Spring 2019: AUx2 Instructors and Peer Facilitators
Aja Simpson Zulfiqar
Ana E. Gonzalez Warrick
Bella Dixon Smith
Beverly Ramos Lopez
Valerie Jade Gudino
Spring 2018: AUx2 Instructors and Peer Facilitators
Robin Adams(she/her/hers) is the Assistant Director for the AU Center for Community Engagement & Service. She also serves as Director for the DC Reads program. Robin has lived and worked in Washington D.C. over 20 years. She has had a long standing career in both the non-profit, private and public sector. She is deeply passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion work. Robin holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Education from Howard University and a Masters in Organization Development from American University (AU/NTL). Having worked at AU for over 14 years in the Center for Community Engagement & Service (CCES), as well as being an AU Alum, she has extensive knowledge of campus, faculty, staff, and services available to students. In her role as Assistant Director for CCES, she is committed to advancing social justice and civic responsibility and is often on the front lines of that effort. From projects around DC to trips abroad, she is dedicated to ensuring a more just and equitable world in which people engage with their local, national, and global communities. As a member of the Office of Campus life, she works to support AU students on their journey to explore, connect, and grow into global citizens and works to create an inclusive campus community that fosters student learning, development, and success. She has also received multiple 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 volunteering at a local nonprofit in the city, wandering through local farmer’s markets or traveling.
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) and currently serves as an AUx Instructor and Counselor. Prior to this position, Bruno worked at American University as the Assistant Director of Education & Training in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion and Coordinator of LGBTQ Programs in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion. Bruno has been at AU since 2009. While in CDI, they worked with the other center staff on educational programs and other initiatives that support and advocate for better inclusion of women, students of color, LGBTQ students, and first-generation college students. In addition to his work in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Bruno taught AUx1 in the Fall of 2016 and 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 Past 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. He also loves watching the newest crime/mystery/thriller drama, playing with his dog Kona, and cheering on the Washington Capitals!
Ashley Dorsey (she/her/hers) graduated with a B.A. in English/Secondary Education from Lyon College in Batesville, AR, and an M.A. in College Student Development from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Her master’s capstone work focused on best practices for building a sophomore year experience program. She has worked as a high school English teacher, and in various areas in higher education including residence life, admissions, transition programs, and academic advising. She currently works as an academic counselor at AU in the School of Public Affairs. She works with students majoring in Political Science, Interdisciplinary Studies (CLEG), Law and Society, and Justice and Law to help them develop graduation plans, select majors and minors, build in co-curriculars like internships and study abroad, and navigate campus resources. Ashley is particularly passionate about the liberal arts as a foundation not only for a strong career, but a lifelong passion for learning. She is particularly passionate about the environment and environmental justice, and thus loves hiking and exploring outdoors. If you want to easily strike up a conversation, your best bet is to discuss the brilliance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the movie!) Her dream is to someday begin a PhD where her research could focus on students’ spiritual identity development in higher education.
Priya Lothe Doshi (she/her/hers) joined AU’s faculty full time in August 2014 and teaches a variety of courses in the School of Communication’s Public Communication division. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a public relations practitioner creating and implementing strategic communications plans, conducting media relations, training spokespeople, and planning high profile events. She has spent most of her career working on communications initiatives for international policy issues for governments and non-profit organizations including the British and Swiss Embassies, the Meridian International Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Rights Working Group. She has also been an independent consultant working with her clients to develop messaging documents, write web articles and opinion editorials, and plan and implement the roll out of programs and projects. Ms. Doshi holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College. Ms. Doshi is a first generation immigrant from India who grew up in NJ but has been in the Washington DC area for more than 20 years. She loves to read, follow the news, and engage in rich discussions. She lives with her two children and husband in Vienna, Virginia.
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 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.
Erica Hart (she/her/hers) completed her bachelor's degree at the College of William and Mary, and received her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from American University. She completed her post-doctoral internship at American University's Counseling Center, which contributed to her knowledge of the many resources for students on campus. Erica teaches undergraduate psychology courses, and serves as the Assistant Director of Clinical Training at American's Clinical Psychology PhD program. In addition to her academic roles, Erica also practices psychotherapy locally, working with individuals facing difficult life transitions and shifting relationships. She enjoys supporting first-year students in self-exploration and clarification of values. Erica believes that the path to growth requires challenging preconceived notions, confronting our identities, and learning from past mistakes. Through her teaching and therapy, she aims to help others increase empathy and connection in their personal relationships. In her spare time, Erica enjoys crafting, listening to music, gardening, picnicking with her family, and volunteering for Nourish Now, a local non-profit fighting hunger and food waste in Montgomery County.
