Andrew has over 25 years of experience in higher education as a teacher, mentor, academic advisor, and administrative leader. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana and raised within a working-class African American family, Andrew was a first-generation college student. On a daily basis, Andrew navigated not only the diversity within the African American community, but also the distinct cultural spaces of the Jewish community as well as the predominantly white suburban public schools. These experiences sparked his intellectual curiosity in social difference, political resistance, and human inequality. Recruited to play basketball, Andrew matriculated to Earlham College where his experiences and exposure to Quaker values sparked his sociological imagination and passion for social justice. Andrew eventually left the basketball team while serving as captain in protest over Earlham’s investments in corporations doing business in South Africa and joined leaders of the campus divestment movement. For Andrew, this was the beginning of a deep and sustained exploration of African and African Diaspora cultures and politics, engaged scholarship, and political activism.
Andrew completed an M.A. in cultural anthropology at the University of Michigan during one of the high points of student activism around racism, diversity, and equity in higher education. His graduate research projects focused on issues of ethnicity, racism, nationalism, as well as environmental sustainability in the Caribbean and Latin America. After graduate school, Andrew went on to serve as instructor of anthropology at DePauw University. While at DePauw, Andrew served as director of the Black Studies program, advisory board member of the Great Lakes College Association’s Border Studies Program, faculty leader for a community-based learning program in Nicaragua, and faculty mentor for DePauw Posse 2 scholars. Andrew left DePauw to become the founding Director of the Posse Foundation’s Chicago office. In this position Andrew established successful partnerships with a range of top 50 colleges and universities in the Midwest, the Chicago Public Schools, and corporations, as well as a diversity of community-based organizations.
More recently, Andrew has served as Director of Multicultural Affairs at Carleton College, Director of Development and Communication for Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, Assistant Director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence at the University of Minnesota, and Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion within the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts. Throughout his career, Andrew has worked to balance and link research, teaching, and political engagement on issues of interculturality, educational equity, international development, human rights, learning abroad, placed-based learning, and social justice.
Andrew enjoys running, biking, back-packing, kayaking, and spending time on his paddle board. And every once in a while you might catch him spinning vinyl Afrobeat, reggae, soul, and funk records in metro area lounges, tap-rooms, and fundraisers.
Andi balances part time bookkeeping at HECUA with duties as the Associate Director of Patrick’s Cabaret, as well as freelance bookkeeping, grantwriting, and program consulting with a variety of local performing arts organizations and artists. Previous positions have included Interim Managing Director at Bedlam Theatre and Emerging Performing Arts Leader Fellow for the Performing Arts Human Resources Toolkit Series by the Minnesota Theatre Alliance.
Since graduating from Macalester College with a Theater degree in 2009, Andi has worked and trained with Theatre of the Oppressed, clowning, mask, burlesque, spreadsheets, producing, directing, and production management, leaping from performing to administrating in a single bound or juggling both simultaneously. As a stage and production manager, they have worked with Dangerous Productions, Sandbox Theatre, the zAmya Theatre Project, Bedlam Theatre, and Bricklayers Theatre, and they have performed locally with Raw Sugar, The Playwrights Center, The Tempest at Franconia, the Haunted Basement, Bedlam Theatre, Off Leash Area Theatre and Dance, Box Wine Theatre, and the Wheel Sexy Cabaret. They have also produced original work with the Minnesota Fringe Festival (#ItsRainingInsideAgain: An Arts Administrator Show, wherein they played Mr. Rogers) and a new translation of F. X. Kroetz’s Housework with Barnacle Theatre Collective.
Director of U.S. Programs and Community Engagement
Emily Seru is a seasoned experiential education facilitator, community programs leader, and internship guide in the Twin Cities social justice community. She actively listens and learns from HECUA’s community partners, students, and faculty members to draw out connections and possibilities for shared learning, growth, and work. Before becoming the Director of U.S. Programs in 2018, Emily served as HECUA’s Manager of Internships and Community Partnerships for 13 years where she cultivated and supported over 100 community partners a year. Her portfolio of work included grant programs that funded more than 250 paid internship positions with nonprofit organizations across the region, as well as a graduate fellowship program in philanthropy and human rights for students of color. In 2006, Seru founded HECUA’s Anti-Racism Coordinating Committee, strengthening HECUA’s institutional commitment to anti-racism.
Seru holds a Master’s Degree in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Lewis and Clark College. Her graduate work focused on the experiences of underrepresented students in the field of service learning, and how reflection and facilitation practice can adjust to meet the increasingly diverse lived experiences of students in community-based programs. Prior to her time with HECUA, Seru worked as a Development Officer at Headwaters Foundation for Justice and as Development Assistant and internship program manager at Milkweed Editions, a local press. Emily lives in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul with her family.
Director of Finance and Operations
Jim has over 35 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, providing financial and organizational leadership. Most recently with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and for over ten years with Headwaters Foundation for Justice. He was the Executive Director of the Brethren/Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests for 10 years. Jim grew up near Fort Wayne Indiana in a small town surround by Amish where he raised free-range chickens before it was in vogue. He obtained his BA in accounting and business from Bluffton University, a Mennonite liberal arts school in Bluffton, Ohio. He has served on many nonprofit boards and finance committees and is currently the board treasurer for Conservation MN. Jim lives in the Cooper neighborhood of Minneapolis with his husband. They love fine dining, live theater, and getting out of doors via biking, cross-country skiing, and canoeing.
