Symposium on Inclusive Excellence

Together We Are.

The annual Symposium on Inclusive Excellence encourages students and staff to learn, grow, and commit as a campus to comprehensive and continuing engagement with our diverse community. An entire day is reserved for a featured keynote speaker and educational sessions that inspire open dialogue.

symposium on inclusive excellence design

Tenth Annual Symposium on Inclusive Excellence

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023

The Committee for Inclusive and Intercultural Learning (IIL) is excited to announce that the theme of the 2023 Symposium on Inclusive Excellence will be “Inclusive Excellence: Preparation For 21st Century Careers and Communities”. Our keynote event will feature a panel of representatives from a variety of industries who can speak to the value of diversity, equity, intercultural competence, and inclusion education from an employer and career perspective.

Faculty, staff, and students have dedicated their time to provide the LVC Community with a variety of educational and interactive afternoon sessions to further our commitment to Inclusive Excellence.

Schedule of Events

Community Collaboration Recognition: American Foundation for Children with AIDS

Keynote Panel Discussion:

  • Shauntey James, Ph.D., J.D., Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State Harrisburg
  • TaLisa Ramos-Watts, MSW, LSW, CCTP-I, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Education, PA Department of Education
  • John Lawn, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
  • Dr. Matthew Silvis, Medical Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine, Vice Chair of Clinical Operations of Family and Community Medicine, and Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Penn State Health

Inclusion or Exclusion—Dr. Shauntey James

Society is grappling with ways to be more inclusive, but when the world is becoming more divided every day, does claiming inclusion solve or even address systemic problems within society? Or does a concerted legal step need to be taken first in order to ensure change? Come and ponder with Dr. James the debate between inclusion and exclusion and the harsh reality of ignoring their historical context.

Privilege Journey—Lori Portzer

The purpose of the Privilege Journey Activity is to learn to recognize how power and privilege can affect a person’s life, even when they are not aware it is happening.  The intention is not to blame anyone for having more power or privilege or for receiving more help in achieving goals, but to have an opportunity to identify both obstacles and benefits experiences in life.  Participants will react to scenarios provided to simulate various privilege journeys and will be encouraged to reflect on this process for themselves after the journey. 

DEI Across the Hospitality and Business Industries—John Lawn

Keynote panelist John Lawn, President and CEO of Hershey Entertainment, will offer a look at the importance of DEI and belonging skill sets and team building in the hospitality and business world. 

DEI Across the Healthcare Spectrum—Dr. Matthew Silvis

Keynote panelist Dr. Matthew Silvis will offer a look at the importance of DEI and belonging skill sets in the healthcare and medical education sector to achieve a positive patient experience for all. 

DEI in Global Scientific Careers—Dr. Deborah Evans, Leadership Development and Continuing Education, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Inc.

A conversation about the importance of DEI skillsets in global scientific research and leadership development.

hellohive: Recruiting Reimagined for the Next Generation—Byron Slosar, HelloHive 

Join hellohive’s CEO & Founder Byron Slosar for a conversation focused on the importance of prioritizing next-generation talent as a component of creating systemic change in the workplace. From reimagining what relevant experience is and can be during the recruitment process, to focusing on diversity as an all-inclusive, ever-evolving component of our lived experiences, Byron’s career and his company that was founded in 2019 is dedicated to building earlier and more equitable career resources and recruitment channels for next-generation talent. 

Teach Abroad!—Kathy Fester

Kathy will discuss her experiences teaching outside of the country, why it is valuable, and how students can follow that career path.

DEI Development and your Resume—Breen Center

The Breen Center staff will provide examples of how to list your DEI & B professional development experience on your resume.

Transformations and Career Opportunities in Today’s Museums—Barbara McNulty and Shannon Egan, Ph.D., Director of the Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College 

Shannon Egan, Ph.D., Director of the Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College and specialist in photography and contemporary art and Barbara McNulty, Director of the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, Lebanon Valley College will co-host a talk about the museum world and the ongoing initiatives in the industry that promote diversity, equity, and intercultural competence. Museums have been adopting new approaches to civic responsibilities, as curators and educators are looking closely at more inclusive collecting practices, exhibitions, and programs. Drs. Egan and McNulty will discuss new museums, the shifting focus of collections, socio-politically-engaged exhibitions, and collaborations with local audiences. They also will share resources with students interested in a career in museums. 

