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Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence


Below is a list of workshops that will be offered during the one morning and two afternoon breakout sessions You can click on the title to expand the description. Full biographies of presenters follow (in alphabetical order).

Each workshop will be limited by seating in its Sturm Hall classroom location; please consider an alternative in case your first choice session is full.

If you have other questions, email

MORNING Workshops (10.15-11.30am) listed alphabetically

Be Prepared to be Bafa Baffled
This session provides a fully interactive experience in which participants will be immersed into two distinctly different cultures. They will be asked to learn how to break down cultural barriers between the two in order to understand the other culture through personal interactions. Participants can expect to learn more about themselves when placed in a situation with a new cultural barrier and learn why cultural awareness is important in our society today.

Nashwa Bolling and the Vision Inspired By Empowerment (VIBE), Multicultural Greek Council Interest Group

Integrating Inclusive Excellence into the Classroom: Strategies for Creating Inclusive Classroom Environments

This session will facilitate participant’s understanding of their personal identities and how those identities inform their interactions with others. Participants will practice active listening and interacting with identities dissimilar to their own. This session will help participants to better know themselves through both lively discussion and introspection.

Ellen Winiarczyk, Sheila Davis, Allison O'Grady and Michelle Kruse-Crocker

It Starts With Us

Emotion precedes learning. The perceptions that shape our quest to create diverse, stimulating and appreciative environments start from within each of us, reflect where we've each come from, and how our tendencies have been reinforced over the years. This workshop will invite us each to experience our own responses to challenges that emerge when we have authority and power in our hands. Using an exercise designed to expose our basic tendencies, we'll explore how we can understand what underlies our use of power and control, how we can learn to express our humanity even in the face of peer pressure, and how we can own both our past behaviors and our future choices. Participants will come away with new insight into our inner selves and new strategies for changing our individual behaviors.

Jeanne Ferguson, Leslie Wilmot, Nancy C McDaniel, Anna de Guzman, Miriam Estrada, Nakia Collins, Salvador Armendariz and Collette Pella

"It's not easy being a teen": Exploring popular representations of adolescence as a barrier to mental health treatment

Adolescence is typically portrayed as a period of storm and stress, and teenagers themselves are often characterized as angsty, reckless, and rebellious. These inaccurate stereotypes can make it difficult for parents, teachers, and care providers to recognize signs of mental illness in this traditionally underserved population. More than 1 in 5 teenagers meet criteria for a mental illness, yet teenagers cannot consent for treatment by themselves. Furthermore, the average age of onset for a mental disorder occurs in adolescence and the patterns that emerge during this period can have lasting implications on well-being. Our workshop will educate individuals about the prevalence and symptoms of mental disorders in adolescents, as well as establish strategies for getting help and raising awareness. Discussion will explore empirical research debunking popular stereotypes, barriers to treatment, and helping strategies.

Jamie Novak, Ann Spilker, Amy Anderson and Larissa D'Abreu

Social Justice and Social Media: Raising Your Virtual Voice
Conversations about racism have never been easy. The scenes from Ferguson and dialogue surrounding them are reminiscent of the images and conversations surrounding Selma 50 years ago. With the recent lack of indictments of the officers involved in the killings of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, these conversations are, once again, being had far more often with one added, notably different platform: social media. In this interactive session, we will talk about why raising your voice online is just as important as speaking up in person, the differences between the two, the unique difficulties and limitations that arise when doing so, and how power, privilege, and oppression translate to social media.

Buffy E Jamison, Vanessa Teck and Sable Schultz

Whose voice matters fifty years after Selma: African American males in higher education

Fifty years since Selma, higher education remains a privileged institution. African American male enrollment has stagnated. Two thirds of African American men who begin college, do not complete a degree. Topic discussions will surround issues of college access and academic success for African American male students. This workshop will focus on inclusive practices that value and recognize identity development, students’ origin of culture, and the engagement of social networks. Additionally, the workshop will feature discourse around past, current, and future initiatives and programs that disrupt systemic barriers while creating pipelines and pathways that lead to meaningful access to higher education and academic achievement for African American male students.

H Ray Keith and Micah Desaire

Yes Means Yes: Voices for Social Change in the Affirmative Consent Movement
History has shown us that progress and change are possible, and that our individual and collective voices are powerful agents of positive change. This workshop will use the Affirmative Consent movement (“Yes means Yes”) as a current example of how powerful our individual and collective voices can be. The implementation of Affirmative Consent policies is a statement demonstrating that individual voices matter, and that listening to them is an essential and effective way to combat pervasive social problems. This workshop will highlight social campaigns, such as the “Carry That Weight” coalition and the “It’s on Us” campaign, as well as current research conducted at DU that provides individuals with a platform to have their voices heard to promote social change. As a group, we will discuss how our voices can be used to combat gender and sexual violence norms and to push for progressive change in our community.

Kayla Knopp, Kerry Gagnon, Skyler Leonard, and Lane Ritchie

1st Afternoon Workshops (1.45-3pm) listed alphabetically

Building a Welcoming and Inclusive Culture at DU: Student, Staff and Faculty Governing Bodies Working Together to Ensure That Every Voice Matters

This will be a panel presentation involving representatives from four governing bodies at DU: the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), the Graduate Student Government (GSG), the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), and the Faculty Senate. Representatives from each will summarize briefly their current efforts to contribute towards the building of an inclusive culture at DU, a culture in which all voices are heard and valued. Following the individual summaries, the panel participants will engage in a brief, fishbowl-style discussion with each other during which they will they will articulate specific goals, share ideas of how they can pair with other organizations to achieve common goals, and share ideas on what the administration can do to help achieve those goals. The session will be then open to full participation by the audience. There will be particular attention paid to ways in which students, staff and faculty members can continue to engage with each of the organizations around innovative action.

