6th Annual CEW+ Advocacy Symposium: Creating Change through Introspection, Dialogue & Action

September 21, 2022 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Michigan League, 911 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Sponsored by TIAA

The CEW+ Advocacy Symposium returns in person this fall to bring together staff, faculty, students, and community members to create change through introspection, dialogue and action. 

This year’s symposium will feature: 

  • Opening Session: Financial Empowerment roundtable discussions and lunch hosted by Laurita Thomas, Executive in Residence, Center for Positive Organizations, President, American Research Universities Human Resources Institute;  with opening remarks from Anne Ollen, MA, CEBS, Managing Director, TIAA Institute; and Tiffany Marra, PhD, CEW+ Director.
  • A capstone presentation by outgoing CEW+ Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist, Theresa Anderson, Senior Researcher, Urban Institute. Dr. Anderson’s work explores the networks that Michigan student parents navigate, providing insights on policy and practice changes that would make it easier for parenting students in the state, and specifically in the U-M system, to meet their educational goals. CEW+ will also announce the incoming 2023 CEW+ Twink Frey Visiting Social Activists. 
  • Workshops hosted by CEW+, the Ginsberg Center, the Program on Intergroup Relations, and SAPAC are designed to showcase a variety of approaches to advocacy. Workshops provide attendees the opportunity to engage in self-reflection, group discussion, and action-planning to advance their advocacy efforts on behalf of causes that are central to their personal and professional goals.
  • The Awarding of the 2022 Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change. Awardees include faculty, staff, and students whose sustained efforts have resulted in greater equity with regard to gender, race, class, age disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Awardees will present lightning talks and participate in a panel discussion.
  • The Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture, “From Protests to Policy Reforms: Advancing Gender Equality in a Complex, Multi-ethnic and Multi-Religious Nigeria,” presented by Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center and executive board member of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding and the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi is a professor, lawyer, and civil rights activist whose work is focused on maternal and reproductive health advocacy, gender-based violence, social justice, and the underrepresentation of women in governance.

Livestream of the event

Join the 6th Annual CEW+ Advocacy Symposium via Livestream for all plenary sessions in the Michigan League Ballroom.

12:00 – 1:30 pm:  https://ummedia01.umnet.umich.edu/cew/cew092122a.html
Financial Empowerment Roundtable Discussions, Presentation from the Outgoing Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist, Announcement of the 2023 Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist

3:30 – 6:00 pm: https://ummedia01.umnet.umich.edu/cew/cew092122b.html
Presentation of the 2022 CEW+ Inspire Awards followed by the 2022 Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture featuring Dr.Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi

Digital Conference Program

Click here to access the full interactive program.

Please note that the digital program is interactive; feel free to click on blue bolded words, graphics, and ads to read and learn more.


Conference Schedule

Conference Schedule
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
12:00 pm
Opening session: Financial Empowerment roundtables with lunch led by Laurita Thomas, with opening remarks by Tiffany Marra and Anne Ollen
Michigan League Ballroom
1:00 pm
Presentation from Dr. Theresa Anderson, 2022 Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist, and the announcement of the 2023 Activist
Michigan League Ballroom
1:30 pm
Concurrent workshop sessions
Michigan League Meeting Rooms
2:15 pm
Michigan League
2:30 pm
Concurrent workshop sessions
Michigan League Meeting Rooms
3:15 pm
Michigan League
3:30 pm
Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award Presentations and Talks
Michigan League Ballroom
4:30 pm
Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture
Michigan League Ballroom

Financial Empowerment

Women in the U.S. retire with 30 percent less income than men. CEW+ and TIAA are teaming up to fight to end retirement inequality and seek your perspective about how we can assist individuals to feel more empowered when making financial decisions and to #RetireInequality.

This session begins with a presentation by Anne Ollen, CEBS Managing Director at the TIAA Institute, on the P-FIN Index, an annual survey that measures the level of knowledge and understanding among U.S. adults in areas that enable them to make sound financial decisions and effectively manage their personal finances. Attendees will then share their input and experiences by participating in roundtable discussions on financial empowerment topics, facilitated by Laurita Thomas, Executive in Residence at the Center for Positive Organizations, and President of the American Research Universities Human Resources Institute.

Anne Ollen

Anne Ollen, MA, CEBS Managing Director, TIAA Institute




Laurita Thomas

Laurita Thomas, Executive In Residence, Center For Positive Organizations; President, American Research Universities Human Resources Institute

Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist

The Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist (TFVSA) Program brings to CEW+ a social justice activist whose work affects women and recognizes gender equity issues. One goal of the program is to build the capacity and effectiveness of social activists. This is accomplished by giving the TFVSA time, space, and support to work on a project that would not be possible under the activist’s usual working circumstances.

