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, trainees, 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.

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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.

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José Rodríguez

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.

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Emma E. Houston

Special Assistant - Engagement & Program Development

Emma E. Houston 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.

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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.

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Amy Fulton

Director of the New Leadership Academy

Dr. Amy Fulton is the Director of the New Leadership Academy at the University of Utah. Her research interests include organizational leadership in higher education, student social movements, and issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education. Prior to her role as Director, Amy served for five years as a senior graduate student researcher for the New Leadership Academy, previously hosted by the National Forum on the Public Good at the University of Michigan.


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 and spends time with her husband and teenage son.


Maia Hightower

Senior Director for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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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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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Loretta Müller

Executive Assistant

Loretta Müller is the executive assistant for the Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion. Loretta's bio will be shared soon!

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Meligha Garfield

Director, 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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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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Xris Macias

Director, 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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Jude McNeil

Director of Inclusive Excellence

Deeply committed to make the best university climate and help students succeed, Jude (they/them) leads intercultural professional development, climate assessment, and bias incident report collection from the Office for Inclusive Excellence.

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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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Cassie Cathcart

Assistant Director, CESB

Cassie just started as the assistant director for the Center for Equity and Student Belonging. Cassie's bio will be coming soon!

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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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Jen Wilson

Programs Manager

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

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Guillermo (he, him, el) has been part of the U of U family since 2019 and is pursuing a Master of Science in Finance. He's Guillermo is an adventurer and explorer and when he has some free time,  you can find him traveling with his family to new places. 

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Teshia Koffi

Manager, Organization Development & Change

Dr. Koffi 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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Ilana Israel

Program Manager

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.


Mia Wallace

Graphic Designer & Content Creator

Mia (she/her) is a graphic designer with a background in advertising and marketing. Her approach to design is guided by a beautiful color palette, dynamic visuals, and a whole lotta research. She’s a midwest-born-and-raised cat mom with a love for all things mid-century, horror movies, camping, and fermentation experimentations.


David (Ti) Kinikini

Scholarship Program 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 Experience Program Coordinator

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 an 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 support prospective and current transfer students navigate the University of Utah, connect with campus resources, and engage with the campus community. 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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Marley Dominguez

First Year Experience Program 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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Sara Cody

BCC Program Coordinator

Sara (she/her) moved to Salt Lake on a whim after trying a particularly delicious donut from a truck. She is passionate about serving others and developing her “why”. She works with agencies serving transracial adoptees, women of color in education, and our neighbors experiencing homelessness. If not tending to one of her passion projects, you will find her organizing her rock babies, parenting her dog named Aggie or caring for one of her many plant children.

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Shelby Hearn

Coordinator of Education & Outreach

Shelby (they/them) is from Chicago where they got their M.Ed from Loyola University Chicago. They are 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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MiKo Nielson

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

MiKo just joined EDI as the marketing and communications coordinator. Stay tuned for Miko's bio!

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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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Phoebe Galvez

UCC Mental Health Specialist

Phoebe Galvez (She/Her/Ella) identifies as a feminist multicultural therapist, which means she openly and collaboratively invites her clients to discuss internal and external identities, and how those identities intersect with the systems we are part of in society. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, ongoing learning, cuddling with her pets, and exercise.

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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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Diana Chacón

M.E.Ch.A. Advisor & Latinx/Chicanx Student Engagement

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

AASA Advisor & Asian/Asian American Student Engagement

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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Kyri Duncan

ITSA Advisor & Native/Indigenous Student Engagement

Being a member of the Ute Indian Tribe, Kyri Duncan (he/him) understands the importance of maintaining cultural upbringings and the power of community voice. Kyri aspires to advocate and progress the connection of Native American/Indigenous students and higher education. You can catch him watching anime, trying different foods, or doing something art-related in his free time.

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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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Jasmine Girgenti

Program Support Graduate Assistant

Originally from Northern Marianas Island, Jasmine (she/hers) moved to Utah 5 years ago. She is currently working on completing a dual master's in Social Work and Public Administration. Her goal is to work with underrepresented communities and provide guidance and connections to their needs.

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Cydney Caradonna

Graduate Student Assistant

Cydney is a CA-grown Queer Chicana pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy. Her career goals include becoming faculty and an administrator, with hopes of producing research surrounding critical leadership studies, while maintaining engagement with community organizing efforts. Cydney firmly identifies as a scholar/activist. Additional interests include R&B/rap music, tattoos, reading, good food (all kinds), and spoken word poetry.

Beatriz Trejo

Graduate Assistant

Beatriz Trejo is one of the most caring and passionate person you will ever meet. When she is not working on her Ph.D., she loves spending time with her partner and beautiful German Shepherd (Brave), listening to reggaetón (bad bunny come on!), watching reality TV (for research purposes), cooking meals, and filling up countless online shopping carts. Ama su vida, su familia y su comunidad.

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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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Olga Rodriguez

QTSOC Community Development Specialist

Olga (she/they) 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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Mykie Valenzuela

Student Staff - Marketing & Communications Lead

Mykie is part of the LGBT Resource Center undergraduate staff and focuses on design and communications. Outside of finishing their B.S. in Philosophy with minors in Psychology and Animation. You can find them enjoying themselves reading Queer fantasy, oogling at cute animals, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. They also enjoy animating, rock climbing, snowboarding, a good breath of ocean air, and hexing the patriarchy. 

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Justin Ravago

Student Staff - Community Lead

Justin (he/him) is a 3rd year student in Business Economics (QAMO) and hopes to be a data analyst or econometrician. He is passionate about the arts, particularly musical theatre and contemporary a cappella; He’s currently the president of Business Casual A Cappella Utah. In his free time, he enjoys reading graphic novels and making friendship bracelets. When he’s not at the LGBT RC, you can spot him on campus at the Crimson View. Make sure to say hi!

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Sol Coronado

Student Staff - Education Lead

Sol Coronado leads the educational programming about identities, experiences, histories, and other topics surrounding LGBTQ+ issues. Sol loves to water and talk to their pretty plants, spend time with friends and loved ones, and play Pokémon Go around campus!

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Meadow Flores

Student Staff, AIRC

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Deana Mitchell

Student Staff, AIRC

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 […]

FDAIRC (Bldg 622)

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