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Alpha Chi Continues the Conversation on Racial Equality

Pitt Bioengineer Steven Abramowitch will participate in Alpha Chi’s panel discussion on race, privilege, and responsibility

Race relations and social justice have been in the spotlight in recent years, calling on individuals to devote energy toward creating a more equitable future for everyone.

Allies have been encouraged to consider their privilege and educate themselves on the deep-rooted issues that contribute to racism in the United States. This self-reflection and realization, however, has left some overwhelmed or uncertain about how they can personally effect change. 

Working together and learning from one another may lend to a richer understanding of these issues, and Alpha Chi National College Honor Society will host a forum to help its members and greater community start the process. 

On Saturday, Feb. 6, in line with the start of Black History Month, they hope to facilitate an engaging conversation about “Personal Perspectives on Race, Privilege, and Responsibility.” 

“The seminar continues the current dialogue of fighting for social justice,” said Ande Marini, a bioengineering PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. “Personally, I love learning about other people’s cultures and learning how people’s experiences have shaped their perspectives.

“Learning about the hardships others have faced and how we can help those individuals is crucial to growing as a society. We need to have this dialogue to better understand each other’s perspectives, and having difficult conversations provides new avenues for growth and understanding.”

When Alpha Chi called for nominations for the panel, Marini decided to nominate Steven Abramowitch, associate professor of bioengineering at Pitt.

Abramowitch has contributed diversity and inclusion in the Swanson School through programs such as PITT STRIVE, the Global Engineering Preparedness Scholarship (GEPS)Engineering Design for Social Change: South Africa, and CampBioE

"I was honored to be nominated by Ande and to be selected for this panel,” Abramowitch said. “Our lives have been especially chaotic over the last year; thus, it is wonderful that Alpha Chi is using this time to help us do some reflection and encourage us to think beyond ourselves again."

He will participate as one of three panelists in the seminar:

Steven Abramowitch, associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, will focus on positive actions students can take to address diversity issues.

Dwonna Goldstone, associate history professor and director of the African American Studies program at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, will focus on her experience in helping people with difficult conversations about race.

Justine Pas, associate professor of English and associate dean in the School of Humanities at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, will share personal experiences and discuss the concept of white privilege.

The seminar will be hosted and moderated by Lara Noah, executive director of Alpha Chi. 

“This panel is the second event in the first series of its kind as an educational initiative from Alpha Chi's national headquarters,” she said. “Other than programming during our annual national convention, educational events like these are typically planned and conducted at the local chapter level. I’m very much looking forward to our conversation on Saturday and appreciate Dr. Abramowitch’s participation.”

“… and Justice for All” is the theme for the organization’s 2021 national conference, and this event was planned to help raise awareness of these issues among the Alpha Chi community.

“Sharing these topics with the collegiate generation, both undergraduate and graduate, is important and can open their eyes to new perspectives,” Marini added. “By impacting this generation, we are laying a foundation built upon understanding, love, and acceptance for our future leaders.”

About Alpha Chi

Alpha Chi National College Honor Society was founded in 1922 to recognize and promote academic excellence among college and university students of all disciplines, to encourage a spirit of service and leadership, and to nurture the elements of character that make scholarship effective for good. Alpha Chi is a member in good standing with the Association of College Honor Societies. You can learn more about Alpha Chi at AlphaChiHonor.org.

Contact: Leah Russell