Interim Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Doris Houston and Director of the Multicultural Center Dr. Christa Platt have been named YWCA Women of Distinction for 2020. Both are honored for their careers supporting racial equality and social justice.
Dr. Doris Houston
The YWCA of McLean County celebrated Dr. Houston in the category of Mission Impact, working to eliminate racism and empower women. Houston currently serves as chair of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. She served as co-chair of the Steering Committee for the recent Campus Climate Task Force. Houston joined Illinois State as a faculty member in the School of Social Work in 2005 and continues to serve as director of the Center for Child Welfare and Adoption Studies in her role of Associate Professor of Social Work.
In 2017, Houston was named the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Administrative Fellow and also received the Outstanding College Service Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2018, she was the recipient of the David A. Strand Diversity Achievement Award. She is the founder of Together Creating Community (TCC), a peer leadership network for foster care alumni and adoptees who attend Illinois State. She received a B.A. and M.S. in social work, and a Ph.D. in human development from the University of Illinois.
Dr. Christa Platt
The YWCA of McLean County celebrated Dr. Platt in the category of Education, working to support equality and social justice through education. Dr. Platt, M.S. ’09, Ph.D. ’17, became director of the Multicultural Center on July 1, when all operations of the Diversity Advocacy office transitioned to the center. Previously, Platt served as assistant dean for Diversity Advocacy in the Dean of Students Office.
Platt has spent much of her career working with underrepresented students, with specific focus on retention initiatives, curriculum and program development, assessment, strategic planning, first-year experience, peer mentor programs, TRiO initiatives, and STEM advocacy. She works to promote antiracism, equity, and justice. Platt earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration and a master’s degree in college student personnel from Illinois State. She is also a graduate of Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She is the founder of Saving Grace, which mentors and educates young women to navigate structural racism.
Illinois State women made up eight of the 26 nominees. Also nominated were Olivia Butts, Rachel Hatch, Angell Howard, Jennifer Sedbrook, Dr. Tina Williams-Thompson, and Michelle Whited.