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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity Forum

Embracing Community: Unity in Diversity

Upper School Keynote Speaker

Mark C. Niles ’84

Professor of Law, Hofstra University

Mark C. Niles ’84 teaches and specializes in civil procedure, constitutional law, administrative law and governmental liability. After graduating from Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School, Professor Niles served as a clerk for the Honorable Francis Murnaghan, Jr., of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; as a litigation associate at the D.C. firm of Hogan and Hartson; and as a staff attorney on the Civil Appellate staff of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has also served as the Reporter for the Maryland Civil Pattern Jury Instructions Committee of the Maryland State Bar Association. Professor Niles spent twelve years as a professor at the American University Washington College of Law, the last six of those as professor and associate dean for academic affairs. From 2010-2013 he served as Dean and Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law. Professor Niles returned the Washington College of Law in 2013. In 2019, he accepted a position as Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.

Professor Niles has published numerous articles and essays on subjects including the Ninth Amendment, federal tort liability, airline security regulation, the impact of dramatic public events on the evolution of regulatory administration, the social and legal consequences of pre-crime incarceration, the depiction of law and justice in American popular culture and tort liability for prosecutorial misconduct.

Lower School Keynote Speaker

Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney

JWST GTO Postdoctoral Research Associate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney is a James Webb Space Telescope Guaranteed Time Observations postdoctoral research associate at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center employed by Howard University. She is a solar system ambassador for the JWST working with Dr. Stefanie Milam and Dr. Heidi Hammel. She obtained her PhD in 2021 from the University of Leicester working with supervisor Dr. Leigh Fletcher. Her thesis used archived data from the Spitzer Space Telescope to study the thermal structure and composition of the middle atmospheres of the ice giants, Uranus and Neptune. She used the retrieval algorithm NEMESIS and built a consistent retrieval framework for the ice giant planets ahead of the launch of the JWST. Throughout the PhD, Dr. Rowe-Gurney used her teaching experience to partake in significant outreach and public engagement work. She also engaged in considerable equality, diversity, and inclusion work and was an active member of university committees, and helped promote science to underrepresented groups. The majority of the engagement work she focused on was for the JWST and promoting its use for looking at our own solar system, especially the giant planets.

You can follow Dr. Rowe-Guney on Twitter @NRoweGurney.


Student Diversity Leadership Conference Presentation

Tendai Ball ’22, Spencer Parizek ’22, Aidan Chalk ’23, Jake Choi, Zaky Ilyas ’24, and Franz Caillat ’25 attended the National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference virtually in December. For Diversity Forum, they facilitated a spectrum activity at Upper School assembly to help students explore their views on various topics within diversity, equity, and inclusion. Click here to explore more of their findings.
Lower School Assembly

Thinking Before We Speak

The Lower School community started the day in the Little Sanctuary, where the Lower School prefects facilitated a workshop on “Thinking Before We Speak,” which delved into microaggressions that marginalized groups may experience in our community. After introducing terminology and concepts, the prefects read different scenarios to students who broke into groups to discuss them further. In groups they delved into the issues with each scenario, what might have been a better approach, and how they could handle the situation in the future if they ever witnessed something similar. Click here to delve into some of the scenarios.

Cultural Festival

Enjoy music and dance from around the globe at the Lower School Cultural Festival featuring, Rhia Morsberger, Middle Eastern Dance (Egypt and Turkey); Mark Puryear, American Blues on Guitar; Suteera Naagavajara & Warin Tepayayone, Thai Dance; and Lavonda Jones, Dr. Yuma Bellomee & Sheena Fogle, African Heritage Dancers & Drummers.

Workshops & Facilitators

Upper School

List of 18 items.

  • P.T. Barnum and the Origins of the Circus in America: Exploiter or Pioneer of Diversity?

    Facilitated by: Amanda Licato, Faculty

    This talk explores the legacy of PT Barnum’s founding of the circus, menagerie shows, and the American Museum from the 1840s-1880s in the United States. His employment of “human curiosities” and headliner “freak shows,” or members of society who had physical disabilities or were involved in staged hoaxes—General Tom Thumb, the Siamese Twins, the Fiji Mermaid, etc.—begs us to question the relationship between entertainment, profit, and spectacle.
  • 21%: Generation Z and Our Queer Future

    Facilitated by: Matthew Sheets ’19

    This workshop introduces basic LGBTQ+ concepts and considers the rapidly growing proportion of young people identifying as queer. We will discuss the origins of the LGBTQ movement and its current status in the US. How do we make a difference today? And how does queerness change when a fifth of young people identify as LGBTQ?
  • Eugenics to Ecofascism

