Meet our team of dedicated students who help make our purpose a reality.
The idea behind Interpoint came from a discussion at a retreat for some first-year University of Richmond students in the fall of 2018. Our founders, Lauren Stenson and Emma Johnson, then took this idea to our staff sponsor, Blake Stack, who was, at the time, the Assistant Director of Student Engagement and the Bonner Scholars Program at the University. After meeting with various stakeholders across the university, Interpoint secured the necessary funding to host its first discussion. The founders chose a roundtable discussion model to encourage active participation and trained student facilitators to lead these discussions through effective and respectful dialogue. Interpoint today discusses question topics such as: racism, personal stories, systemic change, current events, and inclusivity on campus.
Co-Founder / President
Lauren Stenson is a rising junior at the University of Richmond who is majoring in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience on a Pre-Med track. Lauren is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Incorporated Rho Mu Chapter. She also serves as the President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council at the University of Richmond for the 2020-2021 academic term. Coming from Atlanta Georgia, Lauren has served in many leadership positions in groups throughout her community and has maintained a passionate advocacy for civil rights and black empowerment. Lauren is the current President of Interpoint, an organization that she co-founded in the fall of 2018 in efforts to encourage conversations about racial disparity in her college community. Being that she was raised in a more diverse environment growing up, and that she has been a repeated club-organizer and conversation-starter throughout her educational career, she understands what the power of knowledge can do. Lauren has an admiration for science and a desire to change black female representation in the medical field. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans to go to medical school to continue to pursue her passion for healthcare.
Co-Founder/ Assistant Organizer
Emma is a junior at the University of Richmond with majors in Healthcare Studies and Russian and intended minors in Philosophy and Leadership Studies. A native Memphian, she serves as the Co-Founder and Assistant Organizer of Interpoint, a position she has held since the Fall of 2018. Emma has seen firsthand how having these uncomfortable but necessary conversations through Interpoint has shaped her own perspective, and she is grateful for the opportunity to be part of such meaningful change. Outside of Interpoint, Emma serves as the president of Next Generation Healthcare Collective, an online group that aims to provide future and current young healthcare professionals with a forum for productive discussion about current healthcare issues. She is passionate about healthcare innovation and mental health, with plans to obtain a law degree or a master's in a healthcare-related field.
Some heard about it through word of mouth, others from a GroupMe message. All, however, had no clue what the impact of becoming a facilitator would have on their lives, and the community around them. Meet our "OG facilitators", who were there with us from the start. Each with drastically different cultures, majors, and favorite ice creams, but all dedicated to the betterment of society.
Hello! I am class of 2023 looking to double major in Political Science and Leadership, with a double minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Latino and Iberian Studies. I joined Interpoit mainly because of my own background. Being raised in the suburbs in Denver, Colorado with two migrant parents made me feel pretty out of place growing up. Every public story of the Latino experience never seemed to quite fit me, so I finally decided it was time to tell my story on my own. I was skeptical of this organization at first. How much could a conversation really change? I had been raised to think racism and its' many side affects were deeply rooted in the individuals who felt it, and never felt like I had true power to change that. I was proved wrong in the most beautiful way. In one conversation, I was shown the power of love, compassion, humanity, and understanding. We are all trying to improve ourselves for the people around us in one way or another, and I believe there is great strength in that desire for betterment. I believe in it so much, I even brushed off my old yearbook skills (shout out to DeVris) to create this website (shout out to my dad for letting me use his desktop computer)!
Social Media Coordinator
I’m a double major in Biology and Leadership Studies and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I joined Interpoint to challenge myself and others to face our uncomfortable reality so that we are able to close the gap that disconnects us all- to meet at a common ground.
Many people ignore the topic of race and consider it such a taboo topic when that identity affects many people’s daily lives. Interpoint provides a safe space to increase awareness about topics our society rarely acknowledges and talks about. It also educates those who may not have had the opportunity to understand different cultures and want to learn more. Growing up in a Latinx community, the concept of race and other identities were rarely talked about. Interpoint has helped me talk about the issues I see and experience in my community as well as how to be an ally to others. Interpoint emphasizes the idea that to achieve a unified society, we have to acknowledge and understand our differences in order to respect and advocate for each other.
I joined the Interpoint team because I believe much of the prejudices in today’s world lie in our disconnection from one another. The way forward then is to create spaces for people from different walks of life to connect. Most college campuses strive to create an environment where these connections happen naturally, but as a student run initiative, Interpoint does the work to offer an opportunity for important conversations to take place for anyone looking for them. Too often we cluster ourselves into groups of people who look, think, and act like us. It is our objective as facilitators to help break these barriers. Interpoint is also a wonderful way to meet others, exposing you to people you probably wouldn’t cross paths with ordinarily. Because the questions require a certain level of vulnerability, you are able to bond in a meaningful way right off the bat. At the end of our first discussion, the people in my group didn’t want the time to be up. This is exactly the point: the dialogue only starts with Interpoint. It is a safe place for folks to initiate the conversation, giving them the confidence to continue.
