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Board of Advocates

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Board of Advocates

The Women's and Gender Studies Program Board of Advocates is a select group of friends who support the Women's and Gender Studies Program and its mission. The purpose of the Board of Advocates is to support to the program and to facilitate a connection between the program and the Oklahoma community.

Members of the Board of Advocates

Fred Alavi

Fred Alavi

Fred Alavi was born in Iran in 1949. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Accounting in Tehran, Iran in 1970. In the same year he married. In 1988 he migrated to the United States where his three children attended OSU and the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Alavi is currently self employed.

Gene Callaway

Gene Callaway

Gene Callaway has an undergraduate degree in Education and a JD from the OU Law School. Her beginning years of teaching were during the turbulent first years of bussing. She has practiced law in OKC for more than 30 years. As a lawyer she became the second female partner in a large OKC firm, was in-house counsel for a national insurance company, and spent the last 14 years of her career with the General Counsel’s office of the Department of Human Services focusing on legal issues related to neglected and abused children. Although recently retired, she currently serves on the Board for Shiloh Camp, a Christian day camp for at risk, inner-city children, teaches a class for new child welfare workers on effective witnessing, is the philanthropy advisor for an on campus sorority, serves as a trustee for her church and has been a member of its mission team for over 10 years. Although, attending law school, she maintained her interest in and appreciation for education, writing one of her first law school term papers on the rights of public school teachers to openly support gay rights. She also served several years on the board for the Edmond Public School Foundation. Gene always says she is genetically pre-disposed to be an advocate for human rights as her mother received her MSW from OU and devoted her life to helping the marginalized and in 2009 Gene’s daughter received her BSW from OU.

Freda Deskin

Freda Deskin

Freda Deskin is an award-winning educator with 46 years of experience as an educator. She taught at the pre-collegiate, at the collegiate level at OU, and served as the dean of STEM Education at OCU before founding and becoming the superintendent of ASTEC Charter School, an inner-city public school in Oklahoma City with a highly diverse student population and a 94% poverty rate. Freda earned a B.S. in elementary education from the UCO where she was a distinguished scholar, a Masters in Secondary Education and a Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum from OU, where she was Scholastic All-American Scholar and where she was given the Career Achievement Award in 2010. She also holds a certificate in Strategic School Management from Harvard University, did her post-graduate work in Finance at OCU and has more than 2500 clock hours training in the aerospace sciences. Freda was selected as a finalist in NASA's "Teacher-in-Space" project. Her contributions to Aerospace Education earned her a place in National Women in Aerospace Hall of Fame. She is well known as an innovator and as a champion of children.

Jackie Farley

Jackie Farley

Jackie Farley is a native Oklahoman with a bachelor and master's degree from OU. She is the Founder and C.E.O. of Wise Women Concierge in Norman, is a certified Motivational Speaker with the National Speakers Association, and an instructor for the OU WGS Progam. Jackie worked in the Recreational Services Department at OU for over 27 years and taught as an adjunct in Health and Exercise Sciences and University College. She retired as the Director of Recreational Services in 2005 after directing the renovation and expansion of the Huston Huffman Center.

Melvin C. Hall

Melvin Hall

Melvin C. Hall was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Langston University, where he received his B.A. in Education in 1978. Melvin has focused his practice on the civil litigation of employment law and civil rights cases. Melvin has tried cases before administrative tribunals, in state district courts and in each of the three U.S. District Courts of Oklahoma. He has also argued several cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.In addition to his law practice, Melvin is a nationally sought after speaker and lecturer on employment law and civil rights issues. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma teaching classes regarding employment law and the civil rights movement. Melvin has served on numerous boards and commissions such as a seven year term as a regent on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents from April 22, 1992 through March 31, 1999. During Melvin's tenure as a University of Oklahoma Regent, he was elected Chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in March 1998, becoming the Board's first African-American chairman. Currently, Melvin serves on the Arvest Bank Board of Directors, the Executive Committee of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the Board of Visitors of the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Gary Heerwald

Gary Heerwald

Gary Heerwald of Oklahoma City was born and reared in Clinton, Oklahoma. He received his B.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Journalism (Public Relations) from OU in 1973, with elective interests in history and art. He has 30 years of information/marketing and administrative experience with the State of Oklahoma. He currently volunteers as a docent at the Devon Energy Center. He has yet to write or paint anything that would make him famous or rich.

Martha Ogilvie

Martha Ogilvie

Martha Ogilvie is the Assistant Vice President for Research at the OU Health Sciences Center. Before assuming that position, she served as the administrative director of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and director of the OUHSC Intellectual Property Management Office. Prior to that, Martha spent many years in Washington, D.C. working in finance and biotechnology. She particularly enjoyed her time as part of the Celera Corporation, the company that pioneered human genome mapping. Martha is glad to be back in Oklahoma, where she graduated from Norman High School. She earned her bachelor of arts in political science from Grinnell College in Iowa, and her doctorate and master of science in biochemistry and molecular biology from the OU Health Sciences Center. She brings a passion for equality and human rights back to her home state of Oklahoma.

Linda Scoggins

Linda Scoggins

Linda Scoggins graduated for the OU College of Law in 1981 and has been in the private practice of law in Oklahoma City since that time. Her practice is focused primarily in the areas of health law and business litigation. Linda had returned to law school nine (9) years after receiving a B.A. in Economics from OU. Between undergraduate and law school, she worked as a marketing research analyst for two Oklahoma City newspapers while having two sons and taking a few courses in OU’s MBA program. Throughout her career, Linda has been active in community, philanthropic, and school activities in Oklahoma City and Norman. She has served on the Boards of Variety Health Clinics, Variety Health Foundation, and Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma. Her volunteer work for Planned Parenthood has spanned 30 years, including 18 years on the Board and 4 years as Board President.

Brenda Wheelock

Brenda Wheelock

Brenda Wheelock of Norman serves as the director of communications and development for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a statewide nonprofit founded by David Boren to recognize and encourage academic excellence in public schools. A 1988 University of Oklahoma journalism graduate, Brenda served more than 10 years on the news and publications staff of OU Public Affairs and was editor of OU’s alumni and staff publications. She has also been a reporter for United Press International and the Daily Oklahoman. Brenda is an active volunteer leader for the Cleveland County CROP Walk to Stop Hunger and Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. A former board member and mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Norman, she has received the Norman United Way Volunteer of the Year Award for Service to Youth and Education. Brenda and her husband David are the proud parents of two daughters, Robyn, a recent graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, and Amanda, a sophomore at Mills College in Oakland, Calif.

Other Members

  • Kaylee Davis-Maddy
  • Donna Miller
  • Lisa Pryor
  • Cindy Rosenthal
  • Teresa Turner