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DEI Spotlight

The College of Arts and Sciences DEI Spotlight will highlight Saint Louis University students, faculty, staff and alumni who work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at SLU and the larger community.

Do you know someone who you think should be featured? To submit a nomination for the DEI Spotlight, please fill out this form.

March 2024 Spotlights

Yolonda Wilson, Ph.D.

Yolonda Y. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wilson’s work centers on race and gender justice, particularly in health care. Presently, Wilson is working on a monograph, "Black Death: Racial Justice, Priority-Setting, and Care at the End of Life." Additionally, her public scholarship on issues of bioethics, race and gender has appeared in The Hastings Center’s Bioethics Forum, USA Today and The Conversation, and republished in outlets such as The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Philly Voice. 

Her media appearances include outlets such as Al Jazeera English and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio. Wilson was a 2019-2020 fellow of the National Humanities Center (Durham, NC USA), as well as a 2019-2020 Encore Public Voices Fellow. 

In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, pilates, and gardening. Find Wilson at or on Twitter at @profyolonda

Amanda C. Barton, Ph.D.

Amanda Barton is an educator, researcher and writer dedicated to the transformative power of storytelling, the humanities and liberal arts education. At a young age, she developed a love of books, languages and stories. Originally from northwestern Pennsylvania, she still misses the Great Lakes and the mountains after 20 years in St. Louis.

She holds a Ph.D. in English and women’s and gender studies from Saint Louis University. Her research focuses on the places where literature and the human body meet with a focus on the history of medicine and emotions. When she’s not reading and telling stories, Barton enjoys trying new baking projects, playing video games, and attempting to grow vegetables.

February 2024 Spotlights

Cathleen A. Fleck, Ph.D.

Cathleen A. Fleck received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. She is an associate professor and is in her fifth year as chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at SLU. She is a scholar and professor of medieval art history. She has published numerous articles and two books, with the most recent titled "Re-imagining Jerusalem’s Architectural Identities in the later Middle Ages" (Brill 2022). It examines how Christians and Muslims from the 12th-14th centuries understood the representation of Jerusalem’s monuments as instruments of power, persuasion, consolation, and spirituality.

Fleck has actively expanded her professional development in research areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as higher education leadership. Her participation in various trainings with external and internal workshops has informed her professional knowledge and inspired her commitment to action in DEI issues related to higher education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two sons and husband, visiting art museums, traveling around the world, and hiking with friends and family.

January 2024 Spotlights

Donna LaVoie, Ph.D.

Donna LaVoie was born and raised in Southern California, in and around the greater Los Angeles area. She received a B.A. in psychology from Loyola Marymount University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the Claremont Graduate University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psycholinguistics at the University of Southern California prior to coming to SLU as an assistant professor of psychology. She currently holds the rank of professor of psychology and has served as the director of the graduate program in experimental psychology, chair of the Department of Psychology, associate dean for faculty affairs and research in the College of Arts and Sciences, and currently serves as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In her spare time, LaVoie enjoys playing music (guitar, bass, and drums), being outdoors, traveling and reading  (especially history/nonfiction and crime/detective novels). LaVoie loves spending time with her spouse, two young adult children, three cats and her corgi.


November 2023 Spotlights

Enrique Davila, Ph.D.

Enrique Dávila (He/Him) is an assistant professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences. He teaches classes on U.S., borderlands, and Latino history. His research focuses on reform movements in the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His current book project, titled "Idar: the First Family of Mexican America," is a collective family biography that looks at the activism of one family over three generations at the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Originally from Texas, Dávila was born in McAllen, raised in Houston, and received his B.A. from the University of Texas. He enjoys rooting for the Houston Rockets and playing a little basketball in his free time.

October 2023 Spotlights

Oluwatomisin (Tomi) Ogungbenle

Oluwatomisin (Tomi) Ogungbenle (She/Her) is a second-year doctoral student studying health care ethics. She is the president of the Graduate Student Association, working vigorously toward creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for all graduate students. Tomi’s early engagement in student government sparked her lifelong dedication to serving others and positively impacting the world. Beyond her academic pursuits and career aspirations, Tomi finds joy in various activities. She cherishes moments of taking her daily naps, enjoys any opportunity to explore different cultures while traveling the world, and adores being her dog's favorite human.  

April 2023 Spotlights

Ollie Schilling

Ollie Schilling (she/her) is a sophomore at Saint Louis University, double majoring in sociology and women’s and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, working in technical theater and spending time with friends. She also works with B!llikens for Reproductive Justice, which provides reproductive and sexual health resources to SLU students. As someone who is gender nonconforming, Ollie is cognizant of gendered spaces in society and the messages they send about who belongs in those spaces. She is passionate about DEI work and ensuring that the spaces on SLU’s campus are accessible to all so that everyone feels welcome in the SLU community.

Marquis Govan

Marquis Govan is a second-year undergraduate, studying social work and sociology. He is the current vice president for diversity and inclusion in the Student Government Association and an MLK Scholar. Marquis has been active in several political campaigns, including those for U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green. He is currently a Newman Civic Fellow with Campus Compact, a national organization promoting civic engagement in U.S. colleges and universities. He can't wait to get to work building an equitable and radically inclusive SLU that values the voices of all of its students. A SLU where everyone can be an active participant in our Billiken family.

March 2023 Spotlights

Aric Hamilton

Aric Hamilton is a senior studying history, American studies and education, and is the president of our Student Government Association. He is a native son of the St. Louis region and in addition to leading the SGA, he is a Martin Luther King Scholar. He has been a resident advisor for the Leadership and Social Change Learning Community, a U101 Peer Instructor, a Project Billiken Content Creator, a member of the Black Student Alliance, and an Undergraduate Core Curricular Fellow for Equity and Global Identities for the University Core. Aric also recently completed the prestigious Newman Civic Fellowship.

Amber Overton

Amber Overton (she/her) is the inaugural chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri (GSEM). As chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Amber leads the development of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s DEI strategic planning along with overseeing the implementation and assessment of that strategy. With more than 10 years of experience advocating for racial equity in St. Louis, Amber’s unique lens of youth development guides GSEM’s DEI framework to support Girl Scouts in the region. Amber’s career spans nonprofit settings, K-12 education, and corporate DEI, and includes roles in both direct service and leadership. Amber utilizes her specialized knowledge in college and career readiness, advocacy, policy development and implementation, and research to inform her systems-focused approach to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in her work. She was named a 2022 Champion of Diversity by St. Louis Business Journal in recognition of her contributions to DEI in the region. Amber received bachelor’s degrees in social work and psychology from Saint Louis University and her Master of Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

February 2023 Spotlights

Melissa Ochoa, Ph.D.

Melissa Ochoa, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at Saint Louis University. She specializes in systemic sexism and systemic racism, but more specifically, the various forms of sexism women experience daily. Ochoa has presented on sexism in STEM and is writing a book on the implications of catcalling for women, which is under contract with the University of California Press. In addition, she has discussed the DEI shortcomings of "Latinx" in an online article and advocates replacing it with "Latine," which has generated a number of media interviews. Ochoa received a B.A. in psychology and a B.A. in public relations and rhetorical advocacy from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Texas A&M University. At Texas A&M University, Ochoa worked closely with other diversity leaders to successfully change course policy so that all students were required to take DEI courses addressing systemic forms of inequality. She believes in the importance of understanding our social privileges and using them in our activism. Whether it's creating social awareness, teaching a class, conducting research, and/or engaging in community work, we should strive to listen, learn and do better.