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UMass Dignity and Respect in Action: The Podcast

UMass Dignity and Respect in Action: The Podcast

By UMass Office of Equity and Inclusion
Welcome to the Dignity and Respect in Action podcast. This series is brought to you by the UMass Office of Equity and Inclusion, and features members of the University community and other experts in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this podcast, we’ll learn about the work and experiences of our guests, and gain insight from their expertise.
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Dr. Genny Beemyn Discusses Gender Diversity and Allyship

UMass Dignity and Respect in Action: The Podcast

Christian Smith and Hope Evelyn of CCPH Talk Psychological Health and Diversity
Christian and Hope join us to talk about the services they have at CCPH and about taking care of ourselves during times of stress. After a particularly difficult year, more people are seeking and in need of professional mental health counseling. Christian and Hope tell us how CCPH has had to adapt the services they provide in light of the pandemic. They also discuss the need for culturally appropriate mental health services that address the specific needs of underrepresented communities. Learn more about CCPH here.
January 04, 2022
Corey Griffin of FSAP on Personal Well-being and Campus Resources for Mental Health
In this episode, we talk to Dr. Corey Griffin, director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (soon to be ECCO). We discuss the challenges of this past year and the need for counseling and assistance due to the stressors of the pandemic and work related stress. We learn how FSAP connects people to resources in counseling and workshops, and how we can prioritize our mental well-being.
December 09, 2021
Amilcar Shabazz on Juneteenth and Black History & Representation in Education
Professor of history and Africana Studies in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies Amilcar Shabazz talks about his successful efforts in making Juneteenth an official state holiday and the importance of celebrating the end of slavery. Amilcar and Nef also discuss racism and antiracism, the struggle for African American representation in higher education, and the current backlash in teaching Black history and racial issues in schools.
November 22, 2021
Stepping Outside the Diversity Box with Dr. Micere Keels
In this episode we welcome Dr. Micere Keels, Associate Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago and the author of "Campus Counterspaces". Micere and Nef talk about the importance of counterspaces - spaces that provide a sense of belonging, connection, and challenging conversations about marginalization. They discuss the power students can have in shifting culture and creating change on a college campus, the struggles some have faced in grappling with their multifaceted identities, and how we can create support systems for students grappling with racial trauma. Dr. Keels will join us on Campus on Nov. 9 at 11:30 in the Old Chapel to deliver a talk "Stepping Outside the Diversity Box: Considering Multiple Dimensions of Inclusion in Our Work with Students". Click here for more information.
November 02, 2021
The Importance of Disability Visibility and Community
Vice Chancellor Nef Walker interviews Melinda LeLacheur, Michele Cooke, and Samm Delorey from the UMass Allies for Illness and Disability Access (UMAIDA) Network. They discuss the work of UMAIDA, their personal experiences with disability, finding community, and the challenges and benefits of returning to in-person work. For a captioned video, go to our captioned video podcast. 
September 29, 2021
The UMass Immigrant Experience: Celia Almeida
This week we talk with Celia Almeida, who is both a staff member and student at UMass Amherst. Celia moved to the U.S. at the age of 17 from Cape Verde and recounts her challenges as a teenager struggling to learn english, and the friendships and support systems that helped her through this time. She also tells us about the Building Bridges: Our Immigrant Voices project at UMass that she's participated in, and her experiences as part of the UMass community. Related link: Building Bridges
September 14, 2021
The ABCs of Resilience with Ginny Chandler
Dr. Genevieve "Ginny" Chandler's research and work focuses on resilience, which she defines as “recognizing your internal and external supports to manage stress.” She joins us to talk about her concept of resilience and how it is being used to empower UMass students and staff with skills that will strengthen them as they move forward.  Resources  Center for Counseling and Psychological Health   Faculty and Staff Assistance Program  Office of Equity and Inclusion  Dr. Chandler in UMass Magazine "Changing Minds, Changing Lives" with Ginny Chandler
September 08, 2021
UMass iCons and Fighting Institutionalized Racism with Dr. Scott Auerbach
This week we're joined by Dr. Scott Auerbach, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Mahoney Family Sponsored Executive Director of the UMass iCons (Integrated Concentration in Science) Program. In this conversation, we discuss issues of racism and diversity in STEM, how science suffers from and perpetuates racism, and what the iCons program is doing to combat this historically pervasive issue. Dr. Auerbach also tells us about the iCons recruitment process that's lead to their most diverse cohort yet, as well as the real-world problems addressed in the senior virtual exhibition this year.
