Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is deeply committed to enhancing the success of diverse faculty, students, and staff, as part of our broader goal to enrich the educational experiences and success of all members of our university community. This division – led by Vice President Mary Ann Villarreal – is comprised of leaders, experts, and educators who drive the University’s effort to create a safe and welcoming campus climate.
With our new leadership, the Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion oversees the entities across the entire University of Utah including the American Indian Resource Center; Black Cultural Center; Center for Equity and Student Belonging; Dream Center; LGBT Resource Center; New Leadership Academy Fellows Progam; Office for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Office for Inclusive Excellence. Additionally, the division partners with all colleges, departments and the broader community to help develop initiatives aimed at fostering more awareness, advocacy, and action.
Mary Ann Villarreal
VP for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
As the inaugural vice president for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah, Dr. Villarreal (she/her/they/them) provides leadership and strategic oversight of diversity and inclusion initiatives across the University’s academic and health sciences campuses.
AVP for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Dr. Rodríguez (he/him) has taken a strong role in advancing the institutional goals for health equity and inclusion through service on various diversity and recruitment committees and presenting at national conferences on our work and his research on diversity initiatives.
Emma E. Houston
Special Assistant - Engagement & Program Development
Emma E. Houston (no pronoun preference) brings significant experience in working with teams to create inclusive spaces and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion to create a positive impact across the community. She is a longtime community advocate and volunteer who serves on several boards and commissions.
Daniel K. Cairo
Special Assistant - Strategy and Operations
Dr. Daniel K. Cairo (he/him/el) brings over 10 years of experience in leading programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an educator and organizational leader, he has developed successful equity and inclusion programs at multiple institutions.
Vice President’s Office
Jewel PossAdministrative Assistant to the VP for EDI
Keeping the VP’s schedule is top of Jewel’s (she/her) priorities. Outside of work, making our world a better place by spreading kindness to everything from people to our planet is Jewel’s passion. With her family and pets, she enjoys hiking, movies, and music.
Pamela BishopDirector of Marketing & Communications
Pamela (she/her) is an experienced marketing professional with a distinguished background in brand management, advertising and marketing. In her spare time, she serves the community as a board member and committee member for several nonprofit organizations including The Junior League of Salt Lake City and spends time with her husband and teenage son.
Kaya AmanWeb & Brand Manager
Kaya (no pronoun preference) is a brilliant designer with a ridiculously sweet personality. Add in that she's also learning all about the web world, and pretty soon she will be totally unstoppable! With her talents, I wouldn't be surprised if a madman in a blue box recruited her to help him save the world... again.
Eunice ContrerasEvent Manager
Eunice (she/her) is passionate about planning memorable events where attendees feel welcome, engaged, and connected. Originally from Guatemala, Eunice calls Utah her home and strives to help others as often as possible and seize each day by traveling, reading, going to the movies, or having a good cup of coffee with friends.
Nat OkeyExecutive Secretary
Nat (he/him) moved to Salt Lake City after many years in the Bay Area. He’s a passionate reproductive justice and LGBTQIA+ activist and is always looking to improve the lives of those in need. Nat graduated from Willamette University with a degree in Politics and Women’s Studies and enjoys long walks in the snow. Yes, really.
This could be you!Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is seeking a Marketing and Communications Coordinator with experience in project or event management, who will work in a creative, innovative, fast-paced environment with an intimate, tight-knit marketing team to address marketing and communication needs.
American Indian Resource Center
Franci TaylorDirector of the American Indian Resource Center
As a mother of two, grandmother of five, and auntie to many, Franci (Choctaw, she/her) has always wanted the best for others. She has dedicated the last 25 years towards increasing access for all under-represented students and American Indian education. She’s definitely an asset to our team!
This could be you!Student Staff
The AIRC Student Staff serves as the “face” of the American Indian Resource Center — a vital link between American Indian and Alaskan Native students, the University of Utah, and the larger community. This position’s responsibilities include assisting the center’s director with front desk and office maintenance, answering phones and questions, scheduling social media posts and appointments, and reproducing and archiving documents.
Black Cultural Center
Meligha GarfieldDirector of the Black Cultural Center
A native of Rochester, New York, Meligha (he/him) is an avid movie goer; Marvel comic book enthusiast; and fan of hip-hop, neo-soul, and 80’s R&B. (According to him, the top 5 hip-hop artists are Nas, Tribe Called Quest, Common, Kanye West, and Rakim.) In his spare time, he uses his golden voice for radio, voiceover work, and podcasts. Don’t believe us? Come hear for yourself!
Sara CodyBCC Program Coordinator
The Black Cultural Center (BCC) is looking for a new administrative program coordinator! This position will work closely with the BCC director, assisting with program development and management and collaborating to meet the goals and mission of the BCC. Sara Cody is the Black Cultural Center's program coordinator. Stay tuned for Sara's bio!
