Aga Michalak, Director of Enrollment

Director of Enrollment amichalak@hecua.org 651-287-3311

Aga came to HECUA after ten years at DePaul University’s Study Abroad Program and five at University of St. Thomas’ Office of Study Abroad, where she first became involved with HECUA on its board of directors.  In her role, she strategically plans recruitment and campus outreach, in addition to managing the recruitment and student services team.

Aga is an immigrant from Poland who has lived in the U.S. most of her life, first in Chicago and now in St. Paul.  She holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.A. in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education from DePaul University, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.  She has a passion for learning, loves spending time outdoors, and travels every chance she gets.

Aga is your HECUA contact if you are a student at Swarthmore College, Denison University, Beloit College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lawrence University, Northland College, Concordia College, Knox College, Colorado College, or University of San Francisco.

pronouns: she/her/hers

Alexis M. Murillo, Social Media Marketing Strategist

Social Media Marketing StrategistHeadshot photo of HECUA social media marketing manager Alexis Murillo. amurillo@hecua.org

Alexis is a Latinx first-generation college student from Chicago, Illinois. She is currently finishing her last semester of her undergraduate career at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. During her undergraduate career, Alexis was highly involved in over ten different student organizations and programs, some of which included Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), where she was both Vice-President and President, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE), and the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (UROP), where she just recently had her research published in the Journal of Applied Communications. In Fall 2017 Alexis was recognized as a President’s Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Award recipient for Outstanding Scholar-Activism, which recognizes students who are doing outstanding work at the University of Minnesota, both in and out of the classroom. She has spearheaded numerous intiviates at the U of M, such as the first ever Multicultural Student Kick-Off, which will now serve as a yearly tradition in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). Throughout her academic career, she has dedicated herself to social change by mentoring other students and her commitment to equity, diversity and social justice is central to her role as a peer educator while addressing issues of access, retention, graduation, and community-building among students of color. Alexis is the person to talk to if you have specific questions about HECUA’s social media presence.

pronouns: she/her/hers

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 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 all communications (including social media, mass e-mails, and direct mail), created print and digital marketing products, and cultivated a monthly donor program. She also has experience in case management, teaching ESL, and journalism in other non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities, Iowa, and Washington, DC. Anna graduated from Luther College with majors in English and Spanish, and a minor in religion, but is a lifelong learner. 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


Audra Weigand, Campus Representative, Region #2

Campus Representative, Region #2 651-287-3310 aweigand@hecua.org

Audra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she double majored in sociology and political science and minored in Spanish studies and management. She is also an alumna of the Community Engagement Scholars Program, an honors program that emphasizes community engagement work. Audra studied abroad her sophomore year in Toledo, Spain where she enhanced her Spanish comprehension and cultural competency. As an undergraduate, Audra was the General Manager for a small brand communications agency in Minneapolis where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the organization, including leading recruitment efforts and acquiring additional clientele.

More recently, Audra interned at TakeAction Minnesota and was a part of the healthcare organizing team, where she worked on building power to pass progressive initiatives during the state legislative session. Audra has a love for non-profit organizations and has interned and volunteered with several organizations including The Arc Minnesota, MPIRG, and Alexandra House to name a few. She must admit that HECUA holds a special place in her heart as she is an alumna of the Inequality in America program, which she participated in during her senior year of college. Audra is eager to start her role at HECUA because she wants to continue her passion for community engagement, recruitment, and social justice. When she has free time, you likely can find Audra hiking a new trail, tending to her plant babies, swimming at her family’s cabin, or watching whatever new Netflix series has caught her attention.

Audra is the main point of contact for the following schools: Augsburg University, Bethel University, Carleton College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University, Macalester College, St. Catherine University, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, The College of St. Scholastica, University of St. Thomas, and Winona State University.

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 Region #1

Campus Representative, Region #1 651-287-3316 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

Mary Kate Stanfa, Student Adviser [Environmental Sustainability]

Student Adviser [Environmental Sustainability] environmental@hecua.org

Mary Kate is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she majored in Psychology, Social Justice and Public Health (Bachelor of Individualized Studies) with a minor in Spanish. She is a an alum of the Inequality in America program. Her favorite part of her HECUA program was how close-knit her cohort became, including Phil and Julia. She says that Inequality in America “became like a little family.” She appreciates the way that the cohort was able to create a brave space where folks were encouraged to be open-minded, think critically, and question everything, but without losing respect for one another in the process. It was an energizing and humbling experience that she will always hold close to her heart. In her free time she enjoys a good Netflix binge (especially The Office), exploring the Twin Cities, eating tacos, and spending quality time with friends. If you have questions about the Environmental Sustainability program, talk to Mary Kate!


Miguel Fernandes, Student Adviser [Inequality in America]

Student Adviser [Inequality in America] inequality@hecua.org
Miguel is a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where he is majoring in history and minoring in mathematics. He is an alum of the Inequality in America program. His favorite part of the program was getting to talk to so many people that are experienced in their field and in organizing/social justice. He appreciates the experiences he gained through both his internship and classes (site visits/speakers). For Miguel, his HECUA program was refreshing because it offered a different experience than a regular semester at the U.

During his free time, Miguel enjoys reading (lover of fantasy/fiction), watching comedy shows on Netflix (The Office, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the list goes on…), and just hanging out with friends. He also loves making people feel welcome and cared for on campus and in the community, which is why he first became a Welcome Week Leader and then an Orientation Leader for the University of Minnesota. If you have any questions about Inequality in America, talk to Miguel!

pronouns: he/ him/ his


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 (13) and Salma (10), playing soccer and basketball, and hopelessly supporting the Minnesota Timberwolves.

pronouns: he/him/his

Sequoia Hauck, Student Adviser [Art for Social Change]

Student Adviser [Art for Social Change]  art@hecua.org
Sequoia is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in American Indian Studies. They are an alum of not one, but TWO of the HECUA programs. Sequoia participated in the Art for Social Change and New Zealand programs. After taking these two programs, Sequoia focused a lot of their work on creating theater, film, and performance art that decolonizes the process of artmaking. After completing two HEUCA internships, one with Aniccha Arts and one with Taki Rua, Sequoia believes that the HECUA internships are the best internships in the world. 

In addition to being a HECUA Student Advisor, Sequoia works at The Southern Theater, is an Artistic Associate of Exposed Brick Theatre, and a member of the Turtle Theater Collective. Sequoia loves learning languages. They are working on becoming more fluent in the Anishinaabe language and the Hupa language. They are also keeping up on their ASL skills as well as not losing any of te reo they picked up in New Zealand/Aotearoa. If you have any questions about Art for Social change, talk to Sequoia!

pronouns: she/they

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