The Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is made up of administrators, faculty, staff and students at WSU Vancouver. Members are appointed by the vice chancellor for academic affairs from a pool of candidates. Prospective new members may nominate themselves or be nominated by others annually, usually in March, in response to an open call for nominations.
The student diversity intern is selected through a competitive, university-wide application process, usually during the spring semester.
Sawyer Barragan is the campus director of the Center for Intercultural Learning and Affirmation. He supports historically underrepresented and underserved students, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, first-generation, international, undocumented, women’s/gender support and former foster care/unhoused youth. Barragan is dedicated to centering community relationships and student success throughout his work with diversity, equity, access and inclusion. Barragan holds a master’s degree in student affairs from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and psychology from Emporia State University, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate from the University of South Florida.
Renny Christopher has served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at WSU Vancouver since 2013. Her research focuses on issues of race, class and gender in U.S. literature and culture. Her memoir, A Carpenter’s Daughter: A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education (Sense Publishers, 2009), addresses her experience as the first in her family to attend college. She has taught at several universities in California and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain in 2000. Before earning her doctorate, Christopher worked as a printing press operator, typesetter, carpenter and horse wrangler.
Fabiana Ferracina is a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at WSU Vancouver. She has a wide set of research interests and is focused primarily on statistics. She also enjoys teaching and is a teaching assistant for introductory mathematics courses taken by students across disciplines. She is committed to the promotion of equity, inclusion and diversity throughout campus, as well as to the advocacy of minorities and women in mathematics and statistics.
Obie Ford III
Obie Ford III delivers proactive leadership to WSU Vancouver. He serves to advance and realize the university’s strategic goal to promote an ethical and socially just society through an intentional commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Obie is a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet, and the inaugural campus director of equity and diversity at WSU Vancouver.
Julia Getchell is the human resources director and advances equity and inclusion practices in human resource services. She is a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, Campus Council, Finance and Operations Management Team, Bias Response Team, Accessibility Council and BaCE Core Group. Getchell is a first-generation college graduate and first-generation professional. She earned her education doctoral degree in 2001 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Desiree Hellegers has been teaching at WSU Vancouver since 1993 and was a founding co-director of the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice. Her books include No Room of Her Own: Women’s Stories of Homelessness, Life, Death and Resistance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Handmaid to Divinity, Natural Philosophy, Poetry and Gender in Seventeenth Century England(University of Oklahoma 2000). Her research interests include environmental justice literature and cultural politics, social movements and civil liberties. She is board member of Portland Peace and Justice Works, and a member of the Old Mole Variety Hour collective on Portland’s KBOO radio.
Nayeli Lopez-Martinez is a sophomore majoring in human development and is involved with various student organizations and groups on campus. She is a CILA student leader and a student representative in CEDI.
Yesenia Martinez is the Associated Students of WSU Vancouver’s director of diversity and inclusion and the student representative in CEDI.
Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong
Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing. Her program of research focuses on academic and community-engaged research justice with communities of color including immigrants across the lifespan. This includes the Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Micronesian Islander communities. Her scholarly lines of inquiry include cancer control and prevention, the intersection of learning and healthcare systems, and diversity and inclusion in health-assistive artificial intelligence (smart home). She is the Faculty Advisor of the Vietnamese Students' Association. Nguyen-Truong practices as an Intermediate Care RN (IMCU) at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center and community and population health nursing through her research partnerships with culturally diverse social services and health center. She is an elected member on the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Board of Directors, an elected Board Chair of IRCO Asian Family Center Advisory Board, and an appointed Senior Advisor on the Steering Committee of API-CLI. Connie is engaged in mentoring of faculty, students, and community members to build team capacity to conduct culturally safe research.
Adenike Otoikhian teaches general and organic chemistry. She serves as a faculty mentor for the Critical Literacy Achievement and Success Program. In that role, Otoikhian supports retention of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students through one-on-one mentoring. Otoikhian earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Portland State University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University. She is a published author of several scientific articles that have been well cited by scientists around the world.
Shameem Rakha serves as the campus director of faculty equity and belonging. and associate professor in the College of Education, department of teaching and learning. Rakha teaches about racial inequities, anti-racist pedagogy, multiculturalism and diversity in schools. She is a core team member of the Building a Community of Equity program. Rakha has a passionate commitment to racial and social justice on campus and within the community. Before earning her doctorate, Rakha was an elementary and middle school teacher.
Luz Rocío Sotomayor
L. Rocío Sotomayor teaches math and probability classes in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and has been involved in Latino educational and health services since 2012. At WSU Vancouver, Sotomayor has served in different organizing committees at the Student Diversity Center, and has collaborated with the Latin@ Student Association. Stotomayor holds a Ph.D. in Mathematical Finance from the University of Alberta in Canada, a master’s degree in Mathematics from IMPA in Brazil, and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from PUCP in Perú.
U. N. Umesh
U. N. Umesh is Professor of Marketing at Washington State University Vancouver. His research and teaching cover a broad spectrum of business areas including innovation, patents, marketing models, entrepreneurship, data analytics and operations management. He obtained his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Washington, MBA in Marketing Management and an M.S. in Operations Research from the University of Rochester. His undergraduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. He has also taught at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, and Washington State University Pullman.
Jose Vazquez was born in rural Oaxaca Mexico and educated in Mexico City where he completed a B.Sc. in Condensed Matter at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Azcapotzalco) and M.Sc in High Energy Physics at CINVESTAV, then granted a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in London UK in Research Techniques in Physics (1992). Vazquez spent time as a postdoc in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and after residing in San Juan (Puerto Rico) teaching in public and private universities, Vazquez came to the Northwest where he has been teaching physics. Vazquez is currently working on observational astronomy and is an instructor of Physics and Astronomy at WSU Vancouver.
The Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion welcomes all members of the WSU Vancouver community to attend meetings and discuss campus diversity concerns. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about dates and inclusion on the agenda.