Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
I am the Environmental Justice Youth Program Coordinator at MN Interfaith Power & Light and Director of Youth N’Power, a community organizing program that operates through the lens of environmental justice. I am excited and honored to be joining the HECUA board of directors, especially as a HECUA Environmental Sustainability alum. My experience in HECUA has changed my life, introduced me to the work that I’m currently doing, and has ushered me in to a movement that uplifts me, so that I may in turn uplift my community.
I am a proud Aries, am trilingual and am working on another two languages. I love seeing the world and intercultural exchange, and I have 21 tattoos (and counting).
Dave Anderson, All Parks Alliance
I joined All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC) as executive director in 2004. In 2016, I also became executive director of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA). Over 17 million people live in manufactured homes throughout the United States, and I have organized in manufactured home park communities around the country and lobbied for change at the state and federal levels. In 2020, I was named a Bush Fellow. The two-year fellowship provides a flexible grant to pursue learning experiences to become a more effective and agile leader. I want to replace the stereotype of parks as places of poverty and danger with a true picture of them as communities of resilience, diversity, pride, and self-sufficiency. I bring 25 years of experience working with non-profits.
I live in Minnesota with my partner, Amanda, and daughter, Zara. I enjoy watching all kinds of movies, reading books and comics, biking, and deep conversations proving critical reflection can be applied (enjoyably) to absolutely any topic.
David Schuettler,* The College of Saint Scholastica
Board Member, *Secretary
I am an Assistant Professor of Global, Cultural and Language Studies at The College of Saint Scholastica. Although I was originally interested in HECUA because of its focus on experiential learning and social justice issues, I think the holistic learning is what really makes HECUA programs unique and exciting for students. Students come back to campus energized by this approach and transformed by the experience, which in turn energizes me and makes me wish something like HECUA had existed when I was an undergraduate student. Among my many non-academic interests are wilderness travel, homebrewing, and baking bread.
Jabri Whirl,* Framework Homeownership
Board Member, *At-Large
Hello! I’m Jabri Whirl and I’m a UX Design Researcher at Framework Homeownership, a social enterprise with a mission to democratize homeownership. I’m a proud HECUA Inequality in America alum (Fall 2017) and am truly excited to be reconnected to HECUA. My time during the Inequality in America program was truly transformative, in which I was challenged academically and learned so much from the opportunity to intern at The Alliance. I was able to find my voice and recognize my role in actualizing equity. I’m most excited to connect with HECUA students, engage with prospective students, and really dream about how HECUA can continue to achieve our mission even if that means thinking critically about what might need to change in order to achieve the mission. Outside of work you can catch me hanging with my pup, tending to my garden with my partner, or enjoying a picnic in Powderhorn Park.
JooHee Pomplun,* The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
Board Member, *Vice President
I am executive director at the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. I have enjoyed supervising several HECUA students over the last decade, with the belief HECUA is developing our next generation of racial justice leaders. I live in Minneapolis with my partner, 2 dogs and a fluffle of wild rabbits
Justin Kader,* The University of St. Thomas
Board Member, *President
At St. Thomas, I utilize Appreciative Advising to advise students on St. Thomas’ co-sponsored study abroad programs. Following my passions, I lead initiatives pertaining to sustainability and the intersection of DEI and intercultural learning for the Office of Study Abroad and teach a First-Year Experience course. I am also an IDI qualified administrator.
I have been a supporter of HECUA since I moved to the Twin Cities and witnessed firsthand the profound impact of HECUA students and community partners. I have served on the Board since 2016 and strongly believe the field of study abroad and off-campus study needs more of the truly transformative, interdisciplinary, fair trade learning HECUA fosters to challenge and nurture our students to be morally brilliant changemakers. As Board President, I am excited to continue to help usher in a new chapter for HECUA with its updated bylaws and governance structure.
I am a coffeephile and avid bicyclist who loves to cook, grows vegetables and pollinators in my garden. I can boast an impressive vinyl record collection, and I actively organize in my neighborhood. I live in South Minneapolis with my wife, Jen, daughter, Irene, cat, Fuencisla, and our chickens.
Kate Bjork,* Hamline University
Board Member, *Treasurer
I am a Professor of History at Hamline University where I teach Latin American history, environmental history, as well as comparative history of empires. My 2019 book, Prairie Imperialists: The Indian Country Origins of American Empire, examines continuities between the expansion of American empire from the U.S. West overseas to the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. I am also the author of a memoir about living in a village in Nepal. As someone who has experienced the transformative impact of cross-cultural and experiential learning in my own life, I am committed to HECUA’s mission of providing such opportunities to current and future generations of students. I enjoy biking, especially as a way to explore and connect with the natural environment and urban geography of the Twin Cities.
Katy Crossley-Frolick, Denison University
As the Director of Off-Campus Study and Associate Professor at Denison University I oversee a myriad of global learning opportunities, including off-campus study, supporting our international students, faculty-led travel and other strategic initiatives. HECUA programs present unique, niche opportunities for students who are deeply committed to social justice issues, at home, wherever that might be, and abroad. That’s what excites me most about working with students and serving on the Board. In my spare time I like to hang out with my witty and funny son, Max. I also like to travel, cook, read and watch good mysteries written and produced in other parts of the world, and take long walks to clear my head from the noise!
