Press Release

February 14, 2024 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan is announcing its 2023-2024 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant recipients. The funding supports projects that seek to make the campus an antiracist space. (Photo by Allie Sanzenbacher)

Promoting Change

Ten Ohio Wesleyan Students, Employees Earn 2023-2024 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grants

DELAWARE, Ohio – Seven Ohio Wesleyan University students and three faculty and staff members have earned $12,500 in OWU Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Grants this academic year.

The competitive grants support policy and program analysis, curricular changes and course development, small-scale survey work, creative projects, or community conversations designed to produce evidence-based, actionable recommendations for change. Recipients of the 2023-2024 DEI Grants and their projects are as follows:

Faith Deschamps, a senior from East Orange, New Jersey. Deschamps is using her DEI Grant to present her current research, "Child Left Behind Syndrome: Imperialism's Impact on Transnational Family Dynamics" at three sociological conferences: the Eastern Sociological Society Conference, the Southern Sociological Society Conference, and the North Central Sociological Association Conference. "Being able to present my research at more than one sociological conference is a huge honor and opportunity, and being able to see this happen will only cement my foothold and emerging presence in academic circles," said Deschamps, who aspires to become a college professor. At OWU, she is a Black World Studies and Women's and Gender Studies double major and a Religion and Sociology-Anthropology double minor.

First-year students Ella Lazare of Oakland, California, and Daniela Flores of Norristown, Pennsylvania. They are using their grant to attend the Just Economy Conference 2024, sponsored by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and widely considered the leading national conference on economic and social justice. Scheduled for April in Washington, D.C., the conference will feature activists, elected officials, policymakers, community leaders, civil rights groups, faith-based organizations, and economic and social justice advocates from across the nation. They also are receiving support from Gregory Dyson, OWU Class of 1980, chief operating officer of the NCRC. "I have learned about some of the topics in the conference like fair housing, healthcare, and community development on a surface level," said Lazare, a Pre-Professional Zoology major. "But the more research I do, the more I learn about the racial barriers that prevent people of color and specifically Black people from having generational wealth in their houses and businesses." Flores, undecided in her major, added, "I think it is important that the National Committee of Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) cares so much about making sure everyone is able to benefit from the economy, through healthcare, housing, business, and so much more."

Anna Nacci, a senior from Wooster, Ohio. Nacci is using her DEI Grant to complete her honors project, an investigation of abortion knowledge and how it impacts voting behavior among college students. Working with Franchesca Nestor, Ph.D., associate professor of Politics and Government, Nacci plans to conduct a cross-national analysis of the United States and Ireland, where residents in 2018 voted to repeal a near-total abortion ban. "While both systems are Western democracies that use court cases as catalysts for changes in creating national legal standards," Nacci said, "their mechanisms for creating such standards are opposite of one another, with the standard being created by a court that was not democratically elected in the United States, and similar decisions being made via citizen referendum in Ireland. I hope to discover if these differences lead to different outcomes for citizen knowledge and participation." Nacci is a Politics and Government and Philosophy double major.

Anya Robinson, a sophomore from Belleville, Illinois, and Yewoinhareg 'Yoyo' Kebede, a senior from Washington, D.C. They are using their grant to explore how Black women view and practice Christianity as well as the intersection of Christianity and Blackness. In the fall, they attended the Woman Evolve Conference to connect with other Christian Black women and then brought their knowledge back to campus to improve the understanding of these issues among the OWU community. "As a Christian at Ohio Wesleyan's campus," Robinson said, "I have struggled to find a Christian community because of intersections I fall into such as being a woman and being Black." Kebede added, "In my humanities classes at OWU, especially in the 'How to Change the World' course, I engaged in meaningful dialogue about the harm of stereotypes perpetuated in the media and the importance of dismantling them. Attending this conference will complement the lessons learned in these humanities courses and heighten my awareness of the impact of letting people create a narrative for themselves." In addition to the DEI Grant, they also received support for their project from the Office of the University Chaplain. Robinson is a Neuroscience and French double major and a Black World Studies minor. Kebede is an Economics and French double major.

Greyson Wells, a junior from Columbus, Ohio. Wells is using the DEI Grant to fund a service project that supports Ohio's transgender community, impacted by the Ohio State Legislature's recent vote to override Gov. Mike DeWine's veto of House Bill 68. The lawmakers' vote prohibits trans youth under 18 from receiving gender-affirming care and all trans youth from playing K-12 and college sports on teams that match their gender identity. Wells is working on the project with Sally Leber, director of Community Service Learning. "This grant will provide the funding needed to send letters of support, resources, and self-care items for trans youth and their families affected," said Wells, who has worked as a student-intern in both OWU's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Office of the Chief Diversity Officer. "It will allow us to invite knowledgeable speakers to educate students on the ongoing legislation in Ohio. This grant will allow LGBT+ students and allies to show their support, build stronger outside connections with LGBT+ organizations, and keep students informed on legislation targeting a minoritized group." Wells is a Sociology/Anthropology and East Asian Studies (Japanese) double major and a Fine Arts Studio and Women's and Gender Studies double minor.

Phokeng Dailey, Ph.D., The Warren C. Fairbanks Associate Professor of Communication, and Jason Timpson, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Dailey and Timpson are using their grant to attend, and potentially present at, the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education. They seek to "gain valuable insights, network with experts, and learn about cutting-edge approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion" to incorporate into Ohio Wesleyan's existing Bridge Program. The free Bridge Program is a three-week residential experience with academic credit that seeks to provide first-year students with the skills they need to thrive at the university. Dailey and Timpson want to ensure that the program provides the most welcoming and supportive environment possible for all participants, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, and that it uses best practices and innovative strategies.

Adrian Moran, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. A 2023 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, Moran is using the DEI Grant to support the project, "Self-Care, Finding Community, Surviving the Political Landscape." Moran will collaborate with Krystal Cashen, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychology, and Brianna Mack, Ph.D., assistant professor of Politics and Government, to organize an online panel intended to "redefine self-care, community care, and joy for global majority queer individuals facing increasing queerphobic politics." The panel will address topics including "navigating and thriving in an oppressive world, sharing experiences and insights on discovering queerness and queer spaces, exploring the intersectionality of queerness, and recognizing the value of unpacking trauma that may hinder the extension of love to new communities or individuals."

Ohio Wesleyan's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant program is overseen by the university's Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It was launched in 2021 and includes both student and faculty-staff funding categories. The program is part of the university's larger Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, which seeks to make the campus an antiracist space. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan's DEI Grant program at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at or learn more at