Amarah Otto, Student Advisor

Student Advisor, aotto@hecua.org

Amarah Otto wearing a scarf and hat Amarah is an Environmental Sustainability alum of Fall 2019. They joined the HECUA team as a Student Advisor during the Spring semester. In this role, Amarah works with prospective students at the University of Minnesota through the Center for Community-Engaged Learning. They are a senior at the University of Minnesota studying urban studies and minoring in sustainability studies and horticulture. Amarah grew up in Saint Paul as the child of an artist and a second grade teacher. Amarah’s favorite parts of the Environmental Sustainability program included deep discussion with a small supportive cohort, monthly overnight trips to Lily Springs farm, and interning at Cornercopia, an organic farm on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. Their experience culminated in creating a zine about mycelium as agents of transformative relationship, and models for how we as beings that share this planet can also embody earth care, people care, and future care.

During their free time, Amarah loves to spend time with friends and family, tend to their house plants, make art, bike around the city and spend time around large bodies of water. If you are a student at the University of Minnesota and have questions about HECUA’s US-based programs, Amarah would love to chat!

Pronouns: they/ them/ theirs

Andi Cheney, Director of Finance and Operations

Director of Finance and Operations acheney@hecua.org 651-287-3309

Andi brings over a decade of nonprofit management experience to HECUA, with roles ranging from Managing Director to Production Manager, specializing in community based arts organizations. Most recently the Associate Director of Patrick’s Cabaret, Andi also freelances as a bookkeeper, grantwriter, and program consultant 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 in 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.

pronouns: they/them/theirs

Anna Olson, Accountant


Anna works with HECUA as consultant from All In One Accounting. She brings a very bright perspective when it comes to the day to day numbers of business. Anything from payroll to reconciliations, and even data entry, she will have you covered. She has a diverse skillset and is quick on her feet when it comes to problem solving. If you’re in need of an accountant that works outside of the box and can assist in just about any project, Anna is your go to fit.

Anna is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Metropolitan State University.

She currently lives in Prior Lake with her husband and three children.

Anna Jeide-Detweiler, Communications and Marketing Manager

Headshot Anna

Communications and Marketing Manager ajeidedetweiler@hecua.org 651-287-3304

Anna is a writer and communications specialist, originally from Minnesota. Her interest in community-based learning initially brought her to HECUA in 2015 as a student in the Community Internships in Latin America (CILA) semester program in Quito, Ecuador.

Prior to HECUA, Anna worked in development and communications at a bilingual, multicultural community health center in Washington, DC where she coordinated communications and fundraising efforts. She has worked with various non-profit organizations in the Minnesota, Iowa, and Washington, DC. Anna is a graduate of Luther College with majors in English and Spanish, and a minor in religion. In addition to her study abroad experience with HECUA, Anna has studied peace and conflict resolution in Oslo, Norway, and reconciliation in Rwanda. Her ongoing interests include language learning, peace studies, and interfaith work. Anna loves exploring the outdoors with her husband, singing, discussing theology, and building community. Family, friends, and faith keep her anchored.

She is thrilled to be in the role of Communications and Marketing Manager where she can continue to tell the story of the HECUA. She is your contact if you have questions related to communications or marketing materials.

pronouns: she/her/hers

Ariella Tilsen, Interim Executive Director

We are in the process of engaging new leadership as we move toward our 50th anniversary. Please direct inquiries to Board President Laurel Hirt at hirtx002@umn.edu

Interim Executive Director atilsen@hecua.org 651-287-3315

Ariella Tilsen is pleased and honored to serve as Interim Executive Director. As the founder and president of Vital Edge Consulting, Ariella has nearly 25 years of experience as an executive and leadership coach, strategic change consultant and facilitator, and conflict resolver who works across sectors, cultures, and generations. Much of her work (and life) are shaped by post-modern thinking, critical race theory, and social construction practices and ideas, all of which inform her core values of justice and equity.

Ariella has worked extensively with organizations of all sizes, including state and local governments, international NGOs, and organizations in health care, renewable energy, philanthropy, equity and inclusion, social services, social justice, refugee and immigrant resettlement, and the arts. With Spiwo Xapile, Ariella co-founded Stories Move Mountains, through which they have worked with South African organizations, and community and organizational leaders, to create positive, sustainable change.

Ariella has held several interim CEO and executive leadership positions in organizations that focus on health care, mental health, and education. In these roles and others, she has supported many critical leadership transitions. She has also served as Associate Director of International Programs for the American Refugee Committee (now Alight), where she was responsible for international recruitment and field placement orientation, including cross- cultural understanding and safety and security. She was also Associate Director for the British-American Arts Association in London, where she headed up public relations and

Ariella received her B.A. in liberal arts studies from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in history and literature. She holds a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University. She has also been adjunct faculty in the MAOL program, teaching courses in the US and South Africa on the cultural context of leadership, relational and ethical leading, and leading strategic change.

Ariella helped to create an interfaith and intercultural program for high school students. She has served as a board member for Shir Tikvah Congregation and a steering committee member for Tergar Meditation Center. She is an active member and volunteer with Jewish Community Action and is active in political campaigns.

