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Leadership & Staff

Our team, led by Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Becky Petitt, is dedicated to cultivating a community with heart, where all can thrive.

Vice Chancellor Dr. Becky R. Petitt

Becky PetittDr. Becky Petitt joined UC San Diego in March 2015 and brings over 25 years of progressive administrative experience in equity, diversity, and inclusion work across the higher education community. Prior to UC San Diego, she served as the Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Diversity at Texas A&M University, and served as adjunct faculty in the College of Education and Human Development with scholarship focused on diversity in higher education, cultural competence, organizational development, and inclusive teaching and learning.

As a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Petitt provided vision and leadership for Texas A&M University’s Diversity Plan, which is acknowledged as a national exemplar of sustainable institutional change.

She is a nationally recognized consultant, specializing in equity and diversity in higher education, organizational learning and organizational change. Her influence extends across the academy and well beyond.

She holds a bachelor of science in psychology and received both a master’s and doctorate in education from Texas A&M University.

Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Frank Silva

Frank SilvaFrank Silva has over 20 years of experience administering and managing publicly funded health and social service programs in academic, clinical, and community based settings. He joined UC San Diego in 1997 serving in a number of teaching, administrative, and leadership roles in Health Sciences before joining VC-EDI in 2013.

His diversity work has focused on health equity and cultural proficiency education for medical students and pediatric residents. He served as a guest lecturer for three years for the UC San Diego School of Medicine Program in Medical Education – Health Equity (PRIME-HEq) course PEDS 250 Influences on Health: From Genes to Communities, and was the Administrative Director of the Dyson Initiative in San Diego, a nationally recognized Community Pediatrics training initiative. Through the School of Medicine's Hispanic Center of Excellece, he was responsible for creating, implementing, evaluating, and institutionalizing a four-year longitudinal cultural proficiency curriculum for the UC San Diego School of Medicine. In this role, he worked collaboratively with community partners, medical students, staff, and academic leaders in the School of Medicine to create experiential teaching modules that incorporate patient-centered care, situational awareness, cross-cultural communication, and cultural proficiency.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Dr. Victor Ferreira

Victor FerreiraVictor Ferreira was appointed as Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in 2022. He is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and has been a faculty member at UC San Diego since 1997. His research focuses on the mental and neural processes that underlie the human ability to produce language and communicate successfully. The Language Production Laboratory, which he directs with Psychiatry Professor Tamar Gollan, is supported by the National Institutes of Health. Ferreira has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

A seasoned leader committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, Ferreira brings a wealth of leadership experience to this role. In addition to serving as a department chair for six years and co-convener of the Council of Chairs for four, he has also chaired the Academic Senate Committee on Academic Personnel and the Committee on Research. Additional leadership experience includes co-directing the Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders and serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Memory and Language. Ferreira was a member of VC-EDI’s Advisory Council on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, served as an EDI Advocate and Influencer, which helped develop UC San Diego’s first strategic plan for Inclusive Excellence, and is also a faculty affiliate of the Triton FirstGen student initiative.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Equity and Inclusion Karen Biestman

Karen Biestman joined UC San Diego as our Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Equity and Inclusion on August 1, 2023. Karen has more than 30 years of experience in higher education in a variety of leadership, EDI, and teaching positions. She joins us from Stanford University, where she served as Associate Dean and Director of the Native American Cultural Center and taught Native American Studies in the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She received both her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from UC Berkeley.

 Starting at UC Berkeley, Karen’s teaching areas include Federal Indian Law, Nation Building, American Indian Religious Freedom, Decolonizing Methodologies, and Peacemaking. She has held teaching appointments at both Berkeley and Stanford Law Schools, as well as the Stanford Design School where she taught courses on Crafting Challenging Conversations and Peacemaking through a cultural lens. Karen previously served as Director of Indian Education for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, in San Francisco, where she developed a national curriculum on Working Effectively with Tribal Governments. While at UC Berkeley, she also served as the Assistant Dean of Students. In this role, she oversaw student affairs units and centers.

 As a founding faculty member and board member of UC Berkeley’s Executive Leadership Academy in the Center for Studies in Higher Education, Karen trains rising college presidents on Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking. She is a board member of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center and has consulted widely in Indian Affairs with tribal, governmental, and non-profit organizations.

 At UC San Diego, Karen will provide leadership in advancing student equity, diversity, and inclusion. As a member of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s (VC EDI) leadership team, she will oversee VC EDI’s community centers and programs, provide strategic support to address any infrastructure service gaps in collaboration with campus partners and help to advance Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designations.

