Power of Diversity Lecture Series

Power of diversity

The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity sponsors the Power of Diversity lecture series to inspire campus dialogue, community engagement and civic education and learning about the national narrative on diversity and inclusion. The annual series includes two distinguished guest speakers from the national or international scene and four scholars from our own faculty.

The speakers include scholars, thought leaders and diversity professionals whose research, scholarship, leadership and advocacy enhance the university's efforts to present diverse ideas, perspectives and viewpoints to inspire greater understanding and appreciation for inclusive excellence.

All events are free and open to the public.
For more information email janetta.hammock@case.edu.

Register here For a Power of Diversity lecture


Fall 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
4:30 P.M.  Mandel Community Studies Center, Room 115
11402 Bellflower Road, CWRU Campus

Hispanic Heritage Month Event
Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano

“Maria” on Sesame Street
Award-winning television writer and author Twice Emmy nominated for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series

Sonia Manzano is a first-generation American of Latino descent. Raised in the South Bronx, she attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on a scholarship. In her junior year, she went to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show Godspell. Within a year, Manzano had joined the production of Sesame Street, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series.

Manzano has performed on the New York stage in three critically acclaimed theater pieces The Vagina Monologues and The Exonerated and Love Loss and What I Wore. Her movies include Deathwish, Follow That Bird and Elmo in Grouchland.

She has written for the Peabody Award-winning children’s series, Little Bill, and her children’s book, No Dogs Allowed! (Simon & Schuster, 2004) was selected by General Mills for their “Spoonfuls of Stories” series. No Dogs Allowed! has been turned into a children’s musical. A Box Full Of Kittens was published in 2007.

Her first young adult novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (Scholastic,) was a Pura Belpre Honor. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, is a memoir (Scholastic, 2015).  Miracle on 133rd Street is a picture book (Simon and Schuster, 2015).

Manzano donated her services to the Bronx Children’s Museum by writing the picture book, The Lowdown on the Highbridge. Sale of the book proceeds will go to the operations and efforts of an actual museum for the children of the Bronx. In her spare time Manzano volunteers for the Bronx River Alliance.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019
3 P.M., Senior Classroom, Tinkham Veale University Center

Scott M. Williams, PhD

Scott M. Williams, PhD
Professor and director of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate Studies Program, CWRU School of Medicine

“Can Evolution Shape Our Disease Risks?”

Williams is an expert in the genetics of complex human disease, including the genetic risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and susceptibility to infection. An experienced population geneticist, he studies how genes, either singly or in interactions with the environment, affect disease risk in different populations.

He has also been actively involved in developing statistical analyses for genetic susceptibility to disease, including colorectal and gastric cancers. He has studied the role of genetic factors for multiple infectious diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis. His work on TB has focused on resistance to TB in HIV positive individuals. Dr. Williams also has assessed the role of environmental changes in cardiovascular risk factors in West African populations.

Williams has extensive experience in graduate education, having developed the PhD program in human genetics at Vanderbilt University and served as program director of other institutions’ PhD programs. Williams currently serves as an editor of PLoS Genetics and Current Genetic Medical Reports, and is a member of the executive committee of the African Society of Human Genetics.

He has published more than 250 papers addressing issues of disease risk, disparity, genetic differentiation, and methods to address these from both theoretical and practical perspectives.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019
3 P.M., Senior Classroom, Tinkham Veale University Center

Damaris Punales-Alpizar, PhD

Damaris Punales-Alpizar, PhD
CWRU Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

“Culture Under Socialist Conditions: Literary Translation as a Geopolitical Instrument”

Damaris Punales-Alpizar has worked as a journalist in Cuba, Belize and Mexico. In Belize, she was the founder editor of Conexión, the first bilingual and trans–border newspaper.  Since 2010, she works at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, where she teaches courses on literature, film, and Caribbean and Latin American culture, and literary theory. She currently serves as director of the CRWU study abroad program in Cuba. She has published numerous articles on Spanish, Latin American and Cuban literature and culture, especially about the Soviet influence in the cultural production on the island after the nineties.

She was the editor of the special dossier “Cuba: the Soviet Flavor of a Tropical Island. A Visit 20 Years Later,” published by the journal La Habana Elegante in its Spring-Summer number, 2012. Her photo collection “Cuba Today: A Soviet Inventory” was on display in the fall of 2012 in the ArtStudio Gallery at CWRU. She has presented the results of her research at numerous academic conferences in the United States, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Russia and Cuba.

She is the co-director and co-founder of the academic journal “Transatlántica. Poetry and Scholarship.” She hosts a radio program, the only one in Spanish at WRUW, called Estación Ñ. Her book Escrito en cirílico. El ideal soviético en la cultura cubana posnoventa (Written in Cyrillic: the Soviet Ideal in the Cuban Cultural Production after the Nineties) was published by Cuarto Propio Publishing House (Chile) in 2012.

Currently, Professor Puñales–Alpízar is working on two manuscripts, provisionally entitled Cuba soviética. Una cartografía afectiva, and The Flow and Circulation of Socialist Literature in Cuba: Uses and Paradoxes of Translation. At the same time, she has edited the anthology of essays entitled El Atlántico como frontera. Mediaciones culturales entre Cuba y España.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019
3 P.M., Senior Classroom, Tinkham Veale University Center

Susan Freimark, MA, LPC

Susan Freimark, MA., LPC
Senior Associate Director, Women Faculty Leadership Development Institute, Flora Stone Mather Center for Women

“Challenges for Women Moving Up the Academic Career Ladder”

Susan Freimark brings a great deal of faculty development experience to this position. As an executive coach, she has worked with faculty at CWRU via the NSF-ACES program since 2003 She is also a CWRU IDEAL coach with Kent State University, assisting a team of faculty on creating a transformative change project on campus. Susan addresses a wide range of issues with faculty both on an individual basis and in workshops.  Those issues include negotiation, conflict management, finding comfort with self-promotion, recognizing and dealing with campus politics, and professional and leadership development.  She has created programming that brings together women faculty from all schools on campus to address common interests and challenges and to serve as promotion and support for one another.


Register here For a Power of Diversity lecture