The Diversity Council is made up of administrators, faculty, staff and students at WSU Vancouver. Members are appointed by the vice chancellor for academic affairs from a pool of candidates. Prospective new members may nominate themselves or be nominated by others annually, usually in March, in response to an open call for nominations.
The student diversity intern is selected through a competitive, university-wide application process, usually during the spring semester.
Diversity Council Members
Luz María Gordillo
Luz María Gordillo, Chair, is Associate Professor and Program Leader in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at WSU Vancouver. She’s the author of Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration: Engendering Transnational Ties and collaborated with Linda Heidenreich in publishing Three Decades of Engendering History: Selected Works of Antonia I. Castañeda. Gordillo co-directed and co-produced the film Antonia: A Chicana Story.
Gordillo is currently addressing the Age of Eugenics during the tenure of the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, NY with an emphasis on the women who were involved: patients, philanthropists and fieldworkers.
Randy Boose has been Director of Human Resources and a member of the Diversity Council for the past 12 years. He was previously Human Resources Director at Portland Community College, where he served as the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator for 12 years. He is past Board President of Store-to-Door, a non-profit agency that assists Portland area seniors and people with disabilities by providing a low-cost personalized grocery shopping and delivery service. Randy is also co-advisor for the student Human Resources Society.
Renny Christopher has served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at WSU Vancouver since 2013. Her research focuses on issues of race, class and gender in U.S. literature and culture. Her memoir, A Carpenter’s Daughter: A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education (Sense Publishers, 2009), addresses her experience as the first in her family to attend college. She has taught at several universities in California and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain in 2000. Before earning her doctorate, Christopher worked as a printing press operator, typesetter, carpenter and horse wrangler.
Elias Cohen has served as Research Specialist for Campus Effectiveness at WSU Vancouver since 2014. He conducts institutional research for the campus with an emphasis on understanding determinants of student success. His work seeks to inform campus efforts to grow into a major pillar of Southwest Washington for improving the lives of its residents and for eliminating disparities between sub-populations. Cohen received a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in Cognitive Psychology and has studied human visual perception using computational, neuroscientific and behavioral methods.
Richard Felix is a research faculty member in the department of Integrated Physiology and Neuroscience at Washington State University Vancouver. His research is focused on understanding the causes of hearing disorders that arise within the brain. Richard’s community involvement includes serving as a school-based mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest. He is committed to extending research opportunities to students who currently lack adequate representation in science.
Obie Ford III
Obie Ford III delivers proactive leadership to WSU Vancouver. He serves to advance and realize the university’s strategic goal to promote an ethical and socially just society through an intentional commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Obie is a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet, and the inaugural campus director of equity and diversity at WSU Vancouver.
Steve Fountain teaches courses in early American, Native American and environmental history. His research involves Native American history and culture, and the intersection with colonial ideologies and environmental change. He was a 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Diversity Council Faculty Fellow and continues to coordinate Native American programs and outreach at WSU Vancouver. He is currently working on curriculum projects to bring local history and culture into the public schools, and continues to advise the WSU Vancouver Native American History and Culture Symposia.
Linda Garcia has been the Circulation and Reserves Assistant at the WSU Vancouver Library since July 2016. She received her BFA (Studio Arts) in Graphic Design from the University of Idaho, and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. She believes libraries are a place for intellectual freedom, equity and preservation. Her areas of interest include LatinX librarians in higher education, outreach, promoting equality in libraries, universal design, assessment, library spaces design and looking at how underrepresented populations interact with academic libraries.
Helen Gregory is the administrative manager for Student Affairs and Enrollment and also serves as the Campus Student Conduct Officer. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Washington State University Vancouver and was also a student in the Master of Public Affairs program. Helen has supported diversity, equity and cultural competency through student programs, special events and service on a variety of committees as a WSU Vancouver employee since 2003.
Desiree Hellegers has been teaching at WSU Vancouver since 1993 and was a founding co-director of the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice. Her books include No Room of Her Own: Women’s Stories of Homelessness, Life, Death and Resistance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Handmaid to Divinity, Natural Philosophy, Poetry and Gender in Seventeenth Century England (University of Oklahoma 2000). Her research interests include environmental justice literature and cultural politics, social movements and civil liberties. She is board member of Portland Peace and Justice Works, and a member of the Old Mole Variety Hour collective on Portland’s KBOO radio.
Tracy Klein is a family nurse practitioner and Assistant Professor in the FNP/DNP program at Washington State University where her expertise includes pharmacology, scope of practice, health policy and health regulation. She is the current Vice-Chair of the Oregon State Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee and has been a member of Oregon's Evidence Based Prescribing Review Committees since 2002. She holds elected positions on the Board of Directors for ARNP United and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and is a Fellow in the Academy of Nursing and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. A first generation student, she enjoys mentoring pharmacy and nursing students and residents. She has over 20 years experience clinically serving patients with limited access to care, and currently works in a Medicaid-based family practice clinic in Vancouver, WA.
Julie Mercado is a recent graduate from WSU Vancouver. Julie earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and is currently working towards her master’s degree on Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education. Julie works as Recruitment Coordinator for the Office of Admissions at WSU Vancouver. During her time as a student, Julie had the opportunity to serve enrolled students, prospective students and their families, and community members through a variety of position such as Lead Ambassador, Latino/Hispanic Student Outreach and Success Committee member, Accessibility Council member and as an Impact Volunteer at WSU Vancouver Student Diversity Center.
