October 27, 2023
Midwest Bridging Equity Conference

Midwest Bridging Equity: Creating Innovative Spaces for K-12 and Higher Education Conference

Register today for this unique experience.

The illustrious Oakland Community College (OCC) in beautiful Auburn Hills, Michigan will be the meeting place of the inaugural Midwestern DEI Conference on Bridging Equity: Creating Innovative Spaces for K-12 and Higher Education on Friday, October 27, 2023.

This is a transdisciplinary meeting of teachers, administrators and faculty members, spanning educational settings from grades K-12, two-year community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities. The uniqueness of this event is key, as each of the aforementioned educational settings typically operates within its own separate sphere of influence. Rarely is there an opportunity to share best practices in the delivery of student services. The novel nature of educators, regardless of the educational setting, gathering to share cutting-edge pedagogical strategies is not only a rare occurrence but is potentially vital in the evolving landscape of meeting student needs. Participants will receive certificates of attendance for 8 hours.

Participants will receive certificates of attendance for 8 hours. State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) will be awarded through the Oakland Counseling Association.
Oakland Counseling Association

The cost of the conference is $175, which includes:

  • Access to all sessions and associated resources
  • Continental breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Priceless ability to network with newly discovered professional colleagues and friends

Space is limited so register soon.

Conference Details


Time Topic

7:30 am – 8:00 am


7:30 am – 8:00 am

Continental Breakfast

8:00 am – 8:15 am

Welcome & Opening Remarks

8:15 am – 9:00 am

Kurt RussellKeynote – State of DEI

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Understanding Student Rights and Accessibility Challenges Between K12 & Higher Education

  • Panelists: Ashley Abrams; Shawn Dicicco; Renee Henson; Beth Rae
  • Let’s take a deeper look into some of the nuances surrounding some of the legal and interpersonal implications of policies and procedures of student rights and accessibility challenges.
10:00 am – 10:15 am


10:15 am – 11:30 am

Trauma Informed Practices: Supporting Learners Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences

  • Presenters:  Kirsten Moffler-Daykin, EdD & Keri Grokowsky, MA
  • Let’s discuss how to extend trauma-informed student and educator support through higher ed and what doing so can mean for students.
11:30 am – 12:15 pm


12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

When Checking the Box Isn’t Enough: Highlights and Detours Towards an Equitable Educational Experience in K-12 and Higher Ed   

  • Presenters: Maresa Murray, PhD & Nicole Patterson, PhD
  • Let’s explore some of the more subtle (and secretive) real-life encounters experienced on the journey to equity and equality. 
1:15 pm – 1:30 pm


1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Words As Weapons:  How Implicit Bias and Stereotypes Influence Student Success

  • Panelists: Melvin Chapman, MA; Nina Shoman-Dajani, EdD; Luling (Raina) Li, M.Ed; Roxana Zuniga, PhD
  • Let’s discover the ways in which words can be both unintentionally and intentionally create barriers.
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm


3:15 pm – 4:00 pm

Moving Forward & Closing Remarks 

  • Kristina Marshall, JD 

Committee Members

Kristina M. Marshall, JD - Conference Chair and Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice at Oakland Community College

Kristina M. Marshall is the inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) at Oakland Community College. Her expertise spans over many years of training, professional development, administration, and collegiate teaching. She is a national speaker and consultant, focusing on cultural competency and how to address the needs of diverse populations.

Marshall possesses a unique understanding of the challenges facing organizations, administrators, teachers, and students. Her straightforward, common sense approach, and practical strategies address improving dialogue, interaction, and understanding amongst staff and administration. Marshall speaks from personal, classroom and consulting experience; her work has focused on building communities and helping to support inclusive workplaces.
Marshall currently serves in a variety of national diversity leadership roles including serving as the current Chair of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education; Member of the membership committee of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and Accreditation Reader for the Council for Standards in Human Service Education. Marshall also serves as a board member Voices for Children (Flint/Owosso, Michigan); board chair of New Pathways, Inc. (Flint, MI); and is a member of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce Innovations Council.  

