Students of Color Symposium

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Date: Saturday, February 4, 2023
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. EST
Location: Lakeside Village
Registration Deadline: Thursday, February 2, 2023
Registration Passcode: SOCS2023

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The Students of Color Symposium (SOCS) is an educational initiative developed to support the ongoing diversity efforts of the University of Miami. The Symposium provides an opportunity to engage in dialogue on issues that affect the educational, personal and professional growth of students. The Symposium seeks to enhance students’ understanding of diversity, multiculturalism, ethical leadership, and social responsibility associated with living in our global society.

I Choose Me: Mental Health is Mental Wealth 

This year’s theme is "I Choose Me: Mental Health is Mental Wealth." Through workshop sessions, facilitated conversations, and networking opportunities, the Symposium will create a unique environment to destigmatize mental health and promote emotional and physical well-being.

Symposium Overview | 2023

Welcome Remarks

To kick off the Symposium, participants will hear opening remarks from the Office of the President, Division of Student Affairs, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Miami.

  • Cassandra Michel | Executive Chair | Students of Color Symposium 
  • Leadership Team | Multicultural Student Affairs  
  • Dr. Renée Dickens-Callan | Assistant Vice President | Student Life 
  • Dr. Patricia A. Whitely | Senior Vice President | Student Affairs 
  • Dr. Donald Spivey | Special Advisor to the President  

Session 1 | Practioner Panel 

This session brings mental health practitioners together to discuss areas of their work with mental health and how mental health and racial and ethnic identities intersect. 

Featured Panelists 

  • Dr. Eric Goldstein | Sports Psychologist | University of Miami Athletics   
  • Dr. Stephon Martin| Medical Doctor| Jackson Health System   
  • Jaqueline Yi | Doctoral Intern | University of Miami Counseling Center   
  • Britney Clarke |Manager | Primo Relations  
  • Moderator(s):
    • Michael Redding | Student-Athlete, Football
    • Isaiah Frazier | SOCS Guest Experience and Mental Health Expo Chair

Session 2 | Interactive Breakouts

Herbal Sensory Simulation 

This interactive session will be an immersive experience designed to engage all five senses and discover ways to creative therapeutic techniques through movement. We will discuss how herbs and herbal remedies can be tools to support you through feelings of anxiety and stress as well as teach you to boost your mental wealth. 

Session Facilitator
  • Laura Hasbun | Herbalist & Founder of Maracuya Botanicals LLC 

Finding Myself: Navigating College, Loneliness, and Healthy Community 

College is a pivotal stage in the life of many young adults. In this session, participants will discuss the common social struggles students face when pursuing post-secondary education. Students will learn how to create meaningful connections, locate resources based on their interests and how to foster healthy communities on campus. Spectrum activity followed by student experience panel. Accessible options include virtual spectrum/poll. 

Session Facilitator(s)
  • Counseling Outreach and Peer Education (C.O.P.E.) and UM Counseling Center

Session 3 | Luncheon Keynote: Alex Elle

Alex Elle is a NYT Bestselling Author, certified breathwork coach, and Restorative Writing teacher. The intention behind Alex’s work is to build community & healing practices through literature & language. Alex teaches workshops, courses, and retreats to assist others in finding their voices and create clarity in their lives & relationships. 

  • Alex Elle | NYT Bestselling Author, Certified Breathwork Coach
  • Moderator(s):
    • Merissa Yancey | Sr. Program Coordinator, School of Law
    • Cassandra Michel | SOCS Executive Chair

Mental Health Resource Expo

The Mental Health Resource Expo is intended to connect students to on-site and off-campus mental health resources at free or low costs. The purpose of the expo is to expand our student’s toolkit and encourage them to utilize readily available resources within the following categories:

  • Body Image and Healthy Eating 
  • Loneliness and/or Grief 
  • LGBTQ Representation in Clinics 
  • Suicide Awareness 
  • Anxiety and Depression 
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse 
  • College Stress Management 

For Symposium Accomodations

We strive to be as inclusive as possible and welcome support services that include the needs of our students. For accommodations, including text-only materials, please call or email us at 305-284-2855 or

Symposium Sponsors and Collaborators

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  • The Office of the President

    In 2020, President Julio Frenk announced steps the University of Miami will take in pursuit of racial justice on campus and beyond, specifically committing to funding the Students of Color Symposium each year.

  • Division of Student Affairs

    The Division of Student Affairs engages, supports, and develops students and the University community by providing exemplary services, programs, and facilities as we foster a caring and inclusive environment.

