2024 LGBT Plus College Conference Cover Art

2024 LGBT Plus College Conference Schedule

Conference Theme – All Identities–Standing Strong

The conference is free to attend for everyone. Please register to help in planning. All posted times are for the central time zone.

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Conference Display

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3
Be sure to visit the display that will be available in the Student Union Building Ballroom Lobby for the duration of the conference.

Breaking the Stigma around Autism: an Interactive Art Exhibition

"Neurodivergence affects an ever-growing percentage of the population. For years, the definition of autism was based solely on the experience of nerdy white boys. Modern day research on autism is finally beginning to include people of other ages, genders, and races. Thus, more people are being diagnosed today than ever before. However, the stigma surrounding autism has not adjusted accordingly. Inaccurate representations in the media, preexisting stereotypes, and the taboo surrounding mental health discussions has prevented an accurate understanding of autism by neurotypical people. This project is my attempt to destigmatize autism through an education-based approach. I created an interactive art exhibition that allows the viewer to experience aspects of autism themselves to better learn how the disability affects autistic people. This, in turn, opened the door for discussions about basic human differences and mental health, a conversation that benefits everyone, neurotypical or neurodivergent." (Full exhibit details and gallery can be found here: https://jilliandegrieillustration.square.site/thesis-exhibition)

Jillian DeGrieArtist: Jillian DeGrie (she/they)

Jillian DeGrie is a multimedia artist pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at MTSU. DeGrie is queer, neurodivergent and disabled. They have several years of experience combining their personal experiences with modern scientific research to create art about these topics. DeGrie’s art focuses on how stigma and discrimination affect members of minority groups. Their largest and most recent project was a solo show called Breaking the Stigma Around Autism: An Interactive Art Exhibition, which will be on display at this year’s conference. More info about this exhibition as well as a digital gallery can be found at https://jilliandegrieillustration.square.site/thesis-exhibition

Sponsored by Tennessee Human Rights Commission

Thursday, April 4 - Research and Examination

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3
All posted times are for the central time zone.

8:45am – 9:15am Conference Registration and Check-In

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom Lobby

Join the Thursday Zoom

Day Host Ray White, Ed. S. (he/him)

Ray WhiteRay A. White, Ed.S., is licensed by the State of Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor with both Mental Health Service Provider, and Approved Supervisor status. White works as a Clinical Counselor for Walters State Community College and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in higher education. Additionally, he maintains a professional private practice (Whitewood Counseling & Consultation) where he sees clients and supervises graduate students working towards licensure.



9:15am – 9:35am Welcoming Remarks

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Presented by

Bio

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee College of Behavioral and Health Sciences


9:45am – 10:45am Education Spotlight - “Queers Read This!”: Contemporary AIDS Literature

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

This talk will focus on three contemporary texts that portray the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s—Like a Love Story (2019), The Prettiest Star (2020), and My Government Means to Kill Me (2022). It will consider the exigencies behind this retrospection in the so-called “post-AIDS” era, with an emphasis on queer culture, history, and politics in contemporary AIDS literature.

Presented by Dr. Eric Hughes (he/they)

Eric HughesDr. Eric Hughes (he/they) is a lecturer in the English department and a faculty member in the women’s and gender studies program at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his B.A. from the University of Tennessee-Southern, his M.A from the University of North Alabama, and his Ph.D. from MTSU. His specializations are twentieth-century American literature, modern British literature, queer and gender studies, and rural queer studies.

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University College of Liberal Arts


11:00am – 12:00pm Voices - Creating a Welcoming Island in a Sea of Prejudice: How to Support LGBTQ+ Students and Employees in Non-Inclusive Communities

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

This talk will overview the experience of seeking out educational and employment opportunities at institutions of higher education as an LGBTQ+ person. Drawing on her personal experience and research, Dr. Lapan will explain the unique challenges that LGBTQ+ people face in these situations, particularly when institutions are located in less than welcoming communities. The talk will also provide insight into what she has learned about Murfreesboro as an outsider to the community. Recommendations for improving the experience of future students and/or employees will be provided as well as the opportunity for questions and discussion.

