Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


One U Thriving


Centers & Offices


NLA Fellows 2021-2022 Cohort


Mona Aldana-Ramirez

Mona L. Aldana-Ramirez

she, her, ella


Director of Student Success for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence
San Antonio College

Mona Aldana-Ramirez has been in education for 26 years. She currently serves as the Director of Student Success for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence at San Antonio College. In this role, she leads the college’s equity plan to elevate equity consciousness throughout the institution. She began her education career teaching science throughout K-12 and higher education. She provided professional development to educators throughout the United States as a NASA Aerospace Education Specialist. As a specialist working with a team of educators, she helped integrate NASA’s Science education curriculum into school districts and promote STEM careers to students of color throughout the US.

During her 18 years at SAC, she developed programs and spearheaded initiatives that helped increase student success at one of the largest single-campus community colleges in Texas. These programs and initiatives include San Antonio College Men Empowerment Network (SACMEN), TheDream.US Scholarship Program, Honors Academy, Student Success Community Partnerships, Ascender Program, Student Ambassadors, Foundations of Excellence and a Texas Teacher Certification Program. She also serves on the College Council Committee and currently chairs the Equity Committee. Previous committee work includes Graduation Ceremony Committee, SAC Fiesta Brunch Committee College Program Review, Welcome Days Committee, Quality Enhancement Plan, Raza Heritage Month and various hiring committees. She has also written and overseen several grants.

She has garnered numerous awards involving service, speaking and leadership and served as a fellow for the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC). She mentored an emerging leader in the NCCHC Fellows program and volunteered as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Colleagues have recognized her with a Superheroine Award and received the 2018 Outstanding Male Student Program Award in Texas (SACMEN) by the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color (TECMSC). In 2020, she received the Community College Service Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). Most recently, she was selected as a 2021 Leadership Fellow by Catch the Next and as a 2022 New Leadership Academy Fellow.

She has served on committees for the city of San Antonio to improve outcomes for local youth. She has been a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color (TECMSC), and the National Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3).

She earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from San Antonio College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, TX), and a Master’s degree in Natural and Applied Sciences from Oklahoma State University.

She has been married for twenty-eight years and has two children with whom she enjoys cooking, traveling and zip lines. She also enjoys hiking, reading and mastering escape rooms.

Nancy Allen

Nancy A. Allen

she, her, hers


Associate Professor, College of Nursing
University of Utah

Dr. Allen received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts and her Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Self-Management of Patients and Families with Chronic Diseases in Vulnerable Populations atYale University. She is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing and the co-chair for the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Outreach Committee that has been very active in developing a College of Nursing anti-racist statement, anti-racist curriculum, diversity strategies for faculty recruitment and retention, and promoting allyship with diverse groups. Recently, Dr. Allen became program director for the Nursing Workforce Diversity grant funded by the Health Services Resource Administration that focuses on supporting diverse students by providing financial support, developing a holistic admission process, developing a mentoring program, building community outreach pipelines, and conducting faculty diversity training. In addition, she is an active community-engaged researcher in the Hispanic Community, Alzheimer’sCommunity, and the Diabetes Community. Dr. Allen worked with a team of researchers to conduct a Patient-Centered OutcomesResearch grant in the Hispanic community and then continued to work with this community by leading a community diabetes support group until COVID halted these group meetings. Last year, she researched with Dr. Sanchez-Birkhead in the Hispanic Community to determine the social distress and needs of the community during COVID 19. In 2017-2018 she received the University of Utah Inclusive Excellence in Research Award. She was recently accepted as a Fellow in the New Leadership Academy for mid-career academic faculty to develop their skills to lead equity, diversity, and inclusion change.

Eddy Alvarez

Eddy Francisco Alvarez, Jr.

he, him, his


Assistant Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies
California State University – Fullerton

Dr. Alvarez Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Prior to returning to California, he held a joint appointment in the Departments of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and University Studies at Portland State University. Before that, he taught in the department of Africana and Latino Studies at State University of New York, Oneonta. An interdisciplinary scholar, he earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Chicana and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.A. and M.A. in Spanish from California StateUniversity, Northridge. His research interests include Chicanx and Latinx aesthetics, performance, and popular culture, Queer oral histories, Los Angeles queer Latinx histories, and Jotería Studies. His academic and creative work has been published in Aztlan: AJournal of Chicano Studies, Revista Bilingüe/Bilingual Review, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Journal of Lesbian Studies, and Sounding Out! The Sound Studies Blog, and other journals and edited books. He is co-editor of Transmovimientos: Latinx QueerMigrations, Bodies, and Spaces, published in 2021 by University of Nebraska Press. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript titled Finding Sequins in the Rubble: Memory, Space and Aesthetics in Queer Latinx Los Angeles, an oral history and archival project which maps physical and ephemeral sites of memory and quotidian moments of pleasure and resistance for queer and transChicanx and Latinx communities in LA. He is also working on a book of essays and poems about growing up queer in a Cuban and Mexican family in the San Fernando Valley. A founding member of the Association for Jotería Arts, Activism, and Scholarship, he has served on the board of the organization as Co-chair elect, Co-chair, Ex-officio Co-chair, and biennial conference co-coordinator. Additionally, he serves on Advisory Board of the Pop Conference, and is the Assembly Delegate for the Sound and Media Caucus of the Modern Language Association. He is a 2020 Faculty Fellow for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, and Honor 41, an LGBTQ Latinx organization, named him one of The 41List 2019-2020 Honorees, highlighting him as a Latinx LGBTQ role model.

