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Welcome to the San Diego Mesa College LGBTQ+ Ally/Out List, featuring members of the
Mesa community who proudly serve as advocates for respect, inclusivity, and acceptance.
This directory is comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators who choose to identify
themselves as either allies or members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Counselor, FYE Coordinator, RISE Club Co-Advisor, General Counseling
Counseling faculty that is authentic and passionate about student success and equity. I support and appreciate every person for their uniqueness. I love to cook, bake, garden and spend quality time with my family.
Associate Professor of English
Marie is an Associate Professor of English at Mesa College and has been teaching in the district for over 12 years. Her interest in intersectionality and gender studies inform her activism and teaching. She currently teaches an English 205 Honors course from an LGBTQ+ perspective.
I am a full-time student at Mesa studying Business Administration and Communications for transfer. I work on campus as a Peer Navigator and volunteer as a DSPS Ambassador. I have been openly gay for over 20 years. I have been an active supporter, activist, and educator within the LGBTQ+ community. Before coming to Mesa, I spent over a year volunteering at the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center in administration and as a youth mentor. I make it my goal to be supportive and mentor anyone who is related to or curious about the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone is welcome to approach me with questions or to have someone be there for them.
Intructional Lab Technician, Sculpture
I am new to Mesa, but have already been inspired by the support and strength in this community. I want students to know I am in the wood shop in the fine arts building and am always available to listen and offer support, however I can. As for me, I am a fine artist who grew up on the east coast, attended Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for undergrad and UCSD for grad school. I also worked as an admissions counselor for MICA for many years, assisting students from around the world and myriad backgrounds. Through both that position and my art I have been fortunate to call many places home around the world; learning how to become a careful listener, to assume nothing when meeting someone, and to be grateful for those around me. If you ever want to chat, or have some questions about applying to art colleges, stop on by.
Associate Professor, English
I am an Associate Professor of English and the Writing Center Coordinator. More importantly, I will listen to you and withhold any judgment. I will never give you advice, unless you ask, and I will be someone you can open up to and talk to freely. Please contact me if you need or want someone to talk to.
Kevin branson, ed.d.
Instructional Computing Specialist, Supervisor
I have worked in education for 18 years and understand the many barriers facing students. My goal is to break down barriers so all students can achieve academic success. I have a positive can-do attitude and enjoy being with colleagues and friends. I’ve been married to my Husband for ten years and have a Pit Bull named Rocky.
Counselor, Athletic and MAAP Coordinator
I have been a Counselor here at Mesa College for over 12 years and I have passion for the power of story. Everyone has a story and it is important to take the time to listen and learn from others. When I am not working at Mesa, I love to spend time with my family and friends and my dog, travel, work out and listen and dance to music. Life is about the relationships you create and it is important to take the time to give to others and also take time to self-care.
ian duckles, ph.d.
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
District Honors Co-Coordinator
AFT Guild Vice-President for Mesa Faculty
I have been teaching philosophy at Mesa since 2008, and have been a full-time professor since 2016. I am one of the Honors Coordinators at Mesa, and am very active in the faculty and staff union. I believe that all students deserve access to a quality education and a safe and respectful learning environment. If there is anything I can do to assist you, please contact me.
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
I teach in the Communication Studies Dept. and I like provide a space where VOICES are never LEFT out. Come share your story with me!
Adjunct Professor, Italian
Hello! I am an Adjunct Faculty of Italian at Mesa College and an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at NISD Counseling in Hillcrest. Making sure that students have access to the support they need to pursue their dreams is what I care about most. I strive to make my classes accessible to everyone and I support all who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community in my work as a psychotherapist. Through these paths, I've come to know that isolation makes things worst. I've joined the LGBTQ+ Safe Zone Task Force at Mesa to break the isolation and help students find the support they need. Feel free to reach out at any time. I'd love to hear your story.
