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. He currently resides in South Minneapolis with his wife, son, and daughter.
Social Media and Executive Coordinator
Caitlin Burns is a social media professional, systems & data nerd, and pun aficionado. Coming to HECUA as a product of the University of Minnesota’s Global Studies B.A. program where she studied Political & Economic Development with a regional concentration in Latin America, Caitlin is deeply fascinated in unearthing the truth in the palimpsest and enjoys mapping intersections of art and economic development in her leisure time. Please contact her if you’d like to share stories or media about your past or present work with HECUA, brainstorm about creating productive and resilient online communities or if you’d like to become engaged with the work of HECUA’s Board of Directors. Finding her way to community engagement through music and arts organizing, Caitlin has worked as a project manager, community liaison, and rap wrangler for Twin Cities institutions such as Line Break Media, First Avenue & 7th St. Entry, and Rhymesayers Entertainment. For fans of the Instagram famous #dogsofhecua, Caitlin is the person belonging to that charming terrier mix, Aiden.
When not in the office you can find Caitlin reading, adventuring with Aiden, riding horses, creating extensive mood-specific Spotify mixes, and moonlighting in concert production.
Manager of Internships and Community Partnerships
Emily Seru is a seasoned experiential education facilitator, community programs innovator, 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. In addition to leading the internship coursework and partnerships for HECUA’s Twin Cities programs, she has led three distinct grant funded programs that engaged students in project-based work to support local grassroots initiatives: The Graduate Fellowship in Philanthropy and Human Rights, the Partners Internship Program, and the Central Corridor Internship Program. Emily earned her BA in English with a minor in History from Lewis and Clark College and is currently pursuing her MS in Experiential Education at Minnesota State University. Her previous work included fundraising, grants management, volunteer cheerleading, and community outreach for the the Headwaters Foundation for Justice and Milkweed Editions, and years of buying and selling books. Emily is a longtime resident and community leader in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul where she lives and plays with her husband, son, dog, cat, and the occasional mouse.
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.
Robert Harris III
Robert joined the HECUA recruitment team in August 2017. He is a 2017 graduate of Carleton College where he was a Posse Scholar, and majored in Environmental Studies with a focus in conservation and development. During his time at Carleton, Robert was involved with the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, where he founded and directed a sustainable agriculture seminar, Heart of the Heartland. He worked as an Assistant in the Off-Campus Studies Office for three years, where he helped to launch a sustainability initiative among other accomplishments. Robert was also involved with the Equestrian Team, Responsible Investment Committee, and the Office of International and Intercultural Life. He is passionate about cross-cultural exchange and has studied abroad in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Greece, and Australia. In his free time, Robert enjoys volunteering on environmental projects, reading nonfiction, writing, riding horses, and improving his foreign language skills. Robert is responsible for “Region 2” which includes all of the member Twin Cities campuses, except the University of Minnesota and Augsburg University, and those in greater Minnesota.
Director of Programs
Formerly on the faculties of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Macalester College, Sarah has been involved in undergraduate teaching, academic administration, grant writing, graduate advising, and cross-cultural and interdisciplinary program development since the early 1990s. At the University of Minnesota she taught Japanese literature, language, film, and women’s studies. At Macalester College, she created and led an Asian Studies program and helped to write and administer a $1.77 million foundation grant to support the study of China. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in East Asian Literature, M.A. in East Asian Studies, and B.A. in English, all from Cornell University, and was a Fulbright senior researcher at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. She occasionally teaches as an adjunct in the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota, including courses on images of geisha and on early modern Japanese literature. She serves on the board of AdopSource, a nonprofit committed to the integration of culture, identity, and life experience for transracial adoptees.
Sarah provides leadership and oversight to all HECUA programs to ensure consistently high standards in curriculum and pedagogy. The position supervises program directors and various program and support staff. She also tends to member relations within specific academic departments and organizes the Academic Program Committee, a committee that provides oversight and assessment for all HECUA programs. In addition to these responsibilities, Sarah answers questions and concerns about the content or curriculum of a program, and reviews grade disputes in consultation with the program director and the student’s home institution.
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.