Annual women-of-color luncheon open to public

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Head-and-shoulders photo of Dr. Judi Brown Clarke.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Women in higher education from across Michigan will be on the Western Michigan University campus Friday, Nov. 10, to participate in the annual Women of Color Collaborative Luncheon.

The public is invited to attend the 2017 event, set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Bernhard Center's South Ballroom. Registrations are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Dr. Judi Brown Clarke from Michigan State University will be the keynote speaker. She serves as diversity director for the National Science Foundation's Bio-Computational Evolution in Action Consortium—BEACON—Center headquartered at MSU.

The luncheon is being sponsored by the Women's Network of the Michigan American Council on Education—MI-ACE. Women working at colleges and universities or planning to work in higher education are especially encouraged to attend. This year's theme is "Moving the Needle: No Limits."

About the keynote speaker

Clarke has been with the BEACON Center since 2011. The organization is an NSF Science and Technology Center. Its research focuses on biological evolution, digital evolution and evolutionary applications in engineering. BEACON brings together biologists, computer scientists and engineers to study evolution as it happens and apply this knowledge to solve real-world problems.

Clarke also is a member of the International Advisory Committee's Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, Center for the Evolution of the Elements. This organization promotes community building across the diverse components of astronomy and nuclear physics, while focusing on particular efforts in nuclear astrophysics experiment and theory.

In addition, Clarke also serves as president of the Lansing City Council and announced in March her bid to run for mayor of the city. An accomplished athlete, she is a five-time National Champion and 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the 400-meter hurdles.

She earned a bachelor's degree in audiology and speech sciences as well as a master's degree in education from MSU and a doctoral degree in public administration from WMU.

About the women's network

Logo--ACE Women's Network Michigan.The MI-ACE Women's Network launched its Women of Color Collaborative in 2011 at its annual conference. The collaborative now hosts the first full day of the MI-ACE Annual Conference, with the day focusing on specific career issues and challenges that women of color encounter.

Overall, the group's mission is to provide a forum and means of support for women of color employed in faculty, administrative staff and leadership roles at Michigan's colleges and universities. It also aims to enhance career advancement and success for women of color in higher education across the state, thereby strengthening the overall MI-ACE Women's Network.

That network works in concert nationally with the ACE Office of Inclusive Excellence Group to identify, develop, encourage, advance, link and support women in higher education.

Additional information

The cost to attend the Women of Color Collaborative luncheon is $60 for professionals and $20 for undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled in classes. A $10 discount is available to WMU employees who use a special promotional code.

The registration and refund request deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1. Free parking will be available in Parking Structure 1 near the Bernhard Center. For directions to WMU or maps of campus, visit

To register or obtain more information, visit Group registrations of up to four people may be done online. To register more than four people, or obtain the WMU promotional code, email or call (269) 387-2717.

For more information about the luncheon, contact event organizer Dr. Deveta Gardner, WMU associate director of Career and Student Employment Services, at or (269) 387-2745.

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