Ariella loves great conversation with smart, caring people over great food (whether she cooks it or not), hiking, Prince, movies, theater, art, animals, reading fiction, travel, working out, and meditation retreats.

pronouns: she/her/hers


Julie Rossate, Student Services Manager

Student Services Manager 651-287-3312 jrossate@hecua.org

Julie has spent most of her professional life either sending people overseas or receiving them here in the United States. While a student at Macalester College, she studied abroad at the American University in Cairo which kindled a lifelong love of the Arabic language. Julie served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and then spent 5 years preparing Peace Corps volunteers headed to North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

While studying at Harvard Divinity School for a Master’s in Theological Studies, Julie began working in Adult Education. She taught and tutored folks from the Blue Hill neighborhood of Boston, which included refugees, immigrants and lifelong residents. Julie learned as much in this job as she did in graduate school about immigration, racism and being white.

In 2011, Julie and her husband, Jeff, moved to Jerusalem/West Bank for 5 years to work with a young adult service learning program. Julie, her husband and the volunteers developed close relationships in their adopted communities, learned the conflicted history of the region and delighted young and old alike with their astounding language mistakes.

Julie likes to watch nerdy documentaries, read good books, canoe, kayak and practice yoga. She continues to study the Arabic language. This study keeps her humble. Very humble.

pronouns: she/her/hers

Liza Gorman-Baer, Campus Representative

Campus Representative, 651-287-3316 lgormanbaer@hecua.org

After two years as the Student Advisor for HECUA’s Art for Social Change program, Liza Gorman-Baer is delighted to bring their experience and enthusiasm to the new role of Campus Representative for the University of Minnesota. Liza graduated from the U in 2018 with a double BA in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and Art, with a particular interest in how feminist artists understand human relationships to nature, technology, and ancestry. During their time in college, Liza took HECUA’s Art for Social Change program and was energized and inspired by the unique mix of scholarship, direct action, community-focused art, and personal growth and reflection. Their semester with HECUA and the corresponding internship with Kulture Klub Collaborative encouraged them to always ask who has a seat at the table and find creative ways to invite more people in.

Liza is a Wisconsin native (but not a Packers fan) who has grown up in a strong activist community, attending anti-war and pro-union protest marches since they were too young to remember. Their family raised them to value the revolutionary impact of folk art and song, a value that they have used to anchor themselves in the Twin Cities since they first arrived for college in 2014. Since then, they have found their place in the Jewish community, attending services and completing an arts organizing internship with Shir Tikvah Synagogue and participating in social action with organizations including J-Pride and Never Again Action. They are also an embroidery artist under the name Selkie Stitches. They have shown their work in multiple gallery shows, as well as selling embroidery to raise money for nonprofits like Planned Parenthood, Bunny Besties, and the National Network of Abortion Funds. This year, Liza is excited to start working with Transfabulous, an initiative of the Hennepin Central Library that organizes transgender artists to lead workshops and exhibit their work.

Liza loves networking and having deep conversations with interesting people, both at HECUA and in their personal life. When they aren’t at work, they can often be found biking around the beautiful Chain of Lakes, embroidering, singing with friends, watching horror movies, or asking to pet strangers’ dogs.

Liza is the main point of contact for the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

pronouns: they/them/theirs

Mohamed Sallam, Director of Programs

Director of Programs 651-287-3307 msallam@hecua.org

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 and Salma, playing soccer and basketball, and hopelessly supporting the Minnesota Timberwolves.

pronouns: he/him/his

Pam Loudy, Bookkeeper

Pam works with HECUA as consultant from All In One Accounting. She is a seasoned accountant with over 10 years of experience. Pam’s commitment to client satisfaction paired with her communication and analytical skills are strengths that she brings to HECUA. She has experience putting new processes into place quickly and effectively. Pam earned her Associates degree in Applied Science from the Minneapolis Business College with a focus in accounting. She recently taught herself how to sail by just reading books and watching YouTube videos. She recommends sailing to all.

pronouns: she/ her /hers

Rachel Svanoe Moynihan, Program Manager

Program Manager, 651-287-3303 rsvanoemoynihan@hecua.org

Rachel Svanoe Moynihan has spent most of her life living, studying and working in South Minneapolis, enjoying many a familiar face whenever she’s there. Throughout college Augsburg, Rachel was a grateful recipient of many rich and challenging opportunities for experiential learning, pushing her to test and deepen what she was learning in her Sociology classes against what she was learning in community, on and off campus. Those experiences were formative and cultivated a passion for facilitating critical reflection, experiential education and leadership development that continues to drive her.

Rachel has spent six years working at Augsburg University and in the surrounding Cedar Riverside neighborhood. Her focus has been to help higher education fulfill its public purpose – first working to connect on-campus with off-campus community around common goals through Cedar Commons, a collaborative, Augsburg-supported space that she founded and managed. Her other primary role was as director of the LEAD Fellows program, an internship/leadership program through which undergraduate students learn with and contribute to community-based organizations while also earning income. Rachel has been learning and working to build community and anti-racist culture among white-bodied people, beginning with attention to the patterns of white supremacy held in our bodies. Rachel has been a big fan of HECUA’s from afar for many years and is thrilled for the opportunity to learn alongside new colleagues there, working to support transformative learning experiences for students, in service of movements towards justice. At HECUA, Rachel supports both the U.S. and international programs, with a particular focus on building relationships with community partners.

In her downtime, Rachel loves a good long conversation with friends or her husband over tea, loves to ask juicy questions, sing with friends and family, she loves a good rain storm and she goes to Powderhorn Park whenever she can.

Pronouns: she/ her/ hers

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