Welcome to our monthly DEI Spotlight to recognize students, faculty, staff and alumni who work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at Saint Louis University 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.
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 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.
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 (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.
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.