American University Experience Anderson Hall American University 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC 20016 AUexperience@american.edu 202-885-1426
ANDREA MALKIN BRENNER, PHD
AUx1 Instructor & AUx2 Facilitator
Dr. Andrea Malkin Brenner (she/her/hers) holds a BA in Sociology from Brandeis University, an MA in Higher Education Administration from Boston College, and a PhD in Sociology from American University. She currently serves at the Director of the American University Experience (AUx), the designer of the AUx1 curriculum, and as the Faculty Director of University College, AU’s oldest and largest living-learning community for first year students. She has been honored to serve as a Sociology faculty member for the past 17 years and as the Undergraduate Advisor and the Internship Director for the Department of Sociology. Prior to coming to AU, Dr. Brenner worked as the Director of Student Activities at Mount Vernon College (now part of George Washington University) and for the GED Testing Service of The American Council on Education, designing curriculum for the nation’s high school equivalency exam. She researches and writes about the sociology of education, teaching introductory sociology, and on the life course. Dr. Brenner serves on the Editorial Board of SOC (McGraw Hill) and has recently published in The A-Z of Death and Dying, in Sex and Society, and in Sociology Through Active Learning. She has received a number of teaching awards, including Professor of the Year and the Faculty Award from the GLBTA Resource Center. Dr. Brenner is also an adoption advocate and has served on the Board of Trustees of The Barker Adoption Foundation, Maryland’s oldest non-profit adoption agency, since 2006. She is passionate about the rights of all student voices on campus and supporting students as they transition through their first year of college. She loves documentaries, kayaking in Maine, reading, and spending time with her family and her fabulous cat, Willow.
MATT BRUNO (BRUNO)
Matt Bruno (he/him/his or they/them/their) is a double graduate of George Mason University (B.A.I.N. in Community Studies in 2005 and a M.A.I.S. in Higher Education in 2009). Currently Bruno works at American University, where they serve as Coordinator of LGBTQ Programming in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion. In this position, they oversee general LGBTQ outreach and education initiatives. They also work with the other center staff on center-wide programming initiatives and diversity/social justice workshops that supports and advocates for better inclusion of women, students of color, LGBTQ students, and first-generation college students. Bruno has been working towards making AU more inclusive since 2009. In addition to his work in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Bruno has taught a course on LGBTQ identities through the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at AU. At George Mason University, he taught an Introduction to Integrative Studies course and in a first-year program through the Integrative Studies Department. Outside of American University, they also currently serve as the Co-Chair of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. The Consortium supports staff on college campuses advocating for LGBTQ inclusion, consults with administrators and staff at universities to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ people, and advocates for institutional change and program development that recognizes the needs of LGBTQ people. Bruno has a strong passion for incorporating social justice practices that create more welcoming environments on college campuses. While not being a career queer, Bruno loves watching the newest crime/mystery/thriller drama, playing with his dog Kona, and cheering on the Washington Capitals!
Angie Chuang (she/her/hers) holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Stanford University. She is a tenured Associate Professor of Journalism in American University's School of Communication, and the designer of the AUx2 curriculum. She has been at AU since 2007, joining the faculty after a 13-year career as a national and regional award-winning newspaper reporter for The Oregonian, The Hartford Courant, and the Los Angeles Times. At The Oregonian, Prof. Chuang developed one of the first regional newspaper race and ethnicity reporting beats, and traveled to Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the post-Katrina Gulf Coast to report stories. She's been challenged and inspired by bringing those experiences into the classroom at AU, through her class Race, Ethnic and Community Reporting, created in conjunction with a Surdna Foundation grant, as well as in her scholarly research on race and identity in the news media. Her scholarly articles on the news media's constructions of American and Other identity have been published in top communication journals, including Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism, and won research awards. Prof. Chuang's previous reporting on post-9/11 Afghanistan and Afghan Americans also became the foundation for a literary nonfiction book, The Four Words for Home (Aquarius Press / Willow Books 2014). She's a second-generation Chinese American from the San Francisco Bay Area, and has always been a believer in the power of storytelling and words to create meaningful, open understanding about and across identities. She's an avid Iyengar yoga practitioner and a fair-weather bike commuter.