Gene Logan (he/him/his) is the Associate Director of AU Central, the one-stop student services center for financial aid, student accounts, registration and Veterans services. He received his BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland College Park, and his MA in Educational Administration from American University. He loves working with students - and their parents - as they navigate the college experience, and has over 20 years' experience in higher education. Gene has previously held positions in financial aid, and is especially passionate about financial literacy. He has been active in local and regional financial aid and student services associations, and has presented at the Eastern Association of Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA) and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) conferences. Gene has also taught a course on College and Career Advancement at University of Maryland. When not at work, Gene enjoys 80s music, binging shows on Netflix, and spending family time with his husband, two daughters, and black lab Zurie.
Andrea Malamisura (she/her/hers) holds a BS in Psychology from Virginia Tech and an MS in Counseling Psychology from Radford University. Currently she serves as AUx Instructor and Counselor at American University. Prior to this position, Andrea was the Senior Academic Counselor in the College of Arts and Sciences at AU where she was named Undergraduate Advisor of the Year in 2015-2016. Andrea has been passionate about student development since the onset of her career in higher education at Virginia Tech where she worked in recruitment, career counseling, and ultimately student advising. In this role, Andrea finds great joy in helping students along their journey to personal growth and academic success. In her spare time, Andrea loves to be a local tourist; exploring monuments, museums, exhibitions, shows, and everything that DC has to offer! She is a foodie novice and loves trying out new restaurants in the area. Andrea is also an avid sports fan - you can find her cheering on all the local DC teams and, of course, the Virginia Tech Hokies!
Michelle Newton-Francis (she/her/hers) holds a BS in Criminal Justice and MA in Applied Sociology from Old Dominion University and a PhD in Sociology from American University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Sociology. She has worked as an applied sociologist on programs funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (Cops in Schools and Safe Schools Training) and Department of Defense (sexual assault related research). Dr. Newton-Francis also served as a legislative fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives working on a portfolio of issues related to homeland security, health and human services, and higher education. In the sociology department, she serves as the undergraduate advisor and regularly teaches courses on qualitative research methods, structural inequalities, U.S. society, and senior seminar/capstone. Dr. Newton-Francis is a cultural sociologist whose research focuses on questions related to gender and work. She loves diet pepsi, the beach, traveling, and playing with her two cats, Eddie Spaghetti and Sassy Pants. You might also find her dancing in the Watkins building to "golden oldies"-- 80's and 90's music.
Randa Serhan (she/her/hers) holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, an MA in Sociology/Criminology from the University of Windsor, Canada, and an MA, MPhil, and PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in New York City. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Sociology. She is also responsible for bringing the Arab World Studies program to fruition and for the creation of the BA in Arab World Studies during her time as director from 2011-2015. Randa's main research interests all lie under the umbrella of citizenship and she has researched honor Crimes and women in the Lebanese penal system, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and the integration of second-generation Palestinian-Americans in metropolitan New York. More recently, she has started research on the impact of the proposed Census category for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and surveillance of Arab and Muslim Americans. As someone who has lived in many different countries and attended diverse and international schools and campuses, she loves learning about and creating spaces for the sharing of varied perspectives and life stories. She loves reading, listening to music, finding new intellectual puzzles to solve, and playing with her two young children.
