Previous Lunch & Learn Discussions

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Lunch & Learn – Neurodiversity: Panel Discussion

Many students you will encounter on the university campus are dealing with the added challenges of autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or mental health issues. And university staff are committed to removing barriers to their success.


Emma Burgin, PhD, NCC, is the director of the UT FUTURE Program, an inclusive postsecondary education program at the university that serves individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee in counselor education and supervision. Her master’s degree in clinical/community psychology is from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her bachelor’s degree is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of the Chancellor’s Commission for Disability and completed the inaugural 2021 CEHHS Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Summer Institute. She also was chosen as a 2020 and 2021 Think College Policy Advocate, where she worked at the local, state, and federal levels in favor of disability policy initiatives that impact higher education.

Sara Conrad earned her B.S. and M.S. in Special Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and upon graduation, she worked as a special education teacher with Knox County Schools. In 2019, she made the difficult decision to leave the classroom and is currently serving as an Accommodations Coordinator at Student Disability Services at her alma mater. Sara is a Vol for Life who loves working with college students with disabilities and is passionate about ensuring all students have equitable access to higher education.

William De Leonardis is the manager of the UT Libraries’ Collection Logistics department. He has been employed by the library for 27 years. Collection Logistics is comprised of four units: Library Express, Hodges stacks, storage, and shipping and receiving. William has an extensive knowledge of document delivery practices, physical holdings in Hodges and storage, shelf maintenance and inventory, public service, and interdepartmental workflows. William supervises five full-time staff. 

Vickie L. Hughes, J.D. (Moderator), graduated from Spelman College with a B.A. in Psychology (minor: Biology). Dr. Hughes also holds an M.A. in Industrial Psychology; a J.D. in Constitutional Law & Civil Rights; and an M.Div. in Pastoral Care & Counseling. Vickie (Facilitator/“Safe Space” Creator) hosts biweekly dialogues addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues (now called “Embracing Diversity: Dialogue Series”); this virtual Series airs live on Facebook and YouTube. Dr. Hughes earned a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, in October 2021. As a DEI Facilitator/Consultant, Vickie is currently seeking long-term DEI contracts with for-profit and non-profit business entities. As an individual with two diagnosed disabilities, Dr. Hughes is most definitely a “disability ally/disability rights champion.” Vickie also functions as a racial justice educator and a female empowerment coach.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Lunch & Learn – Lunch with the Harlem Quartet

The UT Libraries’ Diversity Committee invites you to lunch with the Harlem Quartet. This very special, in-person reception with members of the renowned string quartet will be limited to 30 attendees at 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, in room 270 of the Student Union.

Monday, November 8th noon – 1:30 PM

Lunch and Learn on Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders


Catherine Luther

Before returning to the academic world for her Ph.D., Dr. Luther worked both in the United States and in Japan as a producer of television news. She is now the director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and also teaches in the areas of international journalism, media and diversity, communication and information science theories, and research methods.

Joy Panigabutra-Roberts

Anchalee (Joy) Panigabutra-Roberts is Head of Cataloging at the University of Tennessee Libraries. She was born and raised in Thailand and has worked in the library profession over 30 years in four countries (Thailand, Canada, Egypt and U.S.). She has worked with Southeast Asian, Japanese, Chinese, Aboriginal Canadian, LGBTQA, Egyptology and Middle Eastern collections. She was a subject librarian for Women’s and Gender Studies and education. Currently she is a member of Asian Pacific American Librarians Association. For her education, she received her MLIS from University of Wisconsin-Madison, with B.A. in English (Literature) from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota and B.A. in English (Linguistics) from Chiangmai University in Thailand.

Elena Sonbok McMillan 

Elena Sonbok McMillan is the current president of the Knoxville Area Korean Association which was founded in 1982.  The Association prepares many cultural events, such as Kimchi Festival, Kpop contest, Atlanta Korean American Sports Festival, and supports the yearly Asian Festival. The Association has also offered classes in Korean cooking, language, and culture. The Korean American citizens value our local community by valuing education and providing prominent members of many professions. The Association has a strong sense of community and public service.  The Association prides itself on bringing harmony and unity into our local communities.


