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Alum Panel: Navigating Identity with the Help of Mentorship

Thursday, January 27, 2022
6:00-7:00 PM
Off Campus Location
Are you curious about entering new professional settings because you’re unsure of how you’ll be perceived? Do you wonder about having to code switch, displaying religious symbolism, or dressing in a certain way in job interviews? Is it possible to redefine ‘norms’ of professionalism?

Join us for a virtual panel with LSA alums as they explore what it means to be authentically ourselves in the workplace and what happens if we face anxiety, conflict, or pushback in these situations. You’ll learn about their experiences navigating, responding to, and problem-solving challenges like these. Alums on this panel will also share insights from past leadership roles they held at predominantly white institutions on campus and share lessons on how you can thrive and advocate for your psychological safety as it relates to your mental and emotional wellbeing.

About our panelists:

Justin Hodge is a clinical assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan. He is the co-lead for the Policy & Political Social Work Pathway and the director of the Online Certificate in Political Social Work. Hodge is committed to increasing the presence of social workers in policy and political spaces. As a county commissioner for Washtenaw since November 2020, he brings his social work perspective to addressing the most pressing problems facing Washtenaw County. Professor Hodge has a particular focus on addressing inequities in the county and promoting economic opportunity. He is a 2012 LSA alum in Psychology and Asian/Japanese Studies. To learn more about Justin and to chat with him on LSA Connect, please click here.

Malika N. Pryor currently serves as the senior director of education programs and outreach for the Detroit Historical Society. She is the proud product of the glory and grit that is growing up Detroit and has been shaped by many of the city’s community based and cultural arts institutions. After practicing entertainment and family law in Atlanta for several years, Malika returned to her cultural arts roots and hometown in 2010, serving as director of education and programs at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. In each of her roles, Malika's goal is to uplift the communities and stories that emphasize the best in us and compel conversations that inspire us to be better to ourselves and each other. She is a 2000 LSA alum in Organizational Studies and Afroamerican and African Studies and earned her Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School in 2005. To learn more about Malika and to chat with her on LSA Connect, please click here.

Cesar Vargas-Leon is a Program Manager at the Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR), a social justice education program that prepares students to live and work in a diverse world and educates them in making choices that advance equity, justice, and peace. Cesar works with a team of graduate and undergraduate students to execute requested programs that raise awareness about social identities, prejudice, stereotyping, power, privilege, and oppression for students who are part of the University of Michigan’s community. He is a recent LSA alum in Sociology and Latinx Studies and is in the process of attaining a M.A. in Educational Leadership: Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. To learn more about Cesar, please visit his profile page here.

Ashley Hails (she/her) currently serves as an Operations Associate at Workit Health where she supports the administration of modern, accessible, evidence-based addiction treatment. In conjunction with her position at Workit Health, Ashley was also selected as a 2021 Venture for America fellow. Through Venture for America, Ashley was selected from a competitive pool to join the national entrepreneurship fellowship for recent college graduates and professionals who commit to spending two years at high-growth companies in an emerging startup ecosystem. She is a 2018 LSA alum in International Studies and Sociology and continued her education at UM to earn her Master of Social Work in 2019 in Social Policy and Evaluation with a focus on Community and Social Systems.

You should attend this panel if you are:
-A liberal arts and/or sciences (LSA) student
-Encountering instances when you feel unsure about expressing your authentic self
-Looking to learn from others’ experiences so you can advocate for yourself, your peers, and your colleagues
-Interested in learning more about mentoring and the benefits of seeking out a relationship with a mentor

What you’ll gain by attending:
-Explore the dynamics between social and professional identities and understand how that can shape your experience in professional settings
-Gain awareness of existing oppressions and privileges in the workplace and how to respond to challenges like these
-Connect with LSA alums who can answer questions you have about bringing your whole self to work
-Understand what mentorship is and how you can connect with potential mentors eager and willing to support you through your professional development

Interaction Level: Full

RSVP now to be part of this live and in-person conversation.

The LSA Opportunity Hub aims to deliver inclusive and accessible experiences and welcomes all LSA students to participate. To request accommodation needs please contact Anna Colvin at so we can make arrangements.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Alumni, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Identity, Panel
Source: Happening @ Michigan from LSA Opportunity Hub