Presented by Dr. Candace Lapan (she/her)

Candace LapanCandace Lapan is a Developmental Psychologist who received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wingate University. Her research merges social, cognitive, and educational psychology examined through a developmental lens. Her main line of research examines how the emotional experience of social comparison affects children's self-perceptions. Her research also examines applied issues such as academic success, community engaged teaching practices, and social emotional learning curriculum development.

Throughout her education and career in academia she has become an advocate for social justice, particularly related to LGBTQ+ issues. She teaches a service-learning course on the experience of LGBTQ+ homelessness, advises her university’s LGBTQ+ student organization, and has brought grants to her university to provide faculty and staff training about LGBTQ+ issues. She advocates for the Union County North Carolina LGBTQ+ community through her community engaged work, including serving on the boards of Union County Pride and the Union County Community Shelter.

Dr. Lapan's article on the topic: https://featuredcontent.psychonomic.org/being-lgbtq-in-towns-and-gowns/

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University Institutional Equity and Compliance


12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch Break


1:00pm - 2:15pm Keynote - From Policy to Practice: The Role of Business in Social Advocacy

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of inclusivity and diversity in their operations. A diverse workforce that feels embraced by their employers leads to increased innovation and profitability. Consumers are more likely to spend money at companies that reflect their values. However, speaking out on politically charged issues can lead to public backlash and financial consequences. What roles and obligations do employers and businesses have in advocacy and impacting social change? The Tennessee Pride Chamber presents a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of community and business leaders who will share their insights and experiences. Panelists will discuss how businesses and organizations can effectively approach inclusion, ensure alignment with their core values and stakeholders, and navigate the complexities of public positioning on social matters.

Presented by

Bio

Sponsored by Tennessee Pride Chamber


2:30pm - 4:00pm Plenary Panel Discussion - Bringing Your Whole Self to Work

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

A foundational element of the conference’s initial conception, this panel explores the “bottom line value” that organizations place on their capacity to create a culture in which differences are respected and inclusion is strategically leveraged as an organizational strength. Students preparing to enter the employment pipeline will have an opportunity to gain insights on how potential employers' policies and practices address various dimensions of diversity, including gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. D & I professionals and other leaders in attendance will benefit from open and honest dialogue in building their knowledge and exploring new thought leadership for the benefit of the work unit and organization.

Panel

Dr. Patrick McCarthy (he/him; moderator)

Dr. Patrick McCarthyDr. Patrick McCarthy, J.D., received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University and his J.D. from the Nashville School of Law. He is a licensed attorney and a member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Division. Dr. McCarthy is a co-founding Senior Consultant of MTSU’s Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE), and has worked with over 80 clients ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to community nonprofits. Dr. McCarthy is also a past recipient of the LGBT Plus College Conference’s Ally in Diversity Award, and MTSU’s LGBT+ Faculty Advocate of the Year Award.

 

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University Department of Psychology


4:30pm - 5:30pm Math and Science Education Ph.D. Seminar - Empowering LGBTQ Youth Through Science Education

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Schools across the nation face a significant challenge with providing affirming gender and sexual diversity (GSD)-inclusive education to LGBTQ youth. These schools operate within the context of restrictive anti-LGBTQ legislation, which are often rooted in a poor understanding of science and have direct consequences for LGBTQ youth. Access to a GSD-inclusive curriculum, supportive teachers, and mentorship opportunities can have a significant positive impact on LGBTQ students’ feelings of safety, academic performance, educational aspirations, sense of belonging and well-being, equity literacy, and enhance empathy and acceptance of all students towards diverse identities. Unfortunately, these supports are least likely to be available in STEM classrooms. I will discuss these three strands of research and highlight opportunities to empower LGBTQ youth through science education.