  • Department of Student Life

  • Student-Athlete Development

    The Office of Student-Athlete Development at the University of Miami is committed to the personal and professional development of our student-athlete population. We support the student-athletes by focusing on personal development, leadership development, career development, community service and campus engagement, and SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee). These components make up our comprehensive programming under Canes Connect.

  • UM Counseling Center

    Along with excitement and new opportunities, college can bring on a new host of challenges and stressors that can interfere with academic success. Our mission is to provide high quality services for students from all backgrounds. From individual counseling to online resources, the Counseling Center is here for you.

  • UM Development and Alumni Engagement

    The mission of Development and Alumni Relations is to promote relationships with and seek financial support from the University’s key audiences, to serve the alumni, and to build the University’s brand to enhance its reputation and visibility.

  • UM Black Alumni Society

    The mission of the University of Miami Black Alumni Society is to facilitate a comprehensive network among University alumni, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends to advance the interests and needs of our community and promote the rich history of Black alumni at the University.

  • Toppel Career Center

    The Toppel Career Center helps you every step along your path to career success. Whether you’re looking to solidify your interests or skills, to get ready for a job or internship interview, or to make connections that will launch your career, Toppel is here to help.

  • Eventnoire

    Eventnoire is the latest innovative event platform for the culture. Sell tickets for your event seamlessly and make more money for your company or organization via your ticket fees.

  • Camner Center for Academic Resources

    The Camner Center for Academic Resources at the University of Miami offers a multitude of resources for every constituent of the University of Miami community: students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators. Our goal is to provide resources to help manage success and advance potential.

Meet the SOCS Committee

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  • Executive Chair

    Cassandra Michel (she/her/hers) | Executive Chair
    Psychology and Community and Applied Psychological Studies
    Class of 2023

    "As a person who is passionate about advocating for mental health awareness, the SOCS23 theme is a reminder that taking care of your mental health can help increase your well-being and help you thrive emotionally and mentally."

  • Guest Experience and Mental Health Expo

    Isaiah Frazier (He/Him) | Chair
    Organizational Leadership and Entrepreneurship
    Class of 2024

    "This year's theme is very timely. The social climate I feel is at a point where mental health is being accepted by the majority as a valid aspect of overall well-being. Being that both of my parents studied psychology and are school counselors now, I have always been taught the importance of mental health. However, after being in college I have met a lot of peers whose parents didn’t have the same views. This conference allows us the platform to educate those students and change their perspective on the subject."

    Dominique Young (she/her) 
    Psychology, Criminology Minor
    Class of 2024

    "The SOCS23 theme ''I Choose Me...Mental Health is Mental Wealth'' resonates with me because it is vital; it encourages us to discuss our vulnerabilities with care and without fear."

    Zoe Major (she/her/hers) 
    Political Science
    Class of 2025

    "I joined SOCs because I have seen firsthand the efforts UM has taken in making all students feel welcome at this the university and I wanted to be able to share my own experiences as a first-generation student, as well as leave a lasting impression amongst those who attended the symposium that it is up to us to continue these efforts for us to grow our intellectual development, unity within the community, and foster relationships built upon respect."

    Maria Kaber (she/her) 
    Health Sciences
    Class of 2025

    "I joined the SOCS23 Community because I want students of color to have a safe space and to have an amazing time!"

    Kayla Davis (she/her) 
    Broadcast Journalism/Political Science
    Class of 2023

    "I joined the SOCS23 committee after having such a positive and rewarding experience at SOCS22. I knew I wanted to be apart of the planning process for building safe and educational spaces for students of color. 2. This year's theme means everything to me. As an advocate of mental health for women of color, it is incredibly important to me to normalize conversations surrounding mental health and create community with one another so that struggling students can feel less alone and learn about available resources."

  • Logistics

    Anandi Bien-Aimé (She/Her) 
    Motion Picture Minors: Africana Studies, Business Law, Japanese
    Class of 2024

    "The SOCS23 theme could not be more timely and necessary. Though the focus on mental health has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion in society and online, it is still a challenging topic of discussion in BIPOC communities. I believe that is in large part due to (assumed) expensive financial commitments that are associated with ‘mental health treatment,’ along with the assumed belief that treating mental health equates to laziness. Additionally, social media has seemed to have negatively impacted many people’s understanding on how to address mental health concerns, making it seem there are fixed ‘symptoms’ and fixed, universal remedies. With so many people—regardless of generation—noting the need to address mental health concerns, I am glad to see that the 2023 SOCS is dedicated to exploring and understanding the complexities of mental health especially as it relates to today’s BIPOC, college-aged students; and most importantly, ways that us students can successfully prioritize, address, and improve our mental health. I look forward to working with the wonderful SOCS 2023 committee to help bring this vision to life!"

