[PAST EVENT] A Discussion on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education

September 28, 2017
2:30pm - 4pm
VIMS - Watermen's Hall, Classroom A/B
1375 Greate Road
Gloucester Point, VA 23062Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will host a panel discussion on race and ethnicity in higher education to be held on Thursday, September 28 from 2:30 to 4 PM in Watermen's Hall Classroom A/B. In this honest and open discussion, invited panelists will provide a basic framework and will encourage an engaged dialogue with participants as we address these important issues.


Dr. Dijanna Figueroa, St. Matthews Parish School, Pacific Palisades, CA
Dr. Figueroa is a marine scientist and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) education specialist. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology from University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her work as a deep-sea marine scientist and educator has been featured in various science documentaries, nature programs, and publications. Her research on the thermal physiology of hydrothermal vent animals was featured in James Cameron?s ocean exploration documentary, Aliens of the Deep. She is committed to inspiring young people of all backgrounds to embrace science and engineering. She recently served as Global Director of Green S.T.E.A.M. Education for the National Geographic Society and DeepSea America?s cross country STEM tour. As an advisory board member of various STEM-focused non-profits, her work is evident throughout the science education community. Her work with Make it Education and Make Media?s Maker Faire Teacher Team brings hands-on science, making and engineering opportunities to students of all ages. She loves science and enjoys combining science and technology with art and design to inspire young people to see the science in all things. She has over 15 years of experience hosting professional development workshops for teachers, developing new science and engineering education content and teaching S.T.E.A.M. classes throughout the United States. Her goal as an ambassador for science is to inspire and prepare all students for the science and technological discoveries of the future. When she is not teaching she enjoys traveling the world with her husband and three small children.

Dr. S. Kersey Sturdivant, INSPIRE Environmental, LLC., Newport, RI
Dr. Sturdivant received his BS in Environmental Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and obtained his Ph.D. in Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Following his time at VIMS, he became the research coordinator of Cordell Bank National Sanctuary before moving to a faculty position at Duke University. In 2015, he helped start an environmental consulting company, INSPIRE Environmental, and transitioned his faculty position to adjunct. Presently he is a Principal Scientist at INSPIRE Environmental, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Duke University, Senior Correspondent at SouthernFriedScience.com, and co-creator of Oceanography for Everyone (open-source oceanographic equipment: http://oceanographyforeveryone.com). Kersey is a marine ecologist who studies the effects of human disturbance on the seafloor and develops marine technology to enhance human understanding of the ocean. His goal is to increase the capacity of ocean research through innovative technology, and by making ocean observation tools more cost accessible. He also recently published an empirical book about Getting into Graduate School in the Sciences with Cambridge University Press (www.cambridge.org/9781107420670).

Dr. Benjamin Cuker, Hampton University, Hampton, VA
Dr. Cuker received his BS and MS from The University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources, and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University (Zoology/Ecology). He has taught at historically black institutions since 1981 (Shaw University 1981-1988, Hampton University since 1988). His research includes Arctic freshwater ecology, limnology of turbid lakes, estuarine ecology, and hypoxia. In 1990, he created the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Multicultural Program (which continues to the present), in 2000 to 2008, he led the Multicultural Students at Sea Together (MAST) Program, and in 2003, he developed, the Hall-Bonner Program for Minority Doctoral Scholars in the Oceans Sciences (in operation thru 2015). Dr. Cuker was named a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation in 1999. He received the first ASLO Service Award in 1993 and the first ASLO Education award in 2009 for his work in developing these diversity programs. He is also the faculty advisor to the Hampton University Sailing Team. He is presently collaborating with the UCLA Diversity Project, which involves engaging undergraduate students in coral reef community ecology research in Mo?orea. Dr. Cuker is also currently active in developing and implementing curricular materials for teaching sustainability and renewable energy. He is writing a book on the relationship between the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the food system, and the health of the people who live there.  

Dr. Natoya Haskins, College of William & Mary, School of Education
Dr. Natoya Hill Haskins is an assistant professor at William and Mary in Counselor Education and was previously on the faculty of the University of Georgia. Her expertise encompasses school counseling and family issues as well as effective cross-cultural training experiences for students of color. As a counselor educator scholar, she has a diverse portfolio of research interests related to the operationalization of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the practice of counselor education and school counseling. Her research is very much influenced by her previous work as a school counselor in one of the lowest-performing schools in Virginia as well as her experiences as an African American first generation woman in the academy. Consequently, her agenda consists of two interrelated areas, both of which are grounded in the tenets CRT (i.e., counter storying, intersectionality, colorblindness, social justice): 1. African American Women Experiences and Support Frameworks (a. Counter story-telling of African Americans? intersectionality in counselor education; and b. Counseling and curriculum frameworks that counteract colorblindness and racism); and 2. School counselors? role as social justice advocates for marginalized students. She has 17 publications and has conducted over 30 scholarly talks/conference presentations. Her teaching centers on providing a collaborative educational experience that embraces culturally diverse perspectives and historical and contemporary social justice issues within school counseling and counselor education.

Dr. Katherine Barko-Alva, College of William & Mary, School of Education
Dr. Barko-Alva is an Assistant Professor of English as a Second Language (ESL)/Bilingual Education and the ESL/Dual Endorsement Program Director at the School of Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Katherine Barko-Alva, a McKnight fellow, holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in the area of ESL/Bilingual Education from the University of Florida. The construct of academic language is at the core of her research interest. As a bilingual researcher, she focuses particularly on how teachers understand language for academic purposes within the context of culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Dr. Barko-Alva has extensive experience implementing professional development for content area/ESL (i.e. English as a Second Language) educators as well as dual language educators in K12 classroom settings. She serves as part of the ESL National Advisory Council for iCivics and is currently an executive board member of VDLEN (Virginia Dual Language Educator Network). 

This event is open to the public and the College of William & Mary community. Seating is limited.

This is one in a series of events at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first African-American students in residence at the College of William & Mary.


[[dwilcox, David Wilcox]] 804-684-7088