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Equity, diversity, and inclusion are critical to our mission of excellence at UC San Diego. Our goal is to continue to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive university that enriches the educational experience, strengthens community, promotes critical thinking, and gives the university an intellectual and competitive advantage. In an enriching and supportive environment, we are able to prepare our graduates to work, live, and thrive in an increasingly complex and diverse society.


LEAD Fellows (Leaders for Equity Advancement and Diversity) are faculty and staff who support and advance UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan goal of cultivating a diverse and inclusive university community. Fellows receive extensive training to provide leadership and to promote diversity and excellence across campus. They are available to facilitate dialogue, lead workshops and offer consultation on EDI issues.

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. Advisors are available for consultation and guidance on EDI-related faculty affairs. 

Daniel Alfaro

headshot of Daniel Arellano

“I was born in Queretaro, Mexico and came to the U.S. along with my family as a young child. Once in the U.S., my family and I settled in Escondido, California, where I lived most of my young-adult years.

“I hold a bachelor’s degree in counseling from California State University, San Marcos. After receiving my degree, I began organizing in my community, first through the National Latino Research Center and then at Alliance San Diego. Through my community work, I collaborated with various non-profit organizations on community outreach campaigns, providing immigration legal services to immigrants in hard-to-reach places, and sharing best practices among immigrant rights networks.

“In my role as the coordinator of the Undocumented Student Services Center, I seek to provide the undocumented students at UC San Diego a holistic space where they can find resources and support tailored for their needs.”

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Hilda Betancourt

picture of hilda betancourt crouching in a field of flowers“My name is Hilda Betancourt, and I am the Facilities and Operations intern at the Women’s Center. This internship has been one of the most rewarding opportunities I have had. I began without any background in Critical Gender Studies, so I had no idea why people used different gender pronouns or why one should ask and not assume. During my time here I was given the opportunity to grow and learn. I have become more aware of the world around me and began to apply my work here to my everyday life. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from my peers and share my perspective on these issues. Recognizing that people have different backgrounds and may not always be familiar with certain issues is an important part of the work.”

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Afi Blackshear

headshot of Afi Blackshear“Over the past year as an intern, the LGBT Resource Center has become a primary source of community for me. It has challenged me to consider and face internalized oppressive beliefs I have held, resulting in me becoming a more loving and empathetic person. I have been inspired, I have inspired, and I have learned what it truly means to be a part of a community, constantly learning and tuning into the needs of those that I, in turn, depend on. I thought of myself as a very confident person coming into this community, but now I think of myself as someone with very high self-esteem, and that is largely due to the people who have impacted me in this space.”

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Thomas Bonetati

headshot of Thomas Bonetati“I have been in the college store industry for about 30 years and, like many people who have worked in the higher ed setting, have visited numerous colleges and universities. UC San Diego has always been what I thought was an ideal mix of environment, people and ideas. I was working in the bookstore at Santa Ana College a few years ago and a friend in the industry told me about the opening at UC San Diego. I was aware of some of the difficulties that the bookstore operation was struggling with, but after interviewing with the team here, I knew I wanted to be a part of the innovative, challenging and skilled team that I met here at UC San Diego.

“It has been almost three years now and I am ever grateful that I was given the opportunity to work here at UC San Diego as Director of the Bookstore for the Resource, Management and Planning Division. I have challenged myself and our team to create a better store for our community and have relied on the amazing talent in RMP and across the University to help me be, so far, successful in creating a more financially sustainable and customer-focused operation. I have grown and learned so much as a team leader here at UC San Diego and I look forward to the innovation and challenges ahead.”

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Angela Booker

headshot of Angela BookerAngela Booker is currently studying ways youth, families, and schools make use of media and technology for participation, learning, and community development. She is particularly concerned with addressing barriers that diminish access to public participation among underrepresented and disenfranchised communities. She uses ethnographic, qualitative, and design-based research methods to examine typical and emerging practices where youth and adults work together (and at times, in conflict). Collaborations with youth, community partners, educators, and scholars form the basis of her work.

