School of Communications to host inaugural Spotlight on DEI event Feb. 27

Hosted by the school’s Inclusive Excellence Committee, the event will amplify DEI initiatives and contributions, bringing community members together to engage in DEI-related discussions.

A graphic with "Spotlight on DEI" in big letters.
The School of Communications will host its inaugural Spotlight on DEI event on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Snow Family Grand Atrium.

To ignite conversations centered on diversity, equity and inclusion, the School of Communications Inclusive Excellence Committee will host the first Spotlight on DEI event on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Snow Family Grand Atrium.

The event, which runs from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m., will feature 12 roundtable discussions highlighting topics related to developing an equity mindset, advancing social justice, combating discrimination in today’s media industries, and other related subjects. There will also be four showcase tables spotlighting DEI-related accomplishments and initiatives in the School of Communications. A complete list of discussion topics and showcases is below. Beverage and snacks will be served.

“There are so many exciting things happening in the School of Communications that center on DEI,” said Lee Bush, professor of strategic communications and chair of the Inclusive Excellence Committee. “This includes student research, internships and service-learning opportunities; a new Inclusive Communications course and two new minors; DEI initiatives by student media and alumni; and mentorship opportunities like Women Influencers in Sport (WINS). We hope this event will spark ideas for students to find meaningful ways to further engage in DEI-related initiatives.”

While the inaugural event was conceptualized by this year’s committee members, its roots trace back two years. In 2022, the committee developed a long-term DEI plan for the school, which was approved by the faculty in 2023. Part of the plan included creating programming where students from all majors and identities can come together, get to know each other, and share student experiences.

“The purpose of the event is to amplify DEI initiatives and contributions in the school and bring folks together to engage in DEI-related discussions,” Bush said.

The year’s committee members include School of Communications faculty members Lorraine Ahearn, Mark Cryan, Young Do Kim, Karen Lindsey, Jessalyn Strauss and Bush (chair).

For more information, contact Bush at

Table Topic Discussions

  1. Alumni Spotlight: Madison Gilgo, Elon Year of Service Fellow, discusses her work with the Hardwood Initiative for community-led transformation at Impact Alamance – Madison Gilgo ’23, Journalism and Strategic Communications double major
  2. DEI in Community-Based/Service-Learning with Community Partners – Barbara Miller Gaither, Professor of Strategic Communications
  3. Title IX: 50 Years of Progress for Women in Sport – Mark Cryan, Assistant Professor of Sport Management
  4. Decoding Hollywood: Fighting the legal legacy of discrimination in today’s media industries – Sowjanya Kudva, Assistant Professor of Cinema & Television Arts
  5. Internship Spotlight: John Luke Farrah discusses his work at the Beloved Community Center, a grassroots nonprofit working toward social equity through activism – John Luke Farrah ’24, Journalism major
  6. Developing an Equity Mindset: Becoming an equitable leader and problem solver – Naeemah Clark, Associate Provost for Academic Inclusive Excellence and Professor of Cinema & Television Arts
  7. Beyond Parachute Storytelling: Understanding cultures and mitigating risks – Alex Luchsinger, Assistant Professor of Journalism
  8. Live Oak Communications: Creating a DEI plan and working with diverse clients – Hal Vincent, Senior Lecturer in Strategic Communications and Faculty Director of Live Oak Communications
  9. International Student Spotlight: Navigating Across Cultures – Ana Safie ’26, Strategic Communications and Communication Design double major; Hyemin Im ’27, Cinema & Television Arts major
  10. Small But Mighty: Understanding the experiences of Odyssey Scholars and Latinx students in the School of Communications – Vanessa Bravo, Professor of Strategic Communications, Chair of the Department of Strategic Communications
  11. Communicating About Health: Health literacy and health equity in the new Health Communications minor – Julie Lellis, Professor of Strategic Communications
  12. Advancing Social Justice: How can the School of Communications advocate for social justice beyond our walls? – Kenn Gaither, Dean of the School of Communications

Showcase Tables

Spotlight on Student Scholarship

  • Cracking the Alopecia Code: What does it take to represent the community online? – Samantha Katz ’24, Cinema & Television Arts major
  • Through the Lens of Migration: A study on how photojournalism in traditional media portrays the Mexican immigrant crisis – Ariella Mendal ’24, Strategic Communications major
  • Radical Social Media Managers: How Thai activism group Thalufah used Instagram to organize Lèse-majesté laws – Megan Curling ’23, Journalism alumna and Youth Trustee on the Elon Board of Trustees
  • Women and Genderqueer Individuals’ Mental Well-Being in the Music Industry – Veda Skog ’24, Strategic Communications major

Global Film & Cultures Minor

  • Kai Swanson, Assistant Professor of Cinema & Television Arts

WINS: Women Influencers in Sport

  • Shaina Dabbs, Associate Professor of Sport Management

COM 2000, Inclusive Communications: Learn more about the new required course

  • Karen Lindsey, Assistant Professor of Strategic Communications
  • Lee Bush, Professor of Strategic Communications