Robert Arellano

Robert Arellano

he, him, his


Professor
Southern Oregon University

Robert Arellano received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University. He has delivered keynote addresses at the 2014 convening of the Oregon Community Foundation Latino Partnership Programs and the 2015 César E. Chávez Leadership Conference of Southern Oregon. He has facilitated community conversations on race and social justice for the Oregon Humanities Council and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and he is a founding member of the Southern Oregon University Bias Response Team.

Arellano is the author of seven novels including Havana Libre: a Cuban Noir, and Havana Lunar, a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America’s 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award. His stories and essays have been featured in dozens of literary and scholarly publications including The Village Voice, Tin House, and The Believer. Since 1992, he has taught more than 100 undergraduate and graduate courses on writing and in the humanities at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, Southern Oregon University, and University of New Mexico. As Associate Dean of Instruction at UNM-Taos, he created the dual-language program in Literacy & Cultural Studies.

Arellano has been the convocation and commencement speaker at high schools and universities across the country. He was a 2014 Oregon Literary Fellow, a 2016 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellow, and the recipient of a 2018 Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant. In October of 2021, he was elected to a two-year term as chair for the Oregon Humanities board.

LaTonya Berryhill

LaTonya Berryhill

she, her, hers


Operations Manager & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Director
Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research
University of Michigan

LaTonya Berryhill, MBA, is the MICHR Operations Manager & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program Director for the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR). LaTonya attended Albany State University in Albany, GA, and Cleary University in Ann Arbor, MI. LaTonya has been with MICHR for 14 years and has 18 years of service at the University of Michigan. She has a background in human resources, business operations, management, and facilitation. In addition, LaTonya is an Implementation Lead for the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. In her role as an Implementation Lead, she works to support the DEI strategy plans & goals of MICHR, Michigan Medicine, and the University. She oversees engagement, training & development, and DEI activities at MICHR. LaTonya is a trained facilitator in unconscious bias, navigating bias, hiring and selection best practices, navigating multi-generations in the workplace, bystander, and constructive dialogue. She is also the creator of the MICHR DEI “Becoming” series. The series is centered on personal storytelling, self-reflection, & honest vulnerability in the DEI space and provides an opportunity to learn more about colleagues and the impact that DEI has on their lives. LaTonya co-leads the Michigan Medicine DEI Black Voices Resource Group and the Michigan Medicine Facilitator Learning Collective. She is also a member of the Michigan Medicine Anti-Racism Oversight Committee, where she co-chairs the Opportunities for Conversations Subcommittee and serves as a member of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science DEI Committee.

Mari Castañeda

she, her, ella


Dean and Professor, Commonwealth Honors College
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Mari Castañeda is Professor of Communication and Dean of the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also affiliated with the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies, and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies. She received her Ph.D. in 2000 from theUniversity of California, San Diego and her B.A. from UCLA in 1993.Her fields of study include Latinx/Chicana communication studies, academic cultures of care, digital media, and communications policy. Her engaged scholarship has appeared in various journals/monographs and she is the co-editor of Mothers in Academia; Telenovelas and Soap Operas in the Digital Age: GlobalIndustries and New Audiences; and Civic Engagement in DiverseLatinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action.

Teresa Delgado

Teresa Delgado

she, her, hers


Professor and Chairperson, Religious Studies Department
Director, Peace and Justice Studies Program
Iona College

Teresa Delgado, Ph.D., is director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program and professor and chair of the Religious Studies Department at Iona College. She received her doctorate from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, under the guidance of the trailblazing womanist theologian Dr. Delores S. Williams. She has published on topics ranging from diversity in higher education, transformational pedagogies, constructive theology and ethics, and justice for racially, ethnically and sexually minoritized persons. Dr. Delgado’s book, “A Puerto Rican Decolonial Theology: Prophesy Freedom,” was published in September 2017 (Palgrave Macmillan); she is currently working on a manuscript in sexual ethics titled, “Loving Sex: A Decolonial Theology of the Body.”

Addressing the need for greater diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in theological education, Dr. Delgado mentors doctoral students of color in theology and religion to nurture their success in the academy, church and world. A senior fellow of the Ford Foundation, she has served on the board of the Hispanic Theological Initiative; as well as a member of the mentoring consortium of the Forum for Theological Exploration; and the advisory committee of the Wabash Center for Teaching & Learning in Theology and Religion. Dr. Delgado has served as president of the Board of WESPAC (Westchester People’s Action Coalition), a leading force of social justice activism in Westchester County, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Colgate University and The Ursuline School.

Edward Delgado Romero

Edward Delgado-Romero

he, him, his


Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Services
Professor, Mary Frances Early College of Education
University of Georgia

Edward Delgado-Romero is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Services and a Professor in the Mary Frances Early College of Education at the University of Georgia. He earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. He has mentored 42 students to the Ph.D. He is a past-president of the National Latinx Psychological Association. He focuses his research on linguistic and cultural competence in the provision of psychological services to the Latinx population. He is the founder of Clinica In La’Kech, a free Spanish language psychological clinic in the Athens community that trains UGA Ph.D. and M.S.W. students. Delgado-Romero is a recipient of the UGA Public Service and Outreach Engaged Scholar Award and the national Beckman Award, which recognizes “teachers who have inspired their former students to make a significant contribution to society.”

