Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, Illinois State University highlighted research and teaching dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.  

Professor Shawn Hitchcock (center) works in his research laboratory with students Stephanie Waggoner and Eric Jacobsen.
Professor Shawn Hitchcock (center) works in his research laboratory with students Stephanie Waggoner and Eric Jacobsen.

The University gave a spotlight to the achievements of the Redbird community, including Dr. Shawn Hitchcock, who was honored with the Dr. Henry C. McBay Outstanding Teacher Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

Other national and state agencies recognized Illinois State faculty, such as the National Council on Family Relations honoring Dr. Ani Yazedjian with the 2021 Marie F. Peters Award. The biennial award recognizes a distinguished scholar, researcher, or practitioner who has made significant contributions in the area of racial and ethnic diversity in families. Dr. Cara Rabe-Hemp received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology – Division on Women and Crime. Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza honored the accomplishments of Dr. Rocío Rivadeneyra as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.  

The National Science Foundation awarded more than $1.3 million for a program led by Dr. Matt Aldeman, Dr. Jin Jo, Dr. Allison Antink Meyer, and Dr. Jeritt Williams to inspire urban Chicago high school students. The innovative after-school program, working with the National Center for Urban Education, will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Dr. Amy Wood earned two prestigious, national fellowships to continue her work on cultural and intellectual history of criminal justice in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  

Dr. Kathryn Sampeck

The University honored Dr. Kathryn Sampeck with an Outstanding University Researcher Award for her multidisciplinary approaches to investigate a variety of topics such as taste, cultural landscapes, race, literacy, money, and commerce in American commodities in the early modern world.

Dr. Brea Banks, Dr. Melinda Snodgrass, and Dr. Michele Shropshire were awarded several of the University’s Research Initiative Awards. Banks has published work surrounding the microaggressive experiences of adolescents, the cognitive consequences of these race-based insults, their impact on perceptions of climate, and the effectiveness of trainings and workshops that aim to address microaggressions. Snodgrass’ research focuses on building inclusive schools through family-school partnerships, systematic supports planning, and anti-ableist work. Dr. Shropshire’s research focuses on improving the quality of life, symptom management, and nursing care for older adults. 

Amani Wise, Department of Pyschology, College of Arts and Sciences
Amani Wise

Psychology student Amani Wise won the Three Minute Thesis competition with research on how white individuals’ awareness of their racial privilege impacted their perception of microaggression.  

Advancing disciplines  

cover for the book Distraction: Girls, School, and Sexuality with names of editors Erin Mikulec and Dawn Beichner

The work of faculty members advanced a myriad of disciplines, with Illinois State highlighting the work of Dr. Charles Bell who explores the cycle of fighting and punishment in public schools in his book Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety. The book was selected as a finalist for the 2021 C. Wright Mills Award, one of the most prestigious, coveted, and competitive awards given in the social sciences. 

Dr. Tina Williams offered insights into her work on changing the perception of underemployment.

Dr. Erin Mikulec and Dr. Dawn Beichner discussed their new book, Distraction: Girls, School, and Sexuality, which looks at the ways in which girls are sexualized through school practices.

Dr. Chang Su-Russell
Dr. Chang Su-Russell

Dr. Chang Su-Russell discussed how parents can talk about death and racism with their children.

Nikki Michalak and Dr. Stacy Jones-Bock spoke about alternatives to the practice of seclusion in classrooms.

Dr. Ela Przybylo’s publication Feral Feminisms was a special issue focused on asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) authors and ace and aro content.  

Alumna Nastasha Powers ’19, who won the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in 2021, talked about her work for survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. A group of alumni who took part in a social justice learning trip to Holocaust sites relayed how the travels inspired them.  


The Redbird Scholar research publication shined a spotlight on Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy’s legacy in research before becoming Illinois State’s 20th president.  

cover of book from Dr. Alison Bailey, The Weight of Whitenbess: A Faminist Engagement with Privilege, Race, and Ignorace

Equity-oriented publications and presentations appeared in the weekly Report newsletter, including: 

Dr. Deneca Winfrey Avant, SWK, co-published “When Privilege and Oppression Become ‘Real’ in the Life of Emerging Social Workers” in the Journal of Teaching in Social Work.   

Dr. Alison Bailey, WGSS, discussed her book, The Weight of Whiteness: A Feminist Engagement with Privilege, Race, and Ignorance (2021), during an interview on the Blog of the APA (American Philosophical Association). 

headshot of Charles Bell, Ph.D.
Charles Bell

Dr. Charles Bell, CJS, contributed the chapter “Special Yet Unequal: Race, Disability, and the Prison Pipeline for Black Youth in America” in the book Racism By Another Name: Black Students, Overrepresentation, and the Carceral State of Special Education (Information Age Publishing). 

Dr. Dawn Beichner, CJS, published “Racialized mass incarceration in the U.S.A. as a form of macro victimization” in Macrovictimización, abuso de podery victimología: Impactos intergeneracionales.   