    Gabrielle Yamar (she/her/hers) 
    Biochemistry and Nutrition; Health Science
    Class of 2023

    "I have always loved working with passionate, like-minded individuals who want to provide opportunities for professional and personal growth for our multicultural community at the University of Miami. I am so excited to be a part of the SOCS23 committee in our mission to bring the conversation of mental health and wellbeing to campus and to create a safe space of compassion and vulnerability."

    Demi Trimm (she/her/hers) 
    Accounting and Finance
    Class of 2023

    "I joined the SOCS23 committee because SOCS is one of the many initiatives on campus that acts as a catalyst to promote multicultural, social, and ethical change. It takes consistent effort to make something impactful, serving on the SOCS committee I can do more for the students on campus rather than watch alongside them. The SOCS23 theme I resonate with because this semester my mental health hit a low point. Mental health is seen as a big stigma in the Caribbean and there aren't as many resources offered. So, talking about issues surrounding mental health is always difficult as we are conditioned to think nothing is "wrong."

    Guerdiana Thelomar (she/her/hers) 
    Phd Student-Community Well-Being
    Spring 2024

    "The theme this year speaks to me on so many levels! In a time where there's so much injustice happening around us, it can be easy to forget to choose ourselves and to choose things that bring us joy, peace, and love. "I Choose Me" is a reminder that while we engage in this work that supports others, we also should intentional in supporting ourselves. In the words of Nayyirah Waheed, "i am mine. before i am ever anyone else's."

    Juan Flechas (He/Him) 
    Bimedical Engineering, Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials Engineering
    Spring 2024

    "I joined the SOCS23 committee because I would like to be part of the change and impact we are doing in our community."

  • Marketing and Outreach

    Zuri Greenlee (she/her/hers) | Chair
    Exercise Physiology
    Class of 2025

    "I truly enjoyed SOCS 22 last year and wanted to join the committee for SOCS 23 and help bring this amazing event to life!"

    Andaiye Gibson (she/her/hers)
    Interactive Media and Spanish
    Class of 2024

    "I wanted to join SOCS23 Committee because I heard from others about how empowering it felt last year to attend, so I wanted to be involved in creating a space and planning an event for students of colors that everyone can enjoy."

    Kiala Miles (she/her) 
    Health Sciences Pre-Medical
    Class of 2025

    "SOCS23 theme on mental health means a great deal to me as it is a crucial aspect of a person's well-being. It is very important to recognize its impact on our daily lives. Mental health is such an important topic that needs to be addressed. However, all the stigma around mental health is stopping others from getting the help they need. We need to advocate more for mental health and SOCS23 is a great way of doing that. SOCS23 is creating a safe and comfortable place to talk about Mental Health. So, joining the SOCS23 Committee allows me the chance to educate others, increase awareness, and fight against stigma around Mental Health."

    Michael Robinson (They/Them/Theirs) 
    Neuroscience/Political Science
    Class of 2025

    "The SOCS theme of "Mental Health is Mental Wealth" means there is power in choosing to take care of your well-being. Mental health is difficult for me to prioritize, and seeing this theme made me realize that when you care for yourself, the world around becomes more beautiful, and that is a wonderful thing."

    Jasmine Koss (She/Her) 
    Entrepreneurship and Global Business
    Class of 2025

    "I joined the SOCS23 Committee because I believe that a change must be made and that change starts with education. It is vital that we, especially as college students, remain educated during this unprecedented time regarding diversity and our social responsibility. SOCS aims to educate students on diversity and enhance understanding, so that we may be able to bring about this change."

  • Speakers and Sessions

    Alexis Owens (she/her/hers) | Chair
    Psychology; Sociology
    Class of 2025

    "I joined the SOCS23 Committee because I wanted to be involved in the growing change and expansion of inclusion on this campus. It's important to provide spaces for people to learn and grow so that they feel they belong and can make their own difference despite what may be thrown at them. The Students of Color Symposium has shown me that there is a place for everyone on this campus and beyond. Our stories are what we make them, and SOCS is a resource for everyone to learn and recognize the potential that they have in times when it's difficult to find it ourselves. Being a part of that change and providing that resource is something that I'm grateful for always."

    Isabella Lopez (she/her) 
    Biochem, Microbiology, Applied Physics
    Class of 2023

    "I was part of the SOCS 22 Planning committee and absolutely loved it. 2. SOCS23 theme of mental health is very important to me on a personal level and I believe is important at the campus level. Mental awareness and wellbeing are essential life-skills for students, faculty, staff, and all members of a university community."