Nathalie Hristov

M. Nathalie Hristov has served as Associate Professor and Music Librarian at the University of Tennessee since 2005. Since 2009, Professor Hristov also serves as Exhibits Coordinator for the University of Tennessee Ready for the World Music Series. Her research on marketing music library services and diversity programming has been presented at national and international conferences including the national conference of the Music Library Association, and the International Association of Music Libraries. Her written works have been published by peer-reviewed journals, which include Music and Reference Services Quarterly, Technical Services Quarterly, Science and Technology Libraries, the Journal of Creative Library Practice, and Tennessee Libraries. Currently, she serves as Secretary of the Service and Training Section of the International Association of Music Libraries and is a member of their Outreach Committee. She is also on the board and has served as Secretary of HoLa Hora Latina, a non-profit organization that promotes Hispanic culture and heritage throughout East Tennessee. At the University of Tennessee, she serves on the UT Faculty Senate and is a member of the Senate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Lunch and Learn: Wellness and Self-Care — COVID-19 and Beyond

Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Anxiety, sadness, stress, and loneliness. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our mental and physical health. Join us at noon on April 1 for a virtual discussion on wellness and self-care with three UT faculty members who are experts at helping individuals and families cope with the stresses of life. Learn good habits of self-care that can carry you through — and beyond — the pandemic.

This discussion, hosted by the UT Libraries’ Diversity Committee, will feature panelists Patricia Bamwine (College of Social Work), Kristina Gordon (Department of Psychology); and Javiette Samuel (Department of Child and Family Studies; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement). The event will be moderated by Cynthia Finch, a social work and health care professional. Via Zoom


Patricia Bamwine is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work. She received extensive training in community-based participatory research (CBPR) with adolescents through the T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. Bamwine received both her PhD and master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Campbellsville University and MA in Sociology from Western Kentucky University. Her work is interdisciplinary in that it draws from public health, sociology, thanatology, and social welfare. She utilizes a critical and constructionist perspective to design mixed-methods projects that examine the intersection of gender, race, and class as they relate to social problems such as violence. She is currently focused on interventions that support young people after the loss of a loved one to homicide. Her hope is that this work will aid in the development and improvement of service design and delivery to reduce negative life outcomes for young people of color.  

Kristina Gordon received her PhD in clinical psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill after completing an internship at the Brown University Consortium. She is currently Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Tennessee. She is a Past-President and Fellow of the Society for Couple and Family Psychology (APA Division 43). She serves on the editorial board for three family journals and has co-authored numerous publications on couple distress. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband and two daughters, where she maintains a small private practice.

Javiette Samuel is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement, Director of Community Engagement and Outreach, and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee. She is an experienced engaged scholar with a unique combination of educational, interpersonal, and creative skills. She has worked with P-20 students, families, and underrepresented communities for nearly 25 years, focusing on engagement, outreach, and evidence-based programs.

Samuel cultivates relationships with national, state, and regional partners; works with units across campus to connect UT’s knowledge with the community in mutually beneficial ways; identifies and tackles complex issues to help improve the well-being of our state’s citizens; and partners with units across campus on initiatives that ensure access and are designed to address recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff. Her primary applied research focus has been on child development, positive youth development, and family well-being. She is especially passionate about addressing educational disparities, early warning signs of disengagement from school and learning, mentoring, and increasing parental involvement.

Samuel has served as a faculty member and extension administrator at the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, and Tennessee State University. A three-time UT alumna, Samuel earned her bachelor’s in 1996, master’s in 1999, and doctorate in 2002. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She enjoys reading, writing poetry, outdoor adventures, and spending quality time with her beautiful granddaughters.

Moderator: Cynthia Finch is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, with a Bachelor’s of Art in Human Services and Master’s in Social Work Administration and Planning. She is a Licensed Master of Social Work. Her professional career spans over 30 years in health care, as a manager, owner and a clinician. In 2017, Finch launched her business, New Direction Health Care Solutions. New Direction focuses on innovative approaches to dealing with health care disparities for people of color. Hospice and end-of-life care is truly her calling. Her other professional employment has led her through the public and private sector, in government, non-profit and industry professional work. 