Presented by Dr. Gary Wright (he/him)

Gary WrightDr. Gary Wright (he/him) is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Missouri. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Science Education from North Carolina State University, and a B.A in Biology with a secondary science license from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Dr. Wright is a first-generation college graduate and former high school science teacher.

Dr. Wright’s research focuses on justice-oriented science teaching and gender and sexual diversity (GSD)-inclusive science education, with a particular focus on preparing pre-service and in-service science teachers to work with and learn from LGBTQ students. He draws on a variety of frameworks in his research, including queer and trans theory, teacher attitudes and beliefs, and identity. He also conducts research on mentoring in STEM, exploring the impact of a distance near-peer mentoring model on the STEM identity of underserved students living in rural communities in the U.S. and Botswana.

Katie CosciaIntroduced by Kate Coscia (they/them)

Kate Coscia (they/them) is a second-year student in the Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. Program at Middle Tennessee State University with a concentration in biology education. They have a Bachelor of Science in cell biology and biotechnology from Georgia Gwinnett College. They are a graduate research assistant working with Dr. Liz Barnes in the Social Perceptions of Science Lab at MTSU, where their research focuses on improving science communication training for undergraduate biology students.

Presented in partnership with Middle Tennessee State University College of Basic and Applied Sciences

Thursday, April 4 Evening - LGBT+ College Conference Film Festival

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3

All posted times are for the central time zone.

6:00pm LGBT+ College Conference Film Festival and Reception (Program begins at 6:30)

Thursday, April 4, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Join the Film Festival Zoom

The festival will feature films related to LGBTQ+ issues submitted from around the globe.

Host Allie Sultan (she/her)

Allie SultanAllie Sultan is an Emmy Award-winning independent filmmaker whose work spans narrative, documentary and experimental modes. A graduate of the MFA-Cinema program at San Francisco State University, she has worked as a picture and sound editor with some of the San Francisco Bay area’s finest film companies and organizations – including American Zoetrope, ZAP Zoetrope-Aubry Productions, Berkeley Sound Artists, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and Tippett Studio. Her latest film project, Incognita’s Infamous Adventures, won Best Web Series at the 2021 Orlando Film Festival. She is currently in post-production on a feature documentary about LGBTQ Christians.

Allie is an Associate Professor of Video and Film Production at Middle Tennessee State University, where she teaches film and video production to the next generation of independent filmmakers.

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University College of Media and Entertainment

Friday, April 5 - Intersections of Identity with the Broader Community

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3

All posted times are for the central time zone.

8:30am – 9:00am Conference Registration and Check-In

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Ballroom Lobby

Join the Friday Zoom

Day Host

Bio


9:00am – 9:20am Conference Opening Address

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Presented by Gini Pupo-Walker (she/her)

Gini Pupo-WalkerGini’s career spans over twenty years in education, and she currently serves as the Executive Director for Tennessee for the Education Trust, where she works with partners across Tennessee to increase educational opportunity and achievement for historically underserved students, in both P-12 and higher education. She previously worked as a Senior Director of Education Policy at Conexión Américas, and as a district leader and high school teacher of Spanish and History in Nashville and Seattle. Gini served on the school board for Metro Nashville Public Schools from 2018-2022, representing District 8.

She is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Nashville, and a 2018 graduate of Leadership Tennessee, and was a Master Fellow with the National Institute for Latino School Leaders, a program led by UnidosUS. She serves on the executive board of the Memorial Foundation, TIRRC Votes, and on the advisory committees of the Sycamore Institute, Tennessee Achieves, and Brown’s Promise. Gini is married to Edward Wright-Rios, a professor of Latin American history at Vanderbilt University, and is the proud mother of two grown children who live in Panama and Chattanooga.

