Volume 21
Diversity on Campus:
Monthly Newsletter | May 2022
From the VP Desk
Extending Gratitude
The 2021/2022 school year was filled with ups and downs. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the end! As you prepare for your next, remember to take a moment to pause, breathe and reflect on all the great things you have achieved and accomplished. None of it was easy, but you did it! Remember to show gratitude to yourself and others.

Maya Angelou said, “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

Congratulations to all the graduates and their families and have a wonderful summer break!
Community Events
care campaign logo
#CareCampaign: Office of DEI Provides Care Packages for OU Students

Launched during DEI Week, the #CareCampaign has since been an opportunity to gain tips, resources and encouragement to better care for yourself, those in your community and the environment.

In May, the #CareCampaign culminated with care packages provided for students in preparation for finals week.

Jackie Howell, creator of the #CareCampaign, says, “The #CareCampaign bags were a great way to show the impact of the division throughout this year. It highlights that showing kindness and care for others and ourselves can bring our community together and foster intentional and continuous change. Seeing the way people smile after receiving a compliment or a care-based item, boosts my day and makes me grateful to belong to the OU community!”

The Division of DEI hopes that throughout the hectic moments of this month, you find a way to care for yourselves and others!
DEI at Sooner Saturday and the Spring Powwow!

Team members of the office of DEI joined the excitement of Sooner Saturday as they met prospective students and introduced them to the DEI office. The day was also spent interacting with other campus organizations, further building a sense of community by supporting each other's initiatives.

After Sooner Saturday, the team attended the annual Spring Powwow, which the Division of DEI was happy to sponsor this year.

The all-day event, organized by Asa (Ace) Samuels and co-hosted by the sisters of Gamma Delta Pi, Inc. sorority and the gentlemen of Sigma Nu Alpha Gamma, Inc. fraternity, took place in Lloyd Noble Center and included numerous vendors, dancers and community members.
OU Health Sciences Center Introduces the Health Sciences Explorer
At the beginning of the month, the Health Sciences campus launched an exciting initiative to further expand their outreach: the Health Sciences Explorer.

The Explorer, born from an idea pitched by a student of the College of Medicine, will bring health care services to patients, especially those in underrepresented and rural areas.

Students from all seven health professional colleges contributed to this initiative. Their passion and strive to create equitable care will ensure that other innovative initiatives become a staple of the OU community!
VP Hyppolite Attends the Muslim Student Association
End-of-Year Ramadan Celebration
Belinda Higgs Hyppolite, vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, visited the Muslim Student Association for their end-of-year Ramadan banquet. The banquet encouraged participants to come dressed in cultural attire and enjoy the festivities.

VP Hyppolite was ecstatic to join the celebration of the students and experience the music, food, and interaction with the MSA students who have had a month full of events like the Ramadan 3 V 3 tournament and a food drive, among others!
VP Hyppolite Speaks on the Necessity of Fair Housing for
the City of Norman

Vice President Hyppolite was invited to speak at the Norman Board of Realtors Association meeting to discuss fair housing practices.

Her presentation focused on ways to make housing in the city of Norman more accessible for all people.
Office of DEI and OU International Community Visit the First Nations Museum
In late April, the Office of DEI in partnership with International Student Services brought a group of international undergraduate and graduate students to the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City to celebrate Native American culture.

During this amazing educational trip, the students were able to experience several exhibits, including the Hall of Peoples, Of the Earth: Creating First Americans Museum and WINIKO: Life of an Object a selection from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Tours are led by museum docents, Native American volunteers who have learned about the items and exhibits on display. During the tour, the group learned about Native American creation stories, treaties, removals, sports, culture, languages and resiliency. After the tour, everyone enjoyed catered lunch boxes made with indigenous ingredients.

We look forward to partnering with ISS again in the future to provide meaningful educational experiences to our international community!
News and Involvement Opportunities
Lifting the Voices of Inclusion 2022 Awards Recipients
Faculty Excellence Awards
Pamela S. Allen, M.D.
“I strive to inspire and support learners and junior faculty members, especially those of underrepresented-in-medicine backgrounds. Through mentorship I strive to give them the encouragement to know that their past challenges do not dictate their destiny.”
Syeachia N. Dennis, M.D., M.P.H.

“I am honored to receive the 2022 DEI Faculty Excellence Award. I am passionate about this work and excited about what progress will mean for our university and for our communities.”
Angela Person, Ph.D.

“I am honored to be a part of a campus community that has come together to lay a strong foundation for a more equitable and inclusive future. Every day, our colleagues, students and alumni demonstrate incredible tenacity and intentionality.”
Champion Awards for Outstanding Staff
Karen Mulkey, M.B.A., M.S., A.P.R.

