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Will Work for Justice: ES Alumni in Social Justice Careers

alumn panel

UO Ethnic Studies alumni are playing leadership roles in social justice organizations, government, and education, putting the principles of ethnic studies into practice. On November 15, 2013, seven distinguished  ES alumni returned to campus to participate in a panel titled “Will Work for Justice: ES Alumni in Social Justice Careers.” The panel drew current students and alumni as well as participants from other Oregon campuses who were in Eugene to attend the annual Oregon Students of Color Conference at the UO that weekend.

Panelists discussed the many ways that ethnic studies prepared them to work as organizers, educators, trainers, researchers and advocates, and shared advice with current students about pursing opportunities to join this vibrant field. The panelists included:

ITON UDOSENATA, Principal, Cottage Grove (OR) High School, (ES ’03)–A graduate of North Eugene High School, Iton worked as a teacher and administrator at Willamette High School and in the Springfield School District before being named principal of Cottage Grove High School in 2013.

DIEGO HERNANDEZ, Board of Directors, Reynolds School District, (ES ’10)–Recently elected to a four-year term to the Board of Directors of the Reynolds School District in Portland (his high school alma mater), Diego was also recently named co-director of the Momentum Alliance in Portland.

CARINA MILLER, Former Service Coordinator at Children’s Protective Services for Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, (ES ’11)–Carina handled Assisted Guardianship and child abuse and neglect cases and ran the Independent Living Program for the federally recognized Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (OR).

JEN LLERAS, Trainer and Organizer, Western States Center (ES ’08)–Jen collaborates with dozens of community-based organizations across the Northwest to build a progressive movement for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.

KYLE WEISMANN-YEE, Project Assistant, McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, (ES ’08)–Kyle works with Oregon’s leading progressive foundation on fundraising, grantmaking, communications, and office management, helping to direct a half-million dollars in grants to community based organizations every year.

KHANH LE, Strategic Alliances Coordinator, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Portland. (ES ’06)–Khanh works with one of the nation’s leading public employee unions to build long-term partnerships between union members and community-based organizations.

NATE GULLEY, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Oregon Voice, (ES ’08)–Nate builds the political engagement capacities of community and advocacy organizations across the state, with a particular emphasis on bridging the gap between organizing and technology.



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