Following the discussion will be a Gallery tour of the exhibition: Under the Mexican Sky: Vintage Photographs by Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, and Colleagues (Feb. 3–April 2, 2023) 

Brave Zone 101—Liz Sterner, Laura Richardson, Margaret Mailey 

Come learn about how to support our LGBTQ+ community! This Brave Zone training will utilize revamped content and discussions and will be moderated by Liz Sterner and Amber Corcoran. After completion of the training, participants will receive a Brave Zone placard to display their support around campus. 

My Ancestor’s Wildest Dreams: Forging a Path from Healing to Advocacy—TaLisa Ramos-Watts, MSW, LSW, CCTP-I, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion has become a crucial and transformative element within our current society, and most importantly in our communities and the workplace. Now more than ever it is essential for us to lean into 21st century leadership and embrace inclusive excellence. This session will focus on utilizing trauma informed approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure sustainability and to create a pathway for restorative justice, while challenging oppressive structures and systemic issues. Presenter TaLisa Ramos-Watts will share how her own healing journey has allowed for her to facilitate brave dialogue, advocate for equity and inclusion, and continue to educate our next generation of Inclusive Excellence Practitioners.

DEI Across the Hospitality and Business Industries—John Lawn

Keynote panelist John Lawn, President and CEO of Hershey Entertainment, will offer a look at the importance of DEI and belonging skill sets and team building in the hospitality and business world. 

DEI Across the Healthcare Spectrum—Dr. Matthew Silvis

Keynote panelist Dr. Matthew Silvis will offer a look at the importance of DEI and belonging skill sets in the healthcare and medical education sector to achieve a positive patient experience for all. 

DEI in Global Scientific Careers—Dr. Deborah Evans, Leadership Development and Continuing Education, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Inc.

A conversation about the importance of DEI skillsets in global scientific research and leadership development.

hellohive: Recruiting Reimagined for the Next Generation—Byron Slosar, HelloHive 

Join hellohive’s CEO & Founder Byron Slosar for a conversation focused on the importance of prioritizing next-generation talent as a component of creating systemic change in the workplace. From reimagining what relevant experience is and can be during the recruitment process, to focusing on diversity as an all-inclusive, ever-evolving component of our lived experiences, Byron’s career and his company that was founded in 2019 is dedicated to building earlier and more equitable career resources and recruitment channels for next-generation talent. 

Teach Abroad!—Kathy Fester

Kathy will discuss her experiences teaching outside of the country, why it is valuable, and how students can follow that career path.

DEI Development and your Resume—Breen Center

The Breen Center staff will provide examples of how to list your DEI & B professional development experience on your resume.

Transformations and Career Opportunities in Today’s Museums—Barbara McNulty and Shannon Egan, Ph.D., Director of the Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College 

Shannon Egan, Ph.D., Director of the Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College and specialist in photography and contemporary art and Barbara McNulty, Director of the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, Lebanon Valley College will co-host a talk about the museum world and the ongoing initiatives in the industry that promote diversity, equity, and intercultural competence. Museums have been adopting new approaches to civic responsibilities, as curators and educators are looking closely at more inclusive collecting practices, exhibitions, and programs. Drs. Egan and McNulty will discuss new museums, the shifting focus of collections, socio-politically-engaged exhibitions, and collaborations with local audiences. They also will share resources with students interested in a career in museums. 

Following the discussion will be a Gallery tour of the exhibition: Under the Mexican Sky: Vintage Photographs by Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, and Colleagues (Feb. 3–April 2, 2023) 

Poverty Simulation—Jen Liedtka

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families.  But unless you’ve experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand.  The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) bridges that gap from misconception to understanding.  CAPS is an interactive immersion experience that sensitizes participants to the realities of poverty as you role-play a month in the shoes of a low-income family.  After the simulation, you will unpack your learning and brainstorm community change. 

Religious Diversity at LVC and Beyond—Matt Sayers & Andrea Haldeman

On college campuses and in the workplace, religious diversity can be a source of confusion and conflict or a great opportunity for enrichment, but discussions of how to engage a religiously diverse community are rare. In this session, designed for both faculty & staff and students, Religion Professor Matt Sayers and Chaplain Andrea Haldeman will lead a discussion of the value and challenges of religious diversity at LVC and beyond. Topics will include the internal diversity of Christianity; the challenges to recognizing religious diversity at LVC and not being Christian at a predominantly White Christian institution; the concepts of Christian privilege and secular privilege; and the role of religion on campus, in the workplace, and beyond. Through information sharing, active learning, and break out discussion groups by role on campus, participants will reflect on working and living in a religiously diverse world. The goals of this session are to 1. recognize and develop strategies to respond to religious differences, 2. discuss ways to fostering belonging among religiously diverse people, and 3. to identify resources for meeting these challenges. 

