Virginia Tech brings diverse voices, experiences, and scholarship to its students with the support of such programs as the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series.

Now accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic year, the program promotes the number and diversity of scholarly voices and artistic expressions from underrepresented groups by providing funding assistance for Virginia Tech departments and other units.

With support from Arts@VirginiaTech and the university’s Office of the Provost, the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lectures Series supports events and experiences that give students opportunities to interact with guest lecturers or artists to increase their exposure to successful women and minority role models.

A total of 19 speakers, presenters, and scholars received support from the program during the 2017-18 academic year. Presenter’s topics included health and medicine, history, culture, art, music, social issues, civil rights, science, technology, literature, politics, media studies, digital humanities, military security, and environmental issues.

Last year’s speakers included:

  • Mala Munoz and Diosa Femme, co-hosts of the podcast Locatora Radio, who discussed mental health, trauma, race, sexuality, and gender expression, as well as the science and technology gained from both femmes and indigenous communities.
  • Emcee Rapsody, a high-profile female emcee who shared her creative process, experience rising to stardom in the hip hop world, and the work on her newest album, “Laila’s Dreams.”
  • Tess Taylor, an engaging poet, teacher, book reviewer, and  radio personality, who spoke about the intersection of race,  class, and gender.
  • Amanda Burgess-Proctor, an associate professor at Oakland University in Michigan, who discussed her recent work on the effects of parental incarceration, adding unique understandings of offending, incarceration, and family pathways to ongoing conversations on crime.
  • Kiarri Kershaw, assistant professor and social epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, explored how social environments that include race, class, and other related socio-economic factors impact cardiovascular health and contribute to health disparities.
  • Professor, author, social critic, and science advocate Christopher Emdin, who discussed how to create and propagate a more effective and inclusive approach to STEM education that will increase student engagement and ignite their creativity. His talk was presented in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Science Festival.


Giving voice to minority and women’s perspectives, these lectures provide an inclusive and interactive space for scholarly exploration and support a collaborative environment for attendees. Invited speakers may be from any discipline, gender, race, or ethnicity. Invitations to speakers whose scholarship incorporates race, gender, class, or international perspectives are especially encouraged. Those presentations that would appeal to a wider audience will be given preference.

Events and presentations begin this fall and continue through the spring. Find more information and a downloadable application for the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series online. Applications are due by Sept. 21, 2018.

Share this story