Finch has dedicated herself to tackling the pandemic crisis by ensuring that African Americans and people of color have access to information, services, and vaccine as it comes available. One of her major feats has been the coordination of vaccine clinics in the African American community and securing over 4,000 vaccines for people of color. She has sponsored numerous events., i.e., COVID-19 testing, flu shots, coordination of care at the East Knoxville Free Medical Clinic, and so many more activities to support the community. Her recent efforts include launching the Faith Leaders Church Initiative to work with churches to plan and prepare for reopening and VACImpact, an educational outreach program around the pandemic and vaccine.

October 8, 2020 | Noon-1:30

Lunch and Learn: Reflecting on our Foundations: Native Stories and Voices

Join moderator Dr. Jerry Roberson, and panelists Heather Hall, Joseph Owle, Robin Reed, and Dr. Natalie Welch to discuss the complex but necessary work of addressing deep historical injustices inflicted on Native Americans. In partnership with the Native American Student Association. Via Zoom

September 17, 2020 | Noon-1:30

Lunch and Learn: How to be an Anti-Racist from Theory to Practice

Join panelists Dr. Kirsten A. Gonzalez, Dr. Camille Hall, and Clarence L. Vaughn III along with moderator Shaina V. Destine to discuss the complex but necessary work of putting theoretical Antiracism into practice. Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Life and the Pride Center. Via Zoom.

September 16, 2019 | Noon-1:30

Lunch and Learn: Difficult Conversations on Financial Literacy

Hodges Library, Mary Greer room

Please join us for an honest conversation about the perils and pitfalls as well as the benefits and rewards that borrowing money for college can lead to. Learn from professionals in the industry as well as wellness counselors about what is really involved when incurring student debt.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Lunch and Learn: Conversations on Immigration

12:00pm – 1:30pm Mary Greer Room, 258 Hodges Library

Megan Austin is an Immigration Law Clerk with Torres Law Firm, PLLC. She will graduate from UT College of Law in May 2019 and after, will work full time for Torres. Prior to law school, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer serving 27 months in Togo, West Africa in 2014-2016. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Furman University in Spanish Language and Literature with a concentration in Poverty Studies. In Knoxville, Megan has worked with Great Schools Partnership and the Latino Student Success Coalition. Megan speaks Spanish and French and has enjoyed working with the immigrant population since middle school. When she’s not working, Megan teaches Zumba, dog sits, and plays in a bocce league.

Chris M. Mendoza is the Coordinator of Multicultural Student Life at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Chris advises the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) as well as provides direct support to the Asian-American Association (AAA) and Native American Student Association (NASA) on campus. His academic background is in sociolinguistics with an emphasis on Latinx masculinity and the linguistic expression of queer Latinidad. He earned a B.A. in Linguistics from Macalester College and is currently finishing his Master of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree from Southern Utah University. He is passionate about intersectional community justice including educational and social equity for undocumented queer folks and queer people of color.

Moderator: Andrea Stedman is a Graduate student intern with Centro Hispano de East TN, where she leads their College Access piece.  She earned her B.A. in Spanish and Hispanic Studies with a minor in French and Francophone studies from UT, and is currently finishing her Masters of Social Work with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership. Andrea spent 2 years serving as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Miami, aiming to improve the graduation rate for predominately Hispanic, ELL high school students via attendance, behavior, and coursework initiatives. She is passionate about intersectional feminism, global citizenship, and justice for immigrants.

This Lunch and Learn seeks to educate our campus community about the facts of immigration; dispelling myths, untruths and rumor. A panel of professionals working in various areas involved in immigration will present information specific to their fields of expertise and invite questions from attendees.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Lunch and Learn: Difficult Conversations about Gender in the Workplace


12:00pm – 1:30pm Mary Greer Room, 258 Hodges Library

Panelists include: Dr. Erin Darby, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Co-director of the ‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project; Nanci Solomon, Owner of Rala: Regional and Local Artisans; and Dr. Katharine Page, a Diffraction Instrument Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Co-hosted by the UT Libraries Diversity Committee and the Women’s Coordinating Council, this panel discussion will focus on difficult conversations about gender in the workplace. Featuring a panel of professional women, the conversation will be about the empowerment of all genders in the workplace from a feminist point of view.