Arthur Jones and Linda Olson (Faculty Senate), Stefanie Cowan and Wendy Bolyard (Staff Advisory Council), Hayden Johnson and Alejandro García (Undergraduate Student Government), and Leslie Rossman and Vanessa Teck (Graduate Student Government)

Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness at DU
Beyond the direct effects of the medical conditions themselves, many in our community and on our campus also struggle against the stigma placed on mental illness and its treatment in our society. Participants in this session can expect to gain a greater understanding of the incidence and impact of mental illness on the DU community, to challenge their own beliefs about individuals with psychological disorders, and to learn about various initiatives and resource to raise awareness and lower stigmatization at DU.

Aimee Reichmann-Decker, Heidi Blocker and Amanda Pennington

Servant Leadership, Identity Development, and Social Justice

Through interactive challenges, a brief introduction to asset-based community engagement, and guided round-table discussions, participants will explore and develop their servant-leadership skills and commitment to social justice in the here-and-now of the workshop. Participants will leave with a more nuanced understanding of the meaning of community, the personal benefits gained by getting involved, and the difference between a "helping/fixing" mentality and a "serving" mentality. Participants will also develop a deeper understanding of their intersecting identities and the role that systems of privilege and oppression have played in shaping their experiences. At the end of the workshop, participants will have a clearer sense of their own leadership strengths and more concrete intervention skills to draw upon when encountering injustice in their daily lives.

Sarah Ash Harper, Adam DeHerrera and Megan Frewaldt

NOTE: This is a double-length session, requiring participants to attend both afternoon sessions.

When voices get hot: Preparing yourself for constructive dialogue in the classroom

As we strive to talk genuinely about issues concerning race, culture, ethnicity and privilege and create dialogue around potentially sensitive topics, we will inevitably encounter difficult conversations. In addition, we want all voices to be heard, yet sometimes a thoughtless comment or side remark can catch us off guard and create a 'hot moment’ in our classroom. How can we best be prepared for difficult conversations and hot moments? During this session, we will discuss some general strategies and practice with case studies so that you can develop your own personal way to respond to such situations and create a safe and open space for discussion in the classroom.

Role play handout (PDF)

Bridget Arend and Nicole Joseph

Why Religious Voices Matter: From Selma to Ferguson
Participants will learn what it means to do interfaith work and why the term interfaith is inclusive of secular communities. They will learn why faith communities specifically matter to the larger social justice community. The session will begin with a presentation on the historical overview of social justice leaders that drew from their faith and move towards modern examples. It will continue with interfaith discussion where participants will learn and practice techniques to engage the interfaith community and learn methods to create safe spaces to discuss faith.

Wendy A Low, Melanie Kesner, Kirsten Wilshire and Gary Brower

2nd Afternoon Workshops (3.15-4.30pm) listed alphabetically

Black Souls in Ivory Towers: 50 years since Selma and still we are not free
In this session, panelist will share personal reflections (counter-narratives) on the current challenges facing Blacks in higher education and offer insights as to how traditionally white institutions can become more inclusive for all who enter their ivory towers.

Frank Tuitt, Nicole Joseph, Bianca Williams, Janiece Mackey, Mawukle Yebuah and Justin TenEyck

Practical Steps to Develop a "Global Narrative" in Diverse Environments based on an Empathic Contract
One of the biggest challenges for an environment with a significant number of members of non-dominant groups is to create a “global narrative” that unifies and gives meaning to their shared experience. Based on some concepts of Theory of Mind and of Intercultural Philosophy, this presentation explains in practical terms how to develop an “empathic contract” as the base for a global narrative. Short texts by Maya Angelou and Julia Alvarez will illustrate the application of these concepts. In helping each participant to develop empathy (that is, intellectual humility leading to the recognition of the presence of another human being), the theory and the practical aspects of the mind-molding and empathic contract presented in this session will allow the participants to increase their awareness of "who is really next to me," thus challenging their own biases. Consequently, they will also become aware of the need for social justice and inclusiveness.

Francisco E Miraval, Jonathan Miraval, Jason Chavez and Qi Liu

Selma, Alabama Fifty Years Later: Lessons from a Class Immersion Experience

This will be a panel presentation involving a sampling of students who completed the Selma Civil Rights Movement and Music course that has been offered each Winter Interterm at Colorado Women’s College, beginning in 2012. The session will open and close with call-and-response freedom songs, led by singers from the DU-based Spirituals Project. Students will describe their experience in the course, focusing especially on the lessons learned during a five-day immersion in the present day reality of Selma, Alabama, where entrenched institutional racism belies the symbol of Selma as one of the “victory” sites of the Civil Rights Movement. Students will share ways in which their lives have been transformed by their experience in the course, including new ways of understanding and reacting to continued forces of oppression and injustice that remain prevalent in the United States today.

Art Jones, Rita Case, Regina Chilton-Parris, Mara Gonzalez, Theresa Hernandez, Laura Sporrer, Claudia Villalba and Jes Ward

Shifting the Spotlight: Exploring Activism Post Ferguson

At a time of mass civic unrest in the United States, many are grappling with the ideology of activism. We pose the question, how do you become active in activism? In addressing this, it’s imperative to identify the root cause of individual acts of activism; understanding your intention in protest. This conversation expands through an interrogation of ways in which individuals can engage in disruption of the current social order. Important to this is keying in on the concept, being an activist within your means. We provide a skeleton outline of the ways in which our workshop participants can engage with activism, and a platform for community members to share their voice and create dialogue for what it means to be an activist, Post-Ferguson.

Joel A Cruz, Sergio F Juarez and Diana Madriz

Non-enemies: Music, Movement, and Tactics

Join our Call to Action Closing Reception special guest speaker for activities and discussion on the role of music in both organizing work and actions of civil disobedience. Note: this is not a wholly academic exploration - we will be singing, and we will workshop songs of modern struggle.

