Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

One U Thriving

Centers & Offices

Our Team

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

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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.

About Mary Ann

José Rodríguez

AVP for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

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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.

About José

Emma E. Houston

Special Assistant - Engagement & Program Development

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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

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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 Poss

Administrative 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.

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Pamela Bishop

Director 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.

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Kaya Aman

Web & 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 Contreras

Event 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.

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Nat Okey

Executive 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.

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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.

Apply today!

American Indian Resource Center

Franci Taylor

Director 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!


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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.

Apply today!

Black Cultural Center

Meligha Garfield

Director 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!

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Sara Cody

BCC 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!

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Center for Equity and Student Belonging

Tricia Sugiyama

Director, 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.

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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.

Apply today!

David (Tevita) Kinikini

Scholarship 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.

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Giulia Soto

Second 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.

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Martha Hernandez

Transfer 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.

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Lani Pati

Interim 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.

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Marley Dominguez

Interim 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.

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Diana Chacón

M.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.

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Anna Nguyen

Asian 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.

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Natalie Wilson

UCC 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.

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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.

Apply today!

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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.

Apply today!

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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.

Apply today!

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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.

Apply today!

Dream Center

Xris Macias

Director 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.

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Kamarie Nicdao

Administrative 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).

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Thaiss Del Rio

Advising 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.

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Sujey Rodriguez

Graduate 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.

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Gustavo da Silva

Graduate 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.

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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.

Apply today!

Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Maia Hightower

Senior Director for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Jen Wilson

Programs 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!

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Guillermo Cuevas

Programs Manager

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Loretta Muller

Executive Assistant

Office for Inclusive Excellence

Jude McNeil

Director of Inclusive Excellence

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Gabriella Blanchard

Assistant Director of Inclusive Excellence

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Teshia Koffi

Manager, 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.

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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.

Apply today!

LGBT Resource Center

Clare Lemke

Director 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.

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Shelby Hearn

Coordinator 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.

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Bree Peacock

Office 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.

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Kate Lunnen

Gay-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.

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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.

Apply today!

Olga Rodriguez

QTSOC 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.

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New Leadership Academy

Amy Fulton

Director of the New Leadership Academy

Ilana Israel

Program Manager - New Leadership Academy
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