Spring 2021 Unity in Diversity Speaker Bios

Meet some of the speakers from our spring 2021 two-day Unity in Diversity event.

Leena Ali (she/her/hers) is a senior and international student from Saudi Arabia, majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in Bioethics and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is a member of the Unity House Council, President of the Interfaith Alliance, and an International Student Support Ambassador. Her experience navigating topics centered on diversity, inclusion, and social justice as a student leader have taught her that working towards equity in any area is not and will never be easy and that it requires a constant commitment towards both learning and unlearning. After graduation, Leena will be pursuing a Master’s of Public Health at Brown University in hopes of working towards professionally applying what she has learned.
Britta B., a Toronto-based spoken word performer, teaching artist, emcee and voice actor is currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at University of Guelph where she is the recipient of the Constance Rooke Scholarship and the McClelland & Stewart Scholarship. Most recently, Britta was recognized as a 2020 Finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award. She is an alumna of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Spoken Word Residency and a 2018 Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab Fellow. Her works have featured in print, in sound and onstage across North America in notable spheres such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, CBC Arts: Poetic License, The Walrus Talks, TEDx and The Stephen Lewis Foundation. As an artist educator, Britta facilitates artist-training seminars, poetry workshops and social justice programs in partnership with organizations like JAYU (pronounced JAH-YOU), Poetry In Voice, Prologue Performing Arts, and League of Canadian Poets. http://www.brittab.com; Twitter/IG: @missbrittab
Angélique Bouthot (she/her) is pursuing an M.Ed. in Community Engagement at Merrimack College. Her academic work is influenced by personal and professional experiences in health, sexuality, and social justice. Currently, she is a fellow in the McQuade Library and finishing her capstone: Self-Advocacy in the Exam Room: Tools for Navigating Contraceptive Care.
Rémy Boyd is the newest addition to the O’Brien Center for Career Development at Merrimack College, where she serves as the Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Employer Relations, Internships, Co-Ops, and Student Employment. She is committed to addressing employment inequities and strengthening relationships with current partners while building connections that spark new student opportunities within established and emerging markets in the greater Boston area and beyond. 
Glynis Boyd Hughes (she/her/hers) is a graduate student in Merrimack’s School of Education and Social Policy, pursuing a M.Ed in Leadership, Policy, and Organizational Development; she also serves as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow, assisting Dr. Simona Sharoni. Glynis recently graduated cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in May 2020, in her hometown of Richmond,Virginia, with a B.A. in English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. This accomplishment was the culmination of her educational dream, starting in 1986 when, with GED in hand, Glynis enrolled at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, her two year old daughter in her arms. That daughter is now 36, with three sons of her own.
Glynis takes great pride in being an overcomer of challenges, from poverty to a learning disability, as she pursues her goal of serving students who embody the phrase: “talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.” She is an avid researcher, having worked with VCU’s Office of the President on several projects, as well as presenting nationally on the contributions of post-traditional students to college communities. Glynis’ passions include increasing educational equity and access, working with students with disabilities, and creative ways to support faculty and staff as a student affairs professional. Glynis’ lived experiences include working as a fish cleaner in a neighborhood market, a 20-year stint as a social worker with an urban agency, and creating and hosting a spoken word program at Richmond’s Black History Museum. All of her lived experiences, along with academics, community engagement, and empathy, are the foundation of her social justice philosophy: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Shannon Butler-Mokoro, is a Professor and Director of the new Master of Social Work program at Merrimack College.- Her teaching and scholarship are centered in advocacy, equity, social justice, and cultural humility. Her areas of teaching and research are eclectic and inter-disciplinary, including Social Work, Women’s Studies, Higher Education, feminist social work, anti-oppressive social work, faith-based social work, social work with newcomers (to the U.S.), and the history of higher education (women and people of color in higher education). Among other publications, Shannon is the co-editor of Feminist perspectives in social work: The intersecting lives of women in the 21st century. She is the Co-Chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Women’s Council (formal title - Council on the Status and Role of Women in Social Work Education). In that role, she created a new award that recognizes the contributions of social work students to feminist scholarship.