Kevan Moffett is an Assistant Professor in the School of the Environment. Her research focus is on the relations between water and ecosystems, or ecohydrology, as applied to wetlands, forests and urban systems. Moffett teaches courses on water in the environment and on natural resources/hazards that are aimed to help students better understand the natural world that surrounds us. Moffett is committed to the promotion of women and minorities in academia and to equal access to STEM education, and environmental science in particular, for people of all backgrounds, abilities and ages.
Leslie New is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, with a research focus on statistical ecology. She teaches courses on applied statistics that are aimed to help individuals from across disciplines use quantitative methods in their field. She is committed to the promotion of minorities and women with STEM fields, and statistics in particular.
Adenike Otoikhian received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Portland State University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University. She is a published author of a number of scientific articles which have been well cited by scientists around the world. For the past 5 academic years, she has taught general and organic chemistry to a diverse student population at Washington State University Vancouver. She serves as a faculty mentor for the Critical Literacy Achievement and Success Program (CLASP). As a faculty mentor, she helps to support the retention of low-income, first generation and underrepresented students through one-on-one mentoring.
Nischala Reddy is Clinical Assistant Professor of Finance at Washington State University Vancouver since fall 2014. Her research interests include mergers and acquisitions (leveraged buyouts), banking and CEO compensation. She teaches undergraduate finance courses such as corporate finance, international finance and MBA finance. She obtained her Ph.D. in Business Administration Finance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, MBA in Finance, and undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from India.
Carol Siegel works on the representation of sexuality and gender. Her book publications include: Sex Radical Cinema (2015), Goth's Dark Empire (2005), New Millennial Sexstyles (2000), Male Masochism: Modern Revisions of the Story of Love (1995), Lawrence Among the Women: Wavering Boundaries in Women's Literary Traditions (1991) and the co-edited collections: The Gay '90s: Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Formations in Queer Studies (1997), Sex Positives?: The Cultural Politics of Dissident Sexualities (1997), Forming and Reforming Identity (1995), and Eroticism and Containment: News from the Flood Plain (1994). She also co-edits, with Ellen E. Berry, the online journal Rhizomes.
Luz Rocío Sotomayor
L. Rocío Sotomayor teaches math and probability classes in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and has been involved in Latino educational and health services since 2012. At WSU Vancouver, Sotomayor has served in different organizing committees at the Student Diversity Center, and has collaborated with the Latin@ Student Association. Stotomayor holds a Ph.D. in Mathematical Finance from the University of Alberta in Canada, a master’s degree in Mathematics from IMPA in Brazil, and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from PUCP in Perú.
Tracy Tachiera has been an instructor in the Human Development department since 2011. She currently teaches Family Diversity, Families in Poverty, and Work and Family. Tracy earned her B.A. in Human Development at Washington State University Vancouver and her M.A. in Human Development at WSU in Pullman, WA. Tracy serves on the Building a Community of Equity (BaCE) committee, helping to develop a certification program for faculty and staff. She also serves on the WSU Vancouver Scholarship Committee and acts as the Campus Coordinator for the American Democracy Project’s Digital Polarization Initiative. She is also faculty advisor for the Human Development Club and advises approximately 25 Human Development students each semester.
U. N. Umesh
U. N. Umesh is Professor of Marketing at Washington State University Vancouver. His research and teaching cover a broad spectrum of business areas including innovation, patents, marketing models, entrepreneurship, data analytics and operations management. He obtained his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Washington, MBA in Marketing Management and an M.S. in Operations Research from the University of Rochester. His undergraduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. He has also taught at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, and Washington State University Pullman.
Jose Vazquez was born in rural Oaxaca Mexico and educated in Mexico City where he completed a B.Sc. in Condensed Matter at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Azcapotzalco) and M.Sc in High Energy Physics at CINVESTAV, then granted a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in London UK in Research Techniques in Physics (1992). Vazquez spent time as a postdoc in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and after residing in San Juan (Puerto Rico) teaching in public and private universities, Vazquez came to the Northwest where he has been teaching physics. Vazquez is currently working on observational astronomy and is an instructor of Physics and Astronomy at WSU Vancouver.
Sky Wilson is the Student Diversity Advisor, and Coordinator for the Student Diversity Center at Washington State University Vancouver. His interdisciplinary research focuses on political economy, and the social production of time and space. Sky works to bridge the gap between the town and the gown by putting his research to work in his organizing and public education projects.
Nolan Yaws-Gonzalez is the Assistant Manager of the Student Resource Center. He oversees Career Services and New Student Programs at WSU Vancouver. Throughout his time at WSU Vancouver, Nolan has worked closely with initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion, including serving on the Presidential Commission for Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation, advising Cougar Pride Club, and serving on the Building a Culture of Equity training development committee. Prior to becoming a VanCoug in January 2015, Nolan worked in Housing and Residence Life on other university campuses, leading social justice and identity based programs and trainings for residents and student staff members.
Nancy Youlden is currently Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment at Washington State University Vancouver. Nancy has served on all iterations of campus diversity committees since coming to WSU Vancouver in 1996. She has worked closely with the Diversity Council chair and members of the council as it evolves to meet a growing and changing campus population. Her office created and hired the first full-time diversity employee at WSU Vancouver (focus on recruitment and retention of a diverse student population). She has a keen interest in providing a safe and inclusive environment for all students, faculty and staff.
The Diversity Council welcomes all members of the WSU Vancouver community to attend meetings and discuss campus diversity concerns. Please email email@example.com to inquire about dates and inclusion on the agenda.