Laurel Hirt,* University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Board Member, *Past President
As the Director of the Center for Community-Engaged Learning at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, I have been working with faculty and community partners on community-engaged learning course development and support since July 1997. I am passionate about experiential, community and place-based learning efforts. I led the effort to create and implement the Community Engagement Scholars Program, which provides undergraduates recognition on their academic transcript for thoughtfully connecting to community work throughout their undergraduate career while providing valuable contributions to communities.
I am dedicated to HECUA’s mission and values and am always excited to hear what students learn from participating in HECUA’s transformative programs. I served as HECUA’s Board Chair from 2019-21 and have served on the board since 2010. I earned my MA from Ohio State University in Higher Education Administration and Student Development and am a graduate of Luther College. In my free time, I enjoy gardening at my home in north Minneapolis, spending time with friends and family, thrifting, reading, crafting, cooking and spending time with shih tzus.
Mandy Brookins, DePauw University
I’m thrilled to join the HECUA Board. HECUA Study USA programs are part of the DePauw University portfolio of off-campus programs. My role at DePauw as the Associate Dean of Experiential Learning and Director of Off-Campus Programs is to help students align their academic interest with experiential learning opportunities in the US and abroad. HECUA provides excellent opportunities for students to gain experience with social justice oriented programs and gain valuable hands-on experience with organizations in the Twin Cities.
Originally from Western NY, I arrived in Indiana for professional opportunities in 2004. I live with my two sons and two cats and enjoy running with my partner, Anderson. I’m also a lover of languages, travel, and good food!
May Thao, Boynton Health Service
I am the Director of Compliance and Compliance Officer for Boynton Health, which is part of the University of MN. I always wanted to be in healthcare and started off in direct patient care and later moved to an administrative profession.
When I was growing up, education was very difficult for me and it was hard for others to understand where I was at in my life due to the fact that my parents were first generation in the USA. Navigating the education system was very hard to do alone as a young girl. I see and believe that HECUA is a bridge for students who want to navigate outside of their education community and explore abroad. This is something I wish I had a chance to do. Another exciting factor I look forward to is meeting new people on this Board. Finally, I want to see the difference HECUA brings to each student that has the opportunity to be part of a HECUA program, be it abroad or in the US. I am a mother of three and try to stay active through painting, long walks, running and biking when I am not working.
Molly Olsen, Macalester College
Hello! My name is Molly Olsen and I have represented Macalester College on the HECUA Board since 2014. I also served as the Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee from 2018-2021. I feel very fortunate to have found enormous inspiration and solidarity among the staff, community partners, students and faculty of the HECUA family over the years. The community-based, social justice programs that HECUA offers both domestically and abroad speak directly to the liberatory pedagogy of my own courses. I am a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies whose research focuses on early modern transatlantic studies, as well as Caribbean literature and culture of the colonial and contemporary periods. More specifically, I explore the encounters between Spain, Africa and the Americas and how the conflicts of empire, colonialism, materialism and culture play out discursively in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I am particularly interested in how Afro-Latino communities make strategic use of writing as well as other modes of expression –including orality and performance—to resist colonialism. Essential to my work is our ongoing struggle to decolonize society, our institutions and our individual and shared behaviors.
Nichole Salaam, City of St. Louis Park
I currently work as the Racial Equity Manager for the City of St. Louis Park. One of the things that drew me to HECUA was the mission and history of social justice and community engagement in urban neighborhoods in my hometown of North Minneapolis. I learned about HECUA when I served as a site supervisor for an intern who was taking the Inequality in America course taught by Phil Sandro. That same year, I had the great pleasure of collaborating with Phil who led a number of resident engagement workshops for staff at my organization. As a former university faculty member and longtime ED&I practitioner, I am honored to be part of a community dedicated and committed to centering “racial and economic equity.” As a “learner of many trades,” I recently discovered that I am a “multipotentialite” and am so very happy that I now have a name for it!
Sinda Nichols, Carleton College
I am the Director of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement at Carleton College. Before Carleton, I worked with Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact where I supported colleges and universities in living out their distinctive public purposes. I am a collaborative and facilitative leader with a commitment to fostering civic agency and healthy communities that work for all people. I turned her focus to higher education’s role in democracy when I became the project manager for the Speak Up! Speak Out! youth action civics initiative at Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at The University of Texas at Austin. As a HECUA alum, I know what HECUA can mean to students and is committed to our mission. At home, I’m a playful cook who likes to use what I have on hand and rarely sticks to the recipe.
Virginija Wilcox, Bethel University
My name is Virginija Wilcox and I am an Associate Dean of International and Off-Campus Programs at Bethel University. I was born and raised in Lithuania and came to the United States on my study abroad experience in early 2011. What was meant to be a one semester endeavor ended up blooming into a life changing experience that led me to discovering my calling. I live in a beautiful Midway-Hamline area (St. Paul) with my husband Mark, two daughters Luka and Adria, and two energetic dogs Maya and Axel. We love to watch Minnesota United play in Allianz Field, take long walks in Como, enjoy the best Pho in the neighborhood at Pho Pasteur, and venture off on family bike rides. I am humbled and excited to be on the HECUA Board of Directors. I look forward to collaborating with my HECUA colleagues as well as serving HECUA and its communities.