The TFVSA program gives the selected TFVSA time for reflection, research, planning, and writing related to the area of activism. Each TFVSA is required to work on a project that will advance the future work of the TFVSA and potentially benefit other activists.

Theresa Anderson, MPP, PhD
2022 Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist
Student-Parents at the Center: How Systems and Policies Affect Student-Parent Families in Michigan

Dr. Theresa Anderson is a senior researcher at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social policy research organization located in Washington, DC. Dr. Anderson has led teams for over 10 years conducting mixed-methods research on important policy issues with the goals of reducing social inequity and promoting social justice. She is building a body of work on parenting students to inform policies that help support family wellbeing as parents pursue and achieve their education goals. She earned her MPP and PhD from George Washington University and is an Ann Arbor native. 

Dr. Anderson has been examining how resources, supports, and policies in areas like higher education, the social safety net, child care, infrastructure, and the labor market account for and serve Michigan families in which a parent is pursuing a college degree. From this work, she will provide insights on policy and practice changes that would make it easier for parenting students in the state and specifically in the U-M system to meet their education goals.

Following Dr. Anderson’s presentation, CEW+ is pleased to announce the selection of the 2023 Twink Fry Visiting Social Activists. 


Session 1 (1:30 - 2:15 PM)

A. Pathways to Social Change: Ginsberg Community Partners on Advocacy & Action

Natalie Holbrook

Natalie Holbrook

Desirae Simmons

Desirae Simmons

Kate Livingston

Kate Livingston






Natalie Holbrook, Program Director,  American Friends Service Committee; María Militzer, U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity, Mexiquenses; Desirae Simmons, Co-Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and a founding member of Liberate! Don’t Incarcerate, Rising for Economic Democracy in Ypsi, What’s Left Ypsi, Untold Stories of Liberation and Love, Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw (CREW), and Michigan Alliance for Justice in Climate (MAJIC); Linh Song, Ann Arbor City Council, Ward 2; facilitated by Kate Livingston, PhD, Associate Director, Edward Ginsberg Center

What does it mean to ‘advocate’ for social change? What forms of action can promote equity and justice at the individual, local, and systems levels? Ginsberg Center’s 6 Pathways for Civic Engagement and Community Change provide a framework for thinking broadly about the ways that you can use your power to create a more just and equitable world. In this roundtable discussion facilitated by Ginsberg Center, local advocates from Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan will discuss their approaches to advocacy and illustrate the 6 Pathways in practice.


B. Critically Reflective Practice

Roger Fisher

Roger Fisher

Roger Fisher, Associate Director, Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR)

Workshop participants will be introduced to the practice of critical reflection for both dialogue facilitators and participants. This concept will be explored in a set of interactive activities meant to illustrate the power of critical reflection in making deeper meaning, integrating the cognitive and the affective, and synthesizing both explicit and implicit growth, learning, and development.


C. Finding Your Center: Staying Grounded While Navigating Decision Making

Sandra Iaderosa

Sandra Iaderosa

Doreen Murasky

Doreen Murasky






Sandra Iaderosa, LMSW, CEW+ Associate Director
Doreen Murasky, LMSW, ACSW, CEW+ Special Projects Manager

Every day, whether big or small, hard or easy, you make decisions; from the kind of breakfast you will eat, to mask or not to mask, to choosing a major or changing jobs. These choices, although a part of life, can be stressful. This interactive workshop was created to dedicate a space for you to hit ‘pause’, reflect, and find your center. You will leave the session equipped with tools and resources to help manage stress, gain clarity and stay grounded while navigating the many decisions of life.

Session 2 (2:30 - 3:15 PM)

A. The Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center: Addressing Sexual Misconduct Through Survivor Support & Advocacy, Student Engagement, and Community Outreach & Education

Anne Huhman

Anne Huhman

Anne Huhman, MSW, Interim Director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC)

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) at the University of Michigan addresses sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual harassment in a comprehensive manner, acknowledging that we need efforts on the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels in order to move the needle in a positive direction. In this session, presenters will share highlights from their survivor support and advocacy; student engagement; and community outreach programs to demonstrate the multiple, creative ways we can address these complex human rights, social justice, and public health issues.


