Diversity Advocates of Park

An action-oriented group of students, faculty and staff who support our quest to be a leader in promoting diversity and inclusion on campus and in the media industries.

About DAP

DAP logo

DAP meets a few times each semester but more importantly is an action-oriented group that

  • identifies and captures best practices in teaching and in leading inclusive teams
  • seeks out and promotes resources like grants and scholarships for students from traditionally under-represented groups
  • suggests and hosts speakers, community building, and learning events, and 
  • serves as a team of supportive listeners for anyone who wants to talk.  

DAP members must agree to participate in some basic training so that they know how to effectively and legally be advocates for individuals who may approach them with issues or needs. 

Park Emerging Diversity Scholars and Artists

Mason Richards

Each semester, we bring in several emerging scholars and artists from diverse backgrounds who are embarking on careers in communications education.  They spend a week during which they give guest lectures, sit in on classes, meet faculty across campus, and give a public presentation on their work. 

Independent filmmaker, director, producer, teacher, and advocate, Mason Richards will be one of our Diversity Emerging Artists in the fall 2019 semester, after visiting in spring 2019 and having students and faculty enthusiastically invite him to return. 

He was born in Guyana, South America and emigrated to Brooklyn, New York with his family at age 7, where he spent most of his youth.

Mason is a public speaker/facilitator and professor of film directing and screenwriting, and has curated several Community Outreach Programs, film courses and workshops to communities often underrepresented in terms of race, gender and ability in the Hollywood film industry. Mason is an adjunct faculty at Emerson College-Los Angeles , and a regular ‘Filmmaker in Residence’ at Ithaca College. Mason also works as a Creative Consultant and Facilitator of cross-cultural communication for numerous non-profits, colleges and university internationally, and produces digital content and mini-docs around diversity, inclusion, intersectionality and representation.

Mason has a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Human & Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University, and has worked as a Broadcast Associate at CBS News in NYC, and in International Sales & Marketing at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles before deciding to pursue his Masters in Filmmaking as a way to tell stories in Hollywood that often get overlooked. Mason has an MFA in Film Directing from California Institute of the Arts (CAL ARTS) where his award-winning thesis short film THE SEAWALL shot entirely on location in Guyana, South America, was an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival (2011), the Havana International Film Festival in Cuba (2014) and has screened at festivals, museums and universities in the UK, Toronto, and throughout Caribbean, including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (2014).

Mason is currently in pre-production for the feature-length version of his award-winning short film THE SEAWALL, and loves to split his time between New York City and Los Angeles. He considers himself and artist-activist believing that change and transformation can happen through the arts.

Women in Media Month

Each March is Women in Media month when we explore the challenges, opportunities, and successes that face women in the field of media with a series of events, speakers, and screenings including the presentation of the annual Jessica Savitch Breakthrough award.

Making our Curriculum Inclusive

The Park School has a commitment to becoming a national model for communications teaching practices and content that is inclusive.  Professor Chrissy Guest's Twilight Zone Crossover Assignment has been reviewed and selected by EditMedia for their Inclusion Teaching Resources. EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media) is an initiative that developed out of the Gender Caucus and Diversity and Inclusion Caucus of the University Film and Video Association. 

For more information or to join DAP

If you have a question or concern regarding diversity and inclusion, or if you'd like more information about Diversity Advocates in Park, please contact Gwen Benners, Program Assistant for Scholarships and Inclusion in Park 328.

607-274-3089

Gwen Benners with her daughter Monifa

Gwen Benners, Program Assistant for Scholarships and Inclusion with her daughter Monifa Brooks (IMC '15) who is now a supervisor for an international advertising company in NYC.