Dr. Sandy Stone and Dr. Lucy Miller to speak during final Showing Trajectory Talk Series
By Allison Brock
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professors Joey Lopez and Jonathan Guajardo created Showing Trajectory, a lecture-based talk series highlighting the success of individuals and the paths taken to reach their success. The final talk series of the second ever event, (Trans)parency in Academia, will be hosted by Lopez and Guajardo with guest speakers Sandy Stone, Ph.D., and Texas A&M Professor Lucy Miller, Ph.D., on April 21 at 6 p.m.
Lopez and Guajardo came up with Showing Trajectory in an effort to implement and create more opportunities to encourage Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Through these lectures, the goal has been to bring people with diverse backgrounds to share their lived realities with others.
Dr. Stone, a founder of transgender studies, will share her experience as she has navigated academia, while Dr. Miller will discuss her early career experiences as a trans faculty member at Texas A&M, said Lopez.
“One of the overtones or undertones of this whole talk series is that it is not necessarily a celebratory event,” said Lopez. “It’s a real deep dive into the issues that people are facing as trans in academia in this kind of juxtaposition of DEI.”
(Trans)parency in Academia
By bringing Dr. Stone and Dr. Miller into the conversation, Lopez said they will bring a light to the struggles and difficulties facing trans persons in the world of academia.
“The reality is, it’s actually really tough still for certain groups to be able to break through a lot of the barriers for which academia is claiming to have taken down,” said Lopez.
Sponsored by the COMM department, the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, Media Rise and many more, Guajardo explained the talk series was created with the goal to show that everyone’s path toward success is a process and everyone has a unique path to reach their own success.
“Oftentimes people think in order to be a guest speaker, or on a panel, you have to be accomplished,” said Guajardo. “We’re trying to show that people are right in the middle of their trajectory of what they’re trying to do and asking them how they got there, what are some obstacles they had to overcome and what was their motivation behind doing everything they did.”
The first talk series of 2021, conducted entirely in Spanish, was led by guest speaker Luiz Ricardo Navarro Diaz, Ph.D., whose workshop, Etnografía y de teoría fundada en investigación social: Comunicación, territorio y Resistencia was sponsored by Showing Trajectory, said Lopez.
“We were doing something that was not equitable off the bat, but is equitable in the end,” said Lopez. “The equity here is that this is an important event that needed to be documented and that we felt the need to sponsor, and we felt that it was important enough that we could transcribe it later and add English subtitles.” The associate professor of the practice prefers an all-lowercase presentation of his name and title – “joey lopez phd” – as part of his pedagogy and the “depowering” of his name and title.
The most recent lecture in the series created a roundtable discussion of their process in creating the talk series, said Guajardo.
“Everyone here has their own things that they want to do,” said Guajardo. “They have their own experiences, but we’re all coming together to do this one thing.”
Anthony Ramirez, a third year Ph.D. student in the COMM department and Showing Trajectory team member, said the group has created a safe space for fun and stimulating conversations that has been therapeutic for all.
“We’ve built this group and created these awesome lecture series with different people where they are given a platform to tell their stories and how they got to where they got,” said Ramirez. “Whether it’s a Ph.D. program or a different type of business or whatever it might be.”
Guest speakers from the first year’s lecture series include Denise Meda Calderon, Texas A&M Ph.D student; Roberto Avant-Mier, associate professor at UTEP; executive director at Spare Parts Mary Cantu; LASER director and distinguished professor Fredrick Luis Aldama, Josh Lightner, lead editor of the NFL Social Lab; and media producer, filmmaker and musician Terry Bluez.
Previous lectures can be found on the Showing Trajectory YouTube Channel.