Academic Festival 2022

The Exclusion of Inclusion: The Importance of Truly Educating All the People

NCC’s 24th annual Academic Festival will be held virtually on April 19th and April 20th. This year we are celebrating the 60th birthday of our institution which has made us reflect on the bedrock of our mission, the importance of offering education for all. The festival will serve as an opportunity to reflect on and find solutions to remaining barriers that prevent people from historically marginalized groups from gaining to and succeeding in higher education.

24th annual Academic Festival

April 19th and April 20th

Dates and Times

10:00AM-11:30AM: Keynote: Seeking Justice Through Storytelling 

Alex Kotlowitz has spent forty years writing on those along the margins, those struggling to persevere with a sense of dignity and grace. He will talk about how telling stories is a pathway to equity and justice at community college and beyond. He’ll tell stories that speak to the myths we hold about each other, and in the end push us to find empathy.

11:30AM-12:30PM  UPLIFT Program 

UPLIFT is a program which dedicated to Unlocking Potential Leaders’ Insight for Tomorrow.  It is designed to support men of color academically and professionally while attending Norwalk Community College. The staff and mentors are a team of seasoned professionals excited about developing the students’ gifts and talents. The Uplift Academic Fest panel discussion will feature Dr. James Page and Dr. Donald Cole.  They will discuss the challenges associated with diversity in the workplace and classroom.

1:00PM-2:00PM From Gatekeeping to Groundskeeping: Towards a Culture of Inclusive Excellence in STEM

Over the past year, we have witnessed a proliferation of public statements from institutions expressing their commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in STEM. However, critics argue that transformative solutions require collaborations that are focused on bold actions. So, what does this mean for those on the frontline educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, healthcare professionals and educators? In this interactive session, I will offer a framework for us to consider as we reconceptualize and operationalize this equity-focused work from our own spheres of influence.

12:30PM-1:30PM: Autistic and Neurodiverse in College: The Importance of Embracing and Understanding Multiple Identities  

Autism is increasingly being recognized as another form of human diversity. We also continue to see increases in the prevalence of autism in the U.S., which could lead to more enrolled college students identifying as autistic. Autism is often one of many intersecting identities that may shape the experiences and outcomes of this group of college students. This presentation will focus on furthering understanding of autism and intersectionality, describing environmental supports that may optimize the college experience of autistic individuals, and hearing the first-person perspectives of autistic individuals who have attended college and their caregivers.

Meet the 2022 Academic Festival Graphic Designer, Genesis Gonzalez

What was your inspiration behind the image you created for the 2022 Academic Festival?

I used stained glass as my inspiration to design an image related to the theme The Exclusion of Inclusion: The Importance of Truly Educating All the People.” I created a digital illustration of three flowers, in which one of the flowers has been broken into pieces. While the parts, of the flower broken into pieces, do not properly fit in the areas they should be in, the image still allows us to almost imagine what the ‘whole’ looks like which would be that of an image of three flowers that are almost identical. It makes the viewer wonder why only one flower is not properly fitting into the image.

The work represents how inclusion, or ‘the whole,’ is a work in progress that people need to strive for. At the same time, those same people may not realize the factors that play into one’s exclusion, which is depicted by the broken pieces that may or may not already be missing to begin with.

Genesis Gonzalez is a recent Norwalk Community College graduate with an Associate of Science degree in Graphic Design. She plans on continuing her education to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.

Norwalk Community College's 2022 Academic Festival is sponsored by