Stephen Brackett of The Flobots (Facebook) and Youth on Record

Teaching Against the Corporate University

One of the most powerful legacies of the Selma era, and one that has met the most powerful resistance, is its pedagogical legacy: from the freedom schools to the self-sponsored civic education of the students of Freedom Summer, the pedagogies that emerged from the Civil Rights Movement are powerful and transformative. However, those same pedagogies have been under continuous attack since their emergence. Indeed, the resistance to the spirit of Selma is perhaps no where more pervasive today than in the increasingly corporatized environment of American higher education. This workshop, aims to make a small contribution to keeping the pedagogical spirit of Selma alive in the face of that adversity. Working together in the spirit of community organizing, participants in this workshop will learn about- and share what they know about- the pedagogical legacies of Selma. Together we will construct a counter-bibliography of at pedagogy and assemble an array of strategies. Finally, we will form a collaborative network of educators committed to supporting one another as we endeavor to keep the legacy of Selma alive and thriving.

John Tiedemann and Keelie Sorel

Using a Community Organizing Framework to Build Reciprocal Relationships

Building reciprocal relationships is essential to effective community work and helps us to recognize perspectives of multiple stakeholders. From the guidance of current DU Puksta Scholars, participants will learn specific tools and strategies for building relationships that will strengthen their ability to make an impact on campus and in the community. Such skills will include improving communication practices with peers and community partners via One2One relational meetings, building cohesive networks and reciprocal relationships in which to complete public work, and developing diverse and inclusive partnerships.

Ryan J Hanschen, MacKenzie Burdic, Aaqil Anwar, Larcy Brooks and Zac Roberts

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Presenter biographies (alphabetical by first name)


Aaqil Anwar was born in India in 1996, and immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of eight months. Ever since, he has considered the great state of Colorado his home, and has developed a deep passion for using the political process as an instrument for change. Aaqil is currently a Puksta Scholar and first-year student at the Daniels College of Business pursuing a degree in International Business, and hopes to attend law school after completing his undergraduate studies.

Adam DeHerrera is completing his bachelor degree in Communication with certificates in Public Relations, Mediation, and a minor in Sociology at University of Colorado Denver. He has worked in Community Engagement for four years where he has lead students on service trips to understand social issues and inequalities. Developing his skills through community building, Adam finds the importance of public relations, education, and partnership keys to implementing social justice.

Aimee Reichmann-Decker received her PhD in the area of Affective, Social, and Cognitive Science from DU in 2006. She received a MA in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University in 1992 and a BA in Psychology from Kalamazoo College in 1989. Aimee has worked as a lecturer in the Psychology Department at DU since 2005. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and serves as a first-year academic adviser and major adviser.

Alejandro Garcia Fernandez is a third year student at DU. Last year, he was on senate as the senator for the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management and this year he is one of the two On-Campus senators for Undergraduate Student Government. For the past two years, he has served as the Chair of the Diversity Committee, which consists of about 40 undergraduate students working to build a more inclusive campus climate. Last year, Alejandro had the honor of being the recipient of the undergraduate Champion of Change award at the Diversity Summit. Outside of senate, Alejandro is involved in several other groups in which Inclusive Excellence is critically engaged: the Queer Student Alliance, Latino Student Alliance, The Spark: An Impetus for Inclusivity, and the Desk Manager of Nagel Hall among others. Most recently, Alejandro is serving as a member of the university's strategic planning task force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Excellence. He hopes to one day be a professor and an administrator at a university in hopes of working for the values of inclusivity and celebrating diversity.

Allison O'Grady (ABJ in Advertising, University of Georgia; BS in Psychology, University of Georgia; MA in Higher Education, University of Denver) currently works as an Instructional Support Specialist at University College. In this position, Allison assists faculty with course design and assessment measures, implements new technology into UCOL courses, trains faculty in the use of instructional design strategies, and contributes to strategic planning initiatives to enhance academic quality at University College. Allison has been an adjunct faculty member at University College for the past year and greatly enjoys teaching in online, on campus, and hybrid formats.

Amanda R Pennington is currently a junior at DU majoring in Psychology. She intends to earn her BS in 2016 as part of the Honors Program. Amanda is a founder and the current president of the student organization MIND. MIND is an organization aimed at erasing the stigma around mental illness through education, conversation, and action.

Amy Anderson is a 2nd year graduate student in developmental psychology at DU. She obtained her MS in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London in 2010. Her current research explores how early life stress experiences (prenatal through childhood) and brain development is linked to developmental disorders or later psychosocial outcomes in adolescence and adulthood.

Ann Spilker has been a graduate student in child clinical psychology at DU since 2012. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 with a B.A. in psychology and art history. Her current research interests include adolescent romantic relationships, and stress and health during adolescence.

Anna de Guzman, BA, is a Research Assistant III at the Butler Institute for Families in the DU Graduate School of Social Work. She coordinates data collection, analysis, reporting and other evaluation activities for several federal initiative programs. She has a BA from the College of William and Mary.

Arthur Jones is President of DU Faculty Senate. He has been teaching at DU since 1991 and is currently Clinical Professor of Culture and Psychology and Associate Dean at the Colorado Women’s College, a unit of the university that serves adult women students. His teaching and research are focused primarily on African American music culture, and on the interconnections between issues of culture, power and privilege. He is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of DU-based Spirituals Project, which works to preserve and revitalize the music and social justice teachings of the sacred folk songs created and first sung by enslaved African Americans. He has received numerous awards for his academic and community work, including DU’s Outstanding Core Faculty Teaching Award and an Outstanding Faculty Award from DU Center for Multicultural Excellence. In 2008, on the occasion of the City of Denver’s 150th anniversary, Prof. Jones was recognized by the City as one of 150 “Unsung Heroes” who have helped to make Denver a great city, and in 2013 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission.