B. Advocating for Change Within a Decentralized System

Tiffany Marra

Tiffany Marra

Will Sherry

Will Sherry






Tiffany Marra, PhD, CEW+ Director
Will Sherry, MSW, Director, Spectrum Center, Interim Director of Strategic Initiatives, Project Lead Manager, DEI

Working within a decentralized system requires unique skills in order to create change. Will Sherry (15 years U-M staff) and Tiffany Marra (21 years U-M staff) will discuss their unique experiences and approaches to forming partnerships, building allies, and working across units to enhance student experiences. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on how they have navigated complex challenges in the past and how those strategies could be leveraged when creating change in a complex system. Participants will take away ideas from the speakers and participants and develop potential allies in their work.


C. Advocating for Yourself: The Job Seeking Process

Gabriella Boufford

Gabriella Boufford

Gabriella Boufford, MSW, LMSW, CEW+ Counseling Center Social Worker

Navigating the job seeking process can be a challenging and frustrating journey. This interactive workshop will focus on strategies to advocate for yourself during this process. Topics will include:

  • Researching the organization: What’s important to look for in an organization? How to know if this is the right fit for you?
  • Interviewing skills: It’s a two-way street; How do you answer difficult questions? What questions to ask to understand culture and fit
  • Negotiating: How to ask for what you need. What can be negotiated?

This workshop will provide the advocacy tools to become empowered as a job seeker and beyond.

2022-23 Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award For Excellence In Promoting Equity And Social ChangeD SOCIAL CHANGE

2022-23 Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change

Carol Hollenshead with family

In 2018, CEW+ established the Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change in honor of Carol Hollenshead’s 20-year tenure as executive director of the Center. These awards are presented at the symposium, and each recipient will present a brief lightning talk highlighting their work. Throughout this academic year, each awardee will lead a 90-minute workshop as a part of the year-long symposium activities. The intent of Inspire workshops is to highlight the authentic journeys of social change leaders, spotlighting them as role models for others aspiring to work towards social change. After a brief meditation practice, leaders from each group will deliver their lightning talks, and then participate in a panel discussion  focused on the symposium theme, “Creating Change Through Introspection, Dialogue, and Action.”


2022-23 Award Recipients

Three groups will receive the 2022-23 Carol Hollenshead Inspire Awards for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change. Each group will present a brief lightning talk at the symposium and host a workshop during the 2022-23 academic year.

Community Advisory Board for Lupus Care and Research

Kourtney Pony

Rachel Bergmans







Kourtney Pony, MD/MBA Candidate, University of Michigan; Rachel Bergmans, MPH, PhD, Research Investigator, University of Michigan Department of Anesthesiology, Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center (CPFRC)

Lightning Talk:
Advancing Racial Equity and Inclusion in Lupus Care and Research

This lightning talk will contextualize racial inequities in lupus care and research, as well as the underlying factors for these inequities. In doing so, the presenters will discuss the group’s development as an educational resource for lupus self-management in partnership with representatives from Black communities. The talk will also share examples of using community-engaged research approaches as a tool to address health inequities. Lastly, the presenters will comment on their parallel work, which includes community outreach activities and qualitative interviews, and share how this work has helped to (a) better understand the experience of Black patients who have lupus, and (b) identify opportunities to improve equity in lupus care and research.

Orbit Labs: Online Resources for Building Intercultural Teams

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt

Dr. Denielle Emans







Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, Associate Professor, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design; Dr. Denielle Emans, Assistant Professor of Design, Roger Williams University; Nicole Fairchild Azevedo, Master of Integrative Design, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Lightning Talk:
Visual Thinking Methods and Intercultural Collaboration for Social Change

For the past 12 years, Associate Professor Kelly Murdoch-Kitt’s research has demonstrated her commitment to diversity and inclusion by studying how to use visual thinking as a powerful tool for building bridges across various types of cultural differences—e.g. disciplinary, experiential, and geographic. Her 2020 book, Intercultural Collaboration by Design: Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines through Visual Thinking, co-authored with Dr. Denielle Emans (Roger Williams University), provides a framework and more than 30 structured activities that introduce visual thinking as a route to promote equity and inclusion. Murdoch-Kitt will discuss how her innovative Global Studio virtual exchange course utilized her innovative series of visual thinking activities to create inclusive, student-centered cultural learning experiences. These activities, which can be applied in a variety of contexts, foster introspection and dialogue about social issues and challenging topics such as discrimination.


Scholarship, Transferable skills, Academia & Research (STAR) Scholars

STAR provides first- and second-year students and transfer students from under-represented, low-income, and/or first-generation college student backgrounds with workshops and small-group mentoring that overcome the barriers of the “hidden curriculum” and help them become involved in research.