Center for Equity and Student Belonging
Tricia SugiyamaDirector, Center for Equity & Student Belonging
Tricia (she/her) is a fourth generation Utahn and is passionate about working with students. Prior to working as the Director, she has been the First Year Experience Program Director, Academic Advisor and Asian American Programs Coordinator! In addition, she spent 5 years at the State Office of Asian Affairs, started her own business, loves all things geek and is a dedicated fur parent.
This could be you!Associate Director, CESB
The Assistant Director for the Center for Equity and Student Belonging (CESB), is responsible for recognizing and coordinating all efforts to define, understand, assess, foster, and cultivate diversity and inclusion throughout the U. This position will develop and oversee programs, services, and initiatives designed to enhance the retention and graduation of students from diverse and under-represented population groups.
David (Tevita) KinikiniScholarship Coordinator
“Ti” (he/him) was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. His passion is education and providing support to student’s success. He is known for his smile, laughter and genuine care. If you stop by his office, he always has something he would love to share with you. If you would really like to know him, ask about his days as a student at East High School.
Giulia SotoSecond Year Program Coordinator & Advisor
Giulia (she/her) supports students explore major and career paths and develop a plan to achieve your goals. As a Diversity Scholar alumna, she can connect you with alumni. She loves to dance, especially Peruvian Folklore. Passionate about providing equitable education in Latin America, she interned in Honduras & Peru and got a M.S.Ed in International Educational Development at UPenn.
Martha HernandezTransfer Program Coordinator
As the transfer coordinator, Martha (she/her) is here to help students connect with the great advisors and programs in CESB, and other resources on campus. Martha is a history teacher by training and a cat-lover by heart. When she is not reading, gardening, or watching documentary films, you can find her visiting a national park.
Lani PatiInterim Early Contact Program Coordinator
Lani (she/hers/suga) understands that education is transformational and can be a powerful tool to navigate the world around us. She actively works to promote CESA’s value and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion while also elevating the power of student voices. Out of the office, Lani likes to spend her time exercising at a CrossFit box, looking for new plant baby to add to her collection and spending quality time with her partner and communities.
Marley DominguezInterim First-Year Experience Coordinator
As the first-year experience coordinator, Marley (she/her/ella) helps ease the transition from high school to college by empowering first-year students to create meaningful connections and find their home at the U. Her favorite things include (everything) lavender, snuggling with her cat Soufflé, going to new coffee shops, and summer picnics in the park.
Diana ChacónM.E.Ch.A. Advisor
As the M.E.Ch.A. advisor, Diana (she/her/ella) is committed to the leadership development of students and to provide a place for connection and advocacy. She is dedicated to student support, success, and guidance. Diana thrives in community, enjoys reading, loves southern home cooking, and appreciates Tarahumara art. Her outlook was informed by her experiences living in Carhichi, Mexico and Memphis,Tennessee.
Anna NguyenAsian American Student Association Advisor
Anna Nguyen (she/her) is heavily involved in Salt Lake's Asian American communities and advocates for the social, political, and economic well-being of all APIs in the state. When she's not out volunteering, you can find her supporting Asian-owned restaurants #foodie, (struggling with) hiking, or bundled up binge-watching Netflix, anime, k-drama, and Hayao Miyazaki.
Natalie WilsonUCC Mental Health Specialist
As the embedded Mental Health Specialist with the U’s Counseling Center, Natalie (she/her) is passionate about assisting students in achieving their academic and life goals through counseling, social justice advocacy, destigmatizing mental health and providing equitable services to underrepresented communities. She enjoys the beach, strategy board games, baking sweets, rugby and watching movies of all genres.
This could be you!Inter-Tribal Student Association Advisor
We're looking for a new Inter-Tribal Student Association (ITSA) advisor to assist students in identifying direction, engaging with high-impact activities/services, and accomplishing goals. ITSA is the primary American Indian student group and strives to promote greater unity, further academic achievements, and strengthen cultural roots.
This could be you!Pacific Islander Student Association Advisor
We're looking for a new Pacific Islander Student Association (PISA) advisor to assist students in identifying direction, engaging with high-impact activities/services, and accomplishing goals. PISA provides a space for its members to articulate their experiences and share their individual cultures with each other, the larger university, and community populations.
This could be you!Men of Color Together GA
The "Men of Color Together" graduate assistant (GA) supports the development and engagement of undergraduate male-identifying students to academically succeed, challenge existing narratives, and explore their identities. This GA position will be expected to work 20 hours per week during the 2021- 2022 school year.
This could be you!Black Student Union Advisor
The Black Student Union (BSU) advisor works to assist students in identifying direction, engaging with high impact activities/services, and accomplishing goals. This role is committed to supporting the student leadership of BSU, fostering an environment for open dialogue and academic success, and advocating for BSU members as a knowledgeable resource on campus offerings.
Xris MaciasDirector of the Dream Center
Xris (he/him) is fluent in Espanol and Portugues and enjoys listening to all kinds of music, playing the ukulele, training Capoeira, riding bikes, cruising his Lowrider on the weekends, and spending time with his wife and two sons.