Bianca Williams

Bridget Arend is Director of University Teaching at the Office of Teaching and Learning. She supports teaching-related initiatives at the university such as workshops and seminars, consultation services for DU faculty members and departments, and educational evaluation and assessment projects. Bridget also serves as Adjunct Faculty with the Morgridge College of Education and the Department of Organizational and Professional Communications at University College. Bridget has been with DU for over 10 years and has a background in teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education and adult learning.

Buffy E Jamison is Diversity in Higher Education as she is devoted to supporting historically marginalized students in their transition to and persistence through higher education. She received her BA in World Languages and Cultures/Spanish from Iowa State University. Her current scholarly focus is college students who are on the Autism Spectrum with an emphasis on intersectionality. Her work also centers on campus issues related to the LGBTQIA community and people of color. Buffy is a fervent advocate for her communities in her roles as president of the Black Graduate Student Association, the founder and a developer of People of Color in Higher Education (POCA ‘N HED), DU’s NASPA Graduate Student Associate, and an Inclusive Excellence Fellow at the Center for Multicultural Excellence.


Claudia Villalba graduated from the Women’s College at DU in 2013. She got her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and is now working on preparing to take the GMAT so she can go on to get her MBA. She has been a senior loan officer for the past 12 years; she is bilingual, enjoys working with clients from diverse backgrounds, including those clients that feel more comfortable dealing with a Spanish speaking loan officer. She is married and enjoys skiing and traveling with her husband.

Collette Pella is a Senior Training and Project Specialist at the Butler Institute for Families within the DU Graduate School of Social Work. She is responsible for training delivery, curriculum development and consultation on various local and national projects focused on enhancing system collaboration and direct practice skills with children and families. She received her MSW at DU.

Diana Madriz is a second year Masters student in Higher Education at DU with a concentration in Diversity and Higher Learning. Her research interests include Latina/o college access and minority parent outreach initiatives. Diana serves as an officer on the Latin@ Graduate Association and graduated from Whitman College. By exploring culturally competent curriculum to better serve parents of color, Diana aspires to serve the communities where she came from and are the least served throughout the education system.

Ellen Winiarczyk, MES, has been an adjunct faculty at University College since 2010 in the Leadership and Organizations masters program. For the past 20 years she has been a consultant in leadership development and inclusive organizational excellence for national nonprofits, federal and local government agencies, and corporations. She is currently a 3rd year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy at Morgridge College of Education. Her research interests are in school leadership development, social network analysis, and social justice leadership.

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Francisco E Miraval is a philosopher, educator, and journalist. Born and raised in Argentina, he lives in the United States since 1994. In 1997, Francisco founded Project Vision 21, a bilingual (English/Spanish), independent, news and consulting service agency with main offices in Aurora, Colorado. In addition, Francisco teaches humanities at two accredited, private universities in Denver. Francisco holds bachelor’s degrees in education and theology, a master in religious studies and Biblical archaeology, and a professorship in philosophy. He was ordained as a minister in 1978 and he began his career in journalism in 1988, writing daily for EFE News (Spain) since 1997.

Frank Tuitt is the Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University's Morgridge College of Education. Dr Tuitt is a scholar devoted to the examination and exploration of topics related to access and equity in higher education; teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms; and diversity and organizational transformation. His research critically examines issues of race, Inclusive Excellence and diversity in and outside the classroom from the purview of faculty and students. His most recent publication is the co-edited book Black Faculty in the Academy (Routledge, 2015).

Gary Brower became DU's University Chaplain in the summer of 2007. Gary grew up in Portland, Oregon, and holds undergraduate degrees from both Northwest Christian College (BA in Biblical Studies) and the University of Oregon (BS in Religious Studies). His MDiv is from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA. In 1996 he completed his PhD in Religion (Early Christian History) at Duke University, with a dissertation was entitled Ambivalent Bodies: Making Christian Eunuchs. He has been the Episcopal campus minister at Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and, for the eleven years prior to coming to DU, the University of California-Berkeley. While at UC-Berkeley, he served for six years as the Chair of the University Religious Council (the campus/inter-religious umbrella group), as well as in national denominational and ecumenical leadership and advisory positions.

H Ray Keith is personally and professionally committed to the educational advancement of students of color. Ray has spent the last 15 years developing and fostering student leadership, achievement, and educational excellence in community based organizations, K-1, and higher education settings. In his role at the Community College of Aurora he is charged with the development and implementation of inclusive, proactive, data- driven interventions, initiatives, and programs that support the achievement and success of specific student populations. Ray earned his master's degree in Higher Education from DU.

Hayden Johnson is serving as the DU Undergraduate Student Body President for the 2014-2015 academic year. He is a senior this year, majoring in Socio-Legal Studies and History. He is originally from Denver, where he attended Thomas Jefferson High School before coming to DU. He enjoys hiking Colorado's 14ers with his dog, Jesse. His favorite parts of DU are the extensive opportunities we have to be involved with what happens on campus, and the ability to learn in ways that are intercultural, personal, and hands-on, with many possibilities for experiential learning. With that said, he strongly believes that our academic experience can be enhanced by embedding character building lessons, like understanding the importance of inclusive excellence, in an education setting. He also thinks that DU can become more accessible to a wide range of students, and increase the support for underrepresented populations while they are on campus. These concepts have driven some of his largest efforts towards promoting diversity on our campus.

Heidi Blocker is currently a PhD student at DU in Affective, Social, and Cognitive Science. She earned her MA in 2012 from DU and her BA from Texas State University - San Marcos in 2007.


Jamie Novak has been a graduate student in child clinical psychology at DU since 2013. Her primary research interests explore risk and resiliency across the lifespan, particularly during adolescence. Her Master’s thesis explores risk for partner violence within both adolescent and adult romantic relationships. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 with a B.S. in Psychology.

