Storytellers

Carlos Robles-Shanahan

Carlos is currently consulting global transfer-pricing and working with multinational corporations to analyze, develop and document global intercompany pricing strategies. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and undergraduate degrees in Secondary Education and Spanish from Loyola University Chicago. Carlos previously worked as a high school teacher, as well as a research assistant to develop programs in higher education

He shares his thoughts with Dr. Ann Lin and Dulce Rios-Ortiz in the Undocumented episode, where they collectively explore the resistance and rugged path toward opportunities undocumented students face at the University of Michigan, and their commitment to support and advocate for the needs of the undocumented community.

Dr. Ann Lin

Ann is an Associate Professor at the Ford School of Public Policy. She is currently studying immigration policies, such as guest worker programs and legalization, and the political beliefs of American immigrants. She looks at the provisions that make policy easy or difficult to implement, the beliefs and behavior of people who implement policies, and the reactions of those who are targeted by policy. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1994 and was the 1992-93 Robert W. Hartley Fellow in Governmental Studies at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Lin was a social worker at Covenant House in New York City, and a member of the Covenant House Faith Community. 

She shares her thoughts with Carlos Robles-Shanahan and Dulce Rios-Ortiz in the Undocumented episode, where they collectively explore the resistance and rugged path toward opportunities undocumented students face at the University of Michigan, and their commitment to support and advocate for the needs of the undocumented community.

Dulce Rios-Ortiz

Dulce is a senior in the College of Engineering, studying Engineering Physics with a concentration in Optics. Her passion is light: photonics, lasers, virtual reality. She has participated in Astrophysical research, in both theoretical and laboratory settings throughout the last three years and has served as a peer advisor for The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Dulce transferred from Grand Rapids Community College with an associate in Science. She spends her days helping other community college transfer students adjust and take full advantage of all the opportunities presented by the University. She is an advocate for DACA and undocumented students and works to support students to build connections and opportunities on campus.

She shares her thoughts with Dr. Ann Lin and Carlos Robles-Shanahan in the Undocumented episode, where they collectively explore the resistance and rugged path toward opportunities undocumented students face at the University of Michigan, and their commitment to support and advocate for the needs of the undocumented community.

Tait Sye

Tait is a veteran communications strategist with more than fifteen years’ experience in the government, nonprofit and private sectors. He holds both a Master’s degree in Education and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan. Most recently, Sye was a political appointee for President Obama, serving in various roles including Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs; and Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As Deputy Assistant Secretary, he led the public affairs strategy for the department’s wide-ranging public health portfolio, working on issues from the Ebola outbreak to anti-obesity efforts. He oversaw communications and public affairs for the Department’s public health agencies, including CDC, FDA, NIH, and the office of the Surgeon General. His international experience also includes collaboration with the Taiwan Ministry of Health. As Senior Advisor, he managed communications strategy for the Affordable Care Act, including opposing efforts to repeal it. Sye has also served as vice-president at Crosscut Strategies, a strategic communications consulting firm, working with high growth digital health and cybersecurity companies; and national media director for Planned Parenthood.

In the Myths and Legends podcast, Tait talks with Dr. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman and Sungjee Dianne Ro about how the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community has negotiated, defined, and redefined themselves throughout the years by challenging the perpetual foreigner stereotypes, asserting their presence and rights as Americans, and extending the community to encompass Pacific Islanders.

Dr. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman

Amy is a Professor of American Culture and Music, the Director of Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at the University of Michigan, and is a leading scholar of Hawaiian music and dance.

In the Myths and Legends podcast, Amy talks with Tait Sye and Sungjee Dianne Ro about how the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community has negotiated, defined, and redefined themselves throughout the years by challenging the perpetual foreigner stereotypes, asserting their presence and rights as Americans, and extending the community to encompass Pacific Islanders.

Sungjee Dianne Ro

Dianne is a junior at the Ross School of Business, concentrating in Finance and Accounting, and a minor in the APIA Studies program. On campus, she is involved in the Korean Student Association and the Midwest Asian American Studies Union.

In the Myths and Legends podcast, Dianne talks with Dr. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman and Tait Sye about how the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community has negotiated, defined, and redefined themselves throughout the years by challenging the perpetual foreigner stereotypes, asserting their presence and rights as Americans, and extending the community to encompass Pacific Islanders.

Dr. Lee Gill

Lee brings more than 25 years of private and public sector experience working with major corporate executives, law firm executive committees, and college presidents. Lee holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctor Degree in law from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Kent College of Law. He is the Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President for Inclusive Excellence at Clemson University. He serves on numerous boards of directors including the Upstate Urban League, NCORE (National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education), the National Conference of Artists, and Hispanic Alliance. Previously, Lee was appointed as The University of Akron’s first Associate Vice President for Inclusion & Equity/Chief Diversity Officer.  In that role, he directed outreach efforts to diverse populations of students, faculty, staff, and community members developing mentoring programs, workshops, and seminars that raise cultural awareness, expand cultural competencies, and bring about a greater understanding and valuing of differences in people. 