Kendra Boyle Hoban
Student Services Associate
Kendra graduated from Hamline University (GO PIPERS!) in 2014 with a major in Mass Communication and minors in Professional Writing and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). During her time at Hamline, Kendra was heavily involved on-campus as a New Student Mentor, a member of Hamline’s national Model UN team, and the Outreach Chair of Student Alumni Board. Her semester abroad at the University of York her junior year inspired her to make travel a lifelong priority and to live abroad after graduating. After completing her degree, Kendra spent one year teaching English a private language institute in Cuenca, Ecuador and another year teaching at a public primary school in Madrid, Spain. She’s thrilled to do work at HECUA that allows her to be both a locally and globally engaged citizen.
Laney (Dolores) Ohmans
Director of Development and Communications
Laney (Dolores) Ohmans is a marketing, communications, and development professional whose work with nonprofit organizations has ranged from promoting puppet spectacles at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre to welcoming new members into community at First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis, with pit stops in between to promote catering ventures, design course catalogs and annual reports, and build websites.
In her free time Laney is a volunteer tax preparer at Prepare + Prosper and a board member of Exodus Lending, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping Minnesotans escape the payday loan debt trap. Dolores was her grandmother’s name, and she’s hoping to grow into it.
Laney is the person to talk to if you have a press inquiry; you would like to support HECUA’s work with a contribution; you are an alumni wondering how you can get involved; or you would like to request additional printed material for the campus where you work.
Director of Enrollment and Institutional Relations
Lauren joined the HECUA recruitment team in August 2009 as a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. As an undergraduate, Lauren designed her own degree in Journalism, Art, and Global Studies, was a Community Engagement Scholar, and participated in HECUA’s Art for Social Change program. Always interested in intersectionality and cross-disciplinary studies, with a focus on art, social justice and community work, Lauren has found HECUA to be a perfect home. She has lived and traveled in New Zealand and the South Pacific, many countries in Europe, and as far as Iceland, but hopes to someday follow in her grandmother’s footsteps of visiting every continent! Lauren recently completed the Mini MBA for Nonprofits at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, and is currently pursuing her masters degree in Arts and Cultural Leadership at the University of Minnesota.
Lauren is the person to contact if you’re a student/faculty/staff at a college or university and you want more information about this whole HECUA thing. If you come by the St. Paul office, you might also meet a handsome hound named Eddie, who claims Lauren as his human.
Director of International Programs
Mohamed Sallam is a Middle East and gender studies specialist in the areas of international and comparative education, international development, and the history of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) during the modern period. His family moved to the United States from Egypt, and while he spent most of his childhood in Minnesota, he has lived and traveled extensively throughout the MENA. For more than a decade Mohamed served as the Director of the Pan-Afrikan Center (PAC) and Instructor in the Department of History at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. As the Director of the PAC, he provided academic and social support to students of African descent, promoted African and African-American scholarship, and engaged local communities of African descent. As a critically oriented student-centered educator, Mohamed also developed and lead numerous domestic travel seminars on African American history and culture, and academic programs to Egypt focusing on education and development. More recently, Mohamed served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis overseeing the assessment of grant funded arts education curriculum and community programs. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Education and International Development from the University of Minnesota. His primary area of research examines how gender and geography mediate the relationship between policy and practice in international development and girls’ education across the MENA.
Mohamed has also served as a lead and/or senior consultant on several international and US-based projects with wide-ranging foci, including girls’ education, social connectedness, poverty alleviation, and social and cultural issues within schools. He has dedicated himself as an educator, researcher, and practitioner to addressing issues related to structural power and inequity in the fields of comparative education and international development by providing high-level research, analysis, and administrative management with the goal of large-scale and lasting impact.
Mohamed enjoys spending time with his partner Amina and his children Muhammad (12) and Salma (10), playing soccer and basketball, and hopelessly supporting the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Vienna Wilson was born in Saint Paul’s Lowertown community before being raised in the Midway neighborhood for the majority of her childhood. She attended the Art Institutes International in Chicago, where she studied Fashion Design and Merchandising for two years before returning home to use the knowledge she gained in visual merchandising and management at some of the most popular clothing stores in Minneapolis. After working for a large corporation whose values did not align with her own, her passion to make a difference was sparked. Since then, she’s worked for multiple small, local businesses throughout the Twin Cities. In addition to this, she’s spent time working with the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in North Minneapolis, teaching an after school class on fashion entrepreneurship to young people.
Vienna made her way to HECUA in 2015 as a data entry specialist. She is now Office Manager at HECUA’s St. Paul headquarters, where her organizational abilities and people skills create efficiency and ease. In her free time, Vienna enjoys cooking with her partner, dog-sitting for friends, and going to museums. She has lived in South Minneapolis for the past 12 years.
Raegan is a 2015 alum of Art for Social Change, and a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a Bachelors in Studio Art and English. During her time at the U, Raegan worked in the Center for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL) in a number of roles. First as a HECUA Student Advisor, then as the Domestic Off-Campus Study Associate, and most recently as the CCEL’s Communication Strategist. She also recently joined the Art Shanty Projects as a board member and finished an internship with Interact Center for the Arts. Aside from professional interests, Raegan strongly identifies as an artist, is an avid reader, backpacker, and loves to cook. Raegan is responsible for “Region 1” which includes the University of Minnesota (both abroad and domestic) and Augsburg University.