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University College of Education


9:30am – 10:45am Opening Plenary Discussion - LGBTQ+ Identity and Neurodiversity

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Being LGBTQ+ and being neurodivergent can each come with unique challenges and experiences. The discussion will begin with a look at some of the experiences of autistic transgender and non-binary adults, shared by Katie Munday. The panel and audience will then share in discussing additional intersections of LGBTQ+ identity and neurodiversity. (For more information, see the special issue of Autism in Adulthood; https://www.liebertpub.com/toc/aut/5/2)

Panel

Trent Jackson (they/them; moderator)

Trent began their career in Arizona in research and development for cancer diagnostic equipment, focused on reliability. Changing tracks after a few years, they moved to a larger city and began working in software quality assurance. When the company relocated to Cookeville, Tennessee, Trent decided to come along and see what a new horizon could bring.

Tennessee has represented an unforeseeably large amount of growth and self-discovery for Trent. They joined the planning committee for BoroPride, got married, and found comfort in their gender identity. Diagnosed multiply neurodivergent in early 2023, Trent has been learning all they can over the past year about what this means for them.

Trent is autistic, disabled, gay, trans non-binary, and they are excited to work with experts to share and discuss the intersection of LGBTQ+ identity and neurodiversity at this year’s conference.

Katie MundayKatie Munday (they/them)

Katie Munday is a multiply neurodivergent advocate and consultant demystifying neurodivergent experiences. They are involved in several research projects in the charity sector on Disabled and gender diverse people’s experiences of inequity in cancer services. They have spoken at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer around their research findings. They have an MRes in Humanities and Social Sciences, in which they collected and shared the stories of gender diverse Autistic adults to co-create recommendations for future research. They have also published on the experiences of Autistic gender diverse adults in seeking gender identity healthcare (https://autisticltd.co.uk/2023/06/16/exploring-the-experiences-of-autistic-transgender-and-non-binary-adults-in-seeking-gender-identity-healthcare-plain-language-summary/). Katie is Autistic, Disabled, trans and queer. (Katie Munday Aucademy page link: https://aucademy.co.uk/katie-munday-they-them/; David Gray-Hammond & Katie Munday on Neuroqueer: Gender Identity and Autistic Embodiment link: https://emergentdivergence.com/2022/07/19/neuroqueer-gender-identity-and-autistic-embodiment/)

Jillian DeGrieJillian DeGrie (she/they)

Jillian DeGrie is a multimedia artist pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at MTSU. DeGrie is queer, neurodivergent and disabled. They have several years of experience combining their personal experiences with modern scientific research to create art about these topics. DeGrie’s art focuses on how stigma and discrimination affect members of minority groups. Their largest and most recent project was a solo show called Breaking the Stigma Around Autism: An Interactive Art Exhibition, which will be on display at this year’s conference. More info about this exhibition as well as a digital gallery can be found at https://jilliandegrieillustration.square.site/thesis-exhibition

Sponsored by Nissan USA


11:00am – 12:45pm Documentary Keynote Presentation and Luncheon - Mama Bears

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

“Spread across the country but connected through private Facebook groups, they call themselves “mama bears” because while their love is warm and fuzzy, they fight ferociously to make the world kinder and safer for all LGBTQ+ people. Although some may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their offspring safe—even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart.

“MAMA BEARS is an intimate, thought-provoking exploration of the journeys taken by Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, two “mama bears” —whose profound love for their LGBTQ children has turned them into fierce advocates for the entire queer community — and Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance perfectly exemplifies why the mama bears are so vitally important.” (https://mamabearsdoc.com/about-the-film/)

Panel

Allie SultanAllie Sultan (she/her; moderator)

Allie Sultan is an Emmy Award-winning independent filmmaker whose work spans narrative, documentary and experimental modes. A graduate of the MFA-Cinema program at San Francisco State University, she has worked as a picture and sound editor with some of the San Francisco Bay area’s finest film companies and organizations – including American Zoetrope, ZAP Zoetrope-Aubry Productions, Berkeley Sound Artists, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and Tippett Studio. Her latest film project, Incognita’s Infamous Adventures, won Best Web Series at the 2021 Orlando Film Festival. She is currently in post-production on a feature documentary about LGBTQ Christians.

