iREAD One-Day Forum: Women of Color in the Academy

Dr. Erin Banks, founder of the iREAD program and Program Director of the North Carolina State University Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity program, is a recipient of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity 2013-2014 NC State University Diversity Mini-Grant Award. Funding from this grant will be utilized to further the vision of the iREAD program (which stands for “I Retain, Encourage, and Attain Higher Degrees at Predominately White Institutions”) by sponsoring, in-part, a one-day forum entitled “iREAD: Women of Color in the Academy.” The event will be held on Wednesday, March 26, from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm at the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education.

The iREAD program began in 2011 in an effort to provide social support, near-peer mentoring, and professional and academic guidance to graduate student women of color at NC State. The one-day forum will address issues pertaining to persistence, social support, academic and career paths and planning, and creating a "brand" for women of color in the academy. The target audience for this forum will be graduate and undergraduate women from underrepresented groups on NC State's campus; however, this event will be open to all students. The goal of the forum is to empower, encourage, and inspire students. The forum will be organized into two parts. The first portion of the program will include a panel of speakers and a keynote speaker and is entitled “My Academic Journey.” This will be followed by the second portion, entitled “My Vision,” which will include the opportunity to create and share vision boards. This will allow students to use visual images that symbolize their personal, career, and academic goals.

The keynote speaker for this event will be Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, who is a graduate of Brown University, Sc.B., and a graduate of Stanford University, Ph.D. She is a scientist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science. She co-authored (with Allen St. John) Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game (Random House), and authored Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Books). Dr. Ramirez also served as Time Magazine’s Washington D.C. Bureau Science Correspondent. Additionally, she has authored more than 50 technical papers, has six patents, and is a currently a Research Scientist at Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies.

Other panelists for the forum include:
Dr. Dawn X. Henderson, Winston Salem State University
Dr. Sherilynn Black, Duke University
Dr. Leda Lunardi, North Carolina State University
Dr. Jo-Ann Robinson, Wilberforce University
Liara Gonzalez, DVM, North Carolina State University

For more information on this event or to register, please visit: or contact Dr. Erin R. Banks at or 919-513-1635.

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