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Intentional Critical Conversations

Join us every month for our virtual speaker series dedicated to diversity and equity in our College community, and the communities we serve.

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Our Next Intentional Critical Conversation

The Women's Panel: Putting it All Together and Making it Work

Thursday, February 18

2:00–3:30 p.m.

Panelists will include:

  • Judge Janine D. Rivers – Suffolk Probate and Family Court
  • Yolanda Dennis, Chief Diversity Officer – Massasoit Community College
  • Dr. Arlene Rodriguez, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs – Cape Cod Community College
  • Donna M. Walker (She/Her/Hers), Admissions Counselor - Cape Cod Community College
  • Mia Hazlett, Author & Executive Assitant to the President - Cape Cod Community College

Judge Janine D. Rivers is a Cape Cod native and a proud graduate of Barnstable High School. Judge Rivers was appointed to the Suffolk Probate and Family Court in December 2017.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Rivers was a sole practitioner for over eighteen years and practiced in the Probate and Family Court and Juvenile Court. Judge Rivers also served as a Guardian ad Litem in both Probate and Juvenile Courts performing investigations. Judge Rivers was also an adjunct faculty member at Newbury College and Anna Maria College.

Judge Rivers is also a former social worker for the Department of Children and Families formerly known as Department of Social Services. Judge Rivers is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Boston and New School of Law.

Donna Walker, Admissions Counselor

Donna Walker was raised by two first-generation to college parents who, by their words and deeds, instilled in her a belief that education is paramount in one’s development, especially with BIPOC students. She believes in finding the right fit for her students, creating relational pathways between herself, their families, and faculty and staff assisting the whole student. She has incorporated her own background as an African American woman in her work, running varied open house events related to students of color, the first ever African American women writers weekend conference at Sweet Briar College, and BIPOC specific programming through Massachusetts Pre-Engineering Program (MassPEP), 4Cs granted funded program for gateway students, Bridge to College, and Tufts pre-college summer program for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, Summer Scope. At 4Cs, she has served at the coordinator of the Student Recognition Diversity Day program since 2016.

Donna Walker is an admissions counselor at Cape Cod Community College where she has brought her vast experience from varied four-year college admission practices, as well as two independent school college counseling offices. As a team leader, she has supervised office staffs designating and directing selective admissions parameters, assigning travel areas, targeting region numbers, setting up reading and evaluation of folders, and managing international student evaluation. Currently, she serve as the Designed School Official for a growing international student population at Cape Cod Community College.

Si no vives para servir, no sirves para vivir. The only life worth living is one in service to the community.

Growing up in the Bronx and in the rural town of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, Dr. Arlene Rodríguez often heard her father’s word on commitment to serving the community. With service to community as the cornerstone of her personal and professional life, Dr. Arlene Rodríguez has devoted her career to creating dynamic partnerships, fundraising, and implementing initiatives with the primary goal of student success. She brings 20+ years of progressively responsible leadership experience in public higher education in Massachusetts. She has earned a reputation as a trusted leader, who is skilled at networking and building a supportive environment for both the campus and off-campus communities.

Currently the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Cape Cod Community College, Dr. Rodríguez has overseen the approval of several academic programs, including Funeral Service, Social Media Certificate, and EMT/Paramedics. Before arriving at Cape Cod Community College, Dr. Rodríguez was the Senior Academic Affairs Advisor to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. In that position, she worked with all sectors of public higher education on initiatives that advance the department’s goals: boost college completion rates; close achievement gaps; graduate more students from underserved populations. She co-led 100 Males to College, which creates a college-bound culture among our most vulnerable students, low-income males and young men of color. Dr. Rodríguez’s career began as an English professor at Springfield Technical Community College, progressing to administration, first as academic dean and then as Vice President of Academic Affairs at the College.

Dr. Rodríguez was been extensively engaged in her community. Since arriving at Cape Cod, she has been appointed to the Barnstable County Human Services Commission and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. In the past, she has also served on the Hampden County Commission/ Status of Women and Girls, WGBY’s Board of Tribunes, Springfield YWCA’s Board of Directors, and the Latino Scholarship Fund of Western Massachusetts. She is a recognized community leader, honored with several awards, including the National Council on Community and Justice’s Human Services Award, the Springfield Women Commission’s UnSung Hero/ Woman of the Year, and the Professional Women Chamber of Western Massachusetts’ Woman of the Year.

Fluent in Spanish, Dr. Rodríguez holds a doctorate in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a M.A. from Lehigh University, and a B.A. from Fordham University.

Dr. Arlene Rodriguez, Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
Location Nickerson Administration Building, room 112
Phone 774.330.4305
E-mail arodriguez@capecod.edu

Mia L. Hazlett was born in Saigon, Vietnam. She was found on the streets in a pile of debris by a nurse at a nearby orphanage. Mia was adopted by an Irish-Italian family when she was just months old. Her parents raised her in Norfolk, MA with her two older brothers and sister. Mia graduated with her B.S. in Business Administration from Bridgewater State University.

Ms. Hazlett began her professional career in Marketing and moved to Alexandria, VA. After 4 years, Mia moved back to MA and switched careers, so she could become a dedicated mother to her firstborn. Leaving her marketing career behind, Mia began her administrative assistant career, promising herself she would one day only assist C-Level executives.

Today, Ms. Hazlett has over two decades of experience assisting top executives in the Finance, Healthcare, K-12, and Higher Education industries. Mia currently assists the President and Board of Trustees at Cape Cod Community College.

Mia’s world crashed when she divorced her husband. While experiencing 15 months of unemployment, 2 years of home insecurity, and with two daughters to raise, Mia wrote her first book, Going Through It. She later accomplished her bucket list goal of sharing her story with the world as a featured Tedx Talk speaker.

Because of the negative stereotypes Ms. Hazlett received as a single mother, Mia founded Single Professional Mother. She set the mission to eliminate the negative stereotypes associated with single motherhood and have an international network of single professional mothers who join together to uplift one another. She currently hosts the podcast by the same name and manages the blog and monthly newsletter.

Mia is an advocate for all single mothers, especially those just beginning the demanding journey. Her second book Single Professional Mother will be released April 2021.

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Yolanda Dennis is the Chief Diversity Officer at Massasoit Community College. She also holds the positions of Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, and ADA Coordinator ensuring compliance and conducts investigations that address and remedy instances of prohibited conduct such as discrimination, sexual misconduct, and harassment.

With more than 30 years in higher education, she has extensive experience in diversity, equity, inclusion, conflict resolution, and public policy. Yolanda holds a master’s degree in public policy from UMass Dartmouth and is certified as a Title IX Investigator post-secondary and K-12.

She advocates for having difficult conversations about challenging subjects including race relations, implicit bias, equity, and injustice.

Contact the IDEA Committee

Inclusion Diversity Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee
Contact Sara-Ann P. Semedo, Academic Coordinator
E-mail ssemedo@capecod.edu