Clarisa Cameron (she/her) is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Health Science. She is the President of the Black Student Association, a Drive Peer Leader, and a DEI Student Ambassador. As a student leader and activist, she hopes to give a voice to those who are afraid to speak out in order for them to have a chance to express themselves with faith for a better community.
Grace Chitam (she/hers) is an M.Ed. Community Engagement student at Merrimack College with a Higher Education concentration. She is currently a fellow at the Interdisciplinary Institute; and is passionate about creating positive experiences for students of color in higher education spaces.
Dr. Michelle Cromwell is Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at SUNY Plattsburgh. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a specialty in Ethnic Conflicts and a MS. in Dispute Resolution, both from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Her B.Sc. in Social Work is from the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Cromwell’s work is centered on demonstrating that all people and their range of human experiences matter. A self-proclaimed super-connector, social capital generator, Dr. Cromwell fosters and brings a creative, collaborative and compassionate approach to working with multi-level and cross-functional members of a team or organization.
Sonal Desai is Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance in the School of Health Sciences. She has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Gujarat, India and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. After completion of her B.Sc., Sonal worked as a Civil Engineer in India for 4 years. Sonal came to the US in 1990 to pursue her Masters in Civil Engineering. Sonal comes from a small town in India and grew up in a middle class family. Sonal is very proud of the values she inherited from her upbringing in India, as well as the values she picked up from 30 years of living in the US. Sonal strongly believes that hard work and dedication are the keys to success in both professional and personal life.
Jeffrey Doggett is Executive Vice President, CFO and COO at Merrimack College.
Rachel Dorsey, MS, CCC-SLP is an Autistic Speech-Language Pathologist who was diagnosed as Autistic in adulthood. She offers consultations, in-services, and courses on serving Autistic and Neurodivergent people in a person-centered and affirming approach. She has been published or recorded for the ASHA Voices Podcast, ASHA Leader, The Neurodivergent Collective, and the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective Publication. www.dorseyslp.com
Emma Duffy-Comparone is an assistant professor of English, Director of The Writers House, and Co-Director of the Jail Education Project. A recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, she is the author of the recently released collection, Love Like That, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was named a “Best Book” by Vogue, Vanity Fair, Refinery29 and elsewhere, and one of “5 Hot Books” by the National Book Review.
Jackson Fortune-O’Brien is a freshman from Neptune, New Jersey studying Criminology and Criminal Justice. He is a student ambassador, resident advisor, D1 Track and Field athlete and trumpet player in the Marching Band. Jackson is also an active members of numerous programs, clubs and student groups, including Austin Scholars, Dean’s Forum, Athletic Diversity Committee, Active Minds, Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Black Student Association (BSA), and MackBelievers.”
Samantha (Sam) Frey is a senior, triple majoring in Psychology, Social Justice, and Women’s & Gender Studies. She is a member of the Unity House Council, the Multicultural Initiatives Intern, the President of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and the Vice President of Gender Equality at Merrimack. As an Honors Program student, an FYE Mentor, and a student leader, Samantha aims to seek educational opportunities that will help her expand her knowledge and educate others on social justice topics. After graduation in May, Samantha will be completing a year of service through the St. Joseph Worker Program during which she will be a full-time volunteer at the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Kenton Reaves Hundley (aka Ken10) was born in the shadow of our nation’s capital in Fairfax, VA and grew up in Dale City, VA. His mother was a high school teacher, his father worked as a civil servant for the U.S. Government and also served as Chairman of the Prince William County School Board for more than 10 years. In the 2000’s Ken10 was a constant fixture in the flourishing San Diego Spoken Word scene. He was a member of Goatsong Conspiracy and the SD Music Award winning hip hop group, Los Able Minded Poets. Ken10 shares his socially conscious, hip hop and jazz influenced verse influenced by Langston Hughes, Jack Kerouac, John Coltrane, Bob Marley, and A Tribe Called Quest. He has been a guest lecturer/featured poet at San Diego State University, UCSD, USD, Miramar College, SD City College as well as at local schools. He’s a part of the Via International Global Education Team where he shares his Say It! Spray It! Spoken Word workshop for community activists.