He shares his thoughts with Dr. Stephen Ward and Sena Adjei-Agbai in the Safe Spaces episode, which explores where and how students from historically marginalized identities have found safe spaces to live, learn, and lead together.

Dr. Stephen Ward

Stephen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and the Residential College at the University of Michigan. His teaching and writing focus on two areas of recent American history. One is African American political thought and social movements, particularly the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The other area is the evolution of cities since World War II, with an emphasis on grassroots activism and community-based approaches to urban redevelopment. Much of his work focuses on the city of Detroit. He is completing a dual-biography of two long-time Detroit activists, James, and Grace Lee Boggs, and he is a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, a community-based organization in Detroit.

He shares his thoughts with Dr. Lee Gill and Sena Adjei-Agbai in the Safe Spaces episode, which explores where and how students from historically marginalized identities have found safe spaces to live, learn, and lead together.

Sena Adjei-Agbai

Sena is a Ghanaian-American transfer student studying Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan. He was born and raised in Ann Arbor and hopes to pursue law in his professional career.

He shares his thoughts with Dr. Stephen Ward and Dr. Lee Gill in the Safe Spaces episode, which explores where and how students from historically marginalized identities have found safe spaces to live, learn, and lead together.

Dr. Jaime Chahin

Jaime is a Professor and Dean of the College of Applied Arts at Texas State University. Prior to that, he served as Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Senior Policy Analyst for the Select Committee for Higher Education of Texas. He holds both a Master’s in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Education Administration from the University of Michigan. He received his B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from Texas A&I University. In addition, he has completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard and the Salsburg Institute in Austria. His research interests involve immigrants, cultural and public policy issues that impact access to higher education.

He was born in Eagle Pass, Texas and migrated with his family during his childhood. Currently, he is the chair of the Colonias Committee for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. For the last ten years, he has managed “Caminos,” a bridge program for middle school students in San Marcos. His most recent research publications include “Values, Migrant Parents, Leadership and the Public Good” (2017); “The Cultivation and Socialization of Graduate Students in the Food and Agricultural Sciences” (2014); “Latino Youth Resilience” (2011), “Engaged Scholarship in Hispanic-Serving Institutions” (August 2010) and co-editor of Handbook of U.S. Latino Psychology: Development and Community-Based Perspectives (August 2009). He also was executive producer of two PBS documentaries Mexican American Legislative Caucus: The Texas Struggle for Equality and Opportunity, which premiered on PBS on October 8, 2007, and, The Forgotten Americans, a film about colonias in the U.S. Mexico border, which premiered at the Smithsonian and on PBS on December 14, 2000. The documentary received a First Place Award from the National Council of Families.

In the Constructing Community podcast, Jaime speaks with Dr. Maria Cotera and Yvonne Navarrete to discuss access to diversity and student contributions to communities on campus that further connect, advocate, and strengthen dynamics of campus movements at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Maria Cotera

Maria is an associate professor in the Department of Women’s Studies and American Culture, as well as the Director of Latina/o Studies at the University of Michigan. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University’s Program in Modern Thought, and an M.A. in English from the University of Texas. Her first book, Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita González, and the Poetics of Culture, (University of Texas Press, 2008) received the Gloria Anzaldúa book prize for 2009 from the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA). Currently, she is working on two major research initiatives. The first, Chicana por mi Raza, is a national digital humanities project that seeks to create an online interactive archive of oral histories and material culture documenting Chicana Feminist praxis from 1965-1985. The second, El Museo del Norte, is a partnership with Southwest Detroit arts and culture organizations with the aim of creating a “museum without walls” that documents Latino history in the Midwest. She is the lead curator for two exhibitions: Las Rebeldes: Stories of Strength and Struggle in southeast Michigan (2013) and Chicana Fotos: Nancy De Los Santos (2017).

In the Constructing Community podcast, Maria speaks with Dr. Jaime Chahin and Yvonne Navarrete to discuss access to diversity and student contributions to communities on campus that further connect, advocate, and strengthen dynamics of campus movements at the University of Michigan.

Yvonne Navarrete

Yvonne is a sophomore at the Ford School of Public Policy, concentrating on education policy and current Lead Director of La Casa: the Latinx umbrella organization on campus. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, she immigrated to the United States at the age of two. As a proud Detroiter, immigrant rights advocate, and a product of Detroit Public Schools, contributing to the improvement of urban public school systems motivates her involvements inside and outside of the classroom. A first-generation college student with DACA status, Yvonne actively participates in the University community as a member of PILOT and as a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc., while also assisting in research analyzing the effectiveness of charter schools in Michigan.

In the Constructing Community podcast, Jaime speaks with Dr. Maria Cotera and Yvonne Navarrete to discuss access to diversity and student contributions to communities on campus that further connect, advocate, and strengthen dynamics of campus movements at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Cesar Orozco

Cesar is the Director of Government and Community Affairs at the Office of the Illinois Comptroller. Cesar obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctorate from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. In college, he served as the Induction Officer and President of the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Lambda Theta Phi Fraternidad Latina, Inc.