Janiece Mackey

Jason Chavez is the business owner of a small company providing remodeling services in Metro Denver. He was born in Mexico, grew up in Texas, and attended college in Colorado (BA in Business Administration). In addition to his entrepreneurial activities, Jason (who is fully bilingual) is a youth pastor and a community leader. He is currently researching “socioeconomic borders inside the United States in the 21st century” with the goal of gaining a better understanding of how immigration, social status, income, language and other factors impact the access to opportunities among minorities.

Jeanne Ferguson is a Program Associate at the Butler Institute for Families within the DU Graduate School of Social Work. She has worked in Child Welfare for nearly 40 years, specializing in Child Protective Services as a Supervisor of casework in Wisconsin and now as a project manager, trainer, coach, and consultant in New York for the Butler Institute for Families’ ‘Family Assessment Response’ project. She received her MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jes Ward is a senior studying Communication and Leadership Development at the Colorado Women’s College. She is also the Executive Director at cityWILD, an organization which provides tuition-free, comprehensive experiential education programs, which promote themes of personal empowerment, leadership, and community participation, to low income and culturally diverse youth. In addition, throughout her career, Jes has contributed her time and expertise to various causes and organizations, including Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado, Let Us Rise, Building Bridges, Transform Columbus Day, and more.

Joel Cruz is a first year Masters student at Du. He completed his undergraduate degree at DU in Film Studies and Production, Anthropology and Gender and Women Studies. He currently works in Housing and Residential Education as a Graduate Resident Director for first year students. Joel is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico but has truly found a home in Denver. Joel hopes to continue his work in student affairs and develop skills in educating students in new and creative ways.

John Tiedemann is a lecturer with the University Writing Program and Director, Social Justice Living & Learning Community.

Jonathan Miraval is a college student focusing on creative writing. He is also an accomplished pianist. Jonathan was born in Canada and grew up in Colorado. His passion for social justice led him to be part of “Breakfast with the Homeless” in Denver for four years. His passion for diversity led him to be part of Up With People and to travel to Latin America and to Asia. He is currently working on his first science-fiction novel and on Experience48, a community-oriented project promoting social unity thought better, deeper understanding of cultural differences.

Justin TenEyck is a first year Higher Education Masters student at DU’s Morgridge College of Education. He received a BA in Ethnic Studies and a BS in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Colorado Boulder. Currently, Justin works as the Student Life Coordinator at College Track, a national non-profit dedicated to academic success and college access/success for first-generation, low income students and students of color.

Kayla Knopp, MA, is a 3rd year graduate student in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at DU. Her research interests focus on romantic relationships, particularly among populations and relationship structures that are often excluded from traditional couples research. These include relationships involving individuals of sexual and gender minorities, non-monogamous relationships, and unmarried relationships. As a clinician in training, her focus is on incorporating a sex-positive and non-judgmental perspective into evidence-based couple and individual therapies. Her work in the community involves broadening the umbrella of inclusiveness to include (non)religious, sexual, and gender diversity, and issues related to the intersection of marginalized identities.

Keelie Sorel is a Program Coordinator for the Social Justice Living and Learning Community, and a Masters student in Higher Education.

Kerry Gagnon, MA, is a graduate student in the Du Child Clinical Psychology PhD Program. Kerry’s research focuses on the effects traumatic experiences have on individuals and what characteristics may be a risk for adverse mental health outcomes. In her research, Kerry acknowledges the impact of cultural and individual characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and mental (dis)abilities on experiences, especially in regard to victimization. She is also a member of the Multicultural Interest Group (MIG), a student-directed organization that aims to broaden awareness of multicultural issues in research and in the community.

Kirsten Wilshire is a second-year student, studying Political Science and English with a minor in Economics. She is passionate about social justice and has been involved in social justice causes on campus in her time at DU. She was a student in the Social Justice Living and Learning Community and works as the resident assistant for the Social Justice floor of Nelson Residence Hall. She is a member of the DU Vegan and Vegetarian Society and co-president of the DU Interfaith Advocates. In her free time she enjoys creative writing, painting, and hiking.

Lane Ritchie, BA, is a 2nd year PhD student in the clinical psychology program at DU. Her research interests include factors related to romantic and sexual health, especially for those with non-traditional relationship structures (e.g., relationships in which one partner is incarcerated, consensually non-monogamous relationships) and those who face additional barriers to relationship health (e.g., military relationships). Her clinical work centers around an understanding of couple and family dynamics as integral to several aspects of functioning (e.g., physical health, emotional adjustment). She received her BA in psychology and women’s studies from the University of Michigan, where she focused on advocating for prisoners’ rights and helping inmates to prepare for reintegration into the community.

Larcy Brooks is a second-year undergraduate student at DU, studying English (Creative Writing), Spanish, and Gender & Women’s Studies. On campus, they are a Co-President of the Undergraduate Queer Student Alliance, and a Resident Assistant at Johnson MacFarlane Hall. As a Puksta Scholar for CCESL, Brooks has begun projects targeting issues faced by the LGBTQ community on and off campus, including a campaign to implement gender neutral restrooms in first-year residence halls, and creating an online video-based sex education series created for and with LGBTQ youth.

Larissa D'Abreu is a 3rd year graduate student in clinical child psychology at DU. Her research primarily focuses on children with autism and automatic processing and mimicry of facial expressions.

Laura Sporrer is a Denver native and a senior at Colorado Women's College. In June she will graduate with honors in Communication, with a Business minor, and as a member of the National Communication Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta. In addition to her studies, Laura works in marketing and development for a national restaurant chain. Laura has long been passionate about music as well as civil and human rights, ultimately focusing her Capstone project on the evolution of Negro spirituals, R&B, Soul, and Rap in the Civil Rights movement to present day. She jumped on the opportunity to take Cultural Dynamics of African American Music in the Fall of 2013, though she had no idea how great of an impact her studies and trip to Selma would have on her dedication to community building and opposition of systemic oppression.