Marshall has received numerous honors and awards, including Michigan Community College Association’s 2022-2023 Leadership Academy Fellow, Crain’s 2021 Notable Executives in DEI and 2018 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Judge. Marshall is a national diversity council certified diversity professional and a certified facilitative mediator. 

Nina Shoman-Dajani, EdD - Assistant Dean, Learning Enrichment & College Readiness; Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills, Illinois)

Dr. Nina Shoman-Dajani is the Assistant Dean of Learning Enrichment and College Readiness at Moraine Valley Community College. In addition, Dr. Shoman-Dajani works as an adjunct professor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Xavier University and has served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC), where she taught Arab American studies.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies and her Master of Arts in International Affairs with a focus on U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy from California State University, Sacramento. She completed her Doctor of Education degree at Benedictine University in Higher Education and Organizational Change. Her doctoral research focused on the racial identity construction of Arab American college students. 
She is a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE), a board member for the Arab American Studies Association and a board member for the Syrian Community Network, a refugee resettlement agency in Chicago.  She is a student and community advocate who has volunteered as the advisor to the Arab Student Union for over a decade and currently serves as the Executive Director for the Chicago Palestine Film Festival. Dr. Shoman-Dajani has been recognized with the Delores Huerta Activist Award for her commitment to social change from the Freedom Bound Center in Sacramento, California, and was honored with the Moraine Valley Embracing Diversity Award in recognition of the various initiatives she spearheaded to support students from diverse backgrounds. In 2017, she was honored by Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs with the Outstanding Commitment in Education Award. In recognition of her advocacy on behalf of immigrant populations on campus and in her community, Dr. Shoman-Dajani was the Spirit of Empowerment Award by Arab American Family Services in 2018. In 2019, she was recognized by Saint Xavier University for her academic contributions to the Middle Eastern Studies program.

Kirsten Moffler-Daykin, EdD/TESOL - Learning Commons Manager, Learner Support and Transition Division, Student Success Center, Western Technical College (La Crosse, WIP

Dr. Kirsten Moffler-Daykin currently manages the Learning Commons at Western Technical College in La Crosse, WI. There, she leads the trauma-informed, poverty-informed, and culturally- responsive academic support and library services programs alongside the most incredible team of students and professionals imaginable. She works closely with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by serving on the Diversity Action Team and as a strategy team lead for poverty-informed work at Western. Kirsten serves on the academic policies team, is a certified institutional trainer in trauma-informed care and is an equity leadership and anti-racism professional development workshop facilitator. For the first 20 years of her career, Kirsten taught English and speech in secondary, alternative education, post-secondary, and multi-lingual learner programs. She holds a doctorate from Northeastern University in Boston in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, with an emphasis on Social Justice. Her research interests include trauma-informed practices, educational trauma, language preservation, decolonizing education, linguistic justice, justice-involved students, and nontraditional student success. For the last 13 years, Kirsten and her supportive and kind husband, two brave and creative boys, and a cherished fur baby named Mookie (named for Mookie Betts our favorite player while he was still with the Red Sox), have called Wisconsin home. 

Maresa Murray, PhD - Associate Clinical Professor – Human Development and Family Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies Department of Applied ScienceSupervisor of Adjunct Faculty Members - Department of Applied Science, School of Public Health - Bloomington; Indiana University

Dr. Maresa Murray is a Clinical Associate Professor at Indiana University in the Department of Applied Health Science, within the specialty area of Human Development and Family Studies program. She also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies, leading the curricular content areas of Community Health, Nutrition Science, Dietetics, Safety Management, Human Development and Family Studies, Health Promotion, and Youth Development.  