Lisa Freeman (she/her/hers) holds a BA in Radio, Television and Film from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters of Arts (MA) in Christian Ministry with an emphasis in leadership and Administration and a Masters in Management (MM) from North Park University. Currently she serves as the Director of Residence Life. In this role, she is responsible for the development of learning outcomes, design, implementation and assessment of the residential education curriculum for students and ensure that every residence hall is inclusive and supportive of all students living in campus housing. As Director of Residence Life, she loves helping students network and make connections both inside the residence hall and throughout campus. AU has a wealth of opportunities for students to engage and one of her goals is to help students identify and take full advantage of opportunities while on campus. Prior to joining AU, Lisa served as the Assistant Director for First-Year Experience in the Department of Housing and Residence Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel. In this role, Lisa provided direct leadership in the development of the inaugural First Year Experience program; a cohesive and integrated academic and co-curricular program that supports first-year students in their transition to the university. Lisa has experience teaching university level leadership courses and has facilitated a number of workshops on ethics, organizational culture, emotional intelligence, leadership identity, communication and social justice. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys shopping, playing spades, international travel and beaches. Within the next few years, Lisa has made it a goal to own a condo that is within walking distance of a beach, which she will call her home away from home.
ISAAC W. K. THWEATT
Isaac W. K. Thweatt (he/him/his) earned a bachelor of music in performance (voice) from George Mason University (Mason) and a master of science in management (leadership) from The Catholic University of America. Professionally, he serves American University as the inaugural director of alumni outreach in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. In this role, he manages the creation, development and implementation of 200 events and 250 additional unique touchpoints designed to increase and promote alumni engagement with, and, in support of AU. Prior to American University, Thweatt served as associate director of development at Mason’s School of Business and adjunct faculty with Mason’s University Studies Department / Freshmen Center. For more than 10 years, Thweatt has been a Brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and active volunteer with the Miss America Organization. He maintains close connections to his professional community as a strategist, presenter, and social media volunteer for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
AUx1 Instructor & AUx2 Facilitator
Briana Weadock (she/her/hers) is the Senior Academic Counselor for undergraduate students in the School of Public Affairs. In addition to her work in SPA, she has taught courses for the Department of Sociology and the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Program on topics such as Gender in Society and Feminist & Gender Theory. Her dissertation research focused on the way in which knowledges of gender and sexuality within intersecting identities are produced within Third Wave Feminisms using cultural artifacts such as Queercore punk music, feminist ‘zines, blogs, and popular non-fiction writings (books and traditional magazine formats). Having worked at AU for over 20 years in many different positions within the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Public Affairs as well holding multiple AU degrees (BA and MA in Sociology), she has extensive knowledge of campus, faculty, staff, and services available to students. She has worked closely with the Office of Campus life through committees and collaborations with the Academic Support & Access Center, the International Scholar Support Services, and the Center for Diversity & Inclusion to name only a few. She has also received many awards recognizing her service to the university and her dedication to student success. When not working with students on campus, you can probably find her at one of the many theaters in DC (most likely watching one of her former students perform!), live music venues, art galleries and museums, or cheering for the Washington Spirit – DC’s professional women’s soccer team. In addition to culture and learning, she is also passionate about her rescue cat, Spiderman.
Peer Leader AUx1
Diego Alemán (he/him/his) is a rising junior in the College of Arts and Science, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. With ties to both South Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah, he often has trouble saying exactly where he is from. In his spare time, Diego spent the last year working as a one-on-one tutor for a middle school student on the weekends, and assisting high school seniors with college applications after school on weekdays. As is demonstrated though his service, Diego is passionate about social justice in all forms, access to education, and studying social institutions that oppress and disenfranchise. Additionally, Diego is a member of the prestigious Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program, AU's premier academic scholarship program, which is dedicated to serving underserved and under resourced communities. For fun, Diego enjoys watching his numerous comic book shows (The Flash, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc.), listening to his favorite music, and spending time with his closest friends.
Peer Leader AUx2
Nick Guthman (he/him/his) is from Los Angeles, California, and is a senior studying Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government in the Politics, Policy, and Law program. Nick is also part of the School of Public Affairs Leadership program, where he led a project to address the challenges of white privilege through the lens of personal narratives & storytelling. At AU, Nick has played an active role as a leader within the College Democrats, the racial justice student group, the Darkening, and as a teaching assistant in the University College program. Nick is passionate about political and social organizing, strategic communications, teaching, and leadership development. He studied abroad in Copenhagen in the Fall of 2016, and enjoyed analyzing the Presidential election from a Danish and European perspective. In his free time, Nick enjoys listening to podcasts, working out, hanging out with friends, and cooking creative and delicious food. Fun fact: During his first semester at AU, Nick attempted to open a taco delivery service on campus with his friends. He is very much looking forward to learning and growing with the students and faculty of AUx2!
