Celebrate Diversity Digest – Fall 2023

Featured Articles & Contributors

Reaffirming Presidential Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

President Joe Bertolino and Executive Vice President Terricita Sass sat down with the Campus Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Excellence (CCDIE) to brainstorm ideas for continuing our tradition of a welcoming and inclusive campus. 

About Loukaia Taylor
Loukaia Taylor is a Multicultural Communication Specialist in University Relations & Marketing, an alumna of the Communication Studies program and a member of the Campus Committee on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

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Moving On Up: Stockton Up 1 Point in Campus Pride Index

LGBTQ+ students deserve environments where their identity is affirmed and seen as a chance for connection rather than isolation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the team behind Advocacy, Belonging & Campus Standards at Stockton, we've made it to 4.5/5 stars in the Campus Pride Index. 

About Van Nhi Ho
Van Nhi Ho is the coordinator for LGBTQ+ initiatives in the Women's Gender & Sexuality Center, a graduate student and a new member of the Campus Committee on Diversity & Inclusive Excellence. 

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Director of Info Systems Attends Inaugural South Jersey Industries DEI+B Summit

Walead Abdrabouh recently attended South Jersey Industries' first summit on diversity, equity, inclusion + belonging, where he was a panelist for a discussion surrounding the use of artificial intelligence.

About Walead Abdrabouh 
Walead Abdrabouh is the director of Information Systems and Business Intelligence at Stockton.

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Diversity as a Teacher

Jeannie Pincus, '23, believes that having a diverse educator workforce is becoming an increasingly important part of the student experience in the classroom. She shared her insights in the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Review this summer.   

About Jeannie Pincus
Jeannie Pincus is a first-grade teacher at Atlantic Christian School and the NJEA's Preservice Diversity & Justice co-chair.

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Woman’s WORTH Promotes Growth, Racial Healing

Aleyshka Barbosa, ’23, a former participant of Woman’s WORTH, an initiative designed to center the experiences of minority women, reached out to Yesenia Pacheco, coordinator for Student Transition, Access and Retention, to support the program. Yesenia shares her recount of that with the Digest.

About Yesenia Pacheco
Yesenia Pacheco is a 2023 alumna of the Master of Social Work program and a new member of the Campus Committee on Diversity & Inclusive Excellence.

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Digest Staples – What's in Every Issue

A stock photo of a student looking at books in a library. Photo by Christin Hume/ Unsplash

Valerie's Library

Employee accomodations, inclusive scheduling and a prominent fellowship opportunity...

Stock photo of people meeting, two in a handshake. Photo by Fauxels/Pexels.

Hi, My Name is...

... Cheryl Wilson, executive assistant to the Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. 

Stock photo of two people writing on a white board. Photo by Kaleidico/Unsplash

On the Agenda

Diana Allen is back with a staff perspective on the new Meditation Room on campus.


To embrace diversity is to care enough to listen with an open mind and to speak up during difficult conversations.

The #StocktonVoices series gives students, faculty and staff a platform to both speak and listen to our own diverse voices. 

Since 2020, more than 40 members of the campus community have shared their perspective on race, culture, equality, diversity and inclusion. 

As first-generation college students, we walk a line no one we know has (ever) traveled. My heritage has always been important to me because it means carrying the strength of my parents and ancestors who faced adversities and obstacles with courage so that I can have more opportunities than they did.
Yuliana Tapia-Lopez
Yuliana Tapia-Lopez
Stockton immediately drew my attention when I saw all the healthcare programs they had to offer... But, most importantly, Stockton allowed me to be a commuter student. This way, I was able to ensure that my sister Wendy had an easier transition to Stockton so that she, too, could continue her academic studies while also maintaining a strong family bond overall!
Katie Mendoza
Katie Mendoza
I want my parents to feel proud of their daughter as I come from a society where girls are not given opportunities to study far from home, especially abroad. It is possible only because of them having faith in me who have sent me here, so far away from them, to fulfill my dreams. I am lucky to have such parents who always supported me in every situation.
Riya Goyal
Riya Goyal
What being a first-generation student means to me is that I’m the first in my lineage to do something. I am the first to set an example for my family members. My younger siblings, cousins and even my future children will see me and say, “He was the first to go to college, and I want to be next.” 
Nasir Terry
Nasir Terry
Whether it's something small, such as giving advice, or something major, like teaching students how to be able to properly network, I want to take the privilege that Dr. E, First Ospreys and Stockton Esports have given me and empower students who may not have been given the privilege or had the experience that I have, so that I may equip and empower them to advance in their communities and excel in their careers.
Rebecca Nagy Miller
Rebecca Nagy Miller
I just feel like being able to work (with) the Dean of Students has been one of the best opportunities I have received at Stockton because it's honestly changed my college experience a lot – a lot more than I expected that it would... I've met so many people who have been impactful in my college experience simply by working at the offices that I've been able to work at.
Vera Tagtaa
Vera Tagtaa

