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Creating a Wellness-Forward Work Environment in Cross-Racial STEM Spaces

Panelists will share how white women within organizations can use their privileges to expose harmful  practices and disengage harmful stereotypes unique to the Black woman’s experience in higher education and non-profit. Building on their own experiences, panelists will share insights that better the work environment for all and can serve as a guide for others desiring to be effective change makers in cross-racial STEM environments.

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Dr. Ershela Sims

Dr. Sims is the Executive Director and CEO of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). Prior to joining WEPAN she was the Interim President and Senior Vice President for Virtual and Outreach Programs at the SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (SCGSSM). She was the first Black person and first female to lead SCGSSM. She began her career at GSSM as Vice President for the Accelerate Virtual Engineering Program in 2017. Prior to GSSM, Dr. Sims was the Dean of Engineering and Technology at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) which housed the Engineering and Computer Science programs, as well as the Peter T. Haughton Fabrication and Innovation Lab. During her tenure at NCSSM, Dr. Sims developed and taught courses in Statics, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Research, and Biomedical Instrumentation.

Ms. Serita Acker

Serita earned her bachelor’s degree from Lander University and a Master of Science in Human Resources and Development from Clemson University. Before becoming the PEER & WISE director in August 2015, Serita Acker was the Women in Science and Engineering program director. Additionally, she has over 30 years of experience in higher education, student support services, and mentoring.   She is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator and Life Coach. Serita Acker sees the PEER/WISE's primary role as providing student success programs and services that can equip students with the resources they need to excel at Clemson University and achieve their educational goals to prepare for success after graduation.

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Ms. Beth Anne Johnson

Beth Anne Johnson is a dynamic force, seamlessly juggling roles as a dedicated mother, accomplished businesswoman, and influential advocate for women in STEM fields. In 2022, while anticipating the arrival of her second child, she established Lamar Creative Co., fueled by a vision that harmonized her professional ambitions with the joys of motherhood. Through Lamar Creative Co., Beth Anne channels her diverse identities - athlete, creative, entrepreneur, partner, and mom - into a business that mirrors her unwavering dedication to every client. Her guiding philosophy is evident: Lamar Creative Co. believes that melding creativity with existing strengths catalyzes unlocking human potential, refining business practices, and fostering personal innovation. She believes underrepresented folk need to play a different game, their own, inspiring and fostering entrepreneurship in her communities.

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