Keynote Speaker

BD Wong

BD Wong


BD Wong is a celebrated actor and activist with over three decades of excellence on stage, on television, and in film, appearing in such hits as Bird Box, Law & Order: SVU, American Horror Story, Gotham, Jurassic Park, and Jurassic World. His Broadway debut inM. Butterfly earned him a Tony Award, Outer Critic’s Circle Award, Theatre World Award. Clarence Derwent Award, and Drama Desk Award – making him the only actor to ever win all five major New York theatre awards for a single role. BD has also received an Emmy nomination for his role as Whiterose and Minister Zhang in USA Network’s Mr. Robot. His experiences as an openly gay Asian-American actor in Hollywood have shaped his career and inform his ongoing advocacy work. Having faced rejection, typecasting, racism, and homophobia in his journeys through the entertainment industry, he has a sharp perspective on the importance and necessity of diversity and representation in the media and beyond.


Social Justice Speaker

Hina Wong-Kalu (she/her)

Hina Wong-Kalu


A transgender native Hawaiian teacher and cultural icon who brings to life Hawaii’s traditional embrace of mahu — those who embody both male and female spirit. Her documentary, Kumu Hina, traces Hina’s evolution from a timid high school boy to her position as a married woman and cultural director of a school in one of Honolulu’s grittier neighborhoods. As she contemplates who should lead the school's all-male hula troupe in their final performance, a surprising candidate presents herself: Ho’onani, a sixth grader who is proud to be seen as a mixture of boy and girl. As Kumu Hina helps Ho’onani to negotiate the mixed reactions of her classmates and her family, the power of culture to instill a sense of pride and acceptance becomes clear


Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (Kumu Hina) is a kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) teacher, cultural practitioner, and community leader. Born in the Nu’uanu District of Oʻahu Island, Kumu Hina was educated at Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii. She was previously a founding member of Kulia Na Mamo, a community organization established to improve the quality of life for māhū wahine (transgender women), and Cultural Director at a public charter school dedicated to using native Hawaiian culture, history, and education as tools for developing and empowering the next generation of warrior scholars. Kumu Hina is currently a cultural advisor and leader in many community affairs and civic activities, including Chair of the Oahu Island Burial Council, which oversees the management of Native Hawaiian burial sites and ancestral remains. In 2014, Hina announced her bid for a position on the board of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the first transgender candidate to run for statewide political office in the United States.


Cornelius "Neil" Foote (he/him)

Neil Foote headshot


Neil Foote is an associate dean, research, external affairs, and community engagement. He formerly was a principal lecturer at UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism. His primary role is to help market and promote UNT’s New College and establish strategic partnerships with businesses and organizations to support our students and faculty.

Foote, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame as recently inducted into UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism C.E. Shuford Hall of Honor, is author of Principles of News (Kendall Hunt, 2020) and a contributor to the textbook, Race, Gender, Class, and Media: Studying Mass Communication and Multiculturalism (Kendall Hunt Publisher, 2011, 2017). Foote has worked at The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, the Belo Corporation, the Tom Joyner Morning Show and ASNE (now, News Leaders Association).

Foote has taught classes in media entrepreneurship, business journalism, media management and multimedia storytelling. He also was director of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, one the nation’s premier conferences for writers.

Foote is secretary for the Commission on Public Relations Education and is a member of the Council of Presidents for the National Black Public Relations Society, Inc. He is board chair for Forefront Living, a life trustee at The Lamplighter School, past chairman of the National Kidney Foundation Serving North Texas, and a past board member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

He grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and received his B.A. in government from Wesleyan University, a M.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and an M.B.A. from SMU’s Cox School of Business.



Name (Click for more) Pronouns Title Institution/Company Workshop Session

Alexandria Gurley

she/her/hers Student Affairs Professional/DEI Strategist/Spoken Word Artist Alex Tha Great Inc. Home as Space and Place

Amanda Bennett, Ph.D.

she/her Director of Global Partnerships and Engagement University of North Texas Community of Respect

Amy Harth, Ph.D.

she/they Assistant National Dean, Accreditation & Academic Quality DeVry University

Ananya Malik

she/her/hers M.Ed. student in Higher Education University of North Texas Sense of Belonging for APIDA College Students

Ashton Gregory

Digital Accessibility Specialist UNT Office of Disability Access Creating a Diverse Workforce of People with Disabilities

Aubree Evans, Ph.D.

she/her/hers Senior Faculty Development Specialist DSI CLEAR Inclusive Teaching Through Multimodal and Culturally Relevant Course Content

Audon Archibald Ph.D.

he/him/his Data Analyst UNT Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation

Bettye Lopez

she/her/hers Assistant Faculty Development Specialist DSI CLEAR

Brandon Byles

he/him/his Panelist

Brenda E. Avilés

ACCESS Advisor Collin College Challenging Ableist Practices in Higher Education

Brian Lain

he/him/his University Distinguished Teaching Professor in Communication Studies and UNT’s Director of Debate University of North Texas

Carol Wilson

she/her/hers Professor of Voice and Chair of the College of Music DEI Council University of North Texas