Go to Dr. Booker's project The Democracy Lab
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Adam Burgasser

headshot of Adam BurgasserUC San Diego Professor of Astrophysics Adam Burgasser mentors underrepresented students through new fellowships in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Physical Sciences are part of the new University Center for Exemplary Mentoring, launched by UC San Diego with support from the Sloan Foundation. The center is part of a three-year, multi-million dollar expansion of the Sloan Foundation’s Minority Ph.D. Program, which supports underrepresented graduate students in STEM fields. The Sloan Foundation selected UC San Diego as one of three partner institutions for the program based on the campus’ commitment to recruiting and mentoring students from all backgrounds. In 2017, Burgasser’s team contributed to the NASA discovery of the Trappist-1 system, the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star.

Go to Dr. Burgasser's profile for his research group
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Alison Coil

headshot of Alison CoilAlison Coil is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the Division of Physical Sciences and an observational astrophysicist in the Department of Physics and a member of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. As EDI associate dean she ensures that the division’s mission of research, teaching and service is guided by the university’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion—the overall goal being to cultivate a welcoming, diverse, equitable and inclusive climate among students, staff and faculty.

Dr. Coil received her B.A. in astrophysics from Princeton and her PhD in astrophysics from University of California Berkeley. Her research interests focus on how galaxies form and evolve with time and how their properties are related to the large-scale structure in which they are embedded. She is understanding these questions by measuring the spatial clustering of galaxies and AGN, as well as detecting large-scale outflowing galactic winds, at intermediate redshifts when the Universe was half its current age.  Most of the data she uses are taken at two of the largest optical telescopes in the world: the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the Magellan telescope in Chile.

In addition to her research, Dr. Coil has extensive experience related to equity, diversity and inclusion issues at UC San Diego. She created and leads the Graduate Women in Physics group, chaired Excellence Through Diversity faculty hires in the Department of Physics for four consecutive years, and she was an integral force in more than doubling the representation of women faculty in physics at UC San Diego in the last decade. Coil has served on multiple campus-wide efforts related to equity, diversity and inclusion and was awarded a university-wide Diversity Award in 2010. Since 2014, she has served as the Faculty Equity Advisor for the Division of Physical Sciences, where she has taken an active role in mentoring and advocating for women and underrepresented minority faculty in the division. Currently, she chairs the Divisional Excellence Committee, related to inclusion in faculty hiring, and she co-chairs the Task Force on the Status of Women in the Division of Physical Sciences.

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Todd Coleman

headshot of Todd ColemanTodd P. Coleman joined the Jacobs School of Engineering in 2011 as an associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering. He received bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering (summa cum laude) and computer engineering (summa cum laude) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2000, along with master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 and 2005. During the 2005–2006 academic year, he was a postdoctoral scholar in computational neuroscience at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital. From 2006 until 2011, he was an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Coleman, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient, was awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Senior Class Prize in 1999 and was awarded the MIT EECS Department’s M. J. Levin Award for Best Masterworks Oral Thesis Presentation in 2002. In 2008, he was a co-recipient of the University of Illinois College of Engineering’s Grainger Award in Emerging Technologies for development of a novel, practical timing-based technology. Beginning in 2009, he served as a co-Principal Investigator on a five-year NSF IGERT interdisciplinary training grant for graduate students, titled “Neuro-engineering: A Unified Educational Program for Systems Engineering and Neuroscience.” Coleman has also served on the DARPA Information Science and Technology study group for a three-year term, beginning 2009. He was a Fellow with the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study for the 2010–2011 academic year.

Go to Dr. Coleman's profile for the Jacob's School of Engineering
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Frances Contreras

headshot of Frances ContrerasFrances Contreras is an Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and an Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies. She most recently served as co-director of the joint doctoral program in Education Leadership at UC San Diego.

Dr. Contreras has over ten years of administrative leadership both at UC San Diego and the University of Washington College of Education, where she directed their higher education program. Her research focuses on issues of equity and access for underrepresented students in the education pipeline and the role of public policy in ensuring student equity across a P–20 continuum. Her work has been published in leading education journals and presses, including Harvard Educational Review, Educational Policy, Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education, Harvard University Press, and Teachers College Press. Contreras’ most recent books include “Achieving Equity for Latino Students, Expanding the Pathway to Higher Education through Public Policy” and “The Latino Education Crisis,” with P. Gandara. Her current book, “Cultivating Latino Students in STEM,” examines the promising approaches of campus programs as well as individual agency among Latinx high achievers in college to succeed in STEM pathways.

