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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

TerrapinSTRONG logo

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is proud to embrace the TerrapinSTRONG vision of an inclusive environment where every member of our community feels that they belong and are empowered to reach their full potential.

After completing the TerrapinSTRONG onboarding course, new members of the Merrill community can look forward to the following TerrapinSTRONG initiatives:


DEI Student Workshop: My Identity, My Journalism

When: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Where: Knight Hall, Eaton Theater

Join Merrill’s DEI coordinator for a workshop that explores the relationship between Cultural Competency, representation and journalism. How can identity impact a journalist’s relationship with the communities they report on? How does journalism affect the way we view society? These are questions we will dive into while discovering the type of journalism you want to engage in.

Affinity Meetings

The Program Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will be holding several general-interest meetings for affinity-based groups throughout the school year. These will be forums for those who want to either establish, revitalize or simply create community among individuals/journalists who identify with any of these particular groups at Merrill College. From brown bag sessions to resume-building workshops, students get to have input on the agenda for these meetings. Affinity meetings are to help foster community and connect students to some of the resources and opportunities UMD and Merrill provide. Below are upcoming meetings:

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Journalists @ Merrill

When: Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, 5-6 p.m. 
Where: Knight Hall, Gaylord Library, and Zoom 

Hispanic and Latine Journalists @ Merrill

When: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, 4-5 p.m.
Where: Knight Hall, Gaylord Library, and Zoom

Mentorship Programs

Merrill Mentorship Program 

The Merrill Mentorship Program empowers students to be successful in newsrooms, media outlets and other organizations by connecting them with industry leaders and experts. Our thoughtful mentors are here to provide their mentees with the skills, resources and support to ensure Merrill students are successful in their next career steps. If you are interested in participating in this program, apply by clicking one of the links below. Applications closed Sept. 22, 2023.

Peer Mentor Program

The Merrill Peer Mentor Program is a first-year experience designed to facilitate the successful transition of incoming students into the journalism major. Peer mentors are sophomores, juniors and seniors at Merrill who each guide a group of eight to 10 incoming students through their first semester at UMD. Peer mentors will be a point of contact for academic, student involvement and campus-related questions, and will encourage first-year students to attend and participate in campus and college events.

Tune into diversity-related panels on Merrill College’s YouTube channel, such as this Howard Center Speaker Series event on how to use data to uncover racial inequities.
Delve into diversity, equity and inclusion themes within your JOUR 200 course. In this required history/orientation class for incoming students, there are group discussions covering topics such as diversity, inclusivity, equity, social justice and identity. Trailblazers in journalism history will be researched and discussed, and their struggles and successes will be analyzed.

Check out The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism's collaborative projects and public programs that elevate and amplify discussion of sports, race, gender, politics and the world. 

Explore the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism’s various investigative projects, many of which concern communities of color and groups living on the margins of society: 

  • Printing Hate, which focuses on the historic role of white-owned newspapers in fueling racial hate and violence.
  • Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide, which investigates the disproportionate effects of climate change on communities of color in Baltimore.
  • Essential and Exposed, which unearths the risks that workers on the front lines of American industry have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TerrapinSTRONG and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Video Discussion

Every member of the Merrill College community was invited to participate in a discussion about what it means to be TerrapinSTRONG at Merrill. We used the diversity, equity and inclusion video created for the 2021-22 academic year as a starting point for this conversation. This discussion was held virtually. 
When: Feb. 16, 2022

First Gen Journalists Meeting

Higher education is a challenging place for all, but especially for individuals who are the first in their families to go to college. This workshop had the goal of fostering a sense of community at Merrill for individuals who are the first in their families to go to college. This event was held in person.
When: March 9, 2022

Is the NFL Racist? Among Other Loaded Questions

This virtual conversation explored the implications of former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores' decision to bring a class-action lawsuit against the NFL through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. How does this compare/contrast with the attitudes and actions of other American institutions, such as the Supreme Court and the Oscars? How about the Olympics? What does this mean for our coverage? 
When: Thursday, March 10, 2022

TerrapinSTRONG @ Merrill College

Merrill College's official TerrapinSTRONG rollout took place from March 7-18. This event was a discussion for those who wanted to learn more about the TerrapinSTRONG initiative and what that means to be TerrapinSTRONG in the context of our community. 
When: Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workshop for Merrill Students: 'My Identity, My Journalism' 

In what ways does your identity impact your journalism? How does your background impact the way(s) you interact with the communities you are reporting on? This workshop was rooted in tenets of small-group dialogue and active listening. This event was held in person. 
When: March 16, 2022

Video Game Optics with Dr. Kishonna Gray 

This virtual event was geared toward individuals who are interested in covering the video game industry, and participating in a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion in the video game world. The event itself was a Twitch livestream in which a current Merrill College senior, Adryan Nash, gamed with Dr. Kishonna Gray, a prominent video game scholar and Associate Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. The two discussed what it means to be a person of color in this predominantly white industry, among other themes, such as knowledge creation in a digital space and advice for individuals who want to report on the growing video game industry.
When: April 28, 2022 

Peer Mentorship Trivia Hour

As part of Merrill’s Peer Mentorship Program, the student services team hosted a Merrill Trivia Hour for the peer mentors and all the students in their groups. The game covered a variety of Merrill-related topics. From Merrill history, notable alums, UMD facts and figures, and some random knowledge — there was a little bit of everything.
When: Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

Graduate Student Mixer

Grounded in the TerrapinSTRONG ideals of fostering community and inclusion, this in-person event served as an opportunity for professional development and networking among Merrill College’s master's and Ph.D. students.
When: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023

Mini-Merrill Org Fair

The Mini-Merrill Org Fair provided the opportunity for students to meet various campus publications and journalism-based student organizations. It highlighted all things journalism at UMD, from print to broadcasting and from entertainment to politics. All majors were welcome.
When: Monday, Sept. 18, 2023

Every community owes its existence and strength to the generations before them, around the world, who contributed their hopes, dreams and energy into making the history that led to this moment.

Truth and acknowledgement are critical in building mutual respect and connections across all barriers of heritage and difference.

So, we acknowledge the truth that is often buried: We are on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway People, who are the ancestral stewards of this sacred land. It is their historical responsibility to advocate for the four-legged, the winged, those that crawl and those that swim. They remind us that clean air and pristine waterways are essential to all life.

This Land Acknowledgement is a vocal reminder for each of us as two-leggeds to ensure our physical environment is in better condition than what we inherited, for the health and prosperity of future generations.

To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Merrill College, email Diversity and Inclusion Program Coordinator Alexis Ojeda-Brown at

To learn more about the TerrapinSTRONG initiative, visit or email

For More Information

Portrait of Alexis Ojeda-Brown

Alexis Ojeda-Brown

Program Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
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