Michelle Ferrez

Michelle Ferrez

she, her, hers


Director of Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program
Lecturer, Race & Equity Center, Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California

Dr. Michelle Ferrez (she/her) is currently the Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at the University of Michigan and lecturer for the Race & Equity Center, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Ferrez earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA (Sociology with a minor in Latinx Studies and Education), Masters Degree from the University of Michigan, Center for the Study of HIgher Education and Postsecondary Education (Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sylvia Hurtado), and her doctorate from University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education (Dissertation Chairs: John Slaughter, Lindsey Malcom-Piqueux, Estela Bensimon, and Anthony Maddox). Michelle is a proud first generation Latina who grew up on both the east and west coast(s) of the United States. She has 25 years of professional, research, and assessment experience in higher education from University of Michigan, University of Washington-Seattle, UCLA, and UC San Diego. Her work has spanned all areas related to undergraduate education such as student programming, multicultural affairs, admissions and financial aid, academic advising, university learning and tutorial centers, experiential learning programs (research, international opportunities, etc.), preparing for graduate/professional school (s), and STEM-industry partnerships. Dr. Ferrez’ primary research interests centers on postsecondary access and success for minoritized students in STEM fields, the culture and climate of the learning context in STEM (especially around identity), the role of STEM diversity programs in creating educational equity, and the overall decolonization of research, leadership, and teaching in higher education.

Deniz Fierro

Deniz Fierro

she, her, ella


Director, Educational Partnerships & Programs
Fullerton College

Dr. Deniz Fierro, a Fullerton College Director of Educational Partnerships & Programs, has created a tuition-free community college Promise program, which helped increase first-time student enrollment by 21%, increased full-time enrollment by 18% and persistence by 12%. Additionally, she developed a mobile friendly application for first-time students that reduced barriers to access and streamlined onboarding processes into a multi-functional summer orientation program. These efforts increased first-year Promise students from 850 in fall 2018 to over 2,400 students in fall 2021. She also created a peer mentorship program, a case management system, and a targeted data analysis protocol used as an early alert system to ensure all students have access to resources, increased student support services, timely high-touch contacts, and engagement opportunities for student success.

To continue improving the Promise programs across the nation, she researched the benefits of the Promise program on Latinx, first-generation, and low-income students. She is hoping to publish academic articles from her research during her doctoral studies at California State University, Fullerton. Currently, she directs multiple programs aimed at supporting student success and persistence, while co-chairing the campus-wide Guided Entry reform project. Her equity-minded work has been highlighted by the California State Chancellor’s Office Regional Coordinator and she presented some of her work at the 2020 national conference for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).

Jerry Flores

Jerry Flores

he, him, his


Assistant Professor & Special Advisor to the Dean, Department of Sociology
University of Toronto

Jerry Flores is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sociology tri-campus graduate department at the University of Toronto-St.George. He received a Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Santa Barbara in2014. My interdisciplinary research investigates how institutions like schools, detention centers and the police come together to shape the lives of at-risk Latina and Indigenous women and girls in North America. Specifically, he pays attention to how these individuals’ experiences are shaped by intergenerational trauma, family violence, as well as historical forms of gendered, racialized and class specific oppression as he passes through these institutions. For this work he received a Ford Foundation Fellowship, UC President’s Post Doctoral Award, Distinguished Early Career Award from the ASA section on youth and childhood studies and various Federal and University-based grants. He wrote the book Caught up, authored multiple peer-reviewed publications and several news pieces. He also serve as a special advisor to the Dean.

Elena Foulis

Elena Foulis

she, her, ella


Clinical Associate Professor
The Ohio State University

Dr. Elena Foulis is a student-centered educator with over 15 years of experience in higher education. She is an Ohio State alumnus and holds B.A and M.A degrees in Spanish and Latin American Literature and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. Her research and teaching interests include U.S. Latina/o literature, Spanish for Heritage Learners and Oral History. She has presented her work at national and international conferences. She teaches undergraduate courses in service-learning, Latin American Literature and Spanish for heritage learners at Ohio State. Her articles explore Latin@ voices through oral history and performance, identity and place through linguistic landscape and ethnography and family history in advanced heritage language writing courses. Dr. Foulis is working on a digital oral history project about Latin@s in Ohio, which is being archived at the Center for Folklore Studies’ internet collection. Some of these narratives can be found in her iBook titled, Latin@ Stories Across Ohio. She is also host and producer for the Latin@ Stories podcast, an extension of her oral history project. This podcast invites audiences to connect and learn more about the Latin@/Hispanic experiences locally, while amplifying the voices of the community everywhere. She co-hosts the Art and Sciences podcast, Woke Pedagogies.

Elena is a member of the Oral History Association, Engagement Scholarship Consortium—where she serves as mentor for the Engagement Emergent Scholars Workshop—and is a commissioner for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latin@ Affairs.

Meligha Garfield

Meligha Garfield

he, him, his


Director, Black Cultural Center
University of Utah

Meligha Garfield (he/him) is the inaugural director for the Black Cultural Center (BCC) at the University of Utah—a center that works to holistically enrich, educate, and advocate for students, faculty, staff and the broader community through Black centered programming, culturally affirming educational initiatives, and retention strategies. Hailing from Rochester, New York, Garfield holds a B.A. in Government, with a minor in colonial Latin American history and Africana studies and a Master of Public Administration from New Mexico State University (NMSU) where he was previously the Programs Coordinator for the Black Programs Department. He has implemented outreach and retention services, served as coordinator and advisor in Black programs, and managed numerous departmental programming and events while at NMSU. He is also a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated.