In addition to the wealth of experience and expertise Karen brings to this new role, her passion for promoting inclusion and ensuring equitable opportunities for all students will help advance our mission to create a more welcoming UC San Diego.

Deputy Chief of Staff Dr. Belinda Zamacona

Belinda Zamacona headshot Dr. Belinda Zamacona joined VC EDI as Deputy Chief of Staff in 2023. She has worked in the field of education for over 16 years and began her tenure with UC San Diego in 2009 within the Office of the VC – Student Affairs, continued in Parent and Family Programs and later serving as the inaugural Director of the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program (CASP). While with CASP she grew the program and developed the needed resources and infrastructure to support over 2,100 CASP scholars from 2014-2023.  As the Deputy Chief of Staff her portfolio includes the administration of human resources, finance, pre and post award grant management, and physical operations. In addition, she is responsible for supporting and leading the VC EDI central office team. Belinda is also responsible for VC EDI communications in partnership with UC San Diego Communications and VC EDI staff.  

She is a past recipient of the UC San Diego campus-wide César E Chávez Staff Award, the Student Affairs Division Equity Matters award, the UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence award, and the Spirit of Preuss School award. Her academic background includes published scholarly work on class identity, organizing campus service workers, and social class supports for marginalized students. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from San Diego State University, and her doctoral degree from the joint UC San Diego & CSU San Marcos program in Educational Leadership. 

Director of Faculty Development and Diversity MarDestinee Perez

MarDestinee PerezMarDestinee Perez is Director of Faculty Development and Diversity, and oversees the development and implementation of activities led by the Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. These include the Faculty Equity Advisor Program, Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, Faculty Diversity in Leadership Grant, faculty networks, Faculty Peer Mediation Program, and workshops for faculty and administrators. In addition, she provides leadership and counsel to the Vice Chancellor and Associate Vice Chancellors around policies, trends and best practices for faculty recruitment, retention, and advancement. MarDestinee previously worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Institute of International Education, Congressional Budget Office, and the Oregon Judicial Department, providing policy analysis, program development, project management, and monitoring and evaluation. She has a B.A. in criminology, law and society from UC Irvine, and an M.S. in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Executive Director for EDI Learning and Professional Development Dr. Shaun Travers

MarDestinee Perez

An executive with a big heart, good energy, and over 25 years of experience in higher education and non-profit leadership, Dr. Shaun Travers listens well to diverse ideas and viewpoints, searching for common ground and shared humanity.  A consistent advocate for those who are at the intersections of multiple, marginalized communities, Shaun examines the social systems that underlie our experiences to empower people to change structures that can make a difference in our world. Serving as the Executive Director for UC San Diego’s EDI Learning and Professional Development, he partners across the enterprise to imagine better ways of achieving equity, appreciating diversity, and fostering inclusion through education, learning, and growth.

Previously, Shaun was the inaugural Director of UC San Diego’s LGBT Resource Center, serving for over 22 years the people on campus at the diverse intersections of LGBTQIA+ communities.

Director of Development & Diversity Initiatives John Jacinto Duca

John Jacinto DucaInspired by personal and work experiences in San Diego and in the Philippines, John developed a deep passion for community building. This resolve led John to get his B.A. in political science at UC Los Angeles, and his M.A. in law and diplomacy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. As Director of Development – Diversity Initiatives, John is responsible for connecting alumni and friends to UC San Diego causes that matter. John’s fundraising efforts augment the work of the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to create a thriving campus community.

Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor - Margaret Rattanachane

Margaret Rattanachane is Executive Assistant to Vice Chancellor Petitt. Margaret's responsibilities include VC Petitt's overall preparation, briefings, and higher-level administrative duties. She joined EDI from the Department of Medicine Chair's Office at UC San Diego Health, and before that role, she was a Program and Faculty Assistant in the department of Education Studies also at UC San Diego. She was a previous EDI employee, in a temporary role with the VC EDI office when the office first opened in 2013. She is an alumna of Thurgood Marshall College and received her Bachelor of Science in Management Science. 

Margaret was a LEAD Fellow in 2022, is a current member of the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA), was a previous Fellow with SDLA in 2020, and received the UC San Diego Exemplary Staff Award in 2018. 