Allie is an Associate Professor of Video and Film Production at Middle Tennessee State University, where she teaches film and video production to the next generation of independent filmmakers.

Daresha KyiDaresha Kyi (she/her)

Daresha Kyi is an Emmy Award–winning director who also writes and produces film and television in Spanish and English. A graduate of NYU Film School, Mama Bears is her second feature documentary. In 2018 she was commissioned by the ACLU to direct Trans In America: Texas Strong, which garnered over 3.5 million views online, screened at SXSW, and won two Webby Awards and an Emmy for “Outstanding Short Documentary.” Texas Strong is a stand-alone short that also serves as a proof of concept for Mama Bears.

In 2017 she co-directed and co-produced Chavela, a multiple award-winning documentary about iconic singer Chavela Vargas that was distributed domestically by Music Box Pictures, screened in over 40 countries, and was recently ranked the Number One Latin American Documentary of the Decade by CineArte magazine. She has also produced Dispatches From Cleveland, Kristina Wong’s How Not to Pick Up Asian Women, and Emmy-winning writer Kevin Avery’s comedies The Whizz and Thugs, The Musical.

Daresha’s films have been funded by ITVS, NEA, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, and numerous others. A former fellow in the Firelight Media Documentary, Chicken & Egg Eggcelerator, Creative Capital, and A Blade of Grass programs, Daresha has an extensive background producing content for FX, WE, AMC, Telemundo, and FUSE, among other networks. (https://mamabearsdoc.com/filmmakers/)

Candace Winters Johnson (and Damien)Candace Winters Johnson (she/her)

Candace Winters Johnson is the proud mom of three grown sons, the youngest of whom is Damien, her trans son. He is the person that put her on her path to becoming a proud mama bear and author of “Particular Peyton, Daring Damien,” the story of their path to discovering his true self and her learning how to support him. This journey led her to meeting and becoming the wife of a trans man and a fierce advocate for the trans community. She has spoken to the Tennessee legislature against anti-trans bills and is the TEP chair of Lawrence County. She, Damien, and her husband Mike have all spoken since then at different events, helping to educate others on the trans experience and how best to support the trans community as a family member and friend, including as keynote speaker at the 2019 LGBT Plus College Conference Awards Dinner. They reside in Middle Tennessee.

Sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority and Middle Tennessee State University Vice President for Student Affairs


1:00pm – 2:30pm Plenary Panel Discussion - Let’s Get One Thing Straight: Banned Books, “Decency” Ordinances, and Public Library Collections

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Public library books, especially those written for LGBTQ+ audiences, are increasingly becoming the subject of challenges and book bans. This panel of academics and community leaders will provide multiple perspectives on how “decency” laws are having (un)intentional ramifications on public library collections.

Panel

Kristen WestKristen West (she/her; moderator)

Kristen West, associate professor at Walker Library and Chair of the User Services Department, has been a librarian at MTSU since 2007. Her work includes providing information literacy instruction to MTSU students in the library, in online courses, and through the library’s Web site. Her articles have appeared in several professional publications, including College & Undergraduate Libraries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in information science from the University of North Texas. Kristen is the library liaison for faculty and students in Criminal Justice Administration, Health and Human Performance, and Nutrition and Food Science. Her research interests include information literacy and recreational reading in academic libraries.