    Facilitated by: David Belsky, Faculty

    How has science been co-opted by the dominant group to fit their oppressive narrative? How can we identify misapplications of the scientific method, and ensure our understandings contribute to an equitable society? This workshop will look at the past, present, and future use of scientific principles as a means of oppression, and challenge participants to investigate their own assumptions.
  • Inheritance: An Artist Considers the Past , Present, and Future

    Facilitated by: Imar Hutchins, Artist

    How do you define inheritance? Printmaker Imar Hutchins considers how we think about the influences of the past on our presence. Mr.Hutchins will talk about his creative procrss and show examples of his art that help illustrate how he uses the past to help shape the work he makes now as an artist.
  • The Value of Words: Getting Vocal about Local Bookstores

    Facilitated by: Denny Gonzales, Faculty

    “Shop Black, Not Bezos,” reads some of the merch in Loyalty, a local, Black-, queer-, woman-owned bookstore with locations in both D.C. and Silver Spring. In this workshop, we will investigate how far a dollar will go in local bookstores as compared to major, big-box chains like Barnes and Noble and global retailers like Amazon. Using D.C. as a case study, we’ll consider the ways in which bookstores serve as cultural centers and offer windows and mirrors into the human experience.
  • Who Belongs? Immigration and Standing Up for a Multiracial U.S.

    Facilitated by: Christina Antonakos-Wallace

    The question of who belongs is at the heart of the political divide in the United States. In this workshop, participants will watch film excerpts and explore how current debates around race and immigration relate to our history, their own stories, and how to stand up for a deeper sense of community. Christina Antonakos-Wallace (Director) is a filmmaker and cultural organizer born and based in the unceded Coast Salish and Duwamish lands known as Seattle. Her films and new media work has been exhibited in over fifteen countries and received numerous awards. A lifelong activist for social and economic justice, she tells stories that aim to illuminate our inherent belonging.
  • Justice and Sacrifice with a Human Rights Lawyer

    Facilitated by: Tschika McBean

    The presentation will explore the relationship between the pursuit of justice and individual action and sacrifice. The establishment of justice requires volition and effort, which in many instances require personal sacrifices. Seemingly, there seems to be an undeniable link between justice and sacrifice. Moreover, throughout history, those who pursued justice practiced endless selflessness and perseverance. Therefore, it is incumbent upon those who seek the appearance of justice to embrace the sacrifices that underpin its establishment. The presentation will trace the work of key historical figures in their pursuit of justice. Tschika McBean is a human rights officer working to advance international religious freedom for persecuted Baha'i communities. She engages with colleagues and partners in the discourse around human rights issues, including human trafficking, racial justice, and race unity. Before her current role, she prosecuted Child Abuse and Maltreatment cases in New York City and provided legal defense to the re-entry population in New York State as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. Tschika has also worked on deportation defense proceedings and has conducted a wide range of legal research and writing on various international law issues. Tschika is a licensed attorney, holds a B.A. in Sociology, a J.D., and an LL.M. in International Law.
  • Using Film to Explore the Nature of Community

    Facilitated by: Amelia Tyson

    The course will explore, through a short film, what it means to be a member of community, what role does the individual play in creating community, and how the concept of the oneness of humanity impacts the development of community. Amelia Tyson is a 2021 Pulitzer fellow and independent director, producer and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her recent filmmaking credits include a documentary for the Pulitzer Center called Broken Land: Confronting climate change and migration in Guatemala and a short form documentary for media company Participant Media called Meet A Participant: Aylene. She is currently directing a documentary that looks at the legacy of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in Alabama, in recognition of the CWA's 50th anniversary, taking place this summer. Raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Tyson’s work is committed to an exploration of community through the lens that the nature of humanity is a part of one complex and diverse family and humanity and nature cannot be segregated without adverse consequences for both.
  • Many Members, One Body: Unity and Diversity in the New Testament

    Facilitated by: Peter Thompson ’08

    What does the Bible have to say about the relationship between unity and diversity? How can Scripture and the Christian tradition help us to be more attentive to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion? Episcopal priest Peter Thompson '08 leads a discussion based on the letters of Paul, paying particular attention to 1 Corinthians 12.
  • Physical Disability at St. Albans

    Facilitated by: Pryce Bevan ’13

    This workshop will feature a conversation with Pryce Bevan ’13 about the St. Albans experience as seen through the perspective of a student with a physical disability.
  • Visible Impact and Deeper Level Commitments of Indigenous Land Acknowledgement

    Facilitated by: Kevin Ruano, Penn Fellow

    The official renaming of Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day is one of the latest indications of growing interest in making space for and centering Native American perspectives. Several organizations and institutions have also begun to practice voicing and/or publishing land acknowledgement statements to recognize their locations as the ancestral homelands of respective Native American communities. This workshop will offer an opportunity to collaboratively examine the impact organizations and institutions have in releasing land acknowledgement statements, and identify deeper level commitments which can strengthen efforts to make space for Native American perspectives.
  • Difference, Diversity, and Disagreement in a Polarized Age