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Though I’m originally from Oklahoma, I call San Diego home. In 2016 I moved here with my wife to teach at Mesa. I teach a variety of courses in philosophy, including: logic, ethics, and philosophy of science. I am also a faculty co-advisor for the Philosophy Club. I love my work here. In each class I teach I aim to empower students to be the best they can be in my class and beyond. I want all students to feel comfortable and safe enough to enjoy learning philosophy. In my spare time, I enjoy going to concerts and the theatre, exploring the San Diego area, and cuddling with our fur-babies.
Adjunct Professor, Computer Programming
Transgender woman she/her/hers, know-it-all, Army (ASA) vet (Korea), 3d Dan in Tang Soo, published 4 spy novels about young trans people: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/chloecrypto. Like Cryptography, Skating, Russian/Korean. I keep rooting for the human soul. Manage anxiety and depression.
Associate Professor of Spanish; Assistant Chair, Department of Languages
Michael is a Spanish professor in the Languages Department at Mesa, including teaching in the Mesa College study abroad program to Madrid, Spain during the summers. His research interests lie in contemporary Spanish culture, comics studies, superhero studies and queer theory. He lives in the Serra Mesa area with his husband of 16 years, Clay. In his spare time, he sings, acts, and dances with various theatrical and choral groups in San Diego.
Associate Dean, Research and Planning
Bridget is devoted to equity in education and is an outspoken advocate and ally for students. As a researcher, she is passionate about supporting the college in their vision of equity and excellence. In addition to conducting research and evaluations on campus, Bridget teaches psychology and Educational leadership at a number of colleges throughout San Diego County. When she is not at work she enjoys hanging with her family at the beach, playing sports with her kids, and mentoring new researchers and students in their pursuits.
Assistant Professor, History
Hi, I’m Dr. Kim, and I teach US history (HIST 109 & 110), Women’s history (HIST 141 & 142), and Asian American history (HIST 123) here at Mesa. I, along with Kevin Branson and Michael Harrison, played a key role in bringing LGBTQ+ Safe Zone trainings to our campus beginning in 2016. As an educator and LGBTQ+ ally, my message is simple: I’m here to treat all students with dignity and respect as they move forward on their educational path. I’m proud to be a Safe Zone for those who seek shelter, mentorship, or random historical trivia.
Instructional Support Supervisor, Mesa Tutoring and Computing Centers (MT2C)
Since September 2016, I have served as the Instructional Support Supervisor for the Mesa Tutoring and Computing Centers (MT2C). I’m passionate about supporting students, not only in their academic ventures but in reaching their personal goals as well. And, I believe in the power and importance of having a safe space where you can be seen, heard, and valued for who you are. If you need someone to talk to or if you would like to share your story, please feel free to email me or swing by my office in the LRC at any time!
Adjunct Faculty, Counseling
My passion is working with LGB & T+ students. In graduate school, my area of study was focused on how community colleges can support transgender and gender non-conforming students. Please let me know how I can better support you during your time here at Mesa!
President, San Diego Mesa College
I am beginning my 8th year at the college, earning my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, and MA and BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology from San Jose State University. I have served in community colleges for over 37 years in roles as adjunct and full time faculty and administration. I serve on several boards to include San Diego Youth Services and statewide leadership groups. Support for underrepresented students and the systems that create positive change for them is one of my primary goals as a leader.
Adjunct Professor, English
AA in English (SWC); AA in Child Development (SWC); BA in English (SDSU); Paraprofessional Home Visitor Certificate (SWC); Higher Education Certification (SDSU); MA in Human Behavior (NU); and MA in English (NU); and Online Certification (MESA).
Dean, School of Learning Resources and Academic Suppport
I am honored to be the dean in the LRC. Since coming to the building, I have worked with faculty, managers, and classified professionals in striving to make it the most welcoming and safe place on campus. My door is always open, whether it be for a chat over a cup of coffee (my treat), help in navigating the services of a complex system, or just to have someone sit and listen to what’s on your mind. Please come by and ask for Andy. I’m on the fourth floor.