Leslie Rossman is a doctoral candidate in Rhetoric and Communication Ethics at DU. She received an MA in Political Studies at the University of Illinois, Springfield. Her research interests include rhetorical mediations of labor and globalization, rhetoric and political economy, the effects of neoliberalism in the workplace, as well as gender and sexuality in popular culture. Leslie has been an active leader at DU through her roles in Graduate Student Government, Graduate Students of The Four Faculties, and the Communication Studies Graduate Student Organization. As President of the Graduate Student Government, Leslie worked with administration, faculty, staff, and students to implement a campus wide inclusive excellence mission, planned the graduate research and performance summit as part of an on-going commitment to fostering cross-disciplinary dialogue, and continued to advocate for constructing an inclusive space within student organizations and the campus community. In 2013, she received the Master of (Gr)Advocacy award presented by the Center of Multicultural Excellence recognizing her role as a LGBTIQ&A educator among students.

Leslie Wilmot, is the Director of Community Engagement at the Butler Institute for Families within the DU Graduate School of Social Work. She is responsible for the ‘Family Assessment Response’ project with the State of New York, managing program implementation and the direction of organizational change to support the project. She received her MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Linda Olson is Chair of the Student Relations Committee of DU Faculty Senate. She began teaching at DU in 2000 and has spent the past 10 years as Senior Lecturer and Director of the Pioneer Leadership Program. Her area of communication research has included collaborative leadership, group and team communication, leadership development, leadership and sustainability, and leadership ethics. Dr. Olson’s current research is focused on assessment of leadership learning and the leadership development process of undergraduate students. She brings a vibrant interest in international and intercultural issues to the classroom. She has taught and led groups involved in international learning and service learning throughout the world. In addition, she is active in local elected leadership as the Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Englewood, Colorado.


MacKenzie Burdic, MA, serves as the Student Program Development Coordinator with the DU Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL). MacKenzie holds a BA in International Affairs and Political Science from the University of Colorado, as well as an MA in International Development and Global Health from DU. MacKenzie has a long-standing history of involvement in community-engaged work – particularly in access to surgical health care in low-income countries, as well as working alongside high school and college students in Denver public schools to identify and combat injustices present in the community. She strives to use community-engaged strategies and values throughout her career as a community organizer in the United States and globally.

Mara Gonzalez Mara Gonzalez graduated from Colorado Women’s College in August of 2014 with a major in Communications and a minor in Information Technology. She is from Chihuahua Mexico and moved to Colorado seven years ago to learn English and stayed to go to college. Her next goal is to attend graduate school. In December 2013 Mara traveled to Selma with the Colorado Women’s College group; meeting the people in Selma who are still working to make equality and justice a reality was a life-changing experience. Mara thinks it is important to find ways to make diversity both respected and expected in all parts of our lives.

Mawukle Yebuah

Megan Frewaldt, MA, completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She also completed a program at Georgetown University focused on nonprofit management and voluntary service. Her masters in Counseling Psychology was completed at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado focusing on service learning as a modality for moral development in youth. Throughout her academic and professional career, community engagement and social justice have been at the center. She believes service provides experiences that cultivate an understanding of the depth of interconnection of humanity, cultures, and our global community.

Melanie Kesner is a fourth year student at DU. She is double majoring in International Studies and Religious Studies with a minor in Hebrew and will be graduating this spring. She was in the Social Justice LLC and continues to stay active with the Social Justice Community at DU. She also works with the student-run Social Sustainability Task Force. She is an intern with Abrahamic Initiative and a Service Learning Associate for Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. She is currently working on a thesis for religious studies on the importance of Pluralism and Inter-religious dialogue within the field of Religious Studies. In her free time she plays club water polo for DU, sings in the The Spirituals Project Choir, and stays active in the Colorado outdoors through hiking, camping, and snowboarding.

Micah Desaire is a Faculty Support Specialist at DU’s Sturm College of Law. He received his BA in Political Science from DU in 2014 (cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa). He is a former coordinator of the Black Male Initiative Summit Scholars Program, a yearlong initiative that equips underrepresented students with skills for academic success, community leadership, and college readiness. His research focuses on social justice and social change.

Michelle Kruse-Crocker holds a PhD from DU in higher education administration and adult studies. Her research interests are financial aid, college student persistence, health education, personal and employee wellness and training. Dr Kruse-Crocker holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Health Education with an emphasis in Health Psychology and a master’s degree from Colorado State University in Wellness Management and Exercise Science. She currently serves as the Manager of Academic Projects for University College this includes experiential learning, academic internships, international study, service in non-profits, faculty recruitment, curriculum planning, English teaching for Japanese teachers, Emerging Leaders in Development and specialty academic programs.

Miriam Estrada, BA, joined the staff of Butler Institute for Families as a Research Assistant in March 2014 part-time, moving to a full-time position in September 2014. She is providing research and evaluation support for the Clayton Ready to Read program and other early childhood education programs. Miriam is a recent graduate of DU with degrees in International Studies and Spanish.

Nakia Collins is a Research Assistant II at the Butler Institute for Families within the DU Graduate School of Social Work. She specializes in research and evaluation, providing support to projects using a variety of techniques to provide literature reviews, evaluation design, project coordination and to prepare reports and present findings. She received her MS in Sociology and Anthropology from Purdue University.