She was honored as an “Emerging Scholar” and the “Top 25 to Watch” among academicians in the U.S. by Diverse Magazine. More recently, Contreras was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs for her work to address Latinx student equity.

Dr. Contreras has served on the Boards of the ACLU of Washington state, the Harvard Journal for Hispanic Policy, the Journal of Advanced Academics, and the Latino Education Achievement Project, and was a gubernatorial appointee to the Achievement Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee in Washington state. She currently serves on the PUENTE Board, the Board of the Lupe Contreras Scholarship Fund, the Preuss School Board, and the WestEd Board of Directors.

Dr. Contreras earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, her master’s degree from Harvard University, and her doctorate in administration and education policy from Stanford University.

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Pamela Cosman

headshot of Pamela CosmanPamela Cosman, a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering, is being honored for her exemplary leadership among women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Cosman was one of just seven recipients of the 2017 Pinnacle Awards, announced May 5, 2017.

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Yen Le Espiritu

headshot of Yen Le EspirituYến Lê Espiritu began her academic career in 1990 as an assistant professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. She has published extensively on Asian American identities and politics, gender and migration, and U.S. colonialism and wars in Asia. Her most current book, “Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es)” (UC Press, 2014), charts an interdisciplinary field of critical refugee study, which reconceptualizes “the refugee” not as an object of rescue but as a site of social and political critiques. In 2015, she received the UC San Diego Academic Senate Faculty Research Lecturer Award.

Dr. Espiritu has served several terms as Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department, and also as its Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies. At the national level, she has served as the President of the Association of Asian American Studies, Vice President of the Pacific Sociological Association, and member of the Committee on Nominations of the American Sociological Association.

Dr. Espiritu is also the recipient of several UC San Diego teaching awards: the Eleanor Roosevelt College’s Outstanding Faculty Award; the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award; and the Chancellor's Associates Faculty Excellence Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. She is also the inaugural recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies Mentorship Award, for outstanding mentorship of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and/or colleagues in the field of Asian American Studies.

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Olivia Graeve

headshot of Olivia GraeveUniversity of California San Diego, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering professor Olivia Graeve has been named one of the “100 mujeres más poderosas de México” – one of the 100 most powerful women in Mexico, according to a Forbes 2017 ranking.  Professor Graeve’s primary academic appointment is at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, but her reach extends out to the full extent of the CaliBaja region and its 6.5 million inhabitants spanning both sides of the border.

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Yvonne Haywood-Cole

headshot of Yvonne Haywood Cole“Working for Resource Management & Planning (RMP) has taken me on an AMAZING journey. I started in January 2015 as a senior supervisor. Everyone from HR to management welcomed me into the RMP family. I was promoted to superintendent in March 2016. I am currently the only female superintendent in a male-dominated profession. I worked at the University Bookstore from 1994–2000. I moved away for a few years and returned to San Diego to care for my dad (he also retired from UC San Diego).

“Upon returning, I knew that I wanted to work at UC San Diego again; what I didn’t know was that I would work for such an AWESOME division. UC San Diego offers so many opportunities for training and advancement, I cannot imagine working anywhere else. My RMP managers have an 'open-door policy' and are always willing to share their knowledge with me. I absolutely love my job and my RMP family.”

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Yvonne Hernandez Friedman

headshot of Yvonne Hernandez FriedmanYvonne worked with California Speaks, through the Center for Digital Storytelling, on a new project that helps our undocumented and DACA students create compelling digital stories about their experiences, specifically featuring their self-efficacy and resilience.

The goal of this digital storytelling project is to create media that will help educate student affairs professionals about the challenges faced by DACA and undocumented students, and educate them on ways in which they can support these students.

Participants in digital storytelling workshops participate in a three-day intensive process that engages life experience, intellect, and creativity in order to produce a short video based on a first-person story. Storytellers choose the language in which to tell their story and subtitles are supplied for Spanish-language stories. Typical workshops bring between seven and ten storytellers together. The storytellers participate in a story circle, develop a narrative based on important life experience, record the narrative, and use video editing tools to bring together their voiceover with images and video to create a multi-media representation of their stories.

Dear World is an internationally recognized storytelling organization known for its signature message-on-skin portraits. They have visited hundreds of college campuses across the world and have captured over 100,000 stories and portraits. Dear World visited UC San Diego in April 2017 where 400 students had an opportunity to share their stories. For some, it was a cathartic experience; for others, it was an uplifting one. All of the students who participated showed bravery in living their truth. The experience culminated in a storytelling event and photo reveal.

