Penn State Berks celebrates Black History Month

Lisa Baldi
January 27, 2021

WYOMISSING, Pa. — In honor of Black History Month, Penn State Berks will hold the following events in February 2021. All events will be virtual and are free and open to the public.

Arts and Lecture Series Presentation

Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. — Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Zoom link

Artist, activist, educator and public speaker Patrisse Cullors is the cofounder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and founder of the Los Angeles-based grassroots organization Dignity and Power Now. TIME recently recognized Cullors for her work with Black Lives Matter in “100 Women of the Year” project. She co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013 after sparking the viral Twitter hashtag. The movement has since expanded into an international organization with chapters around the world campaigning against anti-black racism. Cullors’ memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Cullors’ art has been exhibited in several art galleries and universities. She is currently the faculty director of Prescott College’s new Social and Environmental Arts Practice MFA program, which she developed. For more information, contact the Office of Campus Life at 610-396-6076.

Engaging and Inspiring Black Professionals Speaker Series 

This series will feature Penn State alumni and entrepreneurs. All presentations will be held via Zoom (passcode 424242). This series is sponsored by the Penn State Berks Diversity Committee. For additional information, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of diversity and international programs, at 610-396-6080 or via email at SUP373@psu.edu.

Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. — "Entrepreneurship 101," presented by Sydnie Marlella, Penn State alumna

Penn State alum Sydnie Marlella is the 25-year-old founder of The SMW Collection, a consulting firm. A Philadelphia native, Marlella showed interest in both the beauty and business industries at a young age. She has more than 10 years of experience in the beauty industry, and she earned a degree in marketing and management from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. In June 2017, Marlella took a leap of faith and became a full-time entrepreneur. She is also director of marketing and public relations for Acts Christian Transitional Services, which has been serving the homeless community of Philadelphia for the past 45 years. In addition, she mentors youth and young adults who are interested in entrepreneurship.

Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. — "Minding the Responsibilities of Student Leadership," presented by Taion Walters, Penn State alumnus 

A native of Washington, D.C., Taion Walters is an operations manager for D.C. government. Currently, he is completing his master's degree at The University of District of Columbia, pursuing a dual degree in public administration and business administration with a concentration in marketing. Walters graduated from Penn State with degrees in legal studies and law and society with a minor in sociology. During his time at Penn State, Walters interned with Covington & Burling, the top law firm in Washington, D.C., in addition to working with the federal government as a business analyst every summer under Former Secretary Gina McCarty at the Environmental Protection Agency. In his spare time, Walters serves as a mentor for The Higher Achievement Program, a program that aims to close the opportunity gap during the pivotal middle school years for underserved scholars. 

Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. — "Life after Berks: An Open Forum," presented by Dom Robinson, Penn State Berks alumnus

Dominique Robinson is a therapist at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Facility, part of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. A North Philadelphia native and Penn State Berks alumnus (class of 2015). Robinson earned a bachelor of arts in applied psychology and relocated to Virginia to pursue a master’s degree in clinical social work. Robinson is currently working to become certified in Aggression Replacement Therapy, and Substance Abuse Therapy. He is also working on his LCSW and plans to eventually work in private practice. Robinson’s clinical interest focuses families and at-risk youth who have experienced trauma.

Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. — "The Building Blocks to College Success," presented by Dennis Beale, CEO of Power of Perception LLC

Dennis K. Beale Jr. is a highly sought-after speaker, trainer, coach, entrepreneur and mentor. He specializes in powerful keynote and motivational speeches, leadership development, talent management, and coaching services for both individuals and organizations. Beale travels the country inspiring and encouraging youth to find their passion, execute their plans, and make decisions that will enhance and enrich their lives, both personally and professionally. Through his motivational messages and the power of his personal story, he has helped eradicate the fear of failure and rejection from the minds of students all over the country, empowering them to chase their dreams. Beale’s story and passion have helped hundreds of individuals enhance their lives and reach their fullest potential.

Contributions of Black Scholars and Entrepreneurs to Selected Berks Majors Speaker Series

This series will feature Penn State students and faculty members. All presentations will be held via Zoom (passcode 424242). This series is sponsored by the Penn State Berks Diversity Committee. For additional information, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of diversity and international programs, at 610-396-6080 or via email at SUP373@psu.edu.

Feb. 9 — Videotaped Interview with Julia Coney of Black Wine Professionals, by Pauline Milwood, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State Berks

Julia Coney is a Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas-based wine writer, wine educator, speaker, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine, winemakers, and the intersection of race, wine and language. The interview will be presented on Penn State Berks' YouTube channel.

Feb. 12, at 12:15 — "Scientific Breakthroughs by Black Scientists" — Presented by Berks students Chantel Bennett, Kelli Coates and Sheily Salas.  

This presentation will focus on some notable breakthroughs in the fields of biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and science by Black scientists.

Feb. 19, at 12:15 p.m. — "Artists and Authors from Africa and the African Diaspora," presented by Thomas Lynn, associate professor of English and program coordinator of the associate degree in letters, arts and sciences; and Samantha Kavky, associate professor of art history. 

This presentation will showcase the work and contributions of authors and artists in the field of literature and the visual arts.

Diversity Series Event: 'Being Black at Berks'

Feb. 26, at 5 p.m.

The Black Student Union will host the third annual “Being Black at Berks.” This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of diversity and international programs, at 610-396-6080 or via email at sup373@psu.edu.

Last Updated April 15, 2021