I am a sophomore at the University of Richmond, majoring in Leadership Studies with minors in Latin American and Iberian Studies, Dance, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I joined Interpoint because I believe making progress as a community requires us to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to reevaluate our own viewpoints. Interpoint creates a space to understand self and others in the context of identities like race and gender. I value vulnerable conversations that push people to learn from one another, but before college, most of these conversations took place with people that had similar beliefs and experiences to myself. Colleges and universities aim to create an environment where students can engage and connect with others from different backgrounds, yet most of us avoid this opportunity. After growing up in a small college town and seeing this same tendency at another institution, Interpoint resonated with me as a way to take this goal one step further, creating intentional communication about topics we often avoid. Interpoint discussions are based in vulnerability and inclusivity, encouraging people to engage no matter their own experience with or understanding of race. Engaging in conversations through Interpoint challenged my own understanding of the ways in which to think about, talk about, and address race, both on a college campus and beyond. My hope is that Interpoint starts a conversation that leads students to stronger connections between one another, and encourages individuals to take what they learn one step further, from conversation to action.
In America, race and racism have always been present throughout our history. They impact each of us, whether we are conscious of it or not. Yet many seek to avoid these topics or struggle to speak meaningfully with others about it both of which contribute towards the larger problems of the lack of human connection and ignorance. Engaging in challenging conversations and honestly listening to others are key to building empathy and recognizing the deep scars made institutionalized racism.
Interpoint is the student-led initiative that is designed to address these structural problems. This discussion series provides students a mediated outlet to have their experiences heard, confront questions they may not have felt safe doing so beforehand, and learn how to continue the discussion afterward. I am a rising junior and a political science major, I joined Interpoint because I have personally seen the struggle in engaging others in meaningful discussions about race and wanted to have a part in improving that issue. Throughout 2020, the seemingly never-ending racial incidents have emphasized the urgency and necessity of Interpoint to start taking the steps to break the terrible cycle of racism, violence, and silence.
Hi, my name is Makayla Callender and I'm majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Healthcare Studies at the University of Richmond. When I heard about Interpoint, I was struck with the potential for good it could bring to our student body. In my experience as an Carribean American woman, when discussions of race arise, people look to me to lead the conversation which is stressful. Interpoint opened up space where people felt free and comfortable to share their experiences with race and bias. After the Interpoint discussion this past semester, I gained a new understanding of the perspective of students that grew up in areas in which race was not discussed nor acknowledged. It was a space where I felt that everyone connected to the issues at hand if even they were not a person of color. Everyone understood that the people in the room were not there to insult or judge anyone's experience. As a result, individuals who had never met or previously interacted got to learn or respect the stories shared. This is the reason that I felt so empowered to become a facilitator, so someone could have this connecting experience. However, Interpoint only works if it is open to everyone. It is not just for students of color nor solely for allies. It's a discussion that enables both sides to gather as one community and have an honest discussion. Interpoint helps bridge perspectives and build communities between individuals who seem completely different which is why it is so important.
Writing/ Editing Coordinator
Hi! I'm Susanna Getis, and I'm an English major with a minor in Secondary Education.
I chose to join Interpoint mainly because I saw an issue on my campus that I couldn't solve by myself. Race has always been a prominent issue on UR's campus, and I had the privilege of being unaware of it until a series of racially charged events occurred. I am certain that the best way to combat these issues head-on is to have amicable, understanding discussions among peers. I believe that my fellow students, with Interpoint as their vehicle, have the power to usher in a new era at UR.
I'm a Sociology and Global Studies major with a concentration in Development and Change. I was determined to be a part of Interpoint because it felt and still feels extremely necessary to start an honest and open dialogue about race and racism. It's so important to connect on common ground because that's the most productive way to create change. The racial segregation of our campus reflects the tense relations at other predominately white higher educational institutions in the country and Interpoint helps us to break through those boundaries and join as a community of students who seek to better themselves.
As a Leadership Studies and Visual Arts student, I believe that the only way to solve problems of race and injustice in our society is by starting with the heart. And to me, Interpoint is a space where hearts are welcome. During my time studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, I experienced a period of national protests that deeply informed the way I think about activism. This period taught me that creating spaces where people can share and learn from the humanity in each others’ stories is the most powerful way towards change, and I think Interpoint achieves this space. It is genuine vulnerability, listening, empathy and growth. My first Interpoint discussion was the first time on campus that I had had a conversation about race with strangers that felt real, productive, non-judgmental and unforced, and I think the greatest growth happens in spaces like this. I am so excited to be part of a group of people working towards a more authentically empathetic world through honest sharing and love. Outside of my passions for people and stories, I love running, singing, writing, camping and art.