Reginald Hammond Jr.

Reginald Hammond Jr.

he, him, his


Program Manager for Academic Affairs, Trainee Success and DEI
University of Michigan

Reginald is the Program Manager for Academic Affairs, Student Success and DEI for post-baccalaureate and graduate students at the University of Michigan Medical School. In his role, Reginald manages student success programs and curriculum that support the holistic wellbeing of scientists in the NIH-funded Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (UM PREP) and the first-year, rotational PIBS PhD program. He is also the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program lead for his department as well as a member of the Anti-Racism Oversight Committee for Michigan Medicine and the Student Parent Excellence Committee.

Prior to joining the Medical School, Reginald developed academic, social and career support programming to enhance the access and success of limited income, first-generation college students at the University of Michigan, as the Assistant Director of the Kessler Scholars Program. Since his work to redesign the traditional scholarship program with a focus on a greater sense of belonging in 2017, the program has closed the graduation gap between program participants and their continuing-generation peers. Due to its success, the program’s model is now adopted at five other institutions including: Cornell University, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse University, St. Francis College, and Queens College, and has recently been funded in perpetuity at the University of Michigan.

Reginald believes that higher education is the path for upward mobility and has a deep commitment to promoting a more equitable learning environment where every student has what they need to pursue their goals. In pursuit of his passions, he earned a M.A. in Educational Leadership – Higher Education Student Affairs at Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Movement Science at the University of Michigan and is honored to have to helped to address national higher education challenges in innovative ways, at both institutions.

Denise Hernandez

Denise Adame Hernandez

she, her, hers


Adjunct Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Arlington

Dr. Hernandez received her PhD from the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs (CAPPA) in Public and Urban Administration at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). She earned her Master of Public Health from the Texas A&M School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health from Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on professional and social support for Community Health Workers (CHWs), CHW organizational development, as well as working with CHWS to bridge the gap between the patient and health care system. Her passion for addressing the needs of under-resourced communities has led her to focus on the impact of CHWs in vulnerable populations. As such, Denise is the founder of the DFW Community Health Worker Association for which she now serves as the as the Executive Director; as well as a member of the founding Board of Directors for the Texas Association of CHWs/Promotores. In her involvement with the local CHW organization, she led the association’s role in the NIH funded Tarrant County Community-Engagement Research Alliance (CEAL) project which collaborates with CHWs to address COVID-19 concerns and vaccine hesitancy in vulnerable populations. As a Board member of the state CHW organization, Dr. Hernandez is leading the effort to incorporate CHWs into emergency relief to address the immediate needs of the Latino and under-resourced communities after an emergency event. Denise is a member of UTA’s inaugural research team recently awarded The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities Racial Justice, Equity Program Award. Dr. Hernandez currently teaches in the graduate and undergraduate Public Health program at UTA and continues working to strengthen the support for the CHW workforce through research and policy at the local, state, and national level.

Susana Hernandez

Susana Hernández

she, her, ella


Associate Professor and Department Chair
California of Southern University, Fresno

Dr. Susana Hernández (she, her, ella) is an Associate Professor in Higher Education Administration and Leadership, Core Faculty Member in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at CSU Fresno.

Dr. Hernández adopts critical frameworks and methods to examine educational opportunity in discourse, policy, and practice. Her research aims to interrogate institutional policies and practices to create more equitable educational experiences for underserved communities with a focus on Hispanic Serving Institutions, undocumented student experiences, and preparation of educational leaders.

Dr. Hernández’s professional affiliations include: the Education Trust – West Educators Advisory Council, the UC Berkeley Executive Leadership Academy, the NASPA Emerging Faculty Leadership Academy, and the University of Pennsylvania Center for MSI – Elevate Fellowship. Dr. Hernández is a recipient of the Iowa State College of Human Sciences Young Alumni Award, Fresno State Campus Advisors Network Outstanding Advisor, and the Fresno State Promising New Faculty Award.

Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Hernández held several professional roles in higher education and students affairs across all 3 public systems of higher education in California. These roles included working with high school students, community college students, undergraduate students, and families across the state of California.

Dr. Hernández is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from the state of Jalisco and grew up in the city of Inglewood, California. Her longstanding commitment to educational equity is demonstrated in the meaningful ways she incorporates her family’s history into her daily practice as a scholar and educator.

Jessica Hurtado

Jessica M. Hurtado

she, her, ella


Associate Director, Office of Admissions
Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine
University of Utah

Jessica M. Hurtado is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Higher Education Leadership program at Colorado State University. She has worked in strategic enrollment management for over a decade and serves as the Associate Director of Admissions at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah. Her scholarly research interests include professional development of admissions officers from an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens along with systemic enrollment management transformations to advance college access for medical students of color.

Jessica Jones

Jessica L. Jones

she, her, hers


Associate Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
University of Utah

Jessica L. Jones, MD, MSPH is a board certified physician in family medicine, currently serving as an associate professor with the Division of Public Health, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is also the Associate Chair for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with the department. Dr. Jones completed medical school at the UCLA School of Medicine and residency training at the University of Utah. She also completed a faculty development fellowship with the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. This fellowship included completing a Master of Science in Public Health degree. As an Underrepresented Minority in Medicine (URMM) and after 17 years as a physician with the University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, she strives to be an outstanding voice and advocate for underrepresented minorities in medicine, encouraging and facilitating equity and inclusion. Dr. Jones has over 10 years of continuity clinic experience and medical student/resident teaching. Currently, as an urgent care provider, she is on the front line of clinical public health, and continues to teach and advise graduate public health, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner students.

