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Suzette Vontell Chang  

CEO of Thick Descriptions & Contributing Author of "Nature Swagger"

Suzette V. Chang identifies and executes qualitative and contemporary educational methods. She weaves inquiry, curiosity, examination, and memorization as this collaboration yields humane and sustainable conclusions. A native Californian that calls Oklahoma home since 2002,

Chang is invested in competencies that speak to intra/interpersonal experiences grounded in trust, problem-solving, creativity, technology, observation, reflection, and enhanced learning. Chang supports lifelong learning for all and has developed and created these spaces in Venezuela, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

Chang has served as an educational team member at the Metropolitan Library System, Sam Noble Museum, University of Oklahoma, the City of Guthrie, National Cowboy Museum and is the Founder/CEO of Thick Descriptions, a grassroots organization that disrupts traditional educational methods with anthropology. Chang is an awarded and inspirational leader, speaker, contemporary education advocate and published author. Her literary contributions include “Nature Swagger,” “Black Towns, Black Futures” and, several articles.

Chang is the recipient of the 2022 Setha Low Engaged Anthropology Award and the 2021 William D. Pennington Teacher Award. Her biggest and most important investments are Taylor and Robert, her offspring that are currently new-adulting.

Speech Topics

"STEM + Anthropology: Explaining, Understanding and Executing Platelet Rich Plasma for Historically Underestimated Communities

During the past decade, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) made a splash in schools across the country. And why not? Positioning art is a necessity with STEM as young minds and educators learn how to ideate, build relationships and create. As the relationship between natural sciences and art grows, the opportunity to understand cultural impacts and STEM, specifically stem cell research, is overlooked.

This presentation speaks to Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and its limited access, if not absence, in geographic spaces whose primary populations are generational poverty, melanated women and reduced health care opportunities.

Creating "And" Spaces: Moving Beyond Politeness (aka Nice-Nasty) to Skills, Knowledge "And" Anthropological Kindness

Many cultures contend that politeness is sufficient within human spaces. Suzette Chang is a member of a culture that takes great pride in manners. As members of the Great Black Migration, her family required politeness as it speaks to the nostalgia of her southern roots. Studies reveal that human beings that execute good manners, i.e. "yes mam", "no sir", "please" and "thank you" etc. are assigned robust social capital, giving them "a foot in the door" within the context of work, education and personal experiences.

Although welcomed, politeness is surface, offering distrust with the potential label of "Nice-Nasty" This presentation positions the "and" as a necessary component to communicating, engaging and understanding cultural perspectives as our work and personal spaces continue to evolve in thick and descriptive systems. Similar to layers of comprehension and delivery, Suzette Chang explains the importance of maintaining "and" spaces using anthropology."

Sustainable Leadership: Using Anthropological Methods to Achieve Qualitative Leadership

The 21st century confirmed our ability to work within various work ecosystems. Due to the presence of technological advances, digital platforms, and the choice to develop hybrid work experiences, human beings can shift and change how and where we work. These broad and contemporary work choices offer new opportunities for leadership, specifically creating and maintaining sustainable leadership as the work place continues to involve.

From the perspectives of language, history, culture and biology, Suzette Chang unpacks, explains and provides anthropological methodologies that create and maintain qualitative leadership grounded in trust and mutual understandings.

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