Wim Taylor (he/him/his) is a two-time graduate of the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) having earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a M.Ed in Higher Education. He currently serves as the Director of Alumni Engagement for the Kogod School of Business where his work focuses on engage Kogod alumni to provide valuable career advice and insights to the current Kogod student population. He has served the AU community for more than 11 years holding positions in two schools. He has served as the Associate Director of Employer Relations in the Kogod Center for Career Development engaging employers to recruit Kogod students and as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs in Kogod where he served as an academic advisor and managed the advising team. He has also served in a similar capacity as an academic advisor and eventually leading the advising team in the School of International Service. Wim has also worked in several other industries outside of higher education throughout his professional career. He has work experience in the consulting, real estate and financial services industries. He brings each one of those experiences and the life lessons learned along the way to the work that he does at AU. Wim is passionate about ensuring that students maximize their time spent at AU by ensuring that they make informed decisions as it relates to their academics and extra-curricular activities and that they take full advantage of all the resources available to them. When he is not extoling the virtues of his latest professional development book to the students and alumni with whom he works, Wim enjoys running…typically after his two sons, although he has completed two marathons, watching college basketball, and cheering for his UVA Cavaliers and reading on topics ranging from social psychology, human behavior, decision-making, effectively building relationships to grit, resilience and perseverance.
Briana Weadock (she/her/hers) is an AUx Instructor & Counselor working with first year students from across the University. In addition to her work with the American University Experience Program (AUx), 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 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, the School of Public Affairs, and the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 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 multiple 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.
Jaris Williams (he/him/his) is a graduate from The University of Dayton in Ohio with a masters degree in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in recreation from Central State University in Ohio. Jaris currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Students in the Office of Campus Life. Jaris’ role as the Assistant Dean of Students includes managing our Care Network on campus, serving as a member of our Care Team, conducting bias related and hazing investigations, student advising, coordinating medical leave and return processes, collaborating with academic and campus life constituencies, and supporting students through a variety of behavioral concerns. Prior to American University, Jaris served as the Director of Student Activities at Endicott College in Beverly, MA, Residence Director at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY, and Residence Coordinator at The University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. A few fun facts about Jaris is that he owns over 85 bottles of cologne, favorite food is ribeye steaks, favorite actor is Denzel Washington, favorite book is Black Labor White Wealth by Dr. Claud Anderson, and favorite activity is weightlifting.
Sybil R. Williams (she/her/hers) is a playwright and dramaturge whose work has been professionally produced by Chicago's ETA Creative Arts Theatre; New York's National Black Theater; Pittsburgh's Kuntu Theatre; University of Pennsylvania; CALARTS; and Harlem's Rebel Theatre and the Red Shirt Reading Series in New York City. Her latest work I AM A DRUM was presented as part of FRESSH Theatre's inaugural season in March 2016. As a dramaturge, she completed a three-year project creating a docudrama to celebrate the lives of the Little Rock Nine titled IT HAPPENED IN LITTLE ROCK and the Latino/African-American Theatre festival VOICES AT THE RIVER at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. She served as dramaturge for THREE LITTLE BIRDS at Adventure Theatre. Her latest projects include a new musical titled U.G.L.Y. at Sigworks Summer Musical Theatre Development Series, and a new hip-hop musical at New York City's Flea Theatre titled SYNCHING INK to premiere in January 2017. As an Instructor, Williams teaches courses on African-American, African, and Caribbean performance and aesthetics. She also teaches in the Women's Studies program focusing on feminist artist of the Diaspora. Having just returned from Cuba, she is most looking forward to exploring the work of contemporary women artists in Havana. This fall she will direct the freshman debut performance titled "Overture" for the Theatre/Musical Theatre program. It's always a blast!!
Diego Alemán (he/him/his) is a rising senior 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. He served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in 2016 and in 2017. 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.
Isobel Araujo (she/her/hers) is a senior in the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program majoring in Environmental Studies and double-minoring in Communications and Spanish. From Chicago, she is particularly interested in equitable, sustainable urban development in her hometown and in cities around the world. She has assisted with research on climate justice and neighborhood resiliency in DC, worked with several urban planning nonprofits in DC and Chicago, and interned at the Chilean ministry of foreign affairs in Santiago assisting the Chilean delegation with Habitat III, a UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development. She is currently leading a partnership initiative between AU and Multicultural Bell High School called Common Ground, working to share university resources with DC teens so that they can become historians, researchers, leaders, and advocates for their neighborhoods. She looks forward to returning to Chicago and establishing her career working on issues related to city planning, justice, community health, and sustainability. In her free time she loves to dance salsa and watch MTV with her roommates.