Her master’s and doctoral degrees were in the field of Family and Child Ecology, where she specialized in ethnic family health, and even more specifically, African American Family Health.  Dr. Murray absolutely loves teaching, and her students will tell you that she “enjoys serving as a catalyst for critical thought.” Her goal is to facilitate the fusion of peer-reviewed research with practical application among her students.  Her audience extends beyond her enrolled students, as she also serves as a gentle racial coach for faculty, staff, and administrators in becoming more aware of how they can personally promote racial restoration for public health. She serves as a master trainer while conducting “Racial Safety Coaching,” both virtually and in-person, in settings such as private and public schools, small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, community centers, and churches. She serves in the local community as a consultant, and racial ghostwriter, framing racial minority characters within a culturally competent paradigm. She has won numerous awards and serves as the president of Groves Conference on Marriage and Family, which is the oldest Family Studies organization in the U.S. Additionally, given her study of family dynamics, Dr. Murray teaches IU students, as well as individual families, how to intentionally cultivate family health among multi-racial and multi-ethnic families, as well as families with children who have been transracially adopted. 

Nicole Sherman Patterson PhD - Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Professional Learning; Shaker Heights Schools (Shaker Heights, Ohio)

Dr.  Nicole Sherman Patterson has been in education for the past twenty-seven years.  She has taught primary through intermediate grades in Cincinnati Public Schools and Shaker Heights City Schools in Ohio, served as a literacy coach in Cincinnati Public Schools, as well as been an adjunct instructor at Miami University, Notre Dame College, and Baldwin Wallace University.  As an adjunct professor she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on curriculum theory, diversity in education, educational research, and teacher leadership.  

She has also provided professional learning on cultural proficiency, culturally relevant and responsive teaching, equity and anti-racist education. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education in 1997 from Miami University,  M.Ed in Curriculum and Teacher Leadership in 2001 from Miami University, and in 2010 received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as well.  During this time, she also received her administrative license for Ohio K-12 schools.
Dr.  Sherman Patterson’s research interests include equity in education, culturally relevant education, culturally responsive teaching, anti-racist education, culturally proficient teaching strategies, critical race theory, critical race feminism,  and womanist theory as it relates to education, the community, and higher education.   She has been a presenter at local and international conferences such as the International Baccalaureate Conference,  the Bergamo Curriculum Conference, AERA (American Education and Research Association), ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), International Multicultural Education Conference, and the International Cultural  Education conference in Verona, Italy.

Currently, Dr. Patterson is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Professional Learning for Shaker Heights City Schools.  Dr.  Patterson has also served as the  Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Learning Specialist in Shaker Heights City Schools, the district MAC (Minority Achievement Committee) Scholars advisor, a Regional Practitioner Council member of MSAN’s (Minority Student Action Network) as well as serves on the Educational Equity Round Table, Equity Advisory and Action Team,  Equity Task Force (previously), Co-Chair of the Black Teacher’s Task Force, and many other community committees that strive towards justice and equity in k-12 education. She enjoys spending time with her family and daughter in Cleveland, Ohio.

Airport Information

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
11050 Rogell Drive #602, Detroit, MI 48242

Hotel Accommodations

Embassy Suits by Hilton – Auburn Hills 
2300 Featherstone Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Distance from Campus: 1 mile

Discounted rate for conference attendees:

  • When booking your reservation through the booking link, the rate should automatically populate.
  • If it does not populate; enter [DEI] (all capital letters) under special offers - group code - update. 
  • Be sure to reserve your room prior to 10/5 to take advantage of this discounted rate.

Restaurants in the Area

Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce Restaurant list


Great Lakes Crossing Outlet

Accessibility Requests

Oakland Community College is committed to recognizing accessibility requests so that registrants can fully enjoy the conference experience. In order to ensure accommodation of these requests, please indicate these on your conference registration form by October 6.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made in writing and sent to kmmarsha@oaklandcc.edu. Cancellation requests received after October 13, and conference no-shows are ineligible for refunds. Conference organizers will issue refunds within 30 days of the request. Please note that registrations are transferable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend?

This Conference is designed for diversity officers; college/university and K-12-level educators and administrators; counselors, and those working with student who are all seeking new innovative, forward thinking diversity, equity and inclusion strategies.

What is the attire?

Business casual.

Thank you to our lunch sponsor!

Lunch will be sponsored by Maresa Murray, PhD, who is a Clinical Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the Department of Applied Health Science within the School of Public Health-Bloomington, at Indiana University