February 20, 2019 | 3-4 pm

Black History Month: Dr. Aisha Johnson-Jones

Dr. Johnson-Jones is an assistant professor and the program director of archives and records management at North Carolina Central University. It was while Johnson-Jones was doing research on increasing African-American diversity in archives that she, by chance, found information about the historic Julius Rosenwald Fund Library Program. Rosenwald, a merchant and philanthropist, was inspired to help educate African-Americans in the South after he read a copy of Up from Slavery. Johnson-Jones is the author of, The African American Struggle of Library Equality: The Untold Story of the Julius Rosenwald Fund Library Program. The lecture is co-hosted by the School of Information Sciences, UT Libraries, and the Office of Multicultural Student Life.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lunch and Learn: Coming Out

12:00pm – 1:30pm

International House Great Room

Conversation panelists to be announced soon.

Organized by the UT Libraries Diversity Committee and the UT Pride Center, a panel of individuals will share their experiences on National Coming Out Day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Lunch and Learn: The Life of Student Athletes

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Room 213 @ Hodges Library

Discussion Facilitated by Dr. Joe Scogin and Kayla Smith

Discussion will explore the challenges facing student athletes.

Thursday, April 5, 2018 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Lunch and Learn: Having Difficult Conversations on Consent

Mary Greer Room (258 Hodges Library)

Conversation facilitated by Fletcher Haverkamp and Bilqis Amatus-Salaam

Fletcher Haverkamp serves as the Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Center for Health Education & Wellness. Fletcher was a co-author of the OVW Campus Grant and serves as the Project Coordinator for the grant. Prior to his current role, Fletcher worked at Catholic Charities Columbus Home Group Home for Boys and as Graduate Assistant for the Center for Health Education & Wellness where he facilitated alcohol & other drug programs, sexual violence prevention programs, and conducted data assessment.

Bilqis Amatus-Salaam is the Wellness Coordinator for General Wellness Promotion at the Center for Health Education and Wellness. She completed her Master in Public Health in 2015 with a focus on sexual health and college student health. In her role at UT she focuses on cold and flu prevention, stress reduction, sleep promotion, nutrition, and sexual health.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lunch and Learn: Having Difficult Conversations on Gender and Politics

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Mary Greer Room (258 Hodges Library)

Panel discussion co-hosted by the Women’s Coordinating Council & the UT Libraries Diversity Committee. Panel will feature political scientists, politicians, and activists discussing the interactions between identity and politics.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Lunch and Learn: Having Difficult Conversations on Stress Management

Mary Greer Room @ Hodges Library (2nd floor)

Conversation facilitated by Bilqis Amatus-Salaam and Clay Culp

Bilqis Amatus-Salaam is the Wellness Coordinator for General Wellness Promotion at the Center for Health Education and Wellness. She completed her Master in Public Health in 2015 with a focus on sexual health and college student health. In her role at UT she focuses on cold and flu prevention, stress reduction, sleep promotion, nutrition, and sexual health.

Clay Culp is a clinical social worker and therapist at the Student Counseling Center. He earned his master’s in social work at UT and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Social Work degree at UT. His doctoral research is about suicide prevention.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Lunch and Learn: Having Difficult Conversations on Oppression vs. Privilege

Mary Greer Room @ Hodges Library (2nd floor)

Conversation facilitated by Michelle Christian and Jioni Lewis

Michelle Christian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Tennessee. She has been at the University of Tennessee since fall 2013. She teaches and conducts research on race, racism and global inequalities. Most recently, she co-created the curriculum for the Department of Sociology’s new concentration are in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.

Dr. Jioni A. Lewis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research is focused on the influence of subtle forms of racism and sexism on the mental and physical health of women of color. Dr. Lewis teaches courses on topics including: African American psychology, multicultural psychology, and social justice theory and practice. Dr. Lewis’s university service includes serving on the Chancellor’s Council on Diversity and Interculturalism and the Commission for Blacks. Dr. Lewis and Dr. Christian co-founded the Critical Race Collective in Fall 2013, which is an interdisciplinary research group focused on critical race studies in research, teaching, and service to the university.