Danielle D'Amore (she/her/hers) is originally from New Jersey and a junior in the School of Public Affairs (SPA), majoring in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG). She partakes in various activities on and off campus, such as being a member of the SPA Leadership Program. Off-campus Danielle is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at the Glen Echo Fire Department in Maryland. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall. She is passionate about giving back to the community through public service and when she's not at the fire department or studying, Danielle enjoys exercising, hanging out with friends, and watching Criminal Minds. Her favorite spot on campus to do homework is in SIS and favorite hang out space in DC is at the Georgetown waterfront.
Abigail Danfora (she/her/hers) is a junior neuroscience major and French minor. Her home town is Raleigh, North Carolina. She works in Dr. Stefano Costanzi's research lab, where she uses molecular docking to predict the binding affinity between ligands and their receptors. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall. She is also a volunteer at Sibley Hospital in the Oncology Unit, a member of the Love Your Melon AU Campus Crew, Agapé, and French Club. She can be found in the Battelle Atrium, in various coffee shops (including the Dav), or on the quad studying on nice days. She also enjoys Sherlock, cats, chocolate, biking, piano, chess, and traveling.
Melissa Holguin Pineda (she/her/hers) is a rising junior in the School of International Service and is from Vancouver, Washington. She is majoring in International Relations with a thematic focus on Human Rights and Identity, Race, Gender and Culture in Latin America. A product of immigrant parents, Melissa has been advocating for immigrant rights in her community since 6th grade and helped pass a bill that provided state-funded financial aid for qualifying undocumented students in Washington state. A low-income, first-generation college student, Melissa is passionate about social justice, immigration in all aspects, and ensuring education for all disenfranchised communities. Melissa spent the past semester volunteering at LaSalle Backus Education Campus mentoring the newcomers program, United We Dream and served as a first responder for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Raid Telephone Hotline. This past summer Melissa will be a VAWA intern for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, Washington. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall. For fun, Melissa enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest, going hiking, and eating mangos with chili powder.
Lucas Jemison (he/him/his) is a second-year junior studying American Studies and Secondary Education from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His academic passions at AU include the history of social movements, equal opportunity education, and school district reform. As part of the AU Scholars program, Lucas researched theatrical concepts, and wrote a play with three other students. Lucas is currently assistant coaching an ethics bowl team at Benjamin Banneker High School, helping students understand ethical theories and philosophical ideas. After graduation, Lucas plans on working as a high school or middle school social studies teacher in the District of Columbia Public School System. During his free time, Lucas enjoys biking around the city, listening to music, and drinking coffee with his friends and girlfriend.
Esther Jensen (she/her/hers) is a rising junior in School of Public Affairs, majoring in Political Science on a Pre-Medical track with a minor in Biology. Raised on Long Island, New York, Esther is an adopted child from South Korea but finds her identity in her New York roots and culture. Her passion lies in justice and advocacy for others, this passion was inspired by her family who is active in law enforcement and the military. Her favorite part about her education is that political science and medicine are two completely different fields which share commonality in their goal to advocate for others. At American University, Esther is the Vice President of Finance for the professional pre-medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, is on the Executive Board for Relay for Life at American University, and is a member of the Conduct Council. In her spare time, Esther enjoys trips to the beach, eating pizza, making music, and spending time with friends and family.
Nickolaus Mack (he/him/his) is a rising senior studying International Studies and Political Science. Nickolaus is UNCF Koch Scholar and a Jack & Jill of America Foundation Scholar. On campus, he works as the Managing Opinion Editor for the Eagle, American University’s official student newspaper. He is also the founder of Swipes, a multi-university meal swipe exchange program in the Kogod Center for Innovation Incubator. In addition, he is a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity. Off campus, he works at the American Institutes for Research and as a community organizer facilitating black entrepreneurship and black small businesses in District of Columbia and New York. He served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall. In his free time, he enjoys being with family & friends, dog portrait photography, exploring outside the AU bubble, and continuing his search for the best brunch spot in the District. His favorite spot on campus is the Center for Innovation Incubator in the East Campus Don Meyers Building.
Katie Malone (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Political Science with a concentration in race and gender and minoring in Communications. She is from a small town in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with life in DC. She works for the AU Museum in the Katzen Arts Center and tries to take on at least one internship per year. On campus, she is an anchor for ATV News and a writer for Her Campus. Her favorite places on campus to study are the third floor of McKinley and and patio behind SIS. Off campus, she’s usually exploring the new exhibits at one of the many free art galleries in DC.
