Anthony P. Natale, Ph.D., MSW
Director, Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies
Anthony P. Natale, Ph.D., MSW, serves as Director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies. In addition, he is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, joining the faculty in 2005. Dr. Natale teaches across the social work curriculum, including courses in Human Diversity and Societal Oppression, Human Services Administration, Social Welfare Policy Analysis, Community Organization and Development, Human Lifespan Development, and Human Sexuality. He was inducted into the Social Work Hall of Fame for Teaching Excellence in 2015 and awarded the University of Oklahoma Regents Award for Superior Teaching in 2019.
Dr. Natale's distinguished research record has evolved into four themes: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Belonging (IDEA-B) in higher education, HIV/AIDS health disparities among minoritized populations, trauma-informed interventions in social work practice, and social work with LGBTQQIPA2+ people.
Dr. Natale had held several administrative roles before his appointment in SWCHRS, including Social Work Graduate Coordinator, Assistant Director of the School of Social Work, and Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence at the University of Oklahoma Graduate College. As a social worker, Dr. Natale has committed his professional and academic career to advancing social, political, economic, and environmental justice for systemically and systematically marginalized and oppressed people.
Office Manager and Assistant to Executive Director
Katherine joined our team February 2018 as the Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies. Before joining our team, she worked the past 16 years for the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma where she held the positions of Program Manager, HR, Property and Procurement and Program Coordinator for the CCDF program. Katherine has received her Administrative Assistant I & II and Business Core Competency Certificates from Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center in Ft. Cobb, Oklahoma. She has also attend Cameron University and Comanche Nation College.
She is a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma and comes from Kiowa descent as well. She and her husband Daniel moved to Norman in September 2017. She has three children and three grandchildren, whom she loves spending time with. Now that she has seen her children through high school and one through college, she is inspired to continue to pursue her education in Business Administration which she plans to do in the near future.
Senior Program Administrator
Justin has served the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) for over 15 years. As Program Manager, he is responsible for orchestrating the efforts of NCORE staff to organize and develop the conference. He also manages the on-site conference event. Justin first joined the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies (SWCHRS) in 2001 as a temporary employee, working to update and digitize the NCORE mailing system. Over the years, he has served the conference in various capacities, including webmaster, marketing and public relations coordinator, exhibit coordinator, and audiovisual coordinator. He has also served as the secretary and coordinator for the activities of the NCORE National Advisory Council and the SWCHRS Executive Committee.
Justin developed a deep commitment to act in support of social justice and racial equity projects through his service to and emersion into the community of the NCORE conference. While a staff member of the Southwest Center, he also gained experience as intergroup dialogue facilitator, leading numerous dialogues on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. He has also facilitated caucus groups focused on anti-racist consciousness raising amongst white people. Justin has been a student of numerous developmental trainings focused on change making to create more just and equitable institutions. He is grateful for the opportunities he has had to attend trainings organized by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, the Social Justice Training Institute and the White Privilege Conference.
Prior to joining the Southwest Center, Justin served in the United States military as a highly decorated Weather Forecaster for the Air Force Air National Guard.
Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives and Projects
Ajia is a fourth-year PhD student in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Her research philosophy informs an agenda that focuses on both pro-social and critical analyses of Black representation—that is, how the lives of Black people are made better and/or worse through media and communication. With that philosophy in mind, her research agenda looks at the relationship between communication, culture, identity and power in corporate philanthropy, activist, and visual representation contexts. Ajia returned to SWCHRS after two-years in OU Advancement/OU Foundation where she supported the operations and execution of the LEAD ON Campaign – OU’s $2B fundraising campaign.
Before transitioning into communications, Ajia worked as a social worker clinician in the Washington, D.C. area and with the Department of Defense, focusing on sexual, domestic and combat trauma. Her commitment to racial and social justice is largely influenced by her work as a social worker, as she recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of human beings and their contribution to the world. Ajia holds an MA from University of Oklahoma (2018), an MSW from Howard University (2005) and a BS from California State University, Fresno (2001). She is originally from Oakland, CA.
Event / Conference Coordinator
Kathie's work at SWCHRS includes sourcing future conference venues and hotels, negotiating contracts, and making logistical arrangements for current conferences. A lifelong learner, she earned a Certified Meeting Professional designation in 2007, an M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education in 2016, and a Virtual Meeting Management certificate in 2020.
Kathie creates jewelry and other crafty things and lives by the motto "do something creative every day".
Debbie is our most recent graduate from the OU Extended campus’ accelerated degree program. She earned her B.A. in Organizational Leadership in her spare time over two quick years. Debbie’s hard work and perseverance not only earned her a degree but also a promotion within our department to Business and Virtual Meeting Manager. In this role, Debbie will continue to serve as the budgeting manager, exhibit and advertising manager, the point of contact for all contracting, and the organization of our virtual events such as webinars and our newest program, NCORE on line.
In her spare time Debbie enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering, and game night with friends.
Senior Program Manager
Dedrick graduated from the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma with a master’s degree in May of 2020. He received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work in May of 2019. He was awarded the 2020 NASW-OK MSW Student of the Year. He is the 2019 and 2020 recipient of the Anne & Henry Zarrow Service Award for his commitment to Social Justice through service. He is the recipient of the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work Scholarship and Will Rogers Social Work Scholarship. As the Undergraduate Co-President of the Social Work Student Association, he has organized social justice events such as 2018 #BelieveSurvivors Walkout and Social Work Student discussions of race on campus.
Dedrick is involved in social justice initiatives in Oklahoma City such as #Black Lives Matter, Justice for Julius, and as a volunteer at the YWCA-OKC. He has presented at several regional and national conferences. Along with this position at SWCHRS, Dedrick is also an adjunct professor for Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.
Graduate Research Assistant
Stephanie is an independent filmmaker who grew up in parts of Southeast Missouri, Ohio, and the Philippines. Her films focus primarily on family, friends, and history, and her research focuses on film editing and rhetoric. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film and is currently working on her doctoral degree in Mass Communication.