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Release: March 12, 2001

Women's Center presents 'Sister Connection 2001'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) invites women students of color to participate in the 2001 Sister Connection Conference: Identities, Opportunities, and Communities on Saturday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus.

The conference will provide women students on predominately white campuses a forum to connect with one another, explore opportunities, and hone leadership skills.

"We are proud of our efforts in planning this conference and believe this event enhances the university’s commitment to students, particularly women students of color," says Monique DiCarlo, director of the Women’s Center.

Ramona Gray, a chemist and cast member from the smash hit CBS television show Survivor, will be the keynote speaker. Gray is a research chemist at Merck & Co. Inc., where she develops chemical compounds that may be used to fight disease. As the only African American in her research group and one of three women, Gray understands the importance of promoting diverse workplaces as well as creating environments where educational and career opportunities are accessible to students of color. Gray, a 1993 National Collegiate All-American winner, earned both her bachelor of science and master of science degrees in chemistry from Howard University.

Dr. Jael Silliman, UI assistant professor of women’s studies, will provide opening remarks on "The Barriers Overcome and the Challenges Confronted Today by Women of Color." Silliman is a member of several national organizations, including the Committee on Women, Population and Environment; Reproductive Health Technologies Project; and the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection. She is also a former board chair of the National Asian Women’s Health Organization.

Workshops will make up a significant portion of the day’s schedule, and address a wide spectrum of topics and interests. The offerings include:

The State of Hispanic Girls

Autobiographical Body: Telling Race and Gender Using Female Nude Art Women

Weight and Wellness: Challenging Myths

Media Influence in Creating Stereotypes about Women of Color

International Women of Color in the U.S.

Progression of the African American Student Woman Professional

All workshops are interactive sessions in which participants can discuss their individual and shared concerns. Workshop presenters come from Luther College, Grinnell College, Cornell College, the Iowa Division of Latino Affairs, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission, and the University of Iowa.

The $10 fee for the conference includes lunch; some scholarships are available. To register for Sister Connection 2001, or for more information, call (319) 335-1486 or visit the Sister Connection website at