Executive Assistant to Associate Vice Chancellor and Assistant Vice Chancellor - Brandy Ellis

Strategic Initiatives Manager Vanessa L. Haro

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Vanessa is a seasoned professional with over 18 years of experience both internationally and domestic, across legal, corporate, nonprofit, and higher education sectors. She has worked closely with executive level management and cross functional teams in all these areas. She brings to this position extensive experience in organizational development and strategic planning implementation, project management, administrative processes, fund development, event and workshop planning, and budget management.

 Before returning to VC EDI in 2020, she worked at PriceSmart as the Executive Affairs Manager for the Office of the Chief Executive Officer. She has also worked as the Administrative Official and Human Resources Liaison in the Fund Development Department for Greenpeace México, and as the Intern-Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant to the Director for Organization Development at the Amnesty International, México National Office. 

Vanessa completed her Project Management Certification in 2021 at San Diego State University, holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California with a concentration in Macro Social Work: Community Organization Planning and Administration, and is a proud UC San Diego John Muir College alumna from the Critical Gender Studies program with a concentration in History and Social Inequalities. Additionally, she holds certifications in: People Management, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, and Human Services Management.

Cultural Events Coordinator/Specialist Maddy Agamata

Maddy AgamataMaddy Agamata is the Cultural Events Coordinator/Specialist. In this role, she coordinates comprehensive special events strategies for annual campus cultural celebration events, such as Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration, Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month, Cesar Chavez Celebration Month, and other special events. In addition, she implements logistics for special programs, special events, and receptions hosted by the Vice Chancellor for EDI and provides high-level administrative and programmatic support to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Previously she served as the Business Office Manager And Executive Assistant at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communication, Inc, and as a motivational coach/speaker with Dale Carnegie of San Diego. 

Consultant

Edwina Welch Dr. Edwina Welch serves as a consultant for the Vice Chancellor's Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Dr. Welch is one of the two originators of the LEAD (Leaders for Equity Advancement and Diversity) Fellows program. She served as a Campus Diversity Officer and was the inaugural director of the Cross-Cultural Center, a role she held for 25 years. She has presented at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, Harvard College, Washington University, several California Community College Districts, the NASPA Multicultural Institute, and facilitated numerous EDI trainings throughout the country. Her research areas include social justice, leadership, organizational capacity building, and cultural competence. Dr. Welch received her B.A. in communication studies and business administration from California State University Sacramento, her master's of science in higher education administration from the University of Oregon, and her doctorate in educational leadership from the joint doctoral program between UC San Diego, San Diego State University, and California State University San Marcos.

Director of PATHways to STEM (PATHS) Program Guadalupe Cruz

guadalupe-cruz-headshot.jpgAs Director of the PATHways to STEM (PATHS) Program, Guadalupe Cruz provides oversight, assessment, and supervision to all aspects of the program, including program development, staff supervision, grant and budget management, partnership representation, and direct support to Scholars. Guadalupe's background includes higher education, non-profit community based organizations, and counseling support for college students. Prior to joining UC San Diego, Guadalupe worked as a manager for the KIPP Through College Program in Los Angeles and the University of Missouri – Columbia in the Counseling and Psychological Services Department and in the Women’s Resource Center. A University of California alum, Guadalupe completed her B.A. in sociology at UC Santa Barbara. She later obtained her M.A. in educational and counseling psychology from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Campus Community Center Directors

John W. Rawlins IIIBlack Resource Center Director
John W. Rawlins III, M.A.

John is a Campus Diversity Officer and Director of the UC San Diego Black Resource Center. He is an EDI/Student Affairs professional with 16 years of experience as an administrator and advocate for students, more specifically students of color. John is a native of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and his Master of Arts degree from The Johns Hopkins University. John comes to UCSD from  California State University San Marcos where he served as Director of the Black Student Center and Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity Officer in the Office of Inclusive Excellence. John's passion to support students of color began during his undergraduate career, where he served in many leadership roles in student organizations and campus advisory boards. John would begin a celebrated career at Ithaca College, continue at The Johns Hopkins University, and the international headquarters of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., before heading West to CSUSM. John holds memberships with NASPA, ASCAP, and is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He serves as the 16th and current President/CEO of the Cornell Black Alumni Association and serves on several alumni boards for the institution. John is also a Gospel recording artists and vocalist who has performed on national and international stages alike. He has been honored to share the stage and sing with artists such as jazz icon Wynton Marsalis and Gospel legend Kirk Franklin.

