Equal Opportunity Institute Creates New Cohort of Change Agents

EOI Special Recognition graduates 2018

Equal Opportunity Institute graduates paused to reflect on their achievements and enjoy their accomplishments at EOI Graduation on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 in Hunt LIbrary’s Duke Energy Hall. The year-long certificate program celebrated its nineteenth year of bringing free diversity and equity workshops to the campus community with over 80 first-year and returning participants receiving recognition.

Established in 1999 to improve individuals’ knowledge of equal opportunity issues, the program aims to improve overall campus climate through developing the understanding and skills necessary to effectively engage with increasingly diverse working and learning environments. The program has produced over 600 graduates and fills quickly each year.

Participants must take three required and seven elective two-hour workshops during the course of the academic year. Participants who take ten or more electives receive special recognition, which entails a special seal on their graduation certificates. In addition, graduates who are NC State students receive a cord to wear at NC State’s commencement. Past EOI graduates are invited to return to complete three or more additional workshops under the EOI Graduate Scholar designation, as the program typically offers several new workshops each year. This year, EOI Graduate Scholars comprised about one-fourth of the program’s participants.

Director of Outreach and Education Beverly Jones Williams and Interim Vice Provost Sheri Schwab from the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity and Sheri Schwab provided opening remarks. Williams read a few comments from selected participants’ journals to illustrate the program’s impact.

One participant stated, “With the Institute, I have noticed that I am much more skilled in having difficult conversations regarding equity and diversity. This is something that I have now been modeling for staff members so they are able to do the same with students we oversee in our program. I believe the skills gained in EOI have not only helped me but have been able to trickle down to my staff, for which I am grateful.”

Another stated, “I think I have grown in my awareness. I thought that initially I had a strong sense of awareness before starting EOI, but after going through the various workshops, I realize I was well-versed in many areas that related to populations I currently work with. Through EOI, I have gained new knowledge of populations and groups that I have not worked with as much but recognize I could very well encounter them, and am now aware of their needs.”

A third stated, “I feel more confident in what the law says, our campus resources and protocols, and how to find people resources.” And a fourth: “I will keep an open mind when listening to the views and opinions of others. I will view things from the stance of the person who is expressing the concern and understand that they are affected by factors that I may not have experienced.”

Schwab drew parallels between NC State University’s core values and the goals of the Equal Opportunity Institute, including freedom of thought and expression, respect for cultural and intellectual diversity, responsibility for individual actions, service to our community and society and excellence in all endeavors. Schwab emphasized that EOI participants are instrumental in helping to reinforce and strengthen these values at NC State.

Oscar Santos, a leadership and professional development manager at BB&T who is very active in as a community leader and mentor, gave the keynote address. Santos energized attendees with his dynamic speaking style and by sharing his knowledge and experience working with thousands of managers about the main two reasons why people have issues with their teams: interpersonal relations and biases.

Santos explained his metaphor for diversity as inviting everyone to a dance party, and inclusion as inviting people to participate in the dancing. Santos ties this idea into the human motivation to maintain personal safety, the driving force of fear and the need for belonging, all of which prevent people from truly embracing diversity and inclusion.

To become more inclusive and cognizant leaders, Santos shared five things to remember: purpose, passion, preparation, persistence and people, all of which are critical to success, noting that a person’s circle of people should have diverse members who do not necessarily look and think like we do to ensure that our views are inclusive.

EOI Graduates 2018

We congratulate the following students and staff and community members recognized at EOI Graduation:


  • Michelle Branch (‘17)
  • Erica Cutchins (‘15)
  • Andy DeRoin (‘17)
  • Rebekah Dunstan (‘15, ‘16)
  • Jacqueline Gadison (‘13, ;14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17)
  • Jamie Lynn Gilbert (‘17)
  • Melissa Jackson (‘16, ‘17)
  • Dylan Morris (‘17)
  • Elizabeth Snively (‘15, ‘16, ‘17)
  • Renee Wells (‘16, ‘17)
  • Melissa Whitley (‘17)


  • Paul Cash
  • Allen Cannedy
  • John Pierre Craig
  • Samantha Caudill
  • Sarah Fayard
  • Rebeka Galeano
  • Sara Hughes
  • Andre Johnson
  • Lynn Locklear-Fisher
  • Marie Watson
  • Rebecca Woskoff

NC State Students

  • Khalid Gamal
  • Rebekah Hackney
  • Fri Momin
  • Francesqa Santos

Faculty, Staff and Community

  • Shannon Boatwright
  • Tracey Brown
  • Martha Collins
  • Ellen Coster
  • Kendall Del Rio
  • Reva Dunn
  • David Elrod
  • Hayley Hardenbrook
  • Whitney Hicks
  • Eva Howard
  • Robinette Kelley
  • Jennifer St. Jean
  • Preston Keith
  • Heather King
  • Ebony Peterson
  • Kim Priebe
  • Meggie Romick
  • LaTonya Scott
  • Meghan Teten
  • Crystal Wallace
  • LaShica Waters

NC State Students

  • Diana Bacallao
  • Maria Restrepo Chavez
  • Manasa Chitluri
  • Thomas Peterson
  • Claudia Rodriguez
  • Kaitlyn Runion
  • Crystal Thibodeaux

Faculty, Staff and Community

  • Toccara Blount
  • Tiffany Chan
  • Eric Copeland
  • Judy Corsi-Kimble
  • Sarah Couch
  • Erin Cox
  • Melanie Cruz
  • Carla Davis
  • Nicole Ditillo
  • Frank Dziepak
  • Raven Evans
  • Heather Gately
  • Christopher Hopkins
  • Melisha Hyman
  • Curtis “CJ” Jackson
  • April Jones
  • Carol Lewis
  • Elisa Lopez
  • Jennifer McLamb
  • Lora Moyle
  • Laurinda Perez
  • Christy Perrin
  • Janis Pierce
  • Kristin Schmitt
  • Gabriella Sinkovic
  • Caletta Smith
  • LaKeisha Stephens
  • Tiffany Viator
  • Joshua Welch
  • Leah Young
  • To learn more about the Equal Opportunity Institute see the EOI website. The program begins accepting applications in September.