ttu logo

tennessee technological university

TTU News

Understanding diversity will be the topic of a guest lecture at Tennessee Tech University at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15.

Presented in the Tech Pride Room of the Roaden University Center, the event will be hosted by Elaine Penn, director of special projects at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

In her current position, Penn has produced five television documentaries for the university about environmental and social issues. She has also worked in many areas of student life, including serving as director of campus recreation and assistant volleyball coach.

“I’ve spent a great deal of my time coaching, teaching and working with students, so I knew they were ready. If given the concepts and tools, they can take diversity awareness to a new level,” she said.

Penn said the goal of her workshops is to help students reach a level of understanding and respect for each others’ differences — from race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation to individual personality traits and communication styles — while at the same time helping them to find common threads.

Her approach combines discussion, personal stories, audience interaction and original music.

Penn has been performing publicly since she was a child, and as an experienced guitarist, vocalist and published songwriter, she uses her music to bring a unique dimension to her presentations.

“Through these different approaches, I am able to draw the students in and ultimately get them to really think about their world and how they can change it for the better,” she said.

A Center Stage event, the program is free and open to the public.