David Lee

David E. Lee

he, him, his


Director, AANAPISI Program
Laney College

David E. Lee, Ed.D. is the Director of the APASS/AANAPISI Program at Laney College. He leads a diverse team of professionals including faculty, counselors and staff that run Laney College’s Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) program which improves the transition, progression, transfer and graduation rates of historically underrepresented and under-prepared ESOL and AAPI students. Dr. Lee earned a Bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College, a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from San Francisco State University.

Dr. Lee has taught in the political science department at San Francisco State University for over a decade where he focused on transportation policy, urban planning, affordable housing and grassroots mobilization. His research has focused on Asian American civic engagement.

Dr. Lee is working to create more career pathways and opportunities for immigrant and low-income students to enter the high tech industry.

His public service work includes serving as Executive Director of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee and as a San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commissioner.

Dr. Lee is a 2018 Executive Leadership Academy Fellow at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and a 2019 Association of California Community Colleges Admin 201 graduate. He received the San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award, the Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation Fellowship and the David Jenkins Award for Community Service.

Minda Lopez

Minda López

she, her, hers


Professor
Texas State University

Minda Morren López, PhD, is Professor of Literacy in the College of Education at Texas State University. She is also co-director of the Research for EDucator Equity and Excellence (REDEE) Collaborative, a mixed methods research center with an equity-focused research agenda for educator preparation. Current studies examine the educator preparation pipeline from admissions into an educator preparation program (EPP) through 10-years post-completion. This center and our research is intended to improve EPP design, the quality and effectiveness of future educators, and to inform equitable state and federal EPP policies.

Minda began her career in education as a bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District and worked for international schools and state organizations in Bilingual/ESL. Minda teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in reading, writing, language acquisition, and educational foundations.

Dr. López incorporates global and international perspectives into her teaching and scholarship. She has worked with Education Abroad courses in South Africa and Panama and now leads an interdisciplinary program focused on International Human Rights, Social Justice, Education, and Social Work to the Dominican Republic. Recently, Minda was awarded a fellowship to work on global competencies through the Longview Foundation. Through this grant she has continued her work on faculty development and pedagogies on global education in the US and Latin America.

Amber Lopez Lasater

Amber López Lasater

she, her, hers


Chief of Staff and Strategy
Nevada State College

Dr. Amber Lopez Lasater currently serves as the Chief of Staff and Strategy at Nevada State College, the second-fastest-growing 4-year college in the nation. Lopez Lasater serves as a vital member of the President’s Executive Team and successfully works to execute the mission, goals, and objectives of the institution. Dr.Lopez Lasater is passionate about higher education, underserved student populations, and has a steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an engaged leader, Dr. Lopez Lasater is highly skilled at building productive and collaborative internal relationships with faculty, staff, and students, and external relationships with community partners, government officials, and business leaders. Dr. Lopez Lasater has over a decade of labor expertise with a focus on politics, communications, governance, lobbying, and strategy. Dr. Lopez Lasater played a central role in her position as Director of Politics and Strategic Communication and Lobbyist with the Clark County Education Association in the passage and implementation of sound K-12 public education policy and funding. Dr. Lopez Lasater has successfully led multiple initiatives maximizing her staff’s creative abilities and aptitude using innovative tactics. One of her proudest efforts includes leading a project to ensure that UMC Hospital was drawing down all federal funds available from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare. As a result, UMC’s federal fund allocation was increased by $45 million dollars at a critical time for Southern Nevada’s only public hospital. As an undergraduate, Dr. Lopez Lasater was selected as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar through the TRIO programs at Wichita State University. She completed her research at the University of New Mexico with the mentorship of the late Dr.Everett Rogers, the father of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Her research focused on the experience of minority entrepreneurs who created spin-off companies through the technology transfer process. Dr. Lopez Lasater holds a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning a Bachelor of Communications from theUniversity of New Mexico. She completed her Doctorate in Public Policy from the School of Public Policy and Leadership at UNLVwith a research concentration on workforce preparedness as itrelates to technology disruption.

Karen Marsh Schaeffer

Karen Marsh Schaeffer

she, her, hers


Director of Utah Global Faculty and Student Success Specialist, Department of Linguistics
University of Utah

Karen Marsh Schaeffer received her BA and MA from the University of Utah in Linguistics: thesis titled ‘The Impact of Parent ESL Classes on Children’s School Performance and Parent-School Interactions’. Karen currently is the Director of Utah Global Faculty at the University of Utah in Undergraduate Studies where she is responsible for curriculum development, instructor training, course design, and program administration and a Student Success Specialist in the Department of Linguistics where she meets with students to help them with advising and resources to successfully finish their degree. She has taught ESL and EFL at multiple levels from preliterate refugees to graduate students and has been an English Language Specialist with the US Department of State in Indonesia and Estonia. Karen teaches classes in sociolinguistics, cross cultural communication, and second language teacher education. She serves on the board for Intermountain TESOL and has volunteered in elementary schools in Utah for more than 12 years. Karen is very passionate about language and identity and helping young people value their identity and cultural background. In the last few years, Karen has worked with a team of other instructors in Linguistics to incorporate global learning objectives into the TESOL certificate courses. This process helped her appreciate how important it is to build opportunities for students to reflect on values and have opportunities to experience varied points of view through coursework and other university experiences. Karen has 7 children in a blended family and loves it when the house is full of young adults and laughter.