Brazil McCray (she/her/hers) is a sophomore from Long Island, New York majoring in Biology and minoring in Statistics. She has interests in neuroscience as well as social justice and diversity. Brazil is currently the Secretary for the American University Black Student Union and an intern for Dr. Terry Davidson, Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and Professor for the Department of Psychology. In her free time, Brazil enjoys watching YouTube videos and exploring D.C. She is very excited to be joining the AUx team as a Peer Leader!
Hannah McNamara (she/her/hers) is a senior studying Sociology and Law & Society from Santa Cruz, California. She has interests in social justice, diversity and inclusion work. In particular, she is interested in examining gender-based stratification on the institutional level; critiques, especially postmodern, of factors that reproduce economic inequality; and current sexual assault prevention discourse. She has held numerous executive board positions in different organizations on campus in the past, including Queers and Allies and the Philippine American Coalition, and is passionate about identity-focused narratives with an emphasis on public service and advocacy. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall. Throughout her time at American University, she has conducted (and will continue to) work extensively with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, holding positions in their different peer education groups including the LGBTQ Peer Educators and the E.A.G.L.E. Peer Educators (Educating Allies and Generating Leaders for Equity). In both programs, she has facilitated conversations and educational workshops on varying topics including LGBTQ life on campus and issues, what it means for organizations to be inclusive and supportive of difference, privilege and racial equality. Hannah has also served as a teaching assistant in the University College program, for the class Art, Activism and Social Justice and looks forward to serving as a teaching assistant for the upcoming Complex Problems courses. In her free time, Hannah loves cooking, talking about manatees, and writing.
Bayadir Mohamed-Osman (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in Public Health. She was born in Sudan but was raised in Laurel, MD. Currently, she is a member of the College of Arts and Science Leadership and Ethical Development Program. She has interned at Children’s Environmental Health Network as the Carol Stroebel Policy and Education intern. She has also, visited Haiti through the Alternative Spring Break to study the failures and successes of non-profit organizations and international aid. While her time at AU, she held leadership positions in the African Student Organization and the Muslim Student Association where she planned and executed a range of events. She is currently on Department of Health Studies Student Advisory Committee and CAS Leadership and Ethical Development Student Advisory Board. Bayadir is also a member of Speak Fresh, AU’s slam poetry team. She loves writing and performing slam poetry.
Lauren Peressini (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in International Studies and minoring in Sociology. Lauren is from Montclair, New Jersey. She spent last spring abroad in Berlin, Germany where she studied architecture, language, religion, and memory culture. Lauren is a DJ for WVAU, American University's student-run radio station and loves finding new local music. Also on campus, she has been deeply involved with Fossil Free AU and the fight for the divestment from fossil fuels. Lauren is passionate about intersectionality, especially as it pertains to environmental justice and racial and gender equality. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall. An extrovert for sure, Lauren loves meeting new people and working on a team. Her favorite spot on campus is sitting outside SIS, reading social theory for class and chatting with friends who walk by.
Deidre Schardine (she/her/hers) is from Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an international relations major, focusing on global inequality and development. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall to engage with first-year students, and also because she is interested in education from a pedagogical standpoint. The ability to engage in higher education from a different perspective is captivating to her because she believes this specifically will transform power dynamics that are status quo in schooling. In general, Deidre believes that college is seen as a structural and functional institution, but the framework of AUx1 reflects a resistance to the dominant narrative of education, of which she is excited to be a part. She is also really passionate about the prison industrial complex, and institutionalized racism in general, along with all of those it disenfranchises. She enjoys studying the implications the war on drugs and privatization has played in this progressing problem. She is passionate about the marginalization of all minorities and often attempts to use her own privilege to make change and help the underserved. On a lighter note, she is a huge fan of dogs, nature trails, and documentaries. Her grandparents are her favorite people in the world and she spends a great deal of her free time with them. She also spends her time supporting local small businesses with her partner.