You can learn more about the Dear World project at


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Elmer Leon-Garcia

headshot of Elmer Leon-GarciaElmer is a first-generation college student from Ventura, CA majoring in human biology at UC San Diego. As a first-generation college student, Elmer faced challenges navigating the university system, especially after he was diagnosed with cancer during his first year at UC San Diego. Fortunately, Elmer was able to beat cancer and continue his education.

He attributes his success to his involvement and participation with the OASIS Summer Bridge program, OASIS workshops, the Chem and Math Help Room, the Physics Tutorial Center, Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, Camp Kesem, CAPS, Student Health, and the Office for Students with Disabilities. Elmer has been working with OASIS as an Academic Transition Counselor for the past two years, inspiring and supporting incoming students.

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Sam Lucero

headshot of Sam Lucero“My first year of college was hectic because I was still getting used to actually being in college and the workload that came with that. However, being an intern at the Intertribal Resource Center has exposed me to a vast amount of resources and a caring and welcoming community. I was able to meet new people who had similar goals and interests, not just for themselves but for the community. I am extremely lucky to be a part of this and I look forward to furthering my knowledge of what it means to be a part of a community.”

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Sanika Moharana

headhot of Sanika Moharana“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to be part of the first group of students working to create a vision and a sense of belonging for the Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American (APIMEDA) populations at UC San Diego. I’m glad to have found APIMEDA Programs and Services as a medium to educate, empower, and inform my community. It was a great opportunity in learning how to talk about and voice my own thoughts on difficult topics. As a Marketing and Media Publications Intern, I’ve gotten the chance to use design toward issues of social change and impact on campus.”

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Kelly Murray

“When I applied to work at UC San Diego, I was aware of the recognition the university received as a highly regarded research institution. Being a part of the UC system and contributing to such a prestigious, globally recognized university was exciting in itself, but I quickly learned that the university was much more than that. UC San Diego’s commitment to our Principles of Community, its promotion of respectful and professional interactions, and ensuring a positive work/life balance sets UC San Diego apart from many employers.

“I was hired by the university shortly after starting a family. Having a quality onsite center for child care, such as the Early Care and Education Center, was an invaluable service. I will always treasure the time my family spent at the ECEC where my child was afforded developmental opportunities and exposure to cultural diversity, giving him the best start a parent could hope for.

“Working in an environment that provides a supportive work/life balance is critical for the success of our families and communities. The positive contributions of the work/life balance at UC San Diego allows employees to be wholly present for important milestones and events with our families, and in turn this strengthens our communities. The university is a very special place, a community like none other; we celebrate our differences, we welcome all perspectives, and I’m honored to be a part of UC San Diego’s local and global contributions.”

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Gentry Patrick

heatshot of Gentry PatrickGentry Patrick is a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences and a first-generation college student whose goal is to support and empower underrepresented students in STEM. Dr. Patrick’s brainchild, the PATHS Program, is a four-year program that pairs students of color —many of whom who are the first in their families to go to college—with counselors, mentors, summer internships, scholarships, and other supports.

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Gustavo Reyes

headshot of Gustavo ReyesGustavo Reyes is a graduating senior and a first-generation college student majoring in physiology and neuroscience with a minor in ethnic studies. Gustavo is a San Diego native and aspires to be a primary care physician and to open a free clinic to serve underprivileged communities. Gustavo currently works as a peer coach for the Student Success Coaching Program where he encourages first-year and first-generation college students to achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.

Gustavo was a Summer Bridge participant and knows first-hand the challenges and the opportunities that await students who are the first in their families to attend college. Gustavo has also paid it forward by serving in the OASIS Math Science Tutorial Program as a facilitator for calculus.

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Eddie Tapia

headshot of Eddie TapiaEddie has been involved with the Raza Resource Centro (RRC) since Avanzando Juntos, a RRC transition program for incoming Latinx students. The Centro has been Eddie's place of support and inspiration to proactively make a difference in his community. While at UC San Diego, Eddie conducted undergraduate research in the CSE department, strongly advocated for URMs’ pursuit of STEM degrees at the bachelor and graduate level, became a Gordon Scholar, and currently serves as the president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Eddie has been awarded the prestigious national GEM Fellowship and will be pursuing a dual-degree master of science in computer engineering and technology innovation at Carnegie Mellon with the goal of personalizing healthcare through the Internet of Medical Things Ecosystem and becoming a leader in real-time patient monitoring wearables.