Sheena McFarland

Sheena Catherine McFarland

she, her, hers


Director of Marketing and Communications and Adjunct Instructor
David Eccles School of Business
University of Utah

Sheena McFarland, Ed.D., is the Director of the Marketing + Communications team at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Sheena has more than 5 years of higher education communications and marketing experience, and more than a decade of experience working at a daily newspaper. During her 6 years at the Eccles School, Sheena has served as a Communications Specialist, Associate Director, and Director of Marketing + Communications. She also has spent the past 3 years serving as an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Marketing at the Eccles School.

Sheena is passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education spaces and beyond. She serves on the University of Utah’s MLK Week Organizing Committee as well as the EDI Steering Committee at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, which is leading the work to create a more equitable and welcoming environment for students, staff, and faculty at the Eccles School. She also was the Morris Media & Society Lecture Keynote Speaker at Utah State University in 2019, addressing “Minoritized No More: Ending Marginalization in Marketing.”

In October 2021, she was featured on the Voices of Reason podcast, where she shared her experiences confronting the racism she faced in the Davis County School District, which was recently subject to federal review for systemic racism against its students. In November 2021, she also presented as a panelist on the Diversity in Leadership event hosted by the AAPI Students in Business and Take Lead Club at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. In her marketing courses, she engages students in a privilege exercise so they can better understand their own points of privilege and can engage in self-reflection about how to leverage their privilege to open the floor to voices who may have inequitable access.

Sheena is serving as the chair-elect for the Public Relations Society of America Counselors to Higher Education section in 2021, and she will serve as chair in 2022. Sheena previously served on her local Greater Salt Lake PRSA Chapter’s Board from 2016-2017.

Sheena earned her Master of Public Administration and Doctorate of Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Utah in December 2019. Her doctoral research focused on which factors increase persistence of female-identifying students in STEM fields. She also holds a certificate in Integrated Marketing and Communications from the University of Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in communication and minors in French and biology teaching.

Sheena is an avid traveler, having visited all 7 continents, and enjoys stargazing and spending time with her husband, James, and their Jack Russel terrier, Amber. Sheena is a fierce Real Salt Lake fan.

Jose Melendrez

José L. Meléndrez

he, him, él


Executive Director, Office of Community Partnerships
School of Public Health
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Jose currently serves as the Executive Director for the Office of Community Partnerships in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). He is responsible for coordinating and building partnerships that support students and faculty initiatives including working with community-based organizations and public health agencies to support internships, research, and educational programming. Jose currently serves as the Chair of the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition, board member to the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange – reappointed by Governor Steve Sisolak in 2020, board of directors to the Southern Nevada Health District Community Health Center (FQHC), and Director with the Latin Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Hope Means Nevada initiative.

Jose was appointed to serve as the Chair of the Nevada System of Higher Education -Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council representing UNLV for the 2021/22 academic year. Jose serves as the liaison for UNLV to the Nevada System of Higher Education Title V- Hispanic Serving Institute Task-force. Serves on the UNLV Minority Serving Institution task force that includes MSI-Title III Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander Serving Institutions, and Title V- Hispanic Serving Institution initiatives.

Jose serves as an Agency Field Instructor for Schools of Social Work for UNLV, UNR, and USC. He serves as an instructor in the School of Public Health teaching multicultural health. Professional experience in diversity, equity, and multicultural programming, community organizing, utilization of community based participatory research, and experience in social justice education and advocacy have uniquely prepared him to serve and lead diverse and equity initiatives and populations. In 2021 Jose completed the Intercultural Developmental Inventory Administrator Certificate.

Jose received his Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he studied Community Organizing with a focus on Communities and Social Systems and completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Beth Mitchell

Elizabeth Van Epps Mitchell

she, her, hers


Director of External Communications
Natural History Museum of Utah

Beth Mitchell has spent nearly 20 years in strategic communications, using candor and empathy to advance causes and to support communities by connecting individuals to opportunities for education, personal growth, and fun. She always wanted to work at a Museum, but her people skills and knack for messaging led to a decade in government public affairs, first for the State of New York and then as the Director of Performance and Innovation at Salt Lake County. A skilled storyteller, relationship builder, and innovative strategist, Beth enjoys complex challenges. For example, she managed public affairs for the contentious development of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and created the Office of Data & Innovation within Salt Lake County government to analyze government performance in terms of budget and goals, and to provide change management guidance for County employees. In her current role as Director of External Relations at the Natural History Museum of Utah, Beth oversees external communications and government relations statewide. Her latest achievement was to design, manage, and launch the Museum’sinnovative Natural History Explorer Corps, securing over 650k to support the ongoing program, a challenge that encourages Utahns and tourists to discover the state’s natural history by tracking their visits to ‘uniquely Utah’ locations with a physical passport or smartphone app for the purpose of adventure, education, and the chance to win prizes. Beth received herMaster’s Degree in Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and English from BucknellUniversity in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She is an avid reader, aspiring novelist, fitness enthusiast, and social and climate justice advocate. Beth lives in Salt Lake City with her exceptional husband and their two self-directed children.