June 03, 2021
Nurturing Our Students with Dr. Linda Ziegenbein
This week we welcome Dr. Linda Ziegenbein, Interim Director of the College of Natural Sciences Office of Student Success and Diversity and lecturer in the Anthropology department here at UMass. In this episode, Nef and Linda discuss the difference between "student sized problems" and institutional problems, how to create a nurturing and supportive environment for students, the rising violence against Asian and Asian Americans in the US, and more.
May 12, 2021
A Conversation with Associate Dean Ann Marie Russell
Our guest this week is Dr. Ann Marie Russell, Associate Dean for Student Recruitment, Inclusion, and Success at the Commonwealth Honors College. Ann Marie describes her life trajectory of going from an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, to getting her PhD from Princeton, to finding her career passion back at UMass. Nef and Ann Marie dive into topics of self care, being Black women in a leadership position, and more. 
March 24, 2021
Design Justice with Dr. Rae Walker
We welcome Dr. Rae Walker for an in-depth talk about healthcare innovation, technology, bias in technology, and design justice. Dr. Walker is an Associate Professor and PhD Program Director at the UMass College of Nursing. Their research and innovations have been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Oncology Nursing Foundation and Sigma Foundation for Nursing. Recent features about their activism and nurse inventions involving sensors such as computational eyeglasses, microfluidics, radar-based sensing, accelerometers and nanotechnology, have appeared in magazines such as Forbes and Scientific American, on NPR and Facebook Live, and in the journal Science. Read their full bio and follow them on twitter.
March 09, 2021
Dr. Genny Beemyn Discusses Gender Diversity and Allyship
We take a deep dive into Gender Diversity on campus here at UMass, and in broader community and academic contexts. In this episode, we welcome the Director of the Stonewall Center and the Trans Policy Clearinghouse Coordinator for Campus Pride, Dr. Genny Beemyn.
March 04, 2021
The Black Experience Series Part 2: Dominique Price '12, Creator of BlackedOutGame
We welcome Dominique Price, UMass Alumnus from the class of 2012, and creator of the BlackedOutGame. You may have seen Dominique playing football for UMass during his time as a student, on the TV show Temptation Island, or you may have read about the cool new Board Game he created to make Black history and culture accessible and fun. Learn more about BlackedOutGame at
March 02, 2021
The Black Experience Series Part 4: The UMass Black Presence Project with Dr. John Bracey and Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste
In the fourth and final episode in our series of Podcasts for Black History & Heritage Month that celebrates the Black experience at UMass, Dr. Walker welcomes two people who are deeply committed to the Black experience at UMass. Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Professor John Bracey discuss the Black Presence Initiative, which celebrates the lives and experiences of former and current Black students, faculty, and employees at UMass. The Black Presence website is slated to launch in the summer of 2021.
March 02, 2021
The Black Experience Series Part 3: Dr. Jamila Lyiscott and Dr. Keisha Green 
In this episode, we welcome Dr. Jamila Lyiscott and Dr. Keisha Green, faculty in the college of education and Directors of the UMass Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research (CRJ) to discuss the importance of centering racial justice in education and research. The CRJ centers Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the work of racial and educational justice through community-school-university partnerships. To learn more about the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research and our guests, please visit
February 24, 2021
The Black Experience Series Part 1: Gregory Thomas
This week, we welcome Gregory Thomas, Executive Director & Lecturer at the UMass Isenberg Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship Management and UMass class of 1991 Alum for the OEI Black Experience Series. We talk to him about his experience in the racial equity movement in 1987, the challenges he faced as a student activist, and his role as a faculty member at UMass.