Dr. Joan M. Brehm, SOC, co-authored “Beyond rules and regulations: understanding the cultural and social significance of beach seine fishery on Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania” for Maritime Studies. 

Colleen Karn, ENG, published “Cultural and Linguistic Misrepresentations in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in the Journal of American Culture

headshot of Dr. Antonio Causarano
Dr. Antonio Causarano

Dr. Antonio Causarano, Special Education, published “Teaching Literacy with Picture Books to Students with ASD” in CEC

Dr. Tamra Davis Connor, Dr. Barbara Ribbens, and Dr. Madeline Trimble, COB, presented workshops at the 59th annual fall conference of the Illinois Business Education Association (IBEA), Adding Cultural Fluency to Your Briefcase

Rachel Hatch, Media Relations, presented “The Wage Gap: Why Does it Matter?” for the Association for Women in Communications.

Dr. Hye Hyon Kim, ENG, presented “Asian Hate and Graphic City Structure of Terrorism” at Terrorism and the City from the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, and served as panel chair for “Victorian Identities” for Victorian Pasts, Presents, and Futures at Carroll University. 

Dr. Melissa Johnson, ART, presented her paper “A world where the body is as eloquent and articulate as the text: Anne Bogart’s theatrical engagement with the writings of Virginia Woolf,” at the 30th Annual International Virginia Woolf Society. 

Dr. Jessie Krienert and Dr. Jeff Walsh, CJS, published the chapter “Innocence Lost: Educator Sexual Misconduct and the Epidemic of Sexually Victimized Students” in Invisible Victims and the Pursuit of Justice: Analyzing Frequently Victimized Yet Rarely Discussed Populations. They also published “Changes in the Tradecraft of Cheating: Technological Advances” in Academic Dishonesty, College Teaching

Dr. Samantha McDonald, KNR, co-published “Maternal Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity before and during Pregnancy and Maternal Glucose Tolerance: Does Timing Matter?” in Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise

Dr. Phil Mulvey and Dr. Cara Rabe-Hemp, CJS, co-authored “Mothering Through Mental Illness: Exploring the Experiences of Motherhood for Criminally Involved Women on Mental Health Probation” in Crime & Delinquency

photo of Dr. Gabriela Fonseca Pereira
Dr. Gabriela Fonseca Pereira

Dr. Gabriela Fonseca Pereira, FCS, presented “Home spaces used as third places during the COVID-19 pandemic among older adults living in the U.S.A. and in Brazil” at the 2022 annual conference of the Interior Designers Education Council (IDEC).   

Nastasha Powers, CJS graduate student, and Dr. Dawn Beichner, CJS, presented “Providing and Coordinating Sexual Assault Services in the Pandemic” at the American Society of Criminology meetings in Chicago. 

Dr. Ela Przybylo, ENG, published “Ace and Aro Lesbian Aesthetics with Agnes Martin and Yayoi Kusama” for a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies.   

Dr. Touré Reed, HIS, published “The Political Economy of Racial Inequality” in Dissent.    

Dr. Kathryn Sampeck, SOA, authored “Pandemic and Museums: A View from El Salvador” for reVista: The Harvard Review of Latin America.   

Archana Shekara, WKSOA, presented “One Designer, One Work” for the American Graphic Arts Association, speaking on cultural identity and cross-cultural awareness in design.

headshot of Dr. Stephens
Dr. Nathan Stephens

Dr. Nathan Stephens, SWK, presented “Concrete Roses: How Policies Racialize the Life Trajectories of Young Black Males” as part of the Race, Place, and Justice conference at the University of Central Lancashire.  

selfie of Intan Suwandi
Dr. Intan Suwandi

Dr. Intan Suwandi, SOC, co-published “Imperialist appropriation in the world economy: Drain from the global South through unequal exchange, 1990–2015” in Global Environmental Change

Dr. Erika Sparby, ENG, presented “Memetic critical power tools: Teaching an ethic of privacy and identity for memes in the technical communication classroom” at the Association for the Teachers of Technical Writing Conference. 

headshot of Jason Whitesel
Dr. Jason Whitesel

Dr. Jason Whitesel, SOC and WGSS, co-authored “Interactive Nature of Fat Activism and Fat Studies Within and Outside Academia” for Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight & Society.

Dr. Skip Williams and Dr. Mary Henninger, KNR, along with Margo Coleman and Ryan Burns published “The effect of single-sex versus coeducational physical education on American junior high PE students’ physical activity levels and self-competence” in Biomedical Human Kinetics.  

Entries for this story were taken from features in the bi-weekly newsletter Identity, the Research and Honors column in the weekly newsletter Report, and from the Redbird Scholar magazine. Those who have an addition of research to add to this story that was published or presented from July 2021-July 2022, please contact Rachel Hatch at   

For a look into more EDI efforts at Illinois State, see EDI Year in Review: 2021-2022 and EDI Year in Review – Events and happenings.