diversity

Shih-In Ma
Cheraine Stanford / WPSU

Shih-In Ma is a social justice advocate who works to promote diversity and inclusion in Centre County. 

The State College native and Penn State alum, left a corporate career at IBM to begin a journey of spirituality, self-reflection and meditation. Her journey has taken her around the world and included spending four years in India with Amma, who's known as the hugging saint.

Shih-In Ma teaches meditation and shares opportunities for others to gain better insight and understanding of those around them.

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Seria Chatters is the director of diversity and inclusivity for the State College Area School District.
Cheraine Stanford / WPSU

Seria Chatters is the first-ever director of diversity and inclusivity for the State College Area School District. She draws from both her personal and professional experiences to inform her work.

Before taking her current position, she was an assistant professor in Penn State's Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education. 

Chatters talked with WPSU about her first semester on the job and what she hopes to accomplish in the position. 

TRANSCRIPT:

More Than Half Of Pa. Public Schools Do Not Have A Teacher Of Color

Oct 31, 2018
Sharif El-Mekki, principal of Mastery Shoemaker Elementary in Philadelphia, founded a group that seeks to boost the number of black male educators. Here pictured in front of his school with two students.
Emma Lee/WHYY

More than 60 years after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, an analysis of state data shows persistently stark disparities between the racial composition of teachers and students in Pennsylvania’s schools — among the widest gaps in the country.

Just 5.6 percent of Pennsylvania’s teachers are persons of color, compared to 33.1 percent of its students.

The data also show 55 percent of the state’s public schools and 38 percent of all school districts employed only white teachers. 

State College Hosts First Multicultural Unity Fair

Sep 24, 2018
State College Mayor Don Hahn accepts a dreamcatcher from Emelie Jeffries and Patrick Littlewolf Brooks.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

State College community members filled the municipal building for the first ever Multicultural Unity Fair Saturday.

More than 200 people gathered to hear speeches and singing, see dance performances and taste a variety of international cuisines.

Sharon Barney is a member of the Community Diversity Group who helped organize the event.

“Certainly, with the climate, with our own experiences within the Community Diversity Group, we thought it was a good time to show unity and acceptance of all the members in our community,” Barney said.

Following national trends, Pennsylvania’s population is getting older and slowly becoming more diverse according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nearly one-third of all Pennsylvania residents were 55 years or older in 2017, ranking it seventh among states for the highest median age in the country at about 41 years old. The national median age is 38 years old.

Malcolm Kenyatta, who won the Democratic nod for the 181st district in the Pa. Legislature, cheers during the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.
Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

The Pennsylvania Legislature is poised to soon make history as it welcomes its first openly gay lawmaker of color.

Malcolm Kenyatta won the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia’s 181st District during last week’s primary, and, given the city’s voter registration numbers, is strongly favored to assume the seat.

For the 27-year-old, who grew up in the projects, the idea of being a role model is appealing.

In August, Penn State unveiled the design for a commemorative sculpture next to Old Main that would celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

The piece was going to be installed in spring 2018. It was meant to call to mind a forest and draw visitors in to reflect on themselves and others.

But, Penn State confirmed it is shelving the project — at least for now.

University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said “it has become clear that many student leaders would like to reconsider the commemorative” project.

A video presentation launching the "All In at Penn State" program plays on the Old Main facade on Penn State's University Park campus on October 6, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Penn State held the official kick-off event for its new diversity and inclusion initiative, “All In at Penn State,” in front of Old Main. The presentation included colorful video projections splashed across the building’s facade and even a special Snapchat filter for attendees.

The university hopes the event will spark a renewed focus on welcoming underrepresented groups and voices. Penn State president Eric Barron spoke about what the “All In” program means.

Image courtesy of Penn State Archives

This year marks the 30th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration at Penn State, University Park.  One of the events on Monday, January 19th ,will be a replaying of the audio of a speech King gave at Penn State 50 years ago.