Mildred Nicaragua

Mildred Nicaragua

she, her, ella


Project Manager
NC State University

Mildred Nicaragua is a project manager for Digital Education and Learning Technology Applications at NC State University. Previously she was a Project Manager for NC State University Libraries. Mildred has ten years of experience as a Business Analyst for The Washington Post. She received her master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Baltimore, part of the University System of Maryland. She worked as a graduate assistant for the UB Special Collections and Archives. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Towson University. She is PMP and PMI-ACP certified from the Project Management Institute. She earned her certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Scrum Product Owner license from Scrum Alliance.

Heather Nyman

Heather Nyman

she, her, hers


Associate Professor (Clinical) & Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
College of Pharmacy
University of Utah

Dr. Heather Nyman is a Clinical Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy. She completed her undergraduate education at Brigham Young University, a doctor of pharmacy degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a residency at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. She currently practices as a pharmacist in acute care internal medicine at the University of Utah Hospital. She also teaches in the didactic and experiential PharmD curriculum at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy where she has received awards for her teaching and precepting.

Veronica Reyna

Veronica L. Reyna

she, her, ella


Associate Chair, Department of Government
Director, Center for Civic Engagement
Houston Community College

Dr. Reyna is Associate Chair of the Department of Government at Houston Community College where she co-leads inclusive curriculum development and course design. She teaches Intro. to American Government and Texas Government, as well as Mexican American/Latinx Politics, and has been nominated for several teaching awards. Dr. Reyna started the Center for CivicEngagement in 2017 to empower Houston Community College students and surrounding communities to use their political power to create change on their own terms. Through voter registration and mobilization drives, issue forum discussions, the Skills for Democracy workshops, and the Run Different Campaign Academy, the Center for Civic Engagement educates about how to be fully involved in creating a thriving and diverse democracy. As a result of starting the Center for Civic Engagement, HCC awarded her the NISOD Excellence Award for 2019. HCC is now a partner with PowerCivics and the Citizen’s Campaign imparting policy skills to students, faculty, staff, and community members to create and to push for their own policy solutions. Dr. Reyna has published on community engaged research, inclusive course design and pedagogy, and has a forthcoming textbook on Latino Politics. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Political Science from theUniversity of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Ana Sanchez-Birkhead

Ana Sanchez-Birkhead

she, her, ella


Associate Professor, College of Nursing
University of Utah

As a bilingual, bicultural Hispanic clinician and scientist, Ana C.Sanchez-Birkheah has had the opportunity of working with and among Hispanic communities in various roles and milieus for over30 years. In her research focus area, she seeks to eliminate the burden of disease for Hispanic women and their families, particularly those suffering from the effects of serious chronic diseases. She has intentionally developed strong partnerships in the Hispanic community and genuine, trusting relationships with important key stakeholders that have allowed her to conduct productive research and develop effective programs that benefit and aid in the struggle to eliminate health inequities among vulnerable populations. She has contributed to creative approaches and innovations in community-based research in ameliorating health disparities through assessing, developing, and enhancing educational and supportive programs for Hispanicbreast cancer survivors, women suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and depression. In partnership with community-based organizations, she has participated in several extramural and intramural funding to examine health disparities across the breast cancer continuum of care (i.e.1R43EB019931, P30CA042014). She has been involved in many local, state, and national efforts that focus on eliminating health disparities and advocating for social justice. Currently, she is President of the Utah Hispanic Health CareTask Force, President of the Unidos en Utah Chapter of theNational Association of Hispanic Nurses, Chief Operating Officer for Alliance Community Services, and Co-Director for the CCTS, Community Collaboration Engagement Team. She enjoys traveling, sightseeing, going for long walks, and mentoring new leaders.

Shiver

Shiver

they, them, theirs


Academic Program Manager
University of Utah

Shiver is an Academic Program Manager in the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and a PhD student in the Department of Education, Culture, & Society (ECS) at the University of Utah. Through their role in the OUR, they manage a variety of research-focused educational programs for undergraduate students, manage a student leadership group, and provide outreach for the office. Their graduate work focuses on Critical Whiteness Studies and antiracist pedagogy for staff, faculty, and administrators in post-secondary settings. They have been lucky enough to serve as a Graduate Assistant on two recent projects: “Mathematical Reservations: The Colonial Psychology of Math Education and its Role in Federal Assimilation Policies” and “‘Building Coherence in STEM Learning Opportunities for Pre-Service Elementary Teachers Across Disciplinary Boundaries’” under the direction of Dr. José Gutiérrez.

Annie Tsui

Annie Tsui

she, her, hers


Division Chair for Integrated Reading and Writing, College Readiness Division
Houston Community College

Annie Tsui is the Division Chair for Integrated Reading and Writing(INRW) in the College Readiness Division at Houston Community College. In 2018, Annie was awarded the National Institute for Staff and Organization Development (NISOD) Excellence Award. Currently, she is part of the HCC Equity and Student Success WorkTeam of the Institutional Effectiveness Council. Her involvement in other programs/committees include the HCC Asian American Pacific Islander Focus Group, Excellence in AcademicAdvising, revitalization of the HCC Bridge (Puente) Program 2021, and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) – INRW Reading ClubBecoming a Student Ready College 2020. Conferences/workshops attended are the Texas Community Colleges Teachers Association(TCCTA), National Organization of Student Success (NOSS) and College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA) which includes the College Academic Skills Program (CASP) and Texas Association of Developmental Education (TADE). Annie earned herBS degree in Technology and MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading and Language Arts from theUniversity of Houston.