November 9, 2016

Lunch and Learn: Practical Tips for “Keeping Calm and Carrying On” Difficult Conversations

(12:00-1:00 pm in Hodges Library, Room 605)

Becky Jacobs, Waller Lansden Distinguished Professor of Law, UT College of Law

Most of us probably have struggled at one time or another with sensitive or difficult conversations, i.e., raising workplace concerns; confronting an unreliable partner or co-worker; or apologizing, or seeking an apology for, inappropriate behavior. This session will focus on practical tips for preparing for, initiating, and handling potentially unpleasant exchanges in a way that hopefully will minimize negative consequences, improve understanding, and strengthen relationships.

October 19, 2016

Lunch and Learn: An Open Conversation about Intersectionality: From Scholarship to Action

(12:00-1:00 pm in Hodges Library, Room 605)

Patrick Grzanka, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Nora Berenstain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

The directors of the Intersectionality Community of Scholars at UT will facilitate a conversation about the origins of intersectionality theory in U.S. Black feminism, current directions in the field, and the relationship between interdisciplinary scholarship, activism, and social justice.

Monday, April 24, 2016

Lunch and Learn: Intersectionality: A Workshop on Theory and Practice

1 – 3 p.m., 605 Hodges Library

Nora Berenstain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Affiliated Faculty, Women, Gender & Sexuality Program

Patrick Grzanka, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Core Faculty, Women, Gender & Sexuality Program, Associate Editor, Journal of Counseling Psychology

In this two-hour, interactive workshop, Intersectionality Community of Scholars Co-Directors Nora Berenstain (Philosophy) and Patrick Grzanka (Psychology) will introduce key tenets of intersectionality theory and guide participants through exercises that illustrate the insights of this important framework for studying and challenging intersecting systems of inequality — such as racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, ableism, and heterosexism. The workshop will focus on applying intersectionality responsibly and in a variety of practices, including teaching, scholarship, activism, and community partnerships.

March 24, 2016

Lunch and Learn: An Open Conversation about Gender Pronouns: Concepts to Update your Conversation Toolbox.

The second of the Spring series was held Thursday, March 24th from noon to 1pm in the John C. Hodges Library conference room 605 with Donna Braquet. She is a past vice chair of the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People and a recipient of the Chancellor’s LGBT Advocate award in 2008. Donna was instrumental in overseeing the opening of the UTK campus OUTreach resource center, a safe space on campus that is open to all students, faculty and staff. She was the first member assigned to Vice Chancellor for Diversity Rickey Hall’s staff as Special Assistant and remains actively committed to a welcoming campus for LGBT faculty, staff and students. This Lunch and Learn session covered gender pronouns and focused on concepts to update your conversation toolbox.

February 17, 2016

Lunch and Learn: An Open Conversation about Religious Tolerance: What do you think? 

The Spring 2016 Lunch and Learn series began on Wednesday, February 17th from noon to 1pm in the John C. Hodges Library conference room 605 with Rosalind Hackett. Dr. Hackett is professor and head of the Department of Religious Studies where she studies the religions of Africa, especially Pentecostalism. She worked extensively in Nigeria and published on Muslim-Christian conflict. This Lunch and Learn session will focus on religion and civility in a diverse landscape of beliefs.

October 21, 2015

Lunch and Learn: An Open Conversation about Bullying and Social Media 

The second Lunch and Learn was held on Wednesday, October 21st from noon to 1pm in Room 605 of John C. Hodges Library. The facilitator was Dr. Ferlin McGaskey, Assistant Director of the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center. Dr. McGaskey facilitated a discussion on bullying in social media and what affect these digital discussions have on current and ongoing difficult conversations regarding civil unrest.

Dr. McGaskey has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Tennessee. His research interests include the academic, personal, and professional experiences of graduate students with a particular focus on international and students of color.

September 15, 2015

Lunch and Learn: An Open Conversation about Civility

The first Lunch and Learn was held on Tuesday, September 15th from noon to 1pm in the Mary Greer Room of John C. Hodges Library. The facilitator was Dr. Ernest Brothers, Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Director of the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship. Dr. Brothers facilitated a discussion on how to promote civility on campus while recognizing and appreciating the diversity of individual and collective abilities and achievements.

Dr. Brothers has a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. He based his research on the retention of minorities in STEM fields at predominantly White institutions.

Diversity Action Plan

Learn how the libraries are working to advance access, accountability, an inclusive campus climate, and equity.

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