Kamarie NicdaoAdministrative Officer
Kamarie or 'Kay' (she/her) is both a fitness and foodie extraordinaire. When she's not competing in various fitness expos throughout Utah, you can find her organizing and performing traditional Filipino folk dances with several Filipino community organizations. She also loves to explore the local food scene to support and highlight ethnic-owned businesses on her social media (Insta famous).
Thaiss Del RioAdvising Assistant
Thaiss' (she/her) biggest strength is her empathy; she has a golden personality and can make anyone feel seen and heard in a crowded room. She is currently a student double majoring in Sociology and Political Science with a minor in Ethnic Studies and envisions herself pursuing a career in public policy in an effort to make the world a more equitable and just place for all.
Sujey RodriguezGraduate Assistant
Luisa, Sujey, or Su (she/her) is an avid traveler and festival go-er -- she’s gone to Coachella three times (she saw Beyonce one year so WINNING) and Wifey to a local musician, you can always find Su attending the most epic concerts (pre-COVID) and jamming out to the smoothest beats. Sujey prides herself on being a first-generation DACA recipient scholar and hopes to make an impact in her community through her work.
Gustavo da SilvaGraduate Student Leader
Gustavo, aka “Guga,” (he/him) is the actual definition of a “90s kid” loving everything from the original Ninja Turtles to the Nintendo 64. Aside from being a huge nerd, he is a true hip-hop head, a sports fan, and loves riding his bike…that one time. Guga is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
This could be you!Administrative Program Coordinator
This position will assist the Dream Center with a variety of services and program operations. Alongside the director, the administrative coordinator will assess the needs of students, develop reports, and aid the overall operation of the center.
Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Maia HightowerSenior Director for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Jen WilsonPrograms Manager - Community
A transplant from Maryland, Jen (she/her) has made Utah her home for nearly a decade now. She loves to connect people with each other, and is passionate about social justice and continuously seeking out knowledge to learn how she can best use her privilege to provide platforms and opportunity for others. Two of her life dreams are to be on Jeopardy (she loves trivia) and walk amongst the penguins (her favorite animal) in Patagonia!
Guillermo CuevasPrograms Manager
Loretta MullerExecutive Assistant
Office for Inclusive Excellence
Jude McNeilDirector of Inclusive Excellence
Gabriella BlanchardAssistant Director of Inclusive Excellence
Teshia KoffiManager, Organization Development & Change
Dr. Koffi (she/her) is a scholar-practitioner whose research focuses on the ways in which deleterious social and political ideologies influence the decision-making process at the executive level. Her research addresses why certain adverse ideologies are perceived to be essential for organizational function, primarily because they lead to the ongoing support, success, and longevity of higher education institutions.
This could be you!Faculty Development Specialist
We are looking for an educator to develop programming and promote inclusive teaching to support faculty and administrators in our respective academic units. Our ideal candidate will have a background in equity, diversity, and inclusion and have the skills and flexibility to contribute to a wide array of programming that we offer.
LGBT Resource Center
Clare LemkeDirector of the LGBT Resource Center
Clare (she/her) is committed to fostering a university community that celebrates queer and trans histories, cultures, and lives. She is super qualified in this endeavor, since she earned her Ph.D. by researching the history of sexuality, LGBTQ social movements, U.S. feminist movements, and queer femininities! Clare loves to cook, shop at thrift stores and farmer’s markets, watch movies, travel, and spend time with her magnificent bulldog.
Shelby HearnCoordinator of Education & Outreach
Shelby (she/her/they/them) is from Chicago where they got their M.Ed from Loyola University Chicago. She is a lifelong activist and advocate for social justice causes, particularly around LGBTQIA+ education. Shelby is also a cat parent, avid gamer, home cook, and is already in love with Utah pastime pickleball.
Bree PeacockOffice Manager
Bree (she/her) is the Executive Secretary here at the University of Utah LGBT Resource Center. She graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in studio art with concentrations in photography and graphic design. She is passionate about LGBTQ activism, hiking, traveling, and doing photography whenever she can.
Kate LunnenGay-la Intern
Kate (she/her) is a third-year student studying English and pursuing her teaching license. She plans to become a high school teacher and use her passion to connect with others and help them gain personal and academic confidence. Kate enjoys exploring the outdoors while hiking or rock climbing and watching movies with her friends and family.
This could be you!Graduate Assistant
The primary role of the Graduate Assistant for the LGBT Resource Center is to support the department's student community building and leadership development initiatives. The Graduate Assistant will gain practical, hands-on experience working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questions, intersex, asexual students and collaborating with diverse student populations in intersectional ways.
Olga RodriguezQTSOC Community Development Specialist
Olga came to the US in 2002 from Mexico. Fluent in Spanish and English, she loves reading in both languages. Olga can be known as Dora the Destroyer when she is on the track playing roller derby. Her big three are Capricorn sun, Cancer rising, and an Aries moon. In her free time, you can find Olga roller skating at the skate park or trying to cook/bake.
New Leadership Academy
Amy FultonDirector of the New Leadership Academy