    Facilitated by: Jason Robinson, Headmaster

    Is it possible to advance the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion while still making room for reasonable doubt and disagreement? Randall Kennedy ’73, professor at Harvard Law School, argues that the pursuit of racial and social justice has, from its inception, been defined by debate. Specifically by a foundational disagreement — or “conversation” — between an “optimistic” and “pessimistic” strain within African American thought and American political discourse. This workshop will examine the debate between the optimists and pessimists and how it can help us understand many of the controversies we struggle with today when we discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as Critical Race Theory and the NY Times’ 1619 project.
  • The American Dream

    Facilitated by: Kyle Money, Former Faculty Member

    About a century ago, "The American Dream" entered the lexicon of American society and began to influence how people around the world viewed opportunities for upward mobility in the United States. We will explore rich quotes, video clips, and music to track the creation, adaptation, and reputation of this ideal over time and take part in an exercise that focuses on the privileges and pitfalls of dreams in America today.
  • I Could Have Been You

    Facilitated by: Letitia Lee, Artist

    Let’s talk about how you are going to help change the world with one simple word… Would you like to know what that one word is? Come to my workshop, let’s chop it up, and let’s create!
  • Searching for Innovation at the Edge

    Facilitated by: Tate Cantrell, President, STA Parents' Association

    The Edge Effect in Nature is where multiple ecosystems come together. Where the Savannah yields to the forest, we find signs of evolution. In our lives, the patterns are similar. Whether in academia, at the workplace, or in composing, those who seek to live at the edge will find inspiration for innovation.
  • Resilience and Readiness in the U.S. Armed Forces: Perspectived in Mission and Practice

    Facilitated by: Sergeant Mark Wilkerson, U.S. Marine Corps (1984-1992)

    Featuring: Rear Admiral Kathleen Creighton, U.S. Navy (Retired); Captain Thomas Duckenfield ’82, U.S. Army; Commander Peter Kelley, U.S. Navy Reserve (Retired); and Sergeant Hank Montalbano ’06, U.S. Army (2010-2015)

    This workshop will present a brief history of integration in the US Armed Forces (focused on the post-WWII era) followed by a panel of five veterans and one active duty serviceperson describing their experiences with and opinions on diversity, equity and inclusion within the U.S. Armed Forces. A Q and A session will follow the presentation.

  • The Outlaw Ocean: A Reporter's Journey Through Crime at Sea

    Facilitated by: Ian Urbina ’90, Investigative Reporter

    Alumnus and current parent Ian Urbina reports on human rights violations, environmental crime, and many other forms of lawlessness at sea. He's interviewed former slaves, chased illegal fishermen with vigilante organizations, and worked to capture the culprits of a murder caught on video. A Pulitzer Prize winner, this year he won a Polk Award for International Reporting: his team revealed how the European Union funded Libyan groups who committed crimes against humanity against migrants fleeing Africa. During that reporting trip, he and his team were captured and beaten. A champion runner at STA and Georgetown before his reporting career, Ian will share highlights of his life and career.
  • Reconciliation between Groups: "Digital Peacebuilding" for Justice on a Global Scale

    Facilitated by: Sam Danello ’14

    Since graduating STA in 2014 as Head Prefect and Valedictorian, Sam Danello has spent his time working for peace and reconciliation between groups. It brought him through a social studies major at Harvard. It led him to work at Search for Common Ground, a peacebuilding nonprofit that consulted internationally to help groups heal after conflict. Currently, Sam is at Oxford preparing a master's thesis on using "slow technology" to humanize enemies and build community. He'll talk about what he's learned, with plenty of time for questions.

Lower School

List of 2 items.

  • Environmental Justice: Replanting Mangroves in the Bahamas

    Gloria Miller, the Senior Education Officer from the Bahamas National Trust, joined Lower School students virtually to discuss the destruction of mangroves by hurricanes and other natural disasters on islands in the Bahamas. The replanting of mangroves has become a service project undertaken by many schools there, making it a community effort for the islands.
  • Unequal D.C.

    The Unequal D.C. workshop helped students learn about and visualize the inequalities present in the structure of the Nation’s Capital. Students worked in small groups to make guesses on true or false questions surrounding representation and autonomy in the District, and then mapped out the distribution of various services and statistics across the different wards. Students then came back together and discussed their findings: Why does Ward 3 have so many of the private schools? Why does Ward 8 have only one grocery store, while Ward 1 has nine? And what about broadband access? Tree coverage? And what do we do with this information now that we have it? This workshop helped students see beyond the life atop Mount St. Alban and look at the city as a whole.
Located in Washington D.C.,  St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.