ABOUT

Staff

Aga Michalak

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 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

Operations and HR Manager 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

Andrew Williams, Former Executive Director

Former Executive Director,  On behalf of HECUA Staff, Board and Executive Committee, we thank Andrew Williams for his contributions to HECUA and wish him the best in his new position at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. 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

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

Jim Sauder

Headshot photo of Jim SauderDirector of Finance and Operations 651-287-3306 jsauder@hecua.org 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. pronouns: he/him/his

Julie Rossate

Student Services Associate 651-287-3312 ssa@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

Mohamed Sallam

Director of Programs HECUA 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.

Tyra Reed

Program Assistant HECUA 651-287-3304 treed@hecua.org Tyra is a 2018 graduate from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where she studied Psychology and Public Health. During her time as an undergraduate, she was involved in student support services, research, mentoring, and other forms of student engagement. She has recently worked with Restorative Justice organizations and the Minneapolis’ Civil Rights Department. Tyra is excited to step into her new role with HECUA to continue learning and engaging with others from various backgrounds. Her life experiences and involvement in the community continue to fuel her passions for social justice and community engagement work. In her free time, Tyra is most likely catching up on the latest shows, reading new books, and enjoying various art forms. Tyra is the person to contact if you have questions regarding U.S program administration, student support and advising in internships, and communications with community engagement. Pronouns: she/her/hers

Vienna Wilson

Office Manager HECUA 651-287-3301 vwilson@hecua.org 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. Pronouns: she/her/hers

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