Cindy Lustig

Julie Catanzarite







Dr. Cindy Lustig, PhD, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in Psychology; Julie Catanzarite, M.Ed., Student Personnel Administration; Certificate in Higher Education Assessment; 2021-22 graduate student mentors: Nia Nickerson, Erick Aguinaldo, Michael Demidenko, Abby Lucas, Lolita Moss, Tong Suo, Patsy Delacey, Annika From, Mena Davidson, Kathy Xie (group link: https://lsa.umich.edu/psych/undergraduates/star-scholars-program.html)

Lightning Talk:
STAR: An evidence-based based program that increases under-represented student involvement in research

Under-represented students often miss out on the benefits of becoming involved in research.  STAR is an evidence-based program that addresses the barriers to under-represented student participation in research.  STAR gives early-stage (1st and 2nd year) undergraduates and 3rd-year transfer students, all of whom meet 2 or more Rackham Merit criteria, the skills and cultural capital to find and engage in research positions.  It has dramatically increased under-represented student participation in research in our department, and in the senior/honors thesis program.  Importantly, STAR is not just a skills-training program:  It puts a major emphasis on near-peer mentorship and helping STAR Scholars develop their self-confidence and feeling of belonging in the science community.  To quote one of our mentees, “Not only has it successfully made me feel competent enough for a professional environment, research position, and graduate school, it has also significantly eased my anxiety and imposter syndrome.”

2022 Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture

Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe

Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe

The Weerasinghe Lecture is named for Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, who worked throughout her life to promote international understanding and communication. Weerasinghe was a representative from 1956-1965 at the United Nations for the World Federation of the United Nations Association in New York where she traveled and spoke widely on behalf of the UN Association. She had a weekly children’s radio program, “Tales from the East” in New York that resulted in the production by UNESCO of seven records for children about the music and culture of non-western countries. She has published several books for children was an active member of Women Geographers in Washington and served on several not-for-profit boards in Sri Lanka where she resided until her passing in 2018. The lectureship brings speakers on international subjects to CEW+ in collaboration with other units.

CEW+ thanks Emerita Leadership Council Member Menakka Bailey for making this fund possible in honor of her mother, Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, a lifelong advocate of cross-cultural dialogue and advancement for women.


Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, LLM, PhD, founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center and executive board member of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding and the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund

2022 Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture: Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, LLM, PhD

Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, LLM, PhD, founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center and executive board member of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding and the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund presents, “From Protests to Policy Reforms: Advancing Gender Equality in a Complex, Multi-Ethnic and Multi-Religious Nigeria.” 

Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi is an African Activist and a feminist scholar. A former students’ union leader, she led numerous students’ civil actions nationwide to challenge the oppressive military rule and promote democracy in Nigeria. Highly regarded for her ability to build consensus among diverse constituencies, she was successful at mediating between opposing groups to promote a unified front on several issues affecting the country. Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi has taken up cases in Nigerian Courts on behalf of political prisoners, pro-democracy activists, and an uncountable number of women and other vulnerable groups, and has won cases at national and subregional courts. She is the only female lawyer known to be providing legal services to women who were detained by hospitals in Lagos State for failing to pay for maternity services. 

Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi is the founding director of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, (WARDC) and a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos. She is a leading voice in the Bring Back Our Girls Movement and has also been a co-convener for the Gender & Constitutional Reform Network, as well as the Feminist Womanifesto, the largest feminist group in Nigeria. 

In March 2022, she led over 3000 women to the national assembly to address challenges of identity and dignity in Nigeria. The protesters demanded the passage of gender bills and integration of the same in the Nigerian constitution.

In Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi’s lecture, she will share her experiences of mobilizing Nigerian women to demand accountability from formal and informal structures; her navigation of patriarchal structures; and breaking legal, religious, and traditional barriers to ensure that women and girls are free from lifelong discrimination and marginalization. In addition, she will discuss her engagement with the human rights mechanism toward ending violence against women and girls, ensuring zero tolerance for sexual harassment, affirming women’s maternal health, and protecting women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Africa. 

Abby Stewart

Abigail Stewart, PhD

Following the lecture, Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi will join in conversation with Dr. Abigail Stewart, PhD, Sandra Schwartz Tangri Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies.


The CEW+ Advocacy Symposium is made possible with support from our corporate sponsor, TIAA, and with funding from CEW+’s Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture fund.

CEW+ thanks Emerita Leadership Council Member Menakka Bailey for making this fund possible in honor of her mother, Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, a lifelong advocate of cross-cultural dialogue and advancement for women.

TIAA logo



We are grateful for the support provided by campus partners: Ford School of Public Policy, Ginsberg Center, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Program on Intergroup Relations, and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.

Thank you to our community partner, the League of Women Voters of Washtenaw County. LWV is a non-partisan political organization that – throughout its over 100-year history – works to empower voters and defend our democracy.