Meghan Grady holds a master’s degree in public administration from Roger Williams University and a bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College. She joined Meals on Wheels of RI as its fourth executive in June 2019, bringing with her over 15 years of progressive experience in nonprofit leadership. Prior to joining our team, Grady was chief operating officer at YWCA Rhode Island for eight years, where she was responsible for internal operations and day-to-day leadership of the organization. She oversaw an annual budget of $3.2 million and locations in Central Falls, Coventry, Providence and Woonsocket. She previously held leadership positions within the City of Providence during Mayor Angel Taveras’ administration and at the American Heart Association. Her career has garnered many accolades. She was named a Providence Business News 40 under 40 and received a United Way of Rhode Island Young Leaders Spark! Award, both in 2016. In 2017, Grady was selected for the nationally competitive Allstate Foundation Greater Good Nonprofit Leaders Program. In 2015, she was awarded a Hassenfeld Public Service Fellowship and completed Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Leadership Decision Making executive education program. She also has won a Roger Williams Young Alumni of Achievement Award.
Sanae Kawaguchi (Moorehead), a lifelong fighter against injustice everywhere, was born in 1931 in Hollywood, California, to Issei parents. Among the most versatile of the Nisei generation, Kawaguchi made her mark in mainstream circles in New York during the postwar era as a dancer, performer, artist, children’s book writer, and novelist. She was active in the Japanese American redress movement. Her publications include The Secret of the Zen Garden and On the Brink of Evacuation: The Diary of an Issei Woman.
Jasmine Khamis earned her M.Ed from Harvard University and Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling Psychology. She currently teaches Psychology and Social Justice at Merrimack College where she is also part of the first cohort of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Ambassadors. Her professional experience includes working with minoritized youth in clinical settings.
Dr. Robert Koch (Dr. K) knew he was gay in 4th grade, said it out loud in 9th grade, and got outed in his senior year of high school. Because things got better, he completed a BS in Management, an MA in Literature, and a Ph.D. in English Composition. He has presented on the rhetorical acrobatics of LGBT student writers, advised several LGBT student organizations, and has spoken on diversity and inclusion at several prior institutions. His life writing goal is to create and introduce the world to more gay literary protagonists.
Dr. Sharon Labao is the Director of Field Placement and Licensure at Merrimack College. She has been an educator for over 25 years and has worked as a teacher and administrator in schools in San Jose, CA, and in the Bronx, New York. Her dissertation Geisha and Dragon Ladies explored the counterstories of Asian American women in K-12 administration - specifically the intersectionality of gender, race, and school leadership.
Nicole Lashomb is co-founder and co-executive director of Project OUT. A staunch trans advocate and ally, Nicole is Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times, New England’s Largest LGBTQ Newspaper. Her work is largely focused on underrepresented communities and synergistically; she is also the owner of Prizm PR, a PR firm specializing in niche markets. Nicole has addressed multiple audiences on issues relating to the intersectionality of our identities for which she is lauded. She recently has been the keynote speaker at Salem State University for the annual student Pride Dinner and addressed the substantial campus audience at the Annual Martin Luther King Convocation on issues relating to the intersectionality of the LGBTQ community, the immigrant community, people of color and women for which she is still lauded by faculty and students. She has also served the City of Salem as no Place for Hate’s Community Engagement Co-Chair, motivating high levels of civic engagement in the city’s social justice initiatives. Nicole is bicultural and bilingual.
Tiana Lawrence is passionate about racial equity, DEI, and social justice. She is the Community Engagement Fellow at the Mel King Institute in Boston, MA. She is currently studying for an M.Ed. in Community Engagement at Merrimack College Class of 2021.