Poushali BhaduryDr. Poushali Bhadury (she/her)

Dr. Poushali Bhadury is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English, MTSU. She specializes in international and comparative Children’s and Adolescent Literature, as well as comics and graphic novels, book history, and postcolonial literature. Her current book project, The Home and the World in Postcolonial Print Culture: Dev Sahitya Kutir and Bengali Children’s Publishing (1940-1975) explores mid-20th century pulp series fiction for Indian youth readers. An active researcher, Dr. Bhadury regularly presents at academic conferences, publishes articles in peer-reviewed journals and collections in her field of study, and has been awarded several research grants. Recently, she has enjoyed curating the #VeryAsian Foundation’s Asian American Youth Literature list, aka the May Book Project, as well as serving on the Metadata Advising Committee for a multi-institution IMLS grant for the Diverse Bookfinder website, enhancing the discoverability of middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) novels featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) characters. Dr. Bhadury is passionate about advocating for LGBTQ+ youth through her teaching and research: she has designed and taught an MTSU English upper-division undergraduate course on queer YA literature, published on queer women in South Asian comics, and is currently researching LGBTQ+ desi YA fiction from both South Asia as well as its global diaspora.

Jordan NielsenJordan Nielsen (they/them)

Jordan Nielsen has been an academic librarian for more than a decade, and they are currently serving as the Inclusion & Education Librarian and an Associate Professor in the James E. Walker (JEWL) Library at Middle Tennessee State University. In this role, Jordan coordinates the Library’s belonging and engagement initiatives in an effort to foster a more inclusive environment for everyone who uses the JEWL. Jordan also serves as the JEWL’s liaison to the College of Education where they support the research, teaching, and learning efforts of the faculty and students. Additionally, Jordan oversees the JEWL’s Curriculum Collection unit which provides access to a variety of resources related to K-12 education, including young adult, graphic novel, and non-fiction collections. Jordan’s research focuses on inclusive hiring in academic libraries, and their most recent publications include the research paper, “Inclusive Hiring in Academic Libraries: Attitudes and Reflections of Search Committee Members” and the forthcoming book they co-edited, Toward Inclusive Academic Librarian Hiring Practices.

Dr. C. Rebecca OldhamDr. C. Rebecca Oldham (she/her)

Rebecca Oldham, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) and affiliate faculty of Women’s and Gender Studies at MTSU. Her research expertise is in romantic relationship development, sexual behaviors, violence in intimate relationships, and masculinity. Since 2015, she has taught various courses on healthy relationships, communication, and family violence (e.g., child abuse, intimate partner violence). Her background in HDFS emphasizes a lifespan development perspective and the importance of societal contexts in promoting healthy relationships and sexuality across diverse populations. As an academic, Dr. Oldham serves on committees for the National Council on Family Relations and the International Association for Relationship Research. As an instructor and community member, Dr. Oldham values the wisdom and expanded impact of collaborating with community partners who are helping families dealing with family violence every day. She and her students work with local non-profits that serve families vulnerable to trauma, abuse, and economic insecurity such as the Child Advocacy Center, The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, The Family Center, and the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence.

Ken PaulsonKen Paulson (he/him)

Ken Paulson is the director of the Free Speech Center and dean emeritus of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA TODAY and remains a columnist on USA TODAY’s board of contributors, writing about media and First Amendment issues. Paulson is a former president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news-media leaders. Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program "Speaking Freely," seen in more than 60 PBS affiliate markets nationwide over five seasons.

Steve SullivanSteve Sullivan (he/him)

Steve Sullivan is an elected member of Smyrna Town Council and serves as chair of the Rutherford County Library System Board. He has been a resident of Smyrna for 31 years and is a graduate of Smyrna High School. He attended Trevecca Nazarene University and graduated with a BA in Management and Human Relations and a Master’s in Business Administration. He is a former United States Marine where he served in the infantry, and he is a Veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Mr. Sullivan has been in IT Management for 20 years, and currently works for Nissan as an IS Manager. He has served as President of Smyrna Adult Softball League and has been a Parks Athletic Committee member for nine years. He also served as a board member and coach for the Smyrna Girls Softball, Fast-pitch, Soccer, and Baseball youth leagues at various times over the last 15+ years. Mr. Sullivan and his family are active members of World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro.