February 17, 2021
Getting to Know UMass ADVANCE
This week, we welcome Dr. Laurel Smith-Doerr, Dr. Ethel Mickey, Dr. James Allan, and Dr. Nilanjana Gupta for a conversation on the NSF grant funded ADVANCE program at UMass Amherst. Launched in 2018 by an interdisciplinary group of UMass faculty in STEM and a five-year, $3 million grant, ADVANCE promotes gender equity and has been working towards transforming UMass Amherst into a place where every faculty member, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, or sexuality, feels respected and has equal professional opportunities. UMass ADVANCE initiatives include conducting research on diversity, equity and inclusion, offering extensive programming, and creating resources and tools available to the UMass community. Learn more about UMass ADVANCE, including opportunities to apply for the Mutual Mentoring Grant and workshop schedule, on the ADVANCE website: PDF transcript of interview Word transcript of interview
February 03, 2021
The UMass International Programs Office featuring Kalpen Trivedi and Chrystal George Mwangi
This week, we welcome Kalpen Trivedi, Associate Provost and Director of the International Programs Office and Chrystal George Mwangi, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Chancellor's Leadership Fellow. They will be discussing the upcoming International Education Week and the importance of this celebration within the UMass community. The episode will also cover the work of the IPO as it relates to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus, the challenges faced by our international community due to the Covid pandemic, what "internationalization at home" means, and more. International Education Week takes place November 16-20, 2020, and IPO has a long list of ways you can participate. Learn more about the International Programs Office and International Education Week events at: On facebook: @UMassEducationAbroad On Instagram:
November 10, 2020
An Intro to the UMass Inclusive Excellence Program
Nef interviews Gabriella Weaver, Elizabeth Connor, and Jessica Rocheleau about the  Inclusive Excellence Program. 
October 14, 2020
The Alliance Against Ableism with Jeff Edelstein and David Paquette
Dr. Nefertiti Walker interviews Jeff Edelstein and David Paquette from the Alliance Against Ableism (AAA), formed in February 2019. The AAA aims to hold conversations around disability identity and inclusion, address ableism and barriers to inclusion and equality on campus within the disability community, and incorporate disability into larger systemic conversations. For the captioned video podcast, go to For resources referenced in the podcast, go to
September 30, 2020
Interview with the UMass Racial Justice Coalition
Dr. Nefertiti Walker talks to Zachary Steward '22, Sophia Chang '22, Sofia Meadows-Muriel '22, and Emily Steen '21 of the UMass Racial Justice Coalition. The students of the RJC came together to address anti black violence and systemic racism, and with the mission to build and sustain learning opportunities for the campus community while working towards achieving a racially just and oppression free environment here at UMASS. You can follow them on and in instagram @UMassRJC.
September 09, 2020
Interview with Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste on Anti-Black Racism
Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste is an historical archaeologist, tenured full professor in the department of anthropology, and director of the UMass W.E.B. DuBois Center. Her research focuses on the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality, through an archaeological lens. In this episode, Dr.Nefertiti Walker has a conversation with her about the anxiety in society and within our UMass community in response to coronavirus, anti-black violence and the continued protests of 2020, racism, and xenophobia.  **Note: This episode was recorded in July 2020 prior to the events in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
August 31, 2020
Special Episode on the Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington
Jonathan Kermah, a 2020 UMass Amherst graduate, interviews John Bracey, professor in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, at about his experiences leading up to the 1963 March on Washington and the events of the March itself. They discuss his thoughts about the current climate in the U.S. and what the 2020 march means at this point in history.
August 31, 2020