In the Fraternities and Sororities podcast, Cesar shares stories with Courtney Monroe and Richard Nunn about the history of exclusion and the impact of student organizations rising to reflect campus climate.

Courtney Monroe

Courtney has been working with the Office of Greek Life as the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council Advisor since January 2011. As a native Detroiter, she was exposed to the service that Greek Life provides at an early age -rendering interest in joining her National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority.

In the Fraternities and Sororities podcast, Courtney shares stories with Richard Nunn and Dr. Cesar Orozco about the history of exclusion and the impact of student organizations rising to reflect campus climate.

Richard Nunn

Richard is a current doctoral student in the School of Education with a concentration in Public Policy and Postsecondary Education. In college, Richard was a founding brother of the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Lambda Theta Phi Fraternidad Latina, Inc. at the University of Michigan.

In the Fraternities and Sororities podcast, Richard shares stories with Courtney Monroe and Dr. Cesar Orozco about the history of exclusion and the impact of student organizations rising to reflect campus climate.

Sherise Steele

Sherise is a financial advisor at Gateway Financial Partners. As a first generation college grad from the University of Michigan she served as president of the Black Student Union and other organizations on as a student.

Sherise shares her thoughts with Dr. Elizabeth James and Kyle Trocard about her role in the Black Student Union and the connection between technology and the development of social change movements at the University of Michigan.

Elizabeth James

Elizabeth is a native Detroiter and serves as the Program Manager in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. A three time alumna of the University of Michigan, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and the History of Art, as well as a Masters of Arts in Journalism and post-graduate work in the School of Information.

Elizabeth shares her thoughts with Sherise Steel and Kyle Trocard about her role in the Black Student Union and the connection between technology and the development of social change movements at the University of Michigan.

Kyle Trocard

Kyle is a sophomore in the Ross School of Business, planning on double majoring in Business Administration and Psychology, and is currently involved in the Black Student Union.

Kyle shares his thoughts with Dr. Elizabeth James and Sherise Steele about his role in the Black Student Union and the connection between technology and the development of social change movements at the University of Michigan.

Omar Hashwi

Omar is the West Coast Account Executive at Incorta. He consults enterprise corporations on their analytics technology and roadmap. He also runs a web design company in San Francisco that develops aesthetically pleasing and revenue centric websites for companies nationwide. In his 5 years at Michigan, Omar was primarily focused on enhancing the student life of undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of areas. He served as the Vice President of the Central Student Government, Founder of the Arab Graduation Ceremony, Founder of PILOT, Founder of Stamp Nation Music, and Brother of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc. Academically, Omar is a double-graduate from the University of Michigan. He holds a Master of Business Management degree from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies; a minor in Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society; and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship. As a Gates Millennium Scholar, Bill Gates has funded and will fully fund up to 10 years of his education.

Omar shares his thoughts with Dr. Samer Ali and Nour Eidy as they explore how Arab students organized their graduation ceremony, and in the process, wrestled with ideas of what it means to be “counted” and identified and recognized as a community.

Dr. Samer Ali

Samer is the author of Arabic Literary Salons in the Islamic Middle Ages. His research focuses on the intersections of power, identity, and language in the Middle Ages, and particularly how ordinary people embraced the Islamic humanities to gain respect and influence in society. His publications have appeared in the Encyclopedia of IslamThe Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Al-QantaraThe Journal of Arabic Literature, and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. His work has earned seven national and international awards, including five Fulbright Awards. At the University of Michigan, he teaches The Arabian Nights, Arab Women Poets, Islamic Law, and Classical Arabic Poetry. He is currently working on a book about the poet al-Mutanabbi (10th century) and approaches to peace and nonviolent in Islamic traditions. Before entering academia, he taught kindergarten for two years in Chicago. He enjoys hiking and global travel, and has visited more than 20 countries.

Samer shares his thoughts with Omar Hashwi and Nour Eidy as they explore how Arab students organized their own graduation ceremonies, and in the process, wrestled with ideas of what it means to be “counted” and identified and recognized as a community.

Nourel-Hoda Eidy

Nour is a first-year student in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, she immigrated to Dearborn, Michigan at the age five. Passionate about providing medical access to impoverished areas, she intends to transfer to the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health to pursue a degree in Community and Global Public Health. As a participant in UROP, she is part of a research team studying the effects of cognitive, motor and demographic factors on the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Firmly committed to her community and issues of social justice, she is actively involved in the Arab American professional development initiative, serves as the Director of Finance for PILOT, and assists in the organization of the Big Ihtifal-UM’s Arab American graduation celebration.

Nour shares her thoughts in the Celebrations podcast with Dr. Samer Ali and Omar Hashwi. Together they explore how Arab students organized their own graduation ceremonies, and in the process, wrestled with ideas of what it means to be “counted” and identified and recognized as a community.