Dr. Yi-Chun Tricia Lin (林怡君), a 17th-generation daughter of Taiwan, is Director and Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. She is Past President of National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), 2012-2014, and recipient of peace and justice awards from organizations like the Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa O’Peqtaw Metaehmoh-Flying Eagle Woman Peace, Justice, and Sovereignty, West Haven, Black Coalition, and the Girl Scouts of Connecticut. In 2018, Lin was Senior Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the College of Indigenous Studies, at the National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan. Editor of the Lectora issue on transnational Indigenous feminisms (2016), Lin continues with the journey as a native daughter of Taiwan in her work with Taiwan Indigenous women and writing about their cultural productions as resistance and knowledge production. She is currently co-editing two book projects: on transnational Indigenous feminisms and social justice movements.
Dr. Susan Marine is an Associate Professor and Director of the Higher Education Graduate Program. She is a critical educator committed to changework who ardently believes that everyone can and should be part of creating liberatory colleges. A lesbian, a midwesterner, and a feminist, Susan is committed to building communities of change and affirmation, to opposing racism, and to affirming LGBTQ people and our futures. Her research and teaching focuses on identifying effective strategies for resistance and engaging in principled and collaborative truth-telling. She is excited to be part of building a Merrimack where #BlackLivesMatter and where missing histories are unearthed, centered, and celebrated.
Dr. Michael Mobley is an associate professor and Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in the Psychology Department at Merrimack College. Dr. Mobley has taught at Salem State University, Rutgers Graduate School of Education in New Brunswick, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. He earned his B.S. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University; M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University; and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Mobley’s expertise and research interests include multicultural counseling competencies, perfectionism, scale development, risks and protective factors mediating resilience among culturally diverse adolescents in community and school settings, and racial, ethnic, gay, and lesbian identity development models. Dr. Mobley served as an Associate Editor of The Counseling Psychologist, and on the editorial board of Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Journal of Counseling Psychology and Journal of Black Psychology. Dr. Mobley was the 2015 President of the Society of Counseling Psychology (SCP), Division 17 of the American Psychological Association. In 2019 he served as Chair of the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. He is a recognized Fellow in APA, Division 17, and Division 45, the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race.

Vivien Morris is the Founder and chairperson of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition. A clinical dietitian, she holds a Masters degree from Boston University and has 20 years experience in counseling pediatric patients and their families. She was raised in North Carolina and graduated with honors from Harvard College with majors in African American and Afro-Latin Studies. Vivien’s work in Boston’s communities is extensive. A board-member, chair and advisor for several committees, she is a founding member of the Boston Organization of Nutritionists and Dietitians of Color, an organization created to meet the specific culture-based nutritional and health needs of low-income community members of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. Among numerous other initiatives she has directed and supported, Ms. Morris created the children’s garden at the Children’s Aids Program (now the SPARK program).
Nathan Nkabasele is a senior majoring in business and English at Merrimack College. He loves writing and listening to music and hopes to be a published author one day!
Dr. Azam Noori is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Merrimack College. She is originally from Tehran, Iran where she had her B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. Shortly after her Ph.D. defense, she joined the State University of New York - ESF as a postdoc. Dr. Noori is passionate about her research and teaching. She enjoys interacting with students and colleagues from different backgrounds. An Iranian-American citizen who embraces the opportunities this country has to offer, Dr. Noori believes in “Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.”
Dr. Sandra Raponi, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Philosophy, the Director of the Social Justice Program, and the Advisor for the Law, Ethics and Society Minor. Her work focuses on legal and political philosophy and applied ethics.
Araya Richards is a senior at Merrimack. She is a social justice major with a concentration in global justice and human rights. She is also completing two minors: pre-law and women’s and gender studies. Araya is a member of the Unity House council and the e-board of the pre-law society and Gender Equality at Merrimack (GEM).