Nancy C McDaniel, MPA, has worked in the field of human services for more than 25 years, with a focus on technical assistance and consultation, and training, program evaluation, and policy analysis in the field of child welfare. Ms McDaniel joined the Butler Institute for Families in 2004, and leads and participates in a range of child welfare policy and practice initiatives. Ms McDaniel is a leadership team member on the Mountains and Plains Child Welfare Implementation Center, and team member of the federally funded National Child Welfare Workforce Institute. Ms McDaniel has presented extensively on leadership in child welfare and provided technical assistance to managers, supervisors, and staff across the United States and internationally in Bermuda and Romania. Ms McDaniel completed undergraduate degree programs in Social Welfare and Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and obtained her Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Nashwa Bolling is the Associate Director of Budget, Research & Analysis in the Office of Financial Aid at DU. She has been in higher education for eight years primarily responsible for the management of the University’s undergraduate gift and endowed scholarships. She oversees all aspects of the scholarship process from the financial budgeting of the awards, helping University Advancement develop awarding criteria, working with faculty and staff to award the scholarships to eligible students, and advising students and families regarding scholarship opportunities at DU.

Nicole Joseph, PhD, is an assistant professor of education in the Morgridge College of Education. Dr Joseph holds a degree in multicultural and mathematics education from the University of Washington, where James A Banks served as her dissertation chair. She also had the privilege to study with seminal scholars such as Dr Geneva Gay, Dr Nancy Beadie, and Dr Ilana Horn (now at Vanderbilt University). Her research interests include mathematics achievement of African Americans; culturally responsive pedagogy; equity/access in mathematics classrooms; classroom discourse; the role of African American culture in learning broadly, and mathematics development specifically; pre-service and in-service teacher professional development; history of mathematics education of African Americans (1860s to twentieth century). Dr Joseph’s work is founded in the tenet of education as liberation. She utilizes a critical race and multicultural education lens to understand the historical, social, cultural, and political nature of mathematics teaching and learning in the U.S. and its role in perpetuating dominant ideologies of mathematics domain identity.

Qi Liu is an international student attending the BA program (International Business) at Colorado Heights University. Qi was born in China where she completed some college studies before moving to Denmark, where she completed further studies in language and literature. Then, she come to Denver to perfect her English. She is currently researching the connection between words and colors and how that connection expresses the dreams and the energy of people in different cultural contexts and personal situations. As part of her research, she is focusing on the words of African-American and Hispanic-American authors.


Regina Chilton-Parris retired from real estate as an independent broker/investor and property manager in 2001 and recently graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Communications from the Colorado Women’s College, DU. Empowering women to obtain sustainable food security in developing countries is Regina’s goal. After leaving a leadership role in a Jamaican iniatiative, Regina has recently created a unique outdoor venue called MiYard, a place to gather in Denver, whereby she offers workshops featuring the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) method, and a platform for others in the community to showcase their talents and/or use the venue for celebrations and community events. Regina intends to continue teaching the SFG method locally and around the globe with a goal of feeding the world, one square at a time. Regina currently resides with her Jamaican husband, Clifton Parris in Denver.

Rita Case serves as a Second Class Petty Officer in the Navy Reserves, and as a Military Project Support Specialist for the University of Denver. She recently graduated from the Colorado Women's College with a degree in Communications.

Ryan J Hanschen is a Program Coordinator with the DU Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL). A DU alumnus, Ryan graduated with a major in sociology and minors in philosophy and psychology. He went on to serve two terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the PeaceJam Foundation and then transitioned into a role as PeaceJam's Program and Development Coordinator. He has made diverse contributions to communities, from his service as a certified Master Composter with Denver Urban Gardens to his role supporting Amnesty International groups across the state. Ryan currently serves on the South High School Community Partnership Board and as a Commissioner on the Governor's Commission on Community Service.

Sable Schultz is currently working on her master’s degree in Higher Education, with a concentration in Diversity and Higher Education. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she double majored in Psychology and Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. During her undergrad, Sable worked in the Auraria Campus GLBT Student Services office, where she developed passion for programming; student development, access, and equity; and social justice work. Sable is an Inclusive Excellence Fellow at the Center for Multicultural Excellence, where she assists in supporting the Women’s Coalition and organizing the annual Women’s Conference. Sable is currently the Vice President for the DU Higher Education Student Association (HESA).

Salvador Armendariz is a Research Assistant II at the Butler Institute for Families within the DU Graduate School of Social Work. He specializes in research and evaluation support for various local state and national projects, providing evaluation design, project management qualitative and quantitative data collection using a variety of techniques. He has an MSW from DU.

Sarah Ash Harper, BA, graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a degree in Psychology and Socio-Cultural Anthropology. She is currently a graduate student at CU Denver studying Multicultural and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. As the GA for Community Engagement and Leadership, Sarah works with students who are developing as servant-leaders and social justice advocates in their community. She is also active with Icarus Project Denver, a community organization dedicated to achieving social justice for folks with experiences that are often labeled as mental illness. Sarah believes that oppression hurts everyone and that working towards a more pluralistic society is in everybody's best interest.

Sergio F Suarez is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies focusing his work on the experiences of students with undocumented citizenship status on higher education campuses in relation to Inclusive Excellence policies and practices. He is also working on a community research project titled RiseUp!, the goal of the project is to create a community based culturally competent HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention program targeted for indigenous youth. Sergio received his undergraduate degree from California State University Channel Islands and also studied at New Mexico State University for his MA. Sergio intends on becoming a professor somewhere near his hometown of Santa Barbara, CA.

Sheila Davis, MD, completed an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at MIT and the Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. In addition, she received a Masters degree in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science. After completing an internship in pediatrics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Sheila served on the writing team of the Healthy People 1998 Progress Review for African Americans. This experience ignited her interest in public health (with an emphasis on vulnerable populations). Currently, Dr Davis serves on the faculty of DU’s Healthcare Leadership Program where she teaches courses on the Affordable Care Act and Research Methods. She also sits on the Safety Net Advisory Committee for the Colorado Health Institute.