I am a biology and mathematics major. I believe that Interpoint is important because we need to understand each other's perspectives. To me, Interpoint is the literal version of walking a mile in someone else's footsteps. It means that we all get to share our thoughts and emotions about a particular issue without the fear of being judged. I joined because I want to share this feeling with others and allow for the free expression of everyone's opinion. I feel that this feeling of empathy you get when you understand others situations is profound and important in this day and age. Listening to others helps build a bond between the person sharing the story and the person listening that cannot be replicated in any other situation. Valuing an individual's opinion and viewpoint shows you care about the situation and not only your viewpoint. To me, Interpoint is the concept of everyone’s viewpoint mattering and expressing that in a way that is beneficial.
Shira Greer is a junior from Fairfax, Virginia majoring in American Studies. She joined the Interpoint team because she is passionate about racial justice and believes that change only begins when people interrogate their own beliefs and assumptions and decide to work toward building an equitable community. Aside from Interpoint, she has sought to better the university community through her involvement with the Oliver Hill Scholars Program, the Race and Racism Project, the Multicultural Space Advisory Board, and the Africana Studies Student Committee. In addition, she is an avid music lover, singing in Schola Cantorum at the University and attending concerts whenever she gets the chance.
Lexi Cobbs, Class of 2023. Double Majoring in political science and leadership studies with a minor in English.
I joined the Interpoint team because I attended the first session and saw just how effective it was in facilitating meaningful, needed conversations about race in our campus community. The environment Interpoint created allowed people of all different races and backgrounds to speak, listen, understand, and accept. Right now, in such turbulent times, we need those things more than ever. I truly believe that things can get better, must get better, and WILL get better. Change comes slowly, but Interpoint is advancing it. That’s a good thing.
My name is Michael Kyle from Roanoke, VA and I am currently studying International Business. To me, Interpoint is about confronting and discussing all aspects of race, which may seem uncomfortable, but are necessary to create change and understanding. I joined Interpoint because I wanted to make a difference, and to avoid being a bystander as acts of racism and prejudice continue to unfold around my University and country. Change starts within small groups, and the growth can be exponential. Fostering a place of safe discussion, Interpoint advocates for the conversations that lead to acceptance, understanding, and equality for everyone. Without confronting problems, we are ignoring them, and this is needed now as much as it always has been.
My name is Anna Tartline and I am a junior from Mechanicsburg, PA. I joined the Interpoint team because coming from rural Pennsylvania, I only ever interacted with people who looked and lived like me. I was never taught about racial issues, but a lot of my perspectives on race changed after I came to college. As someone who has only recently begun walking the path toward anti-racism, I still have much to learn. However, my goal on the Interpoint team is to help teach white people, especially those who come from similar backgrounds as me, to begin recognizing their own biases and start engaging in dialogue about race. I hope that because I used to be a person that was silent and did not understand these issues, and although I never fully will, I can be a person that some of the people who need to hear about these issues most can relate to. Interpoint is so important on our campus and everywhere, and although they are just the beginning, dialogues are essential to reaching understandings and creating change.
My name is Anna Cheng. I am a senior at the University of Richmond, studying philosophy and psychology. I joined Interpoint to help it accomplish its vision. It is vitally important for different parts of our campus to come together and have conversation about difficult and pressing social topics, ones that too often divide us. I believe that the dialogue Interpoint supports encourages empathy, compassion, and humility. This intentional dialogue will allow us to come together and strengthen ourselves through the very fact of our rich diversity. I look forward to contributing to Interpoint and building a more inclusive, united community.
Hoor Ul Ain
Below you'll find a map of where our other chapters are located. Hover over each state to get to know the team! If you find one you're particularly interested in supporting, click their picture and donate to them directly.
WHERE WE COME FROM.
Interpoint was first implemented at the University of Richmond as a three-part discussion series during the spring semester of 2020. This series was designed to bring together U of R students from many different racial/cultural backgrounds, as well as different academic, extracurricular, and social groups, to start an educational conversation about race as a way of addressing the racial inequalities both in Richmond, VA and on the University of Richmond campus. We thank the University for their growing support of our cause. In particular, we would like to thank Blake Stack, the assistant director of student engagement and the Bonner Scholars Program, that has shown endless support, compassion, and guidance for our founders and their vision. We wouldn't be where we are today without you Blake.