Special thanks to panel organizer Jason Vance (he/him), Professor/Information Literacy Librarian, MTSU, James E. Walker Library

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University James E. Walker Library


2:45pm – 4:00pm Plenary Panel Discussion - Exploring the Impact of Overturning Roe v. Wade on Bodily Autonomy for LGBTQ+ People

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Please join us for an important panel discussion on the implications of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade for bodily autonomy rights for LGBTQ+ people. We will be hosting representatives from Planned Parenthood and members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore how the rollback of abortion rights could further enable restrictions on healthcare access and procedures related to gender affirming care, potential legal challenges to medical treatments for transgender youth, discrimination in reproductive healthcare, and other threats to self-determination over one's own body and healthcare decisions. There will be an opportunity for audience questions and discussion following the panel. We hope you will join us for this timely conversation as we seek to understand the interconnectedness of reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ equality.

Panel

William LangstonWilliam Langston (he/him; moderator)

Dr. William Langston (he/him) is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Langston is the faculty advisor for MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive LGBTQ+ student organization). Dr. Langston also serves on MTSU’s Community Engagement Advisory Group. Dr. Langston organizes the LGBT+ College Conference and is a founding board member of Murfreesboro’s BoroPride celebration. Dr. Langston was recently selected as one of Focus Middle Tennessee’s 40 Over 40 in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Langston received his BA in psychology from the University of Houston in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Dr. Langston has been a professor at MTSU since 1997 and specializes in teaching research methodology and cognition. Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted places in the country. In his spare time, Dr. Langston enjoys stand-up comedy and can routinely be seen bombing at local open mics.

Sponsored by

Friday, April 5 Evening - LGBT+ College Conference Game Night

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3

All posted times are for the central time zone.

7:00pm LGBT+ College Conference Game Night

Friday, April 5, Student Union Building Game Room

Conference participants will gather for an evening of fun and fellowship.

Host William Langston (he/him)

William LangstonDr. William Langston (he/him) is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Langston is the faculty advisor for MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive LGBTQ+ student organization). Dr. Langston also serves on MTSU’s Community Engagement Advisory Group. Dr. Langston organizes the LGBT+ College Conference and is a founding board member of Murfreesboro’s BoroPride celebration. Dr. Langston was recently selected as one of Focus Middle Tennessee’s 40 Over 40 in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Langston received his BA in psychology from the University of Houston in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Dr. Langston has been a professor at MTSU since 1997 and specializes in teaching research methodology and cognition. Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted places in the country. In his spare time, Dr. Langston enjoys stand-up comedy and can routinely be seen bombing at local open mics.

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center

Saturday, April 6 - Working and Learning Sessions

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3

All posted times are for the central time zone.

8:30am – 9:00am Conference Registration and Check-In

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom Lobby

Join the Saturday Zoom

Day Host

Bio


9:00am – 9:20am Welcoming Address

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Presented by

Bio

Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University Student Activity Fees Committee


9:30am – 10:30am Plenary Discussion - Personal Reflections on Standing Strong

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Panelists (selected from conference participants) will discuss their experiences of pulling together in a variety of contexts, academic, corporate, and community. Thinking about joining the panel? You can look at the personal reflections questions draft here to prepare.

Panel

Name (; moderator)

Bio

Panelists will be selected from conference participants who volunteer to participate.

Sponsored by Connect

10:45am – 12:00pm Community Keynote -

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

"When my little sister Khloe was just four years old, with tears running down her face, she told my dad that she hated her afro because her white classmates were making fun of it. My anger turned into sadness, which quickly turned into joy: this was an opportunity for me to teach my little sister that her curls—just like everything else that comes from our Black ancestors—are beautiful. I spent the next two years photographing and interviewing 101 Black women with natural hair. We laughed, cried, and shared personal stories about our hair. After years of editing, revising, and reworking, these photographs and interviews have finally been published in my debut photojournalism book, My Beautiful Black Hair: 101 Natural Hair Stories from the Sisterhood (Chronicle Books, September 2021)." (https://www.stclairdetrickjules.com/my-beautiful-black-hair)

Presented by St. Clair Detrick-Jules (she/her)

St. Clair Detrick-JulesSt. Clair Detrick-Jules is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer, author, activist, and public speaker. She captures personal stories and intimate moments centering Black liberation, immigrant justice, and women's rights. An Afro-Caribbean artist who remains rooted in her community, St. Clair grounds her work in radical love, joy and the knowledge that a more just world is possible.