Peer Leader AUx1
Jojo Leung (they/them/their) is a genderqueer junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies alongside Sociology. They are passionate about LGBTQ advocacy, in particular its intersections with racial justice, psychiatric justice, and trans rights, and has been involved in AU Queers and Allies as a co-coordinator of the Trans and Non-Binary Collective and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion's LGBTQ Peer Educators Board as a Peer Educator. Jojo is interested in expanding sociological research on LGBTQ people and families. In 2015, Jojo was awarded the Schlegel Travel Grant to attend the National LGBTQ Task Force's annual Creating Change conference. Outside of school, Jojo enjoys spending their time playing video games, listening to music, and watching movies.
Peer Leader AUx1 & AUx2
Shyheim Snead (he/him/his) is a rising junior studying Political Science with a concentration in policy and a minor in Education Studies. Shyheim is also pursuing a certificate in Community-Based Research. Originally from Bridgeport, CT, Shyheim is a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar, and a member of both the AU Honors Program and the SPA Honors Program. A low income, first generation college student, Shyheim is interested in addressing inequality in K-12 education through the lens of neighborhood empowerment and community engagement. During his time at AU, Shyheim interned for a year in the Executive of Office of the DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser. This summer, Shyheim will be working in the Central Office of DC Public Schools on logistics and school strategy. In the fall, Shyheim will serve as the Student Trustee on the Board of Trustees. He will also be the only undergraduate representative on the Search Committee for the next AU President. On campus, Shyheim will work as a Dialogue Facilitator with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. He is also an active member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. In his spare time, Shyheim loves venturing out into the DC through service and exploration. He is extremely excited to begin working as a Peer Leader with AUx!
Peer Leader AUx1
Devontae Torriente (he/him/his) is a native of NYC, and is a junior in the School of Public Affairs studying Justice & Law. He has been involved across campus in various capacities, including student clubs, residential education, and Student Government. Devontae chose AU because of its location, size, and academic programs. He's passionate about racial justice, criminal justice reform, politics and ensuring that every student at AU feels welcomed and accepted. He also serves as the American University Student Government President, and takes a community-based approach to leadership and problem solving. When he's not in the classroom, in his office, or in a meeting, Devontae loves watching Scandal, eating cheeseburgers, and going out with friends. His favorite spot on campus is the Mary Graydon Center, and that's most likely where you'll be able to find him.
Peer Leader AUx2
Ray Uyeda (she/her/hers) is a junior studying Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Political Science. Ray is also pursuing a certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies through the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program. Through her participation in the Leadership Program, Ray worked closely with the Washington Literacy Center and the DC Mayor's office to address the rate of adult illiteracy in the District. During her sophomore year, Ray, in conjunction with the efforts of the AU Counseling Center, the AU Recreation and Fitness Center, DC Be Here Now Yoga, and the Maryland Rock Recovery Center, hosted an art show that aimed to shed light on the emotional and mental consequences of disordered eating in college women. Previously, Ray served as the AUSG Women's Initiative co-Coordinator of Women's Empowerment, the Public Relations Coordinator for the SPA Leadership Program, and interned at EMILY's List, the Human Rights Campaign, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Currently, Ray lives in Cincinnati, where she works as an organizer for Hillary For America. Ray takes great pride in being from the Bay Area and enjoys talking about food, feminism, and early 2000s television. Ray loves her friends and family very much, and looks forward to exploring themes of diversity and identity as a Peer Leader with AUx.
Peer Leader AUx2
Eric Vignola (he/him/his) is a senior studying Computer Science. Originally from Sicklerville, NJ, Eric Vignola is a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar and interactive experience developer. He creates technology that helps people develop greater emotional intelligence and learn about inequality through play. In the past, Eric volunteered for an organization called College Tribe that mentors young black males in D.C. in college preparedness and STEM through chess and robotics. While at AU, Eric has worked with the American University Game Lab to develop a game for the Smithsonian American Art Museum that takes players on an adventure through the museum where they can choose their own path and learn secrets about artwork in the museum. Additionally, Eric worked with the Game Lab to create an authoring tool that allows non-programmers to create more realistic social interaction in videogames through an artificial intelligence system called Ensemble. Currently, Eric is working to develop a videogame called CodeSwitch that uses procedural content generation to explore what it is like growing up biracial in the United States. When not working, he enjoys meditating, asking questions, time with friends, and listening to music. Eric is excited for the opportunity to help AUx students explore their own identity and the identities of others as they transition into life at AU.