Dr. Srivi took the virtual stage as an expert speaker on diversity in mass communication during Fairleigh Dickinson University's Schering Plough Executive lecture series. Publicly accessible over Zoom, Dr. Srivi's lecture took take place on Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. EST, (5:30 p.m. CST).
Dr. Srivi joined 11 other notable educators from all over the United States as the third speaker in a series of lectures. From Feb. 2 to April 27, the lecture series features weekly discourses from nationally-acclaimed scholars. The speakers are set to cover a wide array of topics within the endlessly fascinating field of communications, from conflict resolution to populism in politics.
"My main goal [of the series] is to expose students to scholars they will never have had the opportunity to hear or interact with before," said FDU Professor and Chairperson Dr. Gary Radford.
FDU is New Jersey's largest private university. The university has 8,585 undergraduate students and focuses on teaching rather than research, which is a change from Dr. Srivi's home university at Texas A&M, which has 53,791 undergraduate students and functions as one of the largest research schools in the United States.
For her lecture called "Media Inclusion and Racial Justice," Dr. Srivi spoke and engaged the audience in a lively Q&A for over two hours. Although the lecture was scheduled for an hour, participants stayed on for another additional hour, engaging with Dr. Srivi in a lively and honest dialogue on topics such as colorism and beauty products, human connectedness, empathy, and indigenous approaches to communication.
Dr. Srivi used her lived experiences with the snowstorm and related power outages in Texas last week, her scholarly published research on critical media effects relating to stereotypes and (de)stigmatization, and her reflections on trauma-informed pedagogy in this lecture. "It is only from the space of discomfort that internal change happens," Dr. Srivi said in her lecture. "This is a safe space, but it's an uncomfortable space," she said, about classrooms where issues of racism, privilege, and social justice are discussed openly.
Anecdotally, she used her teaching experiences at Texas A&M (a historically white institution), her community-based advocacy work, and her campus diversity leadership. Finally, she reflected on the challenges and opportunities for working toward greater inclusion and racial justice within communities.
Dr. Srivi addressed contemporary issues related to her expertise in media, diversity, and social justice - specifically in relation to the American Dream.
Thanking Dr. Srivi for her authentic voice and extemporaneous speech that came as much from her knowledge as from her heart, Dr. Radford said: "One thing I try to instill in my students is the willingness (or even bravery) to write authentically. It is difficult to do when students are concerned about saying “what they need to say” in order to be rewarded with good grades and the like. You have been a wonderful role model for us all."
Having spoken as a guest lecturer at several institutions, Dr. Srivi said she was pleased to attend the series and be invited to the FDU lecture series on social justice.
- Written by Riley Farrell