Spotlight is a program designed to highlight folks around campus who are creating spaces to have conversations around social justice and liberation.


Jenn Wilmot

MFers Never Loved Us: The Precarious Relationship Between Black Folks and the Academy

Jennifer M. Wilmot is a third-year PhD student in the School of Education at the University of Kansas. Hailing from Philadelphia, her scholarly interests include the social context of American public education, advancing critical race theory, and improving educational opportunities for students of color in the urban core.

Jenn will discuss "how the academy wasn't designed for Black people, how this space is inherently built to try to break us, and how we can disrupt it for our sanity/success."

Facebook event


Previous Spotlights

Mercedes Lucero

An Afternoon of Writing and Inspiration

In “An Afternoon of Writing and Inspiration,” Mercedes Lucero will share some of her research regarding creative writing craft as well as include some ideas for how to think about our creative process differently. Part craft talk and part informal writing workshop, she will encourage expanding the notion of “craft.” How do we examine our relationship to language? What is happening within our imagination before we ever put pen to paper? How do we develop this? She will share several writing exercises throughout the lecture and invite others to share their work. Resources and reading recommendations will also be provided for continued reflection on some of the ideas she poses. 


Charlesia McKinney

Disney, Intersections, and Fatphobia?

Charlesia is a PhD student in the department of English; her research regards fat, feminism, and social media. She strives to co-create an honest and transparent classroom that affords students the opportunity to discuss real day-to-day issues. Above all, she hopes to develop and distribute the same effectiveness, and support she received from many good teachers over the years. 

Charlesia will lead with an overview of intersectionality and structural oppression against fat bodies, in particular, to aid our collective discussion on the importance of representation in Disney.

Dr. Shannon Portillo

Identities, Policies, and Public Policy Research

Dr. Portillo is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Her teaching and research focuses on equity in local government and public organizations. It is her goal to be the faculty member she never had, working to serve as a role model for successful women of color in the academy. This conversation engages issues of public policy, policing, and its link to the Common Book, Citizen by Claudia Rankine.