Michael Washington

Michael Washington


Educator, Historia, Leadership Scholar
Union Institute and University

Michael Washington has more than 30 years of experience across a variety of business sectors, Oil & Gas, Consumer Products, and Foods. He has significant senior leadership experience in SupplyChain, Chemical and Contract Manufacturing, as well as Engineering and R&D. Mike has international leadership and training experience in North America, South and Central America and Asia. Most recently, he led integration for the joint venture startup of a polyethylene company, Bayport Polymers in La Porte, Texas. Prior to Bayport, Michael was Site General Manager of Criterion Catalyst Technologies at Shell Oil Products Company where he led a chemical manufacturing facility producing 45million pounds of chemical substrate used in refining catalyst manufacturing. Michael held leader roles at Continuous Improvement Expert Americas; Shell Pennzoil-Quaker State as VPNorth American Logistics Operation; Diversapack, LLC as Director, Contract Manufacturing Division; Pedes Inc. as President/CEO; and The Procter & Gamble Company (Engineering, R&D, and CorporatePurchasing). In addition to his corporate experience, he has adjunct teaching experience with Loyola University of Chicago andUnion Institute and University. At Loyola, he is teaching a global supply chain course for undergraduates in the Quinlan School of Business. At Union Institute and University, his is teaching an undergraduate course in leadership, and two courses in the MBA Program (ethics and global leadership and management). Mr.Washington received his Bachelor of Science, ChemicalEngineering from Tuskegee University; Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, Fisk University; Master of Arts, History and Culture, Union Institute and University and his PhD, InterdisciplinaryStudies (Ethical and Creative Leadership) from Union Institute and University.

Michael Young

Michael Young

he, him, his


Director, Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program
Professor, School of Computer Science
University of Utah

R. Michael Young serves as the Director of the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program. In this role, he leads EAE’s efforts in education, research, and innovation, works to expand industry partnerships, and oversees EAE’s internal operations. Michael is also a Professor in the School of Computer Science. He directs the Liquid Narrative Research Group, where he focuses on contributions to the science of narrative, working to create new knowledge of narrative intelligence central to building radically new types of games and virtual worlds. His work advances research in artificial intelligence, but involves collaboration with narrative theorists, cinematographers, cognitive psychologists and storytellers. Prior to coming to the University of Utah, Michael was a Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. He was the director there of the Digital Games Research Center and the founding co-director of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Cluster on Visual Narrative. He was the Principal Investigator for the Narrative for Sensemaking (N4S) Project, funded by the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences. With funding of over $4m across 4 years’ effort, the N4S project is one of the largest research efforts to date on computational narrative. In addition to the N4S project, his research efforts in the Liquid Narrative Group have been funded by industry partners like Epic Games, Microsoft Research, and Emergent Game Technologies. He also has received funding from the National Science Foundation, The National Security Agency, and the Institute for Museum and Library Science. Michael is the author of over 150 published research articles. In recognition of his career accomplishments, Michael was selected as an inaugural fellow of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA). He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and an IBM Faculty Award. While at NC State, he was the only faculty in university history to receive all three university-level Outstanding Faculty awards (one for teaching, one for research and one for extension and engagement). He was a GlaxoSmithKline Fellow in Public Policy in2012 and is an ACM Distinguished Scientist. In addition to his research career, Michael is a committed educator. At the University of Utah, he works to advance the U’s EAE Program, currently rated#3 among game development programs world-wide.

Felix Zuniga

Felix J. Zuñiga

he, him, él


Campus Engagement Partner, Office of the Chancellor
California State University

Dr. Felix J. Zuñiga is a dynamic leader who is passionate about higher education and student success. His interests lie in Technology, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Mentorship, and Latinx student success. Dr. Zuñiga is a strategic thinker, learner, mentor, and leader who aspires to continue his journey in university leadership to impact historically excluded communities.

Dr. Zuñiga currently serves as a Campus Engagement Partner for the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. He works with a team to foster engagement, collaboration, and communication with IT leadership across the 23 campus system and the Cal State Tech Community. His team utilizes engagement and communication to enhance student success in the nation’s largest public four-year higher education system serving over 486,000 students and employing over 50,000 faculty and staff. Dr. Zuñiga previously worked at California State University, San Bernardino, for 18 years before joining the CSU Chancellor’s Office; at CSUSB, he worked his way up from a student assistant to his last position where he served as the Director of Project Management and Assessment for the IT Division. In that role, Dr. Zuñiga earned his PMP certification while establishing a project management office. Dr. Zuñiga was heavily involved in the University’s Diversity Committee and champion for historically excluded students. He was co-founder of the CSUSB Black and Brown Young Men’s Conference, focused on instilling confidence and exemplifying leadership for the community’s young men.

Dr. Zuñiga is a first-generation college student and a three-time alumnus from the California State Univesity system, with a dual-bachelors in Information Technology and Accounting, an MBA in Information Systems Management, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. His doctoral research focused on High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPs) and their influence on Latina/o student success at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

Dr. Zuñiga currently serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee for Educause and several other Higher-Ed IT communities. Dr. Zuñiga serves on many community boards, such as The Inland Empire Future Leaders, Kiwanis of Greater San Bernardino, The Riverside Art Museum, and is the Chair of the CSUSB Latino Alumni Chapter.

Dr. Zuñiga, his wife Martha, and their son Mateo enjoy spending time with their families, traveling, basketball, gardening, and dinosaurs.

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