2017 UNITED Conference - Invited Speakers

2018 UNITED Conference Line Up


Keynote Speakers

Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation

Mr. Xavier DeGroat

Learn about this 501(c) 3 organization he established to support individuals living with autism. As a man who has autism himself, he wants to teach others that they, too, can be successful.

Social Justice at the Intersect

Ms. Morgain MacDonald

In 1989, Kimberle Crenshaw created the term “intersectionality” to describe how a person’s many identities intersect and impact the way they see the world and the way the world sees them. “Social Justice at the Intersect” looks at the ideas of social justice, and how understanding intersectionality is key to moving toward a more equitable environment. Participants will be asked to reflect on their own lens of the world, and how it may be the same and different from those around them.

Dementia and American Indians: Helping Tribal Elders

and Caregivers

Mr. Steve Chapman

An Anishinaabe from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, Steve has not only completed the Advanced Dementia Capacity Training Series, but added personal and cultural knowledge to his training as he helped his own mother face her final stages of dementia.

God Grew Tired of Us: The Lost Boys of Sudan

Mr. John Dau

Presented by Platform Personalities. $2.00 charge for non-students.

Born in war-torn Sudan, Dau is 1 of 27,000 Lost Boys forced to flee their villages when the northern government began attacking the south. Forced to walk to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, he        faced starvation, disease, and violence. In 2001, Dau was one of many Lost Boys sponsored to live in the United States. His early experiences in the U.S. are the subject of the film God Grew Tired of Us, which won the Grand Jury Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Finding Them: Why I wrote my memoir about surviving incest and my genderqueer existence and what I found in the process

Dr. Ari Burford

They will read selections from their memoir and talk about the   challenges of writing about sexual trauma as well as the empowering, life affirming, healing, and transformative process of writing. They will discuss how they approached writing about incest, their non-binary gender identity and queerness and offer strategies and prompts for others to start or continue writing their own stories.

Thinking Fast Makes Changing Slow: How Decision Making

Processes Impede Equity

Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff

While social scientists have long recognized that humans make systematic errors in judgment, scientists in the natural sciences have been particularly resistant to the notion that the way humans make decisions can result in biases that lead to discrimination. Real world examples demonstrate that academic institutions can make remarkable progress in recruiting under-represented groups as students and faculty when they recognize and compensate for the realities of how the human mind works.

Human Trafficking: Are We Sure It Is Even a Thing?

Ms. Lindsey Slifka

We live in a different world... One called the UP. A place where we don’t have to lock our doors and kids can still ride their bikes down the street. Where mainstream bad guys and national news are not in our backyards. Unfortunately, a whole circuit of crime and victims could be where we least expect it.

White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in

Comic Books

Dr. Jonathan Gayles

Through interviews with prominent artists, scholars and cultural critics along with images from the comic books themselves, Gayles created a documentary that examines the degree to which early Black superheroes generally adhered to common stereotypes about Black men. From the humorous, to the offensive, early Black superheroes are critically considered.

Additional Presenters

Inclusion and Accessibility in Theatre Arts

Mr. Bill Digneit, Dr. Erin Colwitz and Ms. Jill Grundstrom

NMU’s Forest Roberts Theatre presented its first Theatre For All performance during the musical Tarzan in April 2018. The initiative’s goal is to create a sensory friendly performance geared towards children and adults who are on the autism spectrum or have sensory issues. This panel presentation discusses the changes being made within the arts to increase inclusion and accessibility.

Egypt: When It All Started

Dr. Ahmed Elnoshokaty

Learn a little about Egypt’s history by walking through different cultures, customs, and traditions in Egypt. For any prospective travelers, learn about several sites that shouldn’t be missed.

Waawiyeyaa Native American band

The Anishinaabemowin term Waawiyeyaa means “it is a circle.” That is how they see themselves as a band. They invite you to join the circle.

Poetry Without Borders.

Multi-lingual poetry readings. Erie Room.

Rabbit Island Artists in Residence: This Is Not This

Ms. Jasmine Johnson and Ms. Rachel Pimm

These artists from London combine video, sculpture, drawings and performance to their work that explores environments and their histories and politics from the point of view of non-human agents such as plants, minerals, worms, water, or gravity.

Intersectionality: Breaking Down Barriers

Ms. Rachel Harris and Ms. Madeline Wiles

Join Rachel Harris, director of the Center for Student Enrichment and Madeline Wiles, a senior in communications with a concentration in gender and sexuality studies, as they explore intersectionality. They plan to help others to understand the complexities of each person and seek to create an improved campus climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for everyone.

Representations, Stereotypes, and Teen Fiction: Examining Mental Health Issues in Young Adult Literature

Dr. Kia Richmond

Join Dr. Richmond as she shares some of her recent research into mental illness as it is portrayed in young adult literature. Her forthcoming book is entitled Mental Illness in Young Adult Literature:

Exploring Real Struggles through Fictional Characters.

Emilia Amper Band: Workshop with Grammy-nominated Swedish folk musician. Reception follows.

Amper is one of Sweden’s most sought-after folk musicians, Swedish and American Grammy nominee, Norwegian Grammy winner, Artist of the Year at the Swedish Folk & World Music Awards, World champion on the nyckelharpa, and National fiddler of the Realm. The band will perform at the Forest Roberts Theatre on Saturday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m.

If you have any questions regarding the UNITED conference, please contact the NMU Multicultural Education and Resource Center at 906-227-1554. Thank you!

Northern Michigan University is located in beautiful Marquette, Michigan on the southern shore of Lake Superior and is situated upon the ancestral homelands of the Anishinaabeg.