Jolan Rivera is a community economic development (CED) practitioner who shares his knowledge and experience in CED through formal classroom instruction, training of community organizations and consulting work. He is currently an adjunct faculty at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and at Merrimack College. His previous work experience includes full-time teaching graduate-level courses in, among others, project design and management, social research and statistics at UNH and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), and undergraduate courses at the University of the Philippines and SNHU. Outside academia, Jolan worked with a number of national and international NGOs in the United States, United Kingdom and the Philippines. In the US, he has conducted collaborative academic and action research, participatory planning, organizational analysis and program evaluation on topics that include cooperative housing, food cooperatives, asset accumulation, responsible parenthood, and community-based crime prevention. He also has substantial experience providing training and consulting services to nonprofit and community-based organizations. He completed his Ph.D. in CED at SNHU in 2006.
Peter Rojas is the coordinator of Multicultural Initiatives. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, he is the proud son of Colombian immigrants, the youngest of three siblings, and the first in his family to be born in the United States. Peter received his undergraduate degree at UMass Lowell and completed his graduate studies at Florida International University. In addition to diversity programming and initiatives, his experience has included working with fraternity and sorority life, campus activities, and student conduct. Before joining Merrimack College, Peter managed a non-profit in Los Angeles, California, assisting underrepresented communities to enter the field of software development.
Olivia Rosa is a Guatemalan immigrant and longtime Lawrence resident where she lives with her partner and two young children. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nonprofit Management from Cambridge College. Her professional experience includes community outreach, organizing, project management and community development as well as volunteer work in grassroots community agencies such as the Student Immigrant Movement, DACA application drives, and the Cosecha Movement. She is also the founder of the Guatemalan Cultural Group as an effort to promote the arts culture, and provide assistance and resources for immigrant families from various parts of Central America. She remains committed to continued successful collaborations with community partners in order to meet the needs of her community, currently, she works at a community-based organization called Lawrence CommunityWorks, where her role is to help tell the story of the rebirth of the community to help fundraise and identify new partnerships and support for the organization’s mission.
Rowan Salhi (he/him/his) is a sophomore majoring in communications and media with a minor in digital media production. He is the treasurer of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, a member of the Affinity Board, a member of the Onstagers and a host for WMCK. Rowan is an advocate for human rights and strives to one day make the world a more inclusive place through representation in the media.
Lillian Schaefer-Calderon is a sophomore majoring in English and Secondary Education with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. She is an Honors student as well as an Orientation Coordinator and Student Ambassador. As a student leader, she strives to advocate for the student population, using her platform to make Merrimack a more inclusive college. She aspires to use these experiences in the future to make the secondary education system more inclusive for all young students.
Gabi Scheff (she/her) is an MS in Mental Health Counseling student and graduate fellow in Multicultural Initiatives under the Office of Student Involvement. Gabi’s first career in touring concert production has influenced and inspired her current studies and academic pursuits. She strives to encourage open discussion of mental health while incorporating qualities of equity and social justice into all facets of her work.
Bakari Sellers is widely considered a rising star within the Democratic Party and a leading voice for his generation. He made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. Earning his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and his law degree from the University of South Carolina, Sellers has a tireless commitment to championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. He was named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014 and in 2015 was included in “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Author of the bestselling book My Vanishing Country (Harpers Collins), He practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC and is a Political Commentator at CNN.