Cathy Kennemer

she/her/hers Associate Director of Advising and Success Coaching University of Tulsa

Courtney Glazer

she/her/hers Director of the Core University of North Texas An Anti-Racism “Doing the Work” Continuum for Reflecting & Teaching

Cynthia Ekhator

she/her/hers Special Education Resource Specialist Cultural Stereotypes and the Use of Personal Pronouns in Nigeria

Daniella Smith

she/her/hers Hazel Harvey Peace Endowed Professor and Director of the Information Science Ph.D. Program University of North Texas Reflections on Life in the Academic Small World

Danielle Champagne

she/her/hers Assistant Director, Financial Wellness Program University of North Texas The Path to Financial Security and Economic Mobility for All

Danielle Dumaine

she/her/hers UNT New College

Devin Axtman

he/him/his Student Services Coordinator UNT Office of Disability Access Ableism: What It Is and Why It Matters to Everyone

Devon West

he/him/his Accessibility Engineer Nelnet

Diane Gill

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in School Librarianship Louisiana State University

Dillon Smith

he/him/his Admissions Recruiter University of North Texas

Elena Joy Thurston

she/her/hers CEO The Elena Joy Experience Inclusive Leadership: Beyond Buzzwords & Into Action

Elizabeth Ranieri

she/her/hers Clinical Assistant Professor UNT New College

Emily VanKirk

they/them/theirs/elle Student Development Specialist Tarleton State University Learning While Uncomfortable

Erica Bridges

she/her/hers Panelist

Ethan Ligon

he/him/his Digital Accessibility Assistant University of North Texas

Haley Zettler

she/her/hers Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice University of North Texas Teaching in Prison: Lessons from the Inside-Out Program

Ijay Kaz-Onyeakazi

Information Science Doctoral Student University of North Texas

Jamey Kelley

he/him/his Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education University of North Texas Developing Effective Social Interactions in the Learning Environment

Jasmine Willis-Wallace, Ed.D.

she/her/hers Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Duke University’s Department of Pediatrics Building the Foundation: Strategies for Building the DEI Foundation for Your Organization

Javier Santillan

he/him/his Admissions Recruiter University of North Texas

Jessica Stone

she/her/hers Director of the Office of Disability Access University of North Texas Challenging Ableist Practices in Higher Education

K. Vest


Kelly Holloway

Vocational Rehabilitation Manager Texas Workforce Solutions Creating a Diverse Workforce of People with Disabilities

Landon Ellison

he/him/his Sr. Director, Undergraduate Recruitment & Outreach University of North Texas Young Forever: Evolution of Men of Color Student Leaders-to-Mentors

Lauren Matthews

she/her/hers Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology University of North Texas Student Panel: The Neurodivergent Student Perspective

Lauren Taylor

she/her/hers Senior Program Project Coordinator UNT ENGAGE Universal Design and Disability Etiquette

Lee Ann Derdeyn, Ph.D.

she/her/hers Clinical Assoc. Professor UNT New College Interdisciplinary Core-Compliant Project-Based Learning Education: Building a Culture of DEI

Lindsey White

Graduate Student University of North Texas

Lydia Ogbadu-Oladapo

Information Science Doctoral Candidate University of North Texas

Madasen Briggs

she/her/hers Behavioral Science Doctoral Student University of North Texas

Nuchakor “Pia” Nunbhakdi

she/her/hers International Studies Graduate Student University of North Texas Human Security Perspective on Climate-Induced Women Migration in South Asia

R. Curtis Sparling

he/him/his Assistant Professor, O.D. Mayor endowed chair and Department Head of Technology & Justice Studies Rogers State University Bridging the Gap: A Collaborative Approach to Advising Neurodiverse Learners

Rachita Sharma, Ph.D., LPC-S, CRC

she/her/hers Chair of the department of Rehabilitation and Health Services University of North Texas

Rebecca Werts

Licensed Professional Counselor-Associate At the Intersection: Exploring Identity & Wellness Among Black Women

Regina Kaplan-Rakowski, Ph.D.

she/her/hers Assistant Professor of Learning Technologies University of North Texas A Virtual Reality Workshop in Understanding Blindness

Ricardo Gonzalez

he/him/his Associate Professor in Bilingual and ESL Education University of North Texas

Rosanna Boyd

she/her/hers Principal Lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration University of North Texas UNT Bilingual Education Student Engagement with Latino Families in Dallas

Rosylin Johnson

she/her/hers President | CEO theCorporateAdvisors Are We There Yet? DEI in 2023

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

she/her/hers Director, Accessible Technology Services and Adjunct Professor in College of Education University of Washington

Sritha Darbha

Computer Science Engineer

Sul Boyun

M.Ed. student in Higher Education University of North Texas

Tania Heap

she/they Director, Learning Research and Accessibility University of North Texas The Societal Benefit of Hiring People with Disabilities

Terrance Harris

He/him/his Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion College of Engineering at Drexel University

Tzefira Jones

she/her/hers Ph.D. candidate and teaching fellow University of North Texas