Social Identity & Belonging—Cathy Romagnolo and DEI Fellows 

In this session a group of Student DEI Fellows will lead a dialogue-based activity to encourage participants to reflect on their own identities and what it means to feel a sense of belonging. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in facilitated dialogue about how these concepts might apply to their varying career paths. 

Meet Our Keynote Panelists

Dr. Shauntey James

Shauntey James, PhD., J.D.

Dr. Shauntey James’s research focuses on sexual assault, gender identification, and women within the criminal justice system. She is an assistant teaching professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. Dr. James has presented her work on the local, national, and international levels. She is active on two academic journal boards and has received numerous teaching awards. Her recent publication with Dr. Van Gundy was The History, Evolution, and Current State of the Female Offender: Recommendations for the Field and her new book is Murder: Secrets Among Colleagues. 

TaLisa Ramos-Watts

TaLisa Ramos-Watts, MSW, LSW, CCTP-I

A licensed Social Worker in the state of Pennsylvania, TaLisa has dedicated herself to cultivating an environment of equity, inclusion, and justice in higher education, health care, government, and community settings. With a background in human behavior, TaLisa has supported several institutions and organizations in improving organizational culture, implementing change management, cultivating a trauma-informed workplace, and facilitating equity & inclusion. TaLisa is also a certified clinical trauma professional who utilizes a decolonized lens and specializes in ancestral healing, intergenerational trauma, and cultural somatics within marginalized communities.

John Lawn

John Lawn

John Lawn was appointed a Director of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts in June 2017 and elected Chairman of the Board in September 2019. John was named Chief Executive Officer in June 2017 after serving as President since September 2016. John joined the company in 2004 and previously served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining the company, John worked with clients at Yankee Stadium, FedEx Field, and the Men’s US Open Championships, as well as at other sporting venues and premier hospitality events throughout the country. John serves on the Board of Directors of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and he is a member of the Penn State Harrisburg Board of Advisers. John is also a member of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, serving as Vice President of the Tourism Coalition, and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

Dr. Matthew Silvis

Dr. Matthew Silvis, MD, FAMSSM

Matthew Silvis, MD graduated from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in 2002.  He then completed a Family Medicine Residency at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  After residency, Dr. Silvis practiced wilderness medicine in rural Wyoming before returning to Wake Forest where he completed a fellowship in primary care sports medicine.  Dr. Silvis is currently a Professor in the Departments of Family and Community Medicine & Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Penn State College of Medicine and Division Chief of Primary Care Sports Medicine.  Dr. Silvis also serves as the Vice Chair of Clinical Operations for the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Physician Lead for Value Based Care and Population Health for Penn State Health.  He serves as medical director and head team physician for the Hershey Bears Hockey Club and Hershey High School. 

We asked our panelists the following question:


When reflecting on your undergraduate education, what memorable influencers (people or experiences) shaped your beliefs and behaviors as it relates to intercultural competence?

View their responses below.

“Several women have had an impact on my educational journey as it relates to intercultural competence: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Barbara Neely, and my aunt Marlene Fulton.”   

My undergraduate experience provided me the opportunity to surround myself around educators both inside and outside the classroom, memorable individuals who poured into me and taught me the past so that I could learn how to engage equity and inclusion in the present. The individuals who had the biggest impact on me were David Stewart, our Multicultural Recruiter, and LVC Alum Rachel Hadrick, who at the time served as the Coordinator of Intercultural Affairs at my undergraduate institution. They both took me under their wings, mentored me, asked difficult questions, and allowed me to ponder outside of the box in a brave space. Being involved on campus in diverse student organizations and programming also allowed for me to exercise my intercultural competence. Being involved with the Intercultural Center allowed for me to attend Equity & Inclusion Conferences and engage in identity development that allowed me to love all parts of me.”

While I was studying for my undergraduate liberal arts degree, I assumed most individuals were in my position of getting an education to help me achieve a successful career. It was not until I was working at Yankee Stadium that I realized my naivety in believing everyone followed that path to progress. As I worked alongside persons of different educational, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, I quickly realized what I took for granted – that college is a privilege, not a right. For the first time in my life, I was in the minority, and it opened my eyes to opportunity and that workplaces are rich in diversity.

“As an undergraduate student at Allegheny College, I fully immersed myself in a liberal arts education taking many classes in American history to complement my major in biology.  My favorite faculty member in the History Department offered a course focused on the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements.  This class was truly life changing, opening my eyes to the importance of knowing the past to better understand the present and face the future.  I have reflected often on what I learned in this course throughout my career, in particular regarding intercultural competence in healthcare delivery!”