Mission Statement
At Padua Academy, in the spirit of continuous improvement, it is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee’s mission to increase awareness, dialogue, programming, and resource-sharing in an effort to provide advocacy, support, opportunities, and a sense of belonging to all people. Rooted in the Catholic belief in the human dignity of every person, we are committed to celebrating differences and fostering an environment of mutual respect through empathy, understanding, and curiosity.

The Alliance

The Alliance is a group of students who celebrate the diversity of the Padua sisterhood through sharing experiences and supporting one another and represents the following clubs: the Black Student Union, IDEA - Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness Club, and the La Mezcla Club. 

2023 - 2024 DEI Initiatives

  • Summer Reading for 2023 incoming freshmen addressed DEI topics, "Piecing Me Together."
  • Cultural Norm video & dream board activity during Faculty & Student Orientation.
  • Padua students attended the HBCU College Fair.
  • Guest Speaker and  Padua Alumna Ashley Christopher '03, founder and CEO of HBCU Week Foundation, walked our students through her time at Padua to where she is today.
  • Guest Speaker and Padua Alumna Misty Johnson Oratokhai, COO of the National Children's Center, shared life lessons.  
  • Original Culture Crew members visited, discussing their college experiences and details of the Cultural Norms. 
  • Hosted our 1st "BSU Experience" The History of Hip-Hop Dance with guest speaker Reggie Oliver, a professional Hip-Hop Industry dancer, choreographer, and teacher. 
  • Guest speaker Daneya Jacobs, co-owner of Candy Connections, shared her entrepreneurial journey.
  • Faculty PD that aligned with our Cultural Norms led by our DEI Committee.
  • Panel of local fashion icons spoke to The Alliance: Sara Crawford - Experience Curator & Designer, Tia Jones - Personal Stylist and Wardrobe Creator, and Dell Scott - Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur
  • Culture Day 2024 -  student hosted Food and Art Symposium representing over 16 countries.
  • Panel of local fashion icons spoke to The Alliance: Sara Crawford - Experience Curator & Designer, Tia Jones - Personal Stylist and Wardrobe Creator, and Dell Scott - Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur
  • Neighbor Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Whitaker II, Senior Pastor at the Historic Mother African Union Church and college professor at Cabrini University and Duquesne University, spoke to the Alliance about DEI and Social Justice.

Previous DEI Initiatives

List of 3 items.

  • 2022 - 2023 Initiatives

    • Summer Readings for 2022 addressed DEI topics, "Piecing Me Together" and "Furia."
    • Faculty Orientation PD: "Exploring a multi-faceted identity" and ADHD teaching practices to increase awareness on neurodiversity.
    • Cultural Norm activities and introduction involving art, writing expression and discussion during the Student Orientation.
    • Culture Day 2022 featuring diverse Alumnae Panel discussing international travel, study and work. A student hosted Food and Art Symposium representing over 18 countries.
    • Full Implementation of "The Alliance" that represents our Affinity groups, La Mezcla, Black Student Union and I.D.E.A. (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness)
  • 2021 - 2022 Initiatives

    • Moral Courage / Diversity without Division with Ishrad Manji, a program which focuses on teaching communication skills across divides (Professional development for DEI committee members).
    • Orientation sessions presenting Cultural Norms to student body.
    • Community Day sessions throughout the year highlighting Cultural Norms specific to each class.
    • Active Listening sessions for freshmen, juniors, and seniors through Social Emotional Learning.
  • 2020 - 2021 Initiatives

    • Unconscious Bias Training Faculty Seminar with Taryn Guy and Lemar Thomas on Implicit Bias. 
    • Invisible Knapsack Senior Class Seminar addressing Privilege. 
    • Color Brave Faculty Seminar on going from being colorblind to color brave. 
    • NY Times Bestseller Renee Watson Lecture with Faculty and Affinity Groups. Time with the Author of "Piecing Me Together." 
Peace Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

DEI Committee

Padua Academy formed their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the Summer of 2020. It consists of a group of Faculty and Staff members that are dedicated to implementing awareness and education.

For more information, please contact:

Vanessa Vavala, DEI Board Chair

Jennifer Vintigni, DEI Board Chair
Tori Closson, Padua Class of 1994, Coordinator of Student Culture

List of 12 members.

  • Photo of Andrew Bozanic

    Andrew Bozanic 

  • Photo of Susan Burris

    Susan Burris 

    Director of Alumnae Relations
  • Photo of Tori Closson

    Tori Closson 

    Director of Student Culture
  • Photo of Daniel Mahler

    Daniel Mahler 

    Department Chair
  • Photo of Vanessa Vavala

    Vanessa Vavala 

    Department Chair
  • Photo of Jennifer Vintigni

    Jennifer Vintigni 

    Department Chair
  • Photo of Anne Powers

    Anne Powers 

  • Photo of Anna Alinda

    Anna Alinda 

    Director of Development
  • Photo of Maria Kilmon

    Maria Kilmon 

    Class Dean - Grades 11 and 12
  • Photo of Meghan Furlong

    Meghan Furlong 

  • Photo of Christopher Schimpf

    Christopher Schimpf 

  • Photo of McKayla Horton

    McKayla Horton 

Spirituality. Scholarship. Service. Sisterhood.