 â€œI hope one day we can live in a world that recognizes the harm racism, sexism and all bigotry causes to health and happiness of our fellow humans. We have a lot more work to do, and we all have a responsibility to be a part of that ongoing effort and to certainly keep an open mind.”
Jasmine Henry

“I am grateful for being a recipient of the Lifting the Voices of Inclusion awards. The biggest honor goes to my team at the Gender + Equality Center (GEC) who supported the numerous events and programs as well as the students we work with and serve. They have given us the opportunity to attain our overwhelming success over the past few years.”
Maria Del Carmen Esparza

“The University of Oklahoma is important to me. This university allowed me exposure to spaces I never thought capable of achieving. Thank you for allowing me to be my authentic self, which has allowed the celebration to all parts of me.” 
Student Advocacy Award (Undergraduate Students)
Nicholas Michael Robbins

“I want to thank God, my parents and sister, all the friends I’ve made at OU, my girlfriend, professors and boss for all the wonderful things you do in my life. I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without you. And I’m proud to be even considered for the student advocacy award, let alone win it. Thank you very much for this tremendous honor.” 
Devin Brown

“My underlying aim during these four years has been to continue the task of current and past students, staff and faculty of making this campus more of a home for students who don’t find themselves in the majority. I owe my ability to thrive on this campus to those that are still here, those that have moved on from OU and those that were never granted access to institutions like this in the first place.”
Student Advocacy Award (Graduate Students)
Tanara Nicole Ellis

 â€œTo the OU Community, I am exceedingly grateful that you have selected me as the recipient of the 2022 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Advocacy Award. I am truly honored and I sincerely thank you all for awarding me such a privilege.”
Erika Stone DuBose

“Thank you to the University of Oklahoma for bestowing upon me such an honor. Truly, this is a recognition that privilege affords opportunities to promote social justice. I am grateful to the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work for providing such a profound and life-changing experience that led me to my work in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.”
Nayifa Nihad

“I am incredibly honored to receive the 2022 DEI Student Advocacy Award under the inaugural edition of the Lifting the Voices of Inclusion program. I have been fortunate to have found a support system at OU that empowered me to use my voice to advocate for the various communities I am a part of, especially the international student community.”
DEI Trailblazer Award
Anna Nguyen, M.D.

“It is my honor to receive this award. And actually, the person who really deserves credit for this is Dr. Kathleen Dwyer, who has been my mentor and support. There are no words that I can express my gratitude for her efforts. I will ‘pay forward’ what you have done for me by mentoring the next generation of nurses and nurse scientists by using your selfless support as a model.”
Brittany Swain

“I would like to thank my entire department at the Early Childhood Education Institute for the nomination and the opportunity to be a part of something I am so passionate about, that is DEI work. I would like to give a special thanks to our leadership team for implementing equity-driven programs such as anti-racism in the workplace, our equity workgroup and for giving me the opportunity to be present as the DEI representative in all our new hire processes.”
Innovative Programming Award
Selena: A Drag Tribute

“Latino Programs and Services sends a huge thank you to the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for their recognition. We want to send a special thanks to the Gender + Equality Center, the Office of Student Life and all of our amazing students and campus partners who continue to support the work we do. We're excited to continue brainstorming innovative and engaging ways to celebrate our culture on campus!”
The McNair Scholars Recognition Banquet

The McNair Scholars program ended an eventful year with a banquet for its studious scholars.

Throughout the ceremony, members of the program received recognition for their academic achievements to include pursuing their research topics after being accepted into a graduate program. McNair Scholars graduating this year receive stoles and plaques.

The smile of director, Sophia Bolin-Dills radiated throughout the room as she ushered the great minds into their next chapter of successes and achievements.

Congratulations McNair Scholars!
Art at the ADRC and Finals Week Motivation
To prepare for finals week, the ADRC held an art night event for students to decompress. The center hosted the art-fueled event to share the amazing talent that their students have and to provide an opportunity for artistic expression in a safe and inclusive space. Not only did this initiative allow students a study break and nurture their creativity, but it is also going to foster a greater sense of belonging, as the students' art pieces will be featured throughout the ADRC building.

In addition to the student-made art night, the center will also feature motivational posters created by the center's staff to further empower students.

Regarding finals, graduate assistant, Ellie Pochyly, says, “At the ADRC, we strive to support and empower students in their academic journey at OU. The purpose of providing accommodations is to ensure that students are given equal access to their education. Finals week is no different. Our students belong. They are valued. They deserve success! The end of the school year is a stressful time, but if we all work together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of the OU community, which includes the disability community. Happy finals week! The ADRC is here for you!”

Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy

The Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy (AHPSA) is now accepting applications! AHPSA is a five-day academy that tours all seven health professional colleges at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. AHPSA students get to engage with professional staff and faculty in the medical field through hands-on experience. The academy is free of charge and will take place from July 11 to 15, in person.

Applications close on June 10. A committee will select the top 50 students to attend the academy.

Please address questions to:
Training and Development
OU Employee Resource Groups

At OU, the Employee Resource Groups are an open forum for individuals with a shared identity to build community and a place of belonging.

ERGs are available at all three campuses and include Black faculty and staff, African American faculty and staff (OUHealth), Latinx Coalition, Indigenous Faculty and Staff Circle, LGBTQ+ faculty and staff, Middle Eastern North African faculty and staff, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi Indian faculty and staff.

For any questions about ERG, please send an email to
Request Customized Training With DEI
In a community of care, members are engaged in continuous education via workshops and training sessions like those scheduled by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. These training options are listed on the DEI calendar.

Sometimes, however, training needs to be customized to fit the experiences of a college or administrative department. To request customized training or to facilitate conversations, we invite you to complete an online form.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is looking forward to your requests!
Final Thoughts
List of observance days in May 2022
Monthly Observance:
May 2022

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month in addition to several other observances and celebrations.
Discover the other celebrations, observances and awareness events of the month.
Thank You!

The Division of DEI would like to say thank you to all of its staff, partners, and the OU community for providing services, care, hard work and the desire to continue building a community of care at OU.
Thank you for all that you do!

Please continue to care for yourselves and others!