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A C R O S S C A M P U S S U M M E R 2 0 1 7 U o f L M A G A Z I N E | 4 3 SIGS UofL sends 7 to national Women of Color in the Academy conference The fifth annual Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference was held in early April at Virginia Tech, and the University of Louisville sent seven women to attend, including PhD students Khirsten Echols, Sara Alvarez, Jelisa Clarke and Ashanka Kumari; professors J'Amie Jennings; and Detra Johnson, and SIGS' [School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Students] Associate Director of Admissions and Diversity Recruit- ment Latonia Craig. The women shared their experi- ences with the UofL campus during a Women Faculty of Color Panel a few days after their return. Panelists used words such as "motivating, mentored, inspired, em- powered and energized" to describe their conference experience. "I find myself often trying to fit in, but at this conference, there was a comfort. I didn't have to try. It was a sisterhood — you and your stories are welcome. Your beliefs and values are appreciated, not judged," Johnson added. Melissa Harris Perry, writer, professor and TV host, was the keynote speaker at the event. Her notion of how to build a network (squad care) particularly resonated with Clarke. "It's important to know that you have people to say 'I'm messed up right now, and I need you,'" she said. For Jennings, the conference allowed her to be more introspec- tive about what mark she wants to leave on the academy in terms of teaching, research or service. Some of the panelists said the conference allowed them to recognize how to balance their professional and personal needs, and how to "navigate all of the moving pieces to make this work," according to Echols. "We don't accomplish anything on an island," she said. The panelists agreed that it was empowering to attend a conference that included many women of color deans, vice presidents and other administrators. They also agreed that, although it beneficial to have faculty of color, "they shouldn't be the only ones doing the work on race," Clarke said. SIGS' Associate Director of Admissions and Diversity Recruitment, Latonia Craig, leads a panel of PhD students and professors who attended the annual Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference at Virginia Tech. "You and your stories are welcome. Your beliefs and values are appreciated, not judged." EDUCATION Paying for college 101 A research center established more than 40 years ago has been resur- rected with an important tweak. The Center for Economic Education, a research arm of the College of Education and Human Development, has redirected its focus to help families pay for college. The center's researchers will partner with K-12 schools to get the message out. "Things have changed since the center was established in 1974," said Jake Gross, an education professor who directs the center. "We're way beyond teaching high school students how to balance a checkbook." Gross explained that 40 percent of Kentucky high school graduates did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2015 and left an estimated $2,080 per eligible student in federal Pell Grant money on the table. "This is low hanging fruit," Gross said. "Just addressing these two issues could make a substantial difference." The center had been dormant since 2011. Gross and the center's assistant di- rector, Casey George- Jackson, have spent decades researching and analyzing personal finance and the economics of education. They saw a good opportunity to resurrect the center. "We want to do our part to help families realize that college is affordable but planning ahead is an absolute must," George-Jackson said.

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