St. Clair has a BA from Brown University in French and Francophone Studies. She has been featured in The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, BuzzFeed News, The Christian Science Monitor, Byrdie, and NPR's Strange Fruit, among others. Her documentary DACAmented has received awards at Immigration Film Fest, Baltimore International Black Film Festival, Ogden City Latino Film Festival, and Cornell University’s Centrally Isolated Film Festival. Her books My Beautiful Black Hair and My Hair Is Like the Sun showcase the beauty of natural Black hair. St. Clair currently resides in her hometown of Washington, DC.

Introduced by Danielle Rochelle (she/her)

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Sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University Distinguished Lecture Fund


12:00pm – 1:30pm Lunch Break / Networking / Community and Religious Organizations Fair

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom DE

Lunch will be provided to allow conference attendees to network and interact with participating religious and community organizations.

1:45pm – 2:45pm LGBT+ College Conference Lavender Celebration of Graduates

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom DE

The Lavender Celebration of Graduates is a cultural celebration that recognizes LGBTQ+ students of all backgrounds and acknowledges their achievements and contributions as students who survived the college experience. Established by Ronni Sanlo in 1995, the inaugural LavGrad at the University of Michigan was the first commemorative event of its kind held at an institution of higher learning.

No degrees are conferred at the Lavender Celebration of Graduates. This ceremony is offered in addition to any official commencement and does not replace when students officially walk and celebrate their graduation. Any LGBTQ+ student who anticipates graduating in 2024 is welcome to participate in the Lavender Celebration of Graduates. To be included in the ceremony, RSVP by March 29 via this form:

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3:00pm – 4:30pm Strategy Session -

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom DE

Participants will learn

Presented by

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Sponsored by Inclusion Tennessee

4:30pm – 4:45pm Conference Closing

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom DE

Participants will "report out" key lessons from the conference, complete conference evaluations, and make recommendations for next year's agenda.

Saturday, April 6 Evening - LGBT+ College Conference Awards Dinner

Student Union Building (STU), 1768 MTSU Blvd., campus map sector E4, MTSU Campus Map
Parking: Academic Lot or Student Union Lot, campus map sector E3

All posted times are for the central time zone.

7:00pm LGBT+ College Conference Awards Dinner

Saturday, April 6, Student Union Building Ballroom ABC

Join the Awards Dinner Zoom

 
Join us in a celebration of the conference attendees and presenters, and help us recognize the remarkable achievements of our nominees and award winners.
 
Download the printed dinner program (download the printed dinner program for Braille readers)

Hosts

Kayla Gore (she/her) and Justin Reed (he/him)

Kayla GoreKayla Gore works to help organize and conduct direct outreach and to advocate for the rights of women, especially transgender women. Kayla’s most recent work is with the #tinyhouseprojectMSH with the goal of developing homes for Black and Brown Trans Women. Project details can be found on the MSH website, www.mshmemphis.org.

Justin ReedJustin Reed serves as the Director of Student Unions at Middle Tennessee State University and is this year’s Conference Advisory Board Chair. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Wesley Foundation and works to create inclusive environments both on and off Campus.

Music

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Conference Contacts


Presenting Sponsor

 
Nissan

 LGBT+ College Conference Logo
 

Lambda hosts weekly meetings and membership is open to all currently enrolled MTSU students who act in good faith of Lambda's Constitution and Community Standards. Membership dues are announced at the beginning of each academic year and can be paid at any time.