Connecting those advancing accountability, campus climate, and equity.
Connecting those advancing accountability, campus climate, and equity.
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Graphic by Anthony Ramirez, Graduate Student Assistant
Welcome to the April edition of the Office for Diversity Newsletter! This month’s edition is bursting with exciting new research and opportunities. We feature Eric Mendoza, 2020-2021 Student Body President. Read about the research of our very own Lawren Walker and Dr. Gabriela Zapata, ADVANCE Administrative Fellow, whose research projects were presented at the Race, Identity, and Social Equity (RISE) Conference last month. Read about the School of Innovation’s MaroonBase app, and take advantage of this wealth of opportunities to connect with the Texas A&M community! 
Celebrations are in order now that vaccines have been opened up to everyone in the Brazos Valley. Texas A&M has limited availability for students and staff on campus. We are excited to take this important step with you towards connecting in person once again. Happy Reading! 
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Texas A&M University is a sponsor of NCORE. Conference dates are June 7-11, 2021. For more information about the TAMU group discount rate click here.


The Enhancing Diversity Seminars are designed to engage the campus community in dialogue around topics and issues related to diversity, campus climate, equity, and inclusion. The spring seminars will be held virtually on April 15 and April 28, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m CDT. 
The April 15 seminar will be presented by Dr. Portia Owusu. Dr. Owusu is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Texas A&M University and an Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Fellow. The title of her presentation is  “Spectres from the Past: The Politics of History and Memory.”  
The April 28 presentation will feature co-presenters Dr. Asha Ganesan and Dr. Adrienne Carter-Sowell. Dr. Ganesan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University. Dr. Carter-Sowell is an Associate Professor, Lab Director for Science for a Diverse Society Research Group, and Associate Head of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, jointly appointed in the Interdisciplinary Critical Studies Program at Texas A&M University. Their topic will be "Professional Jeopardies: Studying the Benefits and Drawbacks of Workplace Visibility Among Minoritized Employees." 
Students, faculty, staff, and community members are all welcome and encouraged to participate. REGISTER at
Dr. Portia Owusu
Dr. Portia Owusu
Dr. Asha Ganesan
Dr. Asha Ganesan
Dr. Adrienne Carter-Sowell
Dr. Adrienne Carter-Sowell
Eric Mendoza
Eric Mendoza '21


Eric Mendoza '21 is an economics major and master's student in finance. Mr. Mendoza is the Texas A&M University Student Body President. The Office for Diversity interviewed Mr. Mendoza about his leadership role, his inspiration, and how his background informs his service.
What would you like to share about your background and how it influences your service?
I am a second-generation Aggie. My mom, my dad, and my sister, all four members...
World Autism Awareness Month


This past March, Dr. Gabriela C. Zapata, ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in the Office for Diversity, gave two presentations on diversity, equity, and inclusion and second language open education and first-generation Latinx/Hispanic students. The first work, “Open L2 Textbooks: Opportunities for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” was part of the 2021 Foreign Language OER Conference, and focused on the importance of representation and critical learning based on social justice in second language textbooks. Dr. Zapata highlighted the ways in which she has incorporated issues connected to race, gender, ability, inclusive language, Afro-Latinx, LGBTQ communities, linguistic diversity, and the effects of colonization on indigenous populations in the open book for Spanish teaching Trayectos and the related ancillary Voces de nuestro mundo. In her second presentation at the RISE conference, titled “Somos Texas A&M: First Generation Latinx Students’ Perspectives on the Aggie Experience,” Dr. Zapata and her co-author, Dr. María Irene Moyna, talked about their work with first-generation Aggies, providing data on these students’ successes and challenges at Texas A&M University.  
Lawren Walker '22, Student Assistant in the Office for Diversity also presented in the RISE Fellowship program. In her presentation, she discussed the invisible and emotional labor of TAMU faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic from students’ perspectives. During the Fall 2020 semester, Lawren and her co-researcher, Benyt Hagler ‘21, conducted this research under the supervision of Dr. Cynthia Werner, Director of ADVANCE.
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Join the Center on Disability and Development (CDD) for their “Accessibility in Aggieland” webinar series. The purpose of this series is to promote proactive accessibility through inclusive practices and educate the campus community on the many different instructional settings where accessibility is important.     

The series will all be held via zoom, and each presentation requires a separate registration. The webinars are scheduled to take place every Thursday between April 1st and May 6th from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Please review the sessions below and register for one or all that are of interest to you. The webinars are free and will be recorded and housed in the Center on Disability and Development website. Series moderators include Dr. Meagan Orsag, Associate Director, Center on Disability and Development and Dr. Kriste Orr, Director, Texas A&M University Disability Resources.

April 15th: Promoting Accessibility of Online Meetings and Presentations
April 22nd:  Providing Access in Student Organizations and Activities
April 29th: Canvas and Blackboard Accessibility
May 6th: Virtual Accessibility

For more information:
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This collection of strategies and resources includes information regarding additional steps that can be taken to secure virtual meetings conducted via Zoom. It may be helpful to review the information prior to scheduling your next Zoom event. Learn more.
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Emily Finbow
Emily Finbow


Emily Finbow, Assistant Director in the School of Innovation, gave a presentation on MaroonBase, a new resource guide and student app. The resource guide is searchable for the entire community, while the app is for students ( This app provides access to information on events and resources within the Texas A&M community, and is available to any undergraduate, graduate, or professional student in College Station and branch campuses. Through this engagement tool, students are able to find, register, and attend various events as well as earn points for every event that they attend. For example, two hours of experience equals 200 points. Once students’ total points reach a certain number, they will be entered into a drawing where three students will win $500. For more information on how this tool can be useful for you as a student, faculty, or staff member, please email Emily at     
Dr. Annie McGowan
Screenshot of University Staff Council Video


On March 4, the University Staff Council (USC) held a forum for staff to engage leadership in a Question & Answer discussion. Nearly 550 staff members attended the panel, featuring Dr. John Junkins, Interim President, Dr. Mark Weichold, Interim Provost, and Dr. Annie McGowan, Interim Vice President for Diversity and Associate Provost. The panel recording and unanswered questions are posted on the USC website. View the recording and questions, here:


All cohorts of ADVANCE Scholars met virtually on March 22, 2021. The meeting provided a platform for participants to share experiences, network, learn from one another, and build community. 

The ADVANCE Scholars Program is a faculty mentoring program designed to promote and advance the success of tenure-track faculty who have been historically underrepresented at Texas A&M University and in higher education. This Program is anchored in our Aggie Core Values that continuously challenge us to embrace, value, and integrate diversity and inclusion as the roadmap to achieving academic and institutional excellence. 

Texas A&M University recognizes that creating a more equitable climate contributes to a positive environment for the students we serve, and the university as a whole.

May Calendar of Events

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Send June events to Crystal Carter at by April 30 for consideration in the May newsletter.

In The News

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Maureen Hayden
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Texas A&M has issued COVID-19 guidance to enhance the safety of those returning to campus. Free testing is available for all students, faculty, and staff who have symptoms or have been in close contact with known or suspected cases. The tests provided through this program are mouth swab tests that do not require assistance. More information can be found at the Student Health Services website.

Texas A&M University
Office for Diversity
Jack K. Williams Administration Building
1360 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-1360
Phone: (979) 458-2905
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