Skyler Leonard, MEd, is a 2nd year clinical student in the Service for At-Risk Youth and Families research lab. Skyler is from the Seattle area and attended the University of Washington receiving his B.A. is psychology. He then joined Teach for America as a 2009 corps member teaching 6th grade math and science in Phoenix while earning his MEd He then taught in the Seattle area and was a research assistant at the University of Washington with the Developmental Pathways Project. Skyler is interested in the interaction of mental health and academic success among children and adolescents in at-risk populations. He is interested in resilience factors of youth who achieve in life despite various risk factors. He hopes to study how this resilience can be operationalized into interventions and disseminated in settings where they can reach a lot of students like schools.

Stefanie Ungphakorn Cowan is President of DU Staff Advisory Council, where she advocates on behalf of staff at DU. She is a native of Denver, Colorado, where she graduated from Denver North High School and earned her BS in Biology from Regis University. In 2014, Stef earned her Master's in Higher Education with an emphasis in Leadership and Organizational Change from DU. In addition to her work at the Center for Multicultural Excellence and leadership in the Staff Advisory Council, she has served as co-chair for the Staff of Color Association (SOCA) and has a passion for LGBTIQ issues, as well as issues facing biracial and multiracial college students. In her free time, Stef enjoys the freedom of an empty nest, volunteers as a cis-gender mentor for transgender women, and has been president of her homeowners association since 2004.

Stephen Brackett is better known as Brer Rabbit, one of the MCs that gives local hip-hop outfit Flobots its rhymes; and has a long history of involvement in the arts, education, and social change. Founder and a member of the Board of Directors for Youth on Record, Stephen has seen a decline in arts education in the public school system, and is doing all he can at Youth on Record to ensure that all young people in Denver have the tools to tell their own story – be it through music production, lyric writing, poetry, spoken word or movement. A Denver native, Stephen is a driving force in curriculum development and program planning for Youth on Record.

Theresa Hernandez is the Associate Director for Library Operations, Digital Media, and University Video & Event AV Services at DU. She is currently serving on the Chancellor’s Task Force for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Excellence and an appointed member of DU’s Status of Women Committee. In 2005, Theresa joined the DU Women’s Coalition and served as chair of the organization from 2009–2013. Theresa has received awards for her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusivity, including the 2013 Robin Morgan Award honoring her advocacy for women at DU, the 2009 Profiles of Excellence Outstanding Staff Award from CME, and the DU Staff Advisory Council Crimson and Gold Award for civic engagement. In 1998, Theresa was recognized by the Franciscan Friars, Holy Name Province in New York City, as one of the first laypeople to display an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the values and ideas of St Francis. She has served as a member of the DU’s Diversity Summit Planning Committee for the past six years.

Vanessa Teck is committed to rooting social justice in love, telling meaningful stories, and creating more inclusive campus climates. She is currently the Director of Inclusive Excellence for the DU Graduate Student Government, a Masters Candidate in Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education, and the Inclusive Excellence Fellow for the Center for Advocacy, Prevention, and Education (CAPE) at DU. Vanessa is the Co-Founder and EVP of Multimedia and Outreach for Project Ava, a social justice multimedia storytelling company. She is a national speaker on Asian American collegiate activism, Asian American feminism, and coalition building, currently serving as the Co-Founder and Co-Chair for the Coalition of API Americans Collaborating Together to Unite the Southwest (CAACTUS). She believes in being constructively and nurturingly critical.

Vision Inspired By Empowerment (VIBE), DU Multicultural Greek Council Interest Group, is: Fendi Chung is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Biochemistry, and the 2014-15 President for VIBE. Sensel Ogbazghi is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Biology, and the 2014-15 Vice President for VIBE. Bria Hudson is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Accounting, and the 2014-15 VIBE representative for Greek Council. Stephanie Peralta is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Business and International Studies, and the 2014-15 Communications Chair for VIBE. Adrienne Kim is a 4th year undergraduate studying Art and Psychology. Nia Smith is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Psychology. Nadia Etchey is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Business: Hospitality Management. Tsion Shiferaw is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Biochemistry, and the 2014-15 Community Service Chair for VIBE. Tammy Le is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Biochemistry, and the 2014-15 Finance Chair for VIBE. Allison Loi is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Biochemistry, and the 2014-15 Secretary for VIBE.

Wendy L Bolyard is Vice President/President-Elect of the DU Staff Advisory Council. She has worked in higher education for more than 20 years, and currently serves as Director of Graduate Enrollment Management in the Office of Graduate Studies. In addition, she is an adjunct instructor at DU’s University College, teaching undergraduate courses in systems theory, leadership, policy research and analysis, and organizational behavior. Also at DU, she is co-chair of the Inclusive Excellence Collective. Wendy received her PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Central Florida and she holds a BSJ and MA from West Virginia University. In her free time, Wendy embraces her status as “favorite aunt” to nephew Kyle and nieces Adyson and Audrey, works with her crazy Beagle pup on obedience and agility training, and is on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Colorado.

Wendy Low is a senior at DU. In between classes, she can be found working for social causes including gender equality/LGBTQ rights, genocide education and interfaith work. She is the Communications and Outreach Intern at the Faith Matters Network. She also works as a BetterTogether Coach for the Interfaith Youth Core training other student leaders in interfaith work. In addition to pursuing social justice, Wendy writes and performs poetry, plays guitar, and rock climbs. As a member of the Conservative branch of Judaism, Wendy strongly believes in the use of stories to challenge broader circulating narratives that characterize religion as a dividing force.

Zac Roberts is a third year student studying Chemistry and Biology at DU. On campus, he is founder and Co-President of an organization called MIND, aimed to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, as well as participating in DU’s Queer Student Alliance. He participates in multiple community service engagements, both through his role as a student athlete as well as through the Puksta Scholars Foundation. Zac work within multiple areas of community service but specifically within the LGBT Community in the Metro Denver area. As a Puksta Scholar, Zac has developed a website that helps queer youth get access to health education, history of the Queer Movement, and personal stories written by those who have overcome adversity as a member of the queer community.

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