Join us for the 12th Annual Indian Hills Diversity Conference on Friday, March 18, 2016, on the Indian Hills Community College Main Campus (Ottumwa), has now ended. Please check back soon for the date of the 2017 13th Annual Diversity Conference.


Indian Hills Community College, Main Campus (Ottumwa)
Keynote Presentations: St. John Auditorium
Breakout Sessions: Efner Hall, Arts & Sciences Building

View Driving Directions, Campus Map, and more >

Redefining Diversity

Diversity is a term that many people only associate with race and gender; however, it goes far beyond that. The concept of diversity itself represents a broad range of characteristics that can include, but are not limited to: age, race, creed, color, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, lifestyle, background, intellect, language, political views, and socio–economic status.

The diverse world that we live in today encompasses a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, values, and beliefs — which makes each and every individual unique. Understanding the definition of diversity allows people to recognize their own individual differences, and thus explore these differences in a positive and enlightening way. By doing this, we can welcome and celebrate these dimensions of diversity that each individual represents.

Registration Options

The 12th Annual Diversity Conference and Registration period have now ended. Please check back for information about the 13th Annual Diversity Conference in 2017.

Conference Fee: $35 for online pre-registration through March 15, 2016. $40 for all other registrations
Student Registration Fee: $10
Lunch is included with all registrations
Note: Must present a current Student I.D. to receive the student rate (K–12 and post–secondary students).

Keynote Speakers:

Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce - My (Underground) American Dream

Julissa Arce is a writer, immigrant rights and education advocate. She is the Co-founder and Chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity or national origin. She is the former Director of Public Affairs at Define American, a media organization that uses the power of story to change culture around immigration and citizenship. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch and had seemingly achieved the American Dream, and yet she was not part of what defined American.

Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, including some of her years rising to prominence on Wall Street. In order to help other young people in similar circumstances, Julissa co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014. Julissa is currently working on a book chronicling her story, set for release in 2016.  

Julissa shares her story about what it was like “climbing the corporate ladder” as both a Hispanic woman and an undocumented American. While, to many, she achieved the American dream of wealth and status, how could it be that she still did not fit what the U.S. legally defines as “American”? She discusses how questions like that, and the stories of the millions of other undocumented Americans living in the U.S., compelled her to leave Wall Street and pursue a path as an immigration rights advocate. Through Julissa’s personal stories, audiences will gain a new perspective on what it means to achieve the “American dream.”

Julissa Arce

Clemencia Spizzirri - Creating a Culture of Achievement for All

Clemencia Spizzirri holds a Master’s Degree in Arts and Teaching from Drake University in Des Moines. A native of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, Clemencia began her teaching career in her home country where she taught English at the high school level for several years before moving to the United States in 2003. In the United States she taught Spanish at Merrill Middle School (in Des Moines) and facilitated middle school Foreign Languages Acquisition Professional Development. She also worked at Drake University with the Languages Department in the DULAP Program (Drake Language Partners) providing conversational Spanish classes at the university level.

In 2015, Clemencia received one of the most prestigious awards in education, the Iowa Teacher of the Year award, and was the first immigrant Latina to receive the Teacher of the Year honor in all of the United States. She now serves as an Ambassador of Education for the State of Iowa, and works on many educational initiatives across the state and the country. During Clemencia’s keynote, she will address the importance of creating a sustainable culture of achievement and understanding for all, inside and outside of the classroom.


Online Conference Registration

Online Conference Registration has now been closed. However walk-in registrations will still be taken on the day of the conference, at the door.

Conference Fee: $35 for online pre-registration through March 15, 2016. $40 for all other registrations
Student Registration Fee: $10
Lunch is included with all registrations
Note: Must present a current Student I.D. to receive the student rate (K–12 and post–secondary students).

Breakout Session Offerings

See a listing of our Breakout Session Offerings for the 12th Annual Diversity Conference here.

View the Conference Flyer

View the Conference Booklet

Diversity Conference Schedule

Check In & Registration 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. St. John Auditorium
Conference 8:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. St. John Auditorium
Welcome and Introduction 8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. St. John Auditorium
Opening Keynote: Julissa Arce 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. St. John Auditorium
Breakout Session 1 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Efner Hall, Arts & Sciences Building
Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Main Dining Hall
Afternoon Keynote: Clemencia Spizziri 12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. St. John Auditorium
Breakout Session 2 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Efner Hall, Arts & Sciences Building
Breakout Session 3 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Efner Hall, Arts & Sciences Building
Conference Adjourns 4:00 p.m.  

Diversity Conference Certificate of Attendance

To receive a certification of attendance, please complete the Diversity Conference Certificate of Attendance Form after the conference, indicating which sessions you attended.

Diversity Scholarship Essay Contest

All scholarship entries are due by Midnight on March 31, 2016.
First place wins $500! To fill out an application or learn more about the scholarship click here.

Julissa Arce

Winning Essay: Congratulations to Danielle Wycoff

Indian Hills Community College would like to recognize the winner of the 2016 Diversity Scholarship Contest. Applicants were asked to submit a one-page essay answering the question “What is the value of diversity in our American society?” There were many outstanding essays submitted and the selection of a single winner was not easy. Danielle Wycoff, who is a current IHCC student from Ottumwa, was named the winner for this $500 award. Danielle graduated in 2014 from Cardinal Jr/Sr High School. She will be a Summer 2016 graduate of Indian Hills Community College and will be transferring to the University of Northern Iowa in the Fall to study Business Management. The Diversity Scholarship Committee members, who partially funded this scholarship and also reviewed applications, include Jean Dell, Edith Cabrera-Tello, Cheryl Cox, Jo Rohach, Pat Leyda Bishop, and a sixth anonymous member. A big thank you to their hard work!

For those wishing to read her essay, you may find it here.


The 12th Annual Indian Hills Diversity Conference is sponsored, in part, by:

Great Prairie AEA Iowa Department of Education Indian Hills Community College Indian Hills Community College
Great Prairie AEA Iowa Department of Education Community 1st Credit Union Indian Hills Community College
Ottumwa Legacy Foundation
Ottumwa Legacy Foundation


Ashley Albertson
phone: (641) 683-5755 or (800) 726-2585, ext. 5755

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