You know, after graduating from Stockton, I look forward to finding ways to advocate for marginalized, underserved and misunderstood communities. Everyone has a story – some full of happiness but others full of pain – and I want to be in a position where I can help them through their journey of self-discovery like my mentors did for me.

Zikra Naz
Zikra Naz
I founded the Honduran Student Association (HONSA) for Honduran/Honduran American students at Stockton University to address the need for more diverse Latino representation. To promote broader Latino representation on campus, I believe student leaders from all three of the Latino-based organizations must lead by example, working collaboratively to represent our diverse identities.
Carlos Barralaga
Carlos Barralaga

The Alumni Conference on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Returns at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 7.

Join fellow alumni for the upcoming Alumni Conference on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Panel Discussion on the Planning Committee's reading selection, Emergent Strategy. Two alumni members of the CCDIE – Ike Ejikeme, '18 & Christopher Lipari Pazienza, '21 – will moderate the discussion. 

About Emergent Strategy by Octavia Butler

Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us. 

Featured Gallery

#MoreThanAMonth Multicultural Celebration 2023 

Hot Off the Press Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the News 

Shirley Weber during her remarks at the FLH Symposium
Shirley N. Weber, California's first Black Secretary of State, gave the keynote for this year's Fannie Lou Hamer Human & Civil Rights Symposium, emphasizing voting rights and advocating for one's community. Photo by Susan Allen. 

Galloway, N.J. – Following an emotional statue unveiling in Atlantic City, Stockton University continued paying tribute to civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer with the 20th annual Human & Civil Rights Symposium in the Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

This year’s symposium included a performance of gospel songs by the Stockton Freedom Singers, led by Beverly Vaughn, professor of Music; a video compilation of previous symposiums; poetry recitation by Stockton faculty and a keynote address by California’s first Black Secretary of State, Shirley N. Weber. 

Weber’s address emphasized how much Hamer and her legacy informs how she serves the people who elected her to office. Weber, a daughter of former sharecroppers in Arkansas, said that the people who most inspired her were the people who embodied Hamer’s hope for a better tomorrow. 

– Story by Loukaia Taylor 

About Celebrate Diversity

The Committee on Campus Diversity and Inclusive Excellence (CCDIE) welcomes new and returning readers to the latest issue of Celebrate Diversity Digest. We invite you to learn more about issues of campus diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice covered in this newsletter. 

The CCDIE includes faculty, staff, students and alumni who contribute to the University’s efforts to support and further these four areas on our campus, as well as the University’s mission to develop engaged and effective citizens with the capacity to adapt to change in a multicultural, interdependent world. 

About the Communications Subcommittee

This subcommittee explores best practices of marketing and raising awareness of Stockton’s diversity and inclusion programs and efforts and then implements those practices, where appropriate, in collaboration with University Relations and Marketing. 

Communications Subcommittee Members 

  • Valerie HayesChief Officer for Diversity & Inclusion and convener for all subcommittees 
  • Stacey Clapp, Director of Strategic Communications, University Relations & Marketing 
  • Loukaia Taylor, '22, Multicultural Communications Specialist, University Relations & Marketing 
  • Kameika Murphy, Associate Professor of Atlantic History, School of Arts & Humanities
  • Esther Lawrence, Assistant Dean of Business, School of Business
  • Seth Richards, Associate Director for the Office of Student Conduct, Student Affairs
  • Jestina Drysdale, Assistant Director for the Office of Student Conduct, Student Affairs
  • Yesenia Pacheco, '22/'23, Coordinator of Student Transition, Access and Retention, Student Affairs
  • Van Nhi Ho, Coordinator of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, Women's Gender & Sexuality Center
  • Ashley Dalisay, '23, Student, Accelerated Bachelor's of Nursing
  • Amira Walker, '23, Student, Business Dual Degree