21st Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium: Women of Color

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21st Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium

Women of Color: 40 Years at Wesleyan, and Beyond

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
4 p.m.

Memorial Chapel (map)
Wesleyan University
211 High Street
Middletown, CT

This symposium complements a year-long programming initiative featuring women, their accomplishments, and their influence on the Wesleyan community and the world at large. We have four alumnae panelists and one alumna moderator—from a range of ethnicities, class years, and professions—responding to questions about their experiences as women of color on campus and afterward. 

Image:  Persephone Hall


Marina Melendez '83
Marina Juliana Melendez  '83 is the interim chief diversity officer & Title IX coordinator.  In this role, she works with the offices of Admissions, University Relations, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs on issues of equity and opportunity as they relate to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, and national or ethnic origin in the areas of recruitment, admission, retention, hires, promotion, and fundraising – and is responsible for maintaining proper university reporting procedures and policies as they pertain to federal and state laws. 

Marina is currently also dean for the class of 2014, has been in the Dean’s Office for the past six years and before that was the director of graduate student services here. She came to Wesleyan from New Britain’s Human Resources Agency where she received a commendation
from Governor Rowland for bringing in a 5 million dollar grant in support of women on welfare transitioning to employment, job training, or educational programs. 

Here at Wesleyan she has served on a number of committees, including Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance, Social Justice Leadership Conference, Urban Education Semester, and McNair Advisory Board. She holds a doctorate in Social Foundations of Education from the NEAG School of Education, University of Connecticut, and both a masters of liberal arts and bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan. 

She lives in Middlefield, CT with her partner, Joseph Virgadula, class of 1980.  They have two sons, Louis and Tomas.


Maria Santana-Guadalupe '98Maria Santana-Guadalupe '98 is the New York Anchor/Correspondent for CNN En Español, part of the CNN news network, a division of Turner Broadcasting System. She reports for all network news programs including Café CNN, Panorama Mundial, Nuestro Mundo CNN Dinero, Directo USA, and Notimujer. Maria is also a frequent contributor to CNN, CNN International and HLN.
Maria has reported from New York on national events such as the Occupy Wall Street protests, the UN General Assembly, the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks and the re-election of President Barack Obama. She has also covered the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy to the northeast, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Cleveland, Ohio kidnappings.

Maria is also known for featuring cultural events in the metro area which highlight the best of the Latino community. Her unique coverage of New York’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade as well as her feature on the hit Broadway musical “In the Heights” earned her many praises from the public.  When it comes to Latino celebrities, Maria Santana seems to have access to them all. She has interviewed such musical heavyweights as Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Juanes, Thalia , Alejandro Sanz, Calle 13, and Aventura, as well as actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Javier Bardem , Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara.

Before joining CNN, Maria was a correspondent for Mega TV, a Spanish Broadcasting Systems network, and a producer and editor at Telemundo WNJU in New York where she started her journalism career. Born in the Dominican Republic, Maria is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a major in Psychology.

Joyce Hall '78Joyce Y. Hall '78 recently started in academia full time as an Assistant Professor and the Director of Field Practicum Placement and Career Development in the Masters of Public Health Program at Long Island University Brooklyn. She served as executive director for 9 years of the Federation of County Networks, Inc. (FCN), a New York City not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve health disparities in women, infant, child and adolescent health through coalition building, education, training, technical assistance, evaluation, and advocacy in NYC economically challenged communities. She is a recognized community and public health professional with leadership experience. Her career spans over 30 years of not-for-profit and governmental experience in primary health care services, public and community health, adolescent health, women’s and child health, and HIV/AIDS services.

She also is in academia as an adjunct professor in CUNY’s School of Public Health at Hunter College and has worked as an adjunct at Mercy College, the College of New Rochelle, and New York City College of Technology. Joyce is currently doing preparatory course work for the CUNY School of Public Health doctorate in public health.  She holds a MPH from the University of Rochester and a certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from Columbia Business School. In addition to serving on Wesleyan's Board if Trustees, Joyce is also a board member at START Treatment and Recovery Centers (Chair), formerly Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation (ARTC), and the Public Health Association of New York City.

At Wesleyan, Joyce was a sociology major as an undergraduate, was active in Ujamaa, co-chair of Jazz Series Committee in 1977 and 1978, a work study student (1975-80), a senior interviewer in the Admissions Office, and manager/statistician of the women’s basketball team – from 1975-1977 and team member in 1977-78. Joyce has volunteered on behalf of Wesleyan for more than 30 years, serving as chair of the Black Alumni Council, an alumni interviewer and college fair representative, a fundraiser, Reunion Committee member, and Alumni of Color Council member. She has received a Wesleyan Alumni Service Award.

Saeyun Lee '93Dr. Saeyun D. Lee '93 is the Policy Director in the Executive Office of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and she is responsible for managing the development and implementation of education policy initiatives in the early education, K-12, and higher education sectors.  She is currently leading the implementation of Governor Deval Patrick’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda, a targeted effort to close persistent achievement gaps in 26 communities across Massachusetts; supporting the implementation of early education and K-12 Race to the Top initiatives; coordinating the development of a strategic plan to enhance the quality of educator preparation programs; and serving as the designee of the Secretary of Education to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Board of Trustees for the University of Massachusetts.  She is also an Adjunct Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is teaching a course about the development and implementation of education policy.

She served as a Research and Evaluation Specialist at The Education Alliance at Brown University, where she implemented mixed methods evaluation projects and provided technical assistance to state education officials and district administrators regarding the implementation of systemic reform initiatives.  She also worked at the Boston Annenberg Challenge to support the implementation of reform initiatives in the Boston Public Schools (BPS), and served as an Assistant Dean of Admission at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.  The purpose of her doctoral dissertation was to explore the assessment of the organizational capacity of school districts, and she conducted a case study of the BPS and its capacity to support the Collaborative Coaching and Learning Model, an inquiry-based and job-embedded professional development initiative.  She graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in philosophy and from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy.  She earned a Ph.D. in education leadership and policy at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Simone White '93Simone White '93 was born in 1972 in Middletown, Connecticut, and grew up in Philadelphia. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1997, she practiced law for seven years. Simone is the author of House Envy of All of the World (Factory School, 2010), the chapbooks Unrest (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013) and Dolly (with the paintings of Kim Thomas, Q Ave Press, 2008), and her work also has appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Baffler, The Brooklyn Rail, The Claudius App, Aufgabe, The Recluse, Callaloo and The Encyclopedia Project among other journals and anthologies. This fall, She was selected as a 2013 "New American Poet" by the Poetry Society of America.

She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at CUNY Graduate Center and lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Simone's father, Ronald Avon White, was class of 1973, her mother, Dr. Aruby Odom White, is MAT 1972 and her sister, Santi White, is class of 1997.

Images provided by moderator and panelists

Related Links

Visit the Women of Wesleyan home page

Check out photos from regional events around the world!

Video of Dwight Greene Symposium 2011: "Journey From Student to Teacher"
Video of Dwight Greene Symposium 2012: "History of Race and Diversity"

Video of Dwight Greene Symposium 2013:  "Women of Color at Wesleyan: 40 years and Beyond"