Solomon Self (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in International Studies and Film & Media Arts. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Solomon grew up in American Canyon, a city in the southern part of Napa County. In his spare time, Solomon is involved in several on-campus organizations. He is a member of AU Dems. He served on the School of International Service Undergraduate Council his freshman and sophomore years, serving as Treasurer during his second year. He has been a member of Nourish AU since its founding in the 2015-2016 academic year. He is a brother in the Delta Phi Epsilon Foreign Service Fraternity, having previously served as philanthropy chair. He is currently serving as Vice President of the American University Student Government, a role he has been in since May. He also works at The Bridge, which is much better than the Dav. Professionally, Solomon is particularly interested in the intersection of politics and pop culture, and he hopes to one day work in international media relating global issues to local ones and vice versa. The summer between his freshman and sophomore years, he interned in northern Peru for six weeks, working on community development in indigenous communities. He has interned at Advancing Girls' Education in Africa, a small NGO focusing on girls' education in southern Malawi, and he currently interns at the Peace Corps HQ. In his free time (what little he has) Solomon enjoys coffee, brunch, and trashy reality television.
Heaven Lee Sensky (she/her/hers) is from a small farm in Washington, Pennsylvania. She is a rising junior with a major in CLEG (Communications, Law, Economics and Government) and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexualities Studies. Heaven is a first generation college student and the daughter of a quadriplegic. Heaven has grown up around the various struggles Americans living in poverty are facing. She has also experienced firsthand the turmoil of the Heroin Epidemic. In order to improve the lives of others and her own, she has interned for all of her local politicians, including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. She has also been involved with advocacy projects through The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Pennsylvania. She has also completed an internship with Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Capitol. Heaven has worked in The American University Center for Diversity and Inclusion for the past two years, where she is the Undergraduate Coordinator of Workshops and Education, facilitating and maintaining workshops on various issues of identity. Heaven hopes to use her education to engage in public service, and in turn pave the way for others like her to escape the bounds of the economic and social class structure in the United States. Heaven enjoys spending time with children, especially her cousins back home in Pennsylvania. Her friends and family brings her the most joy. Heaven served as an AUx1 Peer leader in the fall of 2017 and is eager to continue helping students find their way through the AUx2 position.
Devontae Torriente (he/him/his) is a senior in the School of Public Affairs and College of Arts & Sciences, studying both justice & law and African American & African diaspora studies. This was his second year serving as a peer leader for AUx1. Originally from NYC, Devontae has been involved at AU in the Black Student Alliance, the mock trial team and residence life. Devontae most recently served as the 2016-2017 Student Government President. He now serves as the opinion editor for The Blackprint, an on-campus student media organization run for and by students of color, and as a DC chapter leader for Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, a national youth-led grassroots organization dedicated to cultivating Black and Brown leadership and combating systemic oppression. He is passionate about intersectional social justice and how our identities impact the way we navigate society, as well as politics and policy more broadly. Devontae previously interned at the DC Legal Aid Society, DC District Court, Center for American Progress and Human Rights Campaign. Devontae loves cheeseburgers and can probably be found talking about why Scandal is one of the greatest TV shows of all time. His favorite spot on campus in The Bridge, so be sure to come do homework or hang out with him there!
Cynthia Turcios (she/her/hers) is a native of DC and is a junior in the School of Public Affairs studying Justice & Law with a concentration in Criminology. She is also minoring in communications and getting a certificate in Spanish Translation. She has been involved across campus with SPA Ambassadors, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and at Washington College of Law as an Administrative Assistant. Cynthia chose AU because of its location, sense of community, and academic programs. She has interned at Baker Hostetler LLP for 4 years, interned at a domestic violence organization, DCVLP and is currently a Paralegal at BrodyKling PLLC. She served as an AUx1 Peer Leader in the fall and is excited to return because she wants to help first year students with their transition into college. I want the students to feel like they have people to go to and assist them through the journey of college. When Cynthia's not in the classroom or at work, she's watching anything funny or scary, and going out with friends. Her favorite spot on campus is Starbucks! You can always catch her there.
Serina Williams (she/her/hers) is a sophomore majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is also strongly passionate about working in education, specifically with low-income families. Serina is a tutor for American University's DC Reads Program. She assists children in grades 2 through 5 in reading and executes individual lesson plans for the students. Her ultimate goal within DC Reads is to individually help students achieve their goals while aiding them in Spanish, math and writing. Serina loves getting involved and helping out in small low-income communities. Being a part of AUx and Complex Problems LLC her freshman year has allowed Serina to take interest in contributing to the AUx team.