marcus A. Whitehurst is the Vice Provost for Educational Equity at The Pennsylvania State University. As Vice Provost, he oversees several units and works collaboratively with a number of offices both within and outside the University, with a goal of ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the success for a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff at all Penn State campuses. He is also responsible for coordinating the efforts of the Advancing Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity foundation section in the University-wide strategic plan. In addition to ensuring support for staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and several University commissions, as Vice Provost he works closely with the University Faculty Senate and individual faculty members to promote research, international exchanges, and partnerships.

With more than twenty-five years of experience, he has served in several capacities at Penn State, including Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Director of the Multicultural Resource Center, and acting diversity advocate, overseeing University initiatives to help improve the campus climate, as well as liaison for individuals reporting incidents of bias.

Whitehurst holds a Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Policy and an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Penn State, and an M.A. and a B.A. from Binghamton University, New York. He has completed several post-doctoral training programs and taught courses in African and African American Studies and Language and Literacy Studies.

Impacts of Culturally Responsive Mentoring Panelists

Avery August

Dr. Avery August, Bridges to the Doctorate mentor

Dr. Avery August is a Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Cornell University. He is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Professor of Immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his B.S. in Medical Technology from California State University at Los Angeles and his Ph.D. from Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University.

Chavez Carter

Dr. Chavez Carter

Dr. Chavez Carter has spent his career in Medical Affairs with expertise in the field of dermatology and immunology. He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University in Immunology & Infectious Disease with a focus on Tec Kinase mediated T cell signaling. Afterwards, he completed his post-doctoral fellowship in Recombinant Immunotherapy, also at Cornell. He brings a wealth of experience as a Medical Affairs franchise lead for Psoriasis and Atopic Dermatitis. He has also provided clinical trial support to key opinion leaders engaged in scientific investigations. Dr. Carter has worked as the Medical Relations Director for L’Oreal Dermatology, building national thought leader relations, heading investigator-initiated trials, and scientific support for national resident education initiatives. He is currently a Field Medical Director, Dermatology, in the Immunology and Inflammation division of Pfizer.

Walter Jackson

Dr. Walter Jackson III

Dr. Walter Jackson III is a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Gregg. L. Semenza. Jackson earned his B.S. in Biochemistry and M.S. in Biology, both from Alcorn State University, and went on to pursue his Ph.D in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biosciences from the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the role of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1) and the HIF family of transcription factors in regards to cancer and disease progression.

Melanie R. McReynolds

Dr. Melanie R. McReynolds

Dr. Melanie R. McReynolds is an Assistant Professor and HHMI Hanna H. Gray Faculty Fellow at The Pennsylvania State University, where her research focuses on the intersection of metabolic decline and aging. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics from Alcorn State University. She participated in the NIH funded Alcorn State to Penn State Bridges to the Doctorate Program where she obtained her M.S. degree in Biological Sciences.

McReynolds completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Penn State. She was recognized as a Rising Star on the CellPress list of Top 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America during her postdoctoral tenure at Princeton University and aims to inspire the next generation of scientists to trust that all things will work together for those who believe. McReynolds is currently establishing her independent research group where her lab will shed light on metabolic aging and disease. She returned to Penn State as the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Early Career Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Archie Taylor

Dr. Archie C. Taylor

Dr. Archie C. Taylor is a Genetic Science Consultant with Blueprint Genetics, a rare diseases company, and a former Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Alcorn State University. While at Alcorn, he founded the first undergraduate research laboratory solely dedicated to training undergrads for interest in basic science research. He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University, Huck Institute of Life Sciences. He also completed further training at the University of Utah School of Medicine Center, Department of Pathology, Center for DNA analysis.

In addition, he serves as an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the Alcorn State University School of Nursing. His research addresses health disparities in rural Southwest Mississippi, pre- and post-pandemic. Cell Press has recognized him as one of the 1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America. He has also been recognized as Diverse Issues in Higher Education Emerging Scholar 2020, Cell Press 100 Black Scientist in America, and Male Faculty Member of the Year. Recently he founded the HeLa Center for Genomic and Social Research, a non-profit to help address and reduce the disparities created by Genomic Wide Association Studies. He is a proud alumnus of the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Fellow and Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar.

This Sense of Belonging Speakers Series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and ADVANCE at Michigan Tech.

For more information on the Sense of Belonging Series, contact:
Paige Short
Assistant to the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Michigan Technological University