Dr. Simona Sharoni is the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. A first-generation college student, twice an immigrant, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and a veteran, Sharoni identifies as a queer feminist who has been actively working to foster social justice, diversity, and inclusion for almost four decades. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University and MA and BA degrees in Counseling and Special Education from Haifa University, Israel. Sharoni joined Merrimack College in 2017 as Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and has served as the Director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for the past two years. Prior to that, she taught at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, the Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington and the American University in Washington DC. Additionally, she held distinguished scholar appointments at the University of Oregon and the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Eleanor Shonkoff is the Faculty Supervisor for the Food Recovery Network (FRN). Her Community Nutrition students and the student FRN chapter on campus recover surplus food from the community and campus, prepare it, and deliver it to members of the Lawrence, MA community facing food insecurity. Her research broadly investigates child obesity treatment and prevention, with a focus on parenting stress, feeding practices and food insecurity. She received her PhD in Preventive Medicine and conducted postdoctoral work at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Sharon Steed is an international keynote speaker, author and founder of Communilogue, a corporate empathy and communications consultancy. She has spoken at companies and conferences in 17 countries spanning five continents, with a focus on improving team communication and collaboration through engaging empathy. She has given a TEDx talk on empowering insecurities. A lifelong stutterer, Sharon uses her speech impediment to both teach what empathy is and to inspire audiences to engage in empathy actions daily. An author and course instructor for O’Reilly Media, Inc., her eBook Empathy at Work is available in the O’Reilly library. Sharon’s LinkedIn Learning course “Communicating With Empathy” has been translated to French, Spanish and Farsi and is one of the most popular courses in the LinkedIn Learning catalogue with over 450,000 learners. An Illinois, USA native, she lives in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Rosana Urbaez is the Director of Hands to Help, a community resource center located in Lawrence, MA. Rosana graduated from Merrimack College with a Masters’s in Higher Education in 2016. Also, Rosana holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this community-facing role, Rosana is committed to building and supporting programs that facilitate economic opportunities for Lawrence and surrounding communities. After the pandemic hit, Hands to Help’s focus shifted to include the food insecurity many residents were experiencing. Through initiatives with community leaders, Rosana and her team have begun to understand the scope of the work needed to tackle food justice. Hands to Help hopes to continue to learn and bring forth programming that authentically supports existing initiatives to bring about meaningful change.
Nicole Williams (she/her) is the inaugural Project and Program Manager for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Special Initiatives in the Office of the President at Merrimack College. She has been working in higher education for 10 years and is making the transition out of Enrollment Management, where she most recently served as the Associate Director of Admission for Transfer Students. She is an educator and higher education administrator invested in advocating for and establishing opportunities of access and inclusion in education at all levels through student, faculty, and staff recruitment, policy, strategic initiatives, curriculum development, community building, and teaching. Nicole’s background has kept students at the forefront of her mission-driven work, including but not limited to a unique set of experiences in fields of education administration, teaching, diversity & inclusion, and education policy. Her mission is to create opportunities and avenues of access for individuals, particularly from traditionally underrepresented and under-resourced backgrounds, to find their pathways of success through education. Nicole is a lifelong learner, using her privileged and marginalized identities to guide her navigation of the systems at play through an inclusive and social justice-oriented lens.
Antonio Willis-Berry currently serves as the Director of Residence Life at Merrimack College. His primary responsibilities include fostering an environment on campus which facilitates the education of residential students and their social, spiritual, cultural, and physical health. He has held many roles in higher education in both the residence life and diversity, equity, inclusion spheres. Antonio describes himself as a diversity and inclusion engager, who is daily working to be a better advocate for change, ally to those identities he does not hold, and seeker of justice. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Antonio holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the College of the Holy Cross, a Master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and is working towards a Doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership from Regis College.
Gerardo Zayas, Jr., for more than 20 years, has created and guided business strategies and teams in nonprofit, healthcare, and higher education sectors by mentoring individuals and organizations to conceptualize, launch, and sustain client-centered service delivery models. Gerardo has led program need assessments and development, grant writing, management and reviews, utilizing frameworks that foster diversity, inclusion, and equity framework among staff and clients alike.
Gerardo takes great pride in teaching business, social justice, community engagement, and social policy courses across associate, bachelor, and master level courses in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. As an entrepreneur, he provides leadership coaching, business strategies, workforce development trainings, course work, and has participated in accreditation reviews in healthcare and higher education. Gerardo received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Northeastern University, Boston MA, a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare administration from Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration degree at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.
Oscar Zepeda is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Girard School of Business. Originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, he moved to the United States in 2013 after he was awarded a scholarship to play soccer at Merrimack College. He graduated from Merrimack in 2017 and later received his master’s degree in Applied Economics from Boston College. While at Merrimack, Zepeda was captain of his soccer team, worked several jobs to help pay for school, and co-founded a company, OMZE Group, with his father. Last year, Mr. Zepeda was named one of Boston’s 30 Under 30 Most Influential Latinos award.