 

fnann.jpg Cross-Cultural Center
Fnann Keflezighi, M.A.

Fnann is a Campus Diversity Officer and Director of the Cross-Cultural Center (CCC). She is an equity-minded practitioner whose work is grounded in student-centeredness and institutional responsibility for access, diversity, and intersectional inclusion. Her deep passion for and commitment to educational equity and social justice is demonstrated in her decade-long career that centers students and equitable outcomes. Before joining the CCC, Fnann served as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Thurgood Marshall, as an Assistant Director of Residential Life, as the inaugural Director of the African American Resource Center at California State University, Fullerton, and was the program coordinator for the Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound Math-Science TRiO Outreach access programs in San Diego. Fnann earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UC San Diego in Ethnic Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Post-secondary Educational Leadership and Student Affairs at San Diego State University. An alumna of UC San Diego, Fnann found her passion for social justice through the curriculum of Marshall College’s Dimensions of Culture writing program and Ethnic Studies courses, as well as in community spaces like the Cross-Cultural Center, and her co-curricular involvement with both the Student Affirmative Action Committee (SAAC) and the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Services (SPACES). Fnann's work at the Cross encourages community members to explore their identity intersections, to think critically in ways that consider multi-forms of oppression and resistance, and to imagine and work towards a more equitable and inclusive university and society.

 

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LGBT RC
Maribel Gomez, M.A.

Maribel is serving as the Interim Director for the LGBT Resource Center. Maribel is a first generation college graduate and the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. She received her B.A. in Chicanx Studies and Design from UC Davis and her M.A. in Chicanx Studies with an emphasis in policy from San Jose State University. She is a feminist social justice educator and cultural worker with over a decade of experience working in higher education focused on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality. Her work centers healing justice and community care in higher education by connecting students to resources and developing LGBTQIA+ scholar activists through leadership development and community building opportunities. Beyond her work in higher education, she runs a vegan Mexican food project that focuses on food justice, preserving ancestral knowledge and supporting community led fundraising and mutual aid efforts.

 

Gerardo Arellano

Raza Resource Centro
Gerardo Arellano, Ph.D.

Dr. Gerardo N. Arellano received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his B.A. from UC San Diego in the departments of comparative ethnic studies. Dr. Arellano is the inaugural director of the Raza Resource Centro. He currently serves as the Executive Director of HSI Initiatives and Director of the Raza Resource Centro. His research interests include trans-border culture and migrations, de-colonial pedagogies, Latina/o post secondary educational achievement and retention. He has extensive experience working with underserved students of color at the community, high school, and university levels. He loves to work with students and he enjoys advising graduate and undergraduate students, strategic planning, curriculum design, program development, and assessment. He is passionate about coaching students to obtain scholarships, internships, research, and conference experience.

 

Marnie Brookolo Women’s Resource Center
Marnie Brookolo, M.A.

Marnie Brookolo is a Campus Diversity Officer and Director of the Women’s Center at UC San Diego. A first-generation college graduate, Marnie holds a B.A. in critical gender studies and political science from UC San Diego and an M.A. in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego. Since joining the staff of the Women’s Center in 2005, Marnie has worked to promote gender equity at UC San Diego by taking a leadership role in building community, developing educational programs, and facilitating student leadership development that centers on women and gender issues. Marnie’s work at the Women’s Center includes providing leadership for a wide range of women- and gender-focused educational programs and events, facilitating diversity trainings and workshops for campus departments and organizations, and partnering with on- and off-campus organizations to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion at UC San Diego and beyond.

 

Learn more about the Campus Community Centers

APIMEDA Associate Director Windi Sasaki

Headshot of Windi SasakiWindi Sasaki is a first-generation college graduate and an alumna of UC San Diego, where she received her BA in Psychology and minors in Biology and Classical & Medieval Europe. She received her MA in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she completed research on Asian American college student development. She has twenty years of experience working on college campuses with students. Windi is particularly excited for this role as it allows her to reach out to students who are looking for community around their racial and ethnic identity and help them join her as a proud UC San Diego alum.

Faculty Equity Advisors

Faculty Equity Advisors work collaboratively with deans, department chairs and search committees to ensure that equity and inclusion are considered in all aspects of faculty affairs, including recruitment, retention, and advancement. They provide implicit bias training for search committees, guidance on implementing inclusive practices, and other input as needed.

Meet our Faculty Equity Advisors.