Brooks and Wong Present at NCORE 2022

The 34th National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in Higher Education was held on May 31 – June 4, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. This annual educational event is committed to fostering inclusion and the exchanging of ideas and expertise in higher education. IRT Executive Director LaShawnda Brooks and IRT Associate Director and Manager of Programs Catherine Wong were part of an NCORE-invited interactive panel discussion benefitting educators with anti-racist (AR)/diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) responsibilities.

(L-R) Joe-Joe McManus, Catherine Wong, Michael Benitez
Photo Credit: Melissa Toledo

Sustainable Transformation; Making Progress While Battling Changemaker Fatigue

Advisor, speaker and author Joe-Joe McManus and Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion & Associate Professor of Multicultural Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver Michael Benitez joined Brooks and Wong in this session on what changemaking looks like in higher education, real barriers to progress, and proven strategies for institutional transformation.

The panel engaged in critical dialogue with conference participants on the understanding and successful engagement in transformative work. The discussion revolved around the following questions:

  • Are you the changemaker you had hoped to be when you became an educator? 
  • Do you feel a disconnect between the change agency called for in your position description and the work you are expected to do in the role?  
  • Are you questioning how to persist in your role given the lack of resources, unrealistic expectations and resistance to change that you encounter on a daily basis?  

“I feel fortunate to be both a participant and presenter at NCORE for decades. Through NCORE I have met inspiring and diverse scholars, practitioners and community leaders. The work of diversity, equity and inclusion is not meant to be done in isolation. NCORE provides the vital and brave space to have difficult conversations, to battle back at divisiveness and to center cross racial solidarity. The NCORE community does not settle for the status quo, the way things have always been, instead it is an interdisciplinary community that values reimagining what has not yet been imagined.”

Catherine Wong
LaShawnda Brooks (via computer) and Catherine Wong
Photo credit: Melissa Toledo

“I was honored to participate in this session with three phenomenal leaders and advocates. Throughout our ongoing pandemic, change-making and community building are essential to establishing a just future. Through this incredible conversation with student leaders and education leaders, I am hopeful we can all own our relative power in the fight for systemic transformation.”  

LaShawnda Brooks

(L-R) Joe-Joe McManus, Catherine Wong, Michael Benitez
Photo Credit: Melissa Toledo

IRT Alumni Engaging in Issues

Beyond the Border: A Critical Dialogue Series

hosted by Shantel Palacio, IRT ’17


The Beyond the Border series explores questions and engages in conversation on race and diversity issues. The fourth session, “A Hip-Hop Mogul & A Financier,” aired on March 31, 2021 and hosted by IRT alum Shantel Palacio. This session focuses on issues of access and pathways to success, and features John Forte, Grammy Award Winning Artist, producer for the seminal hip-hop group The Fugees, writer and activist, and Eric Logan, Principal, Industrial Manufacturing Strategy; Operations CoE lead at KPMG. 

This recording and others in the series can be found on
the UNH media channel.

NCORE Webinar Series: Alumni Commentary



Commentary by Patricia Feraud-King, IRT ’14, ’17
PhD Candidate in Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

On February 3, 2021, four UMass Amherst graduate students, including IRT alumnae and PhD candidates Patricia “Tita” Feraud-King, IRT ’14, ’17 and Kat J. Stephens ’13, presented at National Conference on Race and Ethnicity’s (NCORE) webinar series. Their interactive session titled, “ADOS, Sh**t-Hole Countries, and (Which) Black Lives Matter: Engaging Contemporary Intra-racial and Transnational Dynamics Surrounding Black College Students” had over 200 attendees. Their session focused on the complexity of the Black transnational collegiate identity and the implications of contemporary issues such as the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement, Black Lives Matter, U.S. political climate and policies, and the pandemic. They spoke about the differences and shared experiences of Black immigrant collegians, Black international students, and Black children of immigrant collegians, including experiencing nativism and racism. Their presentation was grounded in the following research studies: their ongoing Diverse Black Student study, Feraud-King (2020), Feraud-King & George Mwangi (2020), and Stephens (2020) studies. Based on these studies, the theme that connects the three groups of the Black transnational population is that it is essential to build intra-racial relationships among the Black population regardless of the nativity because of their shared Black identity. Yet it is also vital to acknowledge that each group has their unique experiences related to their foreign identity.

Their presentation’s goal was to “connect the influence of the U.S. sociopolitical climate to the college experiences of diverse Black students, particularly racist nativism, anti-Blackness, racial homogenizing, and intra-racial dynamics (tensions and community); identify practices that address Black student heterogeneity and Black intra-racial dynamics across ethnicity and nativity, especially during the pandemic; and assess whether their campus practices acknowledge Black student heterogeneity,” (NCORE, 2021).  For Tita Feraud-King, M.S.Ed, the presentation has “affirmed my identity as a second-generation Black immigrant and reminded me why I am doing this work—this work matters, people care to learn more about foreign-born and children of immigrant Black experiences, and the importance of discussing the ill results of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and nativism”. To watch their webinar online, click here.



Commentary by Kat J. Stephens, IRT ’13
PhD Candidate in Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

I had the tremendous opportunity and privilege to share research on a topic and community close to my heart. Myself alongside three of my University of Massachusetts Amherst colleagues, presented a webinar for NCORE, (National Conference on Race & Ethnicity). It was titled “ADOS, XYZ Countries, and (Which) Black Lives Matter: Engaging Contemporary Intra-Racial and Transnational Dynamics Surrounding Black College Students”, and we were invited to speak and deliver the webinar to their audience and membership. As a Black immigrant from the Caribbean (Guyana, to be exact), with the majority of my formative secondary and postsecondary education in the United States, this academic experience was personal and exciting. 

I entered my higher education doctoral program with a primary research agenda which encapsulated a desire to bring forth narratives, experiences, and solutions regarding the lives of Afro-Caribbean immigrants and international students. Being invited to speak with my peers was a welcome experience, and any opportunity to share my own empirical research on this topic is welcomed. I thoroughly enjoyed a platform like NCORE’s which graciously allowed us their platform to center and recognize our work. In sharing some of my findings from my research study titled, “Caribbean Scholar Tings: Afro-Caribbean Collegians Navigate Race while Enrolled at Predominately White Institutions”, it re-solidified the importance of my research, and that there is a true need for an expansion of Blackness in the African Diaspora. This opportunity was one I will never forget and will remain a signifier to keep my focus on the work, and to continue doing meaningful research.