All Pathways to Purpose events are FREE of charge and open to students, faculty, staff and community members!


Featuring: Evan Narcisse, author of Marvel’s Rise of the Black Panther

Everyone has an origin story. We may look to comic books and their movie counterparts for big, bold stories about lives of purpose and saving the world, but each of has that potential as well. Join us for an evening with Evan Narcisse, a comic critic recently invited by Marvel to author the Rise of the Black Panther series alongside Ta-Nehisi Coates. Formerly a reporter focused on science fiction and tech, Narcisse will share his own professional journey and what the role of superhero stories in shaping our own experience of calling and purpose.

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Featuring: Helen Rhee, PhD, Professor of History of Christianity and Religious Studies at Westmont College

A pastor and a scholar, Dr. Rhee is currently working on a book on chronic pain and disability, and speaks on this issue both in the context of early Christian history and as it relates to her own personal experience as someone living with chronic pain. She specializes in early Christian history, especially second- and third-century Christian literature and theology, focusing on the diverging Christian self-identities in relation to Greco-Roman culture and society.

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Featuring: Michelle Ramos, PhD, Executive Director of Alternate Roots

Dr. Michelle Ramos is the Executive Director of Alternate Roots, a regional arts service organization championing social and economic justice and the work of people in those fields. Her background includes working in criminal justice reform as Project Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, philanthropic work as a Program Officer at Women’s Foundation of California, and service organization leadership as Board Chair of Dance/USA, Dancing Grounds and Junebug Productions. In addition to being a licensed attorney, and holding a PhD in Cultural Psychology, she has significant organizing experience and has committed her career to serving communities and individuals adversely impacted by issues of race, gender, disability, class, socio-economics, inequitable laws and systemic oppression. Ramos, a retired professional ballet dancer has worked as an executive director for multiple non-profit arts organizations in many cities across the US.

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Featuring: Aaron Yazzie, Mechanical Engineer in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

As a mechanical engineer working in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Yazzie’s most recent projects include the InSight lander which touched down on Mars in November 2018. One of 21 Native Americans working in NASA Centers, Yazzie was actively involved with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society in high school and is now supporting students in his old shoes through leadership of a NASA-Navajo Summer Camp.

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Featuring: Ali Michael, PhD, Co-founder and Director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators

Typically asked to speak to educators, Dr. Michael will bring her research into effective allyship to our campus in a way that incoporates a wider audience and her own story of coming to work on issues of equity and inclusion. Dr. Michael is the author of Raising Race Questions: Whiteness, Inquiry and Education,  co-editor of the bestselling Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories and The Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys. She sits on the editorial board of the journal Whiteness and Education. Dr. Michael teaches in the Diversity and Inclusion Program at Princeton University as well as the Equity Summits with USC.

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