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Joann Trejo

headshot of joann trejo

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology named professor of pharmacology JoAnn Trejo the winner of the Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award. The award recognizes outstanding scientists who show a strong commitment to mentoring and encouraging underrepresented individuals to enter the sciences. The award comes in part as recognition for her role as director of UC San Diego’s Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA), a postdoctoral training program that received a five-year, $5.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2016.

Dr. Trejo is also the 2017 winner of the American Society for Cell Biology’s E.E. Just Award and a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

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Maria Triplett

headshot of Maria TriplettMaria is a San Diego native and second-year Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program (CASP) student from the 2016 cohort. She is an ethnic studies major and an alumna of Gompers Preparatory Academy.

Maria has found her path to success through participating in CASP 101, Summer Bridge, and utilizing Supplemental Instruction. She has also seized opportunities to grow as a leader, serving in 2017 as an intern for CASP 101 and a discussion leader for Contemporary Issues during Summer Bridge. She is also an OASIS Learning Community (OLC) mentor for a CASP freshmen seminar. Maria presented a poster at the 2018 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE).

Maria represents the impact of Student Retention and Success (SRS) programs in that she has fully utilized all the resources made available to her, and has given back to SRS programs by taking on leadership roles that will help her connect with her peers to deepen their understanding of the value of utilizing resources for undergraduate students.

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Mary Wickline

headshot of Mary Wickline“The DisAbility Counseling and Consulting Department and Jeanette Richards in particular were indispensable in helping me navigate work accommodations after I became disabled. This was a solid indicator to me that my employer truly does value me and my work at UC San Diego. There are many possible paths once one becomes disabled—both as it relates to income and ability to work. Understanding each option and figuring out the ramifications of each seemed like a mental juggling act at a time when it was difficult to think about anything but my health.

“I had multiple appointments and received multiple services from Jeanette including disability income counseling, accommodations through my leave of absence for treatment, exploration of my return-to-work options, my successful return and continued, ready, patient and enthusiastic support throughout the process. I am so grateful for the work this department does.”

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Ebonée Williams

headshot of Ebonee Williams

Dr. Ebonée Williams has spent the past eight years building and realizing the Gordon Center's program, which teaches engineering students critical skills of leadership, responsibility, and vision. Over 1200 UC San Diego students have participated in the Gordon Center's leadership courses and workshops.

Dr. Williams is also a founding board member of the IDEA Engineering Student Center, whose purpose is to foster an equitable, welcoming, and sustainable culture of academic excellence in engineering. Through the center, Dr. Williams helped to launch GradTalks, a series of professional training workshops.

She has also taught leadership skills more broadly, in regional workshops through the Urban League and nationally through the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Dr. Williams’ recognition has been a long time in the making for the many ways she supports our diverse student and postdoctoral population. She is a leader in diversity and equity issues on campus and beyond.

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Melissa Williams

headshot of Melissa Williams

Melissa Williams is the Director of DisAbility Counseling and Consulting (DCC),  the division of Human Resources that  provides disability management and job accommodation consultation services to UC San Diego faculty and staff who have a medical condition (physical or mental) that interferes with their ability to work or return to work.

DCC provides educational outreach through both UC San Diego's Staff Education & Development and UC San Diego's Career Connection on topics ranging from disability management, employment discrimination law, job accommodations, networking tips, job interviewing skills and pregnancy disability.

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Maha Zubaidi

headshot of Maha Zubaidi“My internship at the Cross Cultural Center has helped me understand the importance of utilizing my privileges to contribute to, to serve, and to learn from the communities I care about. Within the supportive and educational environment created by the Cross Cultural Center staff and all the members of my team, I am learning how to approach my work involving community health and refugee resettlement through a social justice lens.

“As co-president of UC San Diego’s Pre-Meds Without Borders, and in collaboration with the Khaled Bakrawi Center, I have been able to forge new relationships with members of the Syrian community in San Diego and begin researching the health-related issues that exist within the community in hopes of informing further research and helping to direct efforts to address any problems in the refugee resettlement process.”

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