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
Co-Director, Mesa Speech & Debate (Forensics)
I was born and raised in Orange County, CA. I proudly serve as the Co-Director of the Mesa Speech & Debate team where I help students find power in their voices. You can find me teaching various courses in the Communication Studies department. I am also a proud member of the Safe Zone Task Force. In my spare time, I love to travel, hike, cook, hit the gym (to offset all the cooking!), spend time with family and friends, and go to the movies.
Adjunct Professor, Music
I am an adjunct professor of voice in the music department here at Mesa College. I also teach private voice and other music classes at Point Loma Nazarene University. I also sing professionally with San Diego Opera, Church of the Nativity, and Temple Adat Shalom. I am married to a fabulous chef and have one beautiful baby boy. I am very proud to be a part of Mesa College's advocacy for a safe, respectful, and equal learning environment for the LGBTQ+ community.
Associate Professor, Archaeology/Anthropology; Assistant Chair, Behavioral Sciences
I am Mesa's resident archaeologist! My fieldwork is in Guatemala and concentrates on the ancient Maya. These days, I'm flying drones to learn even more about this fascinating culture. I teach introductory classes to Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology, as well as others. I'm originally from New Jersey, but came out to California for graduate school. I'm also faculty advisor for the Anthropology Club. Always feel free to stop by my office on the 2nd floor of the SB building or a club meeting!
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
There is strength in numbers. I used to feel different and alone because I did not see others like me. Hiding seemed to be my second nature. When I got to college I gave a speech in an oral communication course and was drafted onto that college’s speech team. Here is where I meet an openly gay teacher who changed the course of my life. His name is Chris. He inspires me to live openly, with pride and confidence. I made friends with people who support me without judgment. Currently, I teach Communication Studies and am a part of S.D. Mesa College’s LGBTQ+ community. Every day I get to pay forward the empowerment I was afforded. S.D. Mesa cares. I care. We are all in this together. Join us. And if speech and debate team interests you, come on over; you are always welcome.
caterina (Cathy) palestini
Administrative Technician, School of Learning Resources and Academic Support
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
Assistant Coach, Mesa Speech & Debate (Forensics)
Co-Coordinator, Honors College
Our diversity of thought, political orientation, religious orientation, sexual orientation and every other metric makes the world strong and beautiful. Diversity is not a liability, it is an asset and should therefore be celebrated. I celebrate every student who chooses to study at San Diego Mesa College, including our proud LGBT+ population. If you are LGBT+, please know that you will always have a friend in me!
Nina (carolina) rostworowski
Instructional Assistant, Mesa Tutoring and Computing Centers (MT2C)
I believe in human beings and trust the power of kindness. Feel free to contact me if you feel like chatting or having a coffee.
Digital Color Technician, Printing Services
Doesn’t really need an introduction; Mom of 2 beautiful kids; Proud parent of LGBTQ+; Still learning how to be a better LGBTQ+ Ally; Heart of Gold; Can be grumpy at times; RuPaul’s Drag Race super fan; Loves Gummy Bears; Veteran of Printing & Mail Services @ Mesa College; love TRUMPs hate.
Senior Secretary, Exercise Science, Dance, Health, and Athletics
I believe that everyone has a place in this world and sometimes all we need is someone to listen to us without judgment. Like so many others on this campus, I’m here to help our students be successful in and out of the classroom. On a personal note, I have been at Mesa for 15 years were I started out as one of the softball coaches, and now am the Dean’s secretary for Exercise Science, Dance, Health and Athletics. I’ve been married for 15 years and him and I are proud parents of our gay daughter. She is currently the VP of her school’s GSA club which she help start last year. I enjoy playing softball, OTL (over the line), photography, traveling and am a HUGE Seattle Seahawks fan.
Counselor, General Counseling and Career Center
Career and General Counseling Faculty member at Mesa College. Dedicated to providing empowering academic, transfer, personal and career counseling to community college students. San Diego native and lover of multicultural food, morning yoga, global travel and great conversations. I always like help my students answers the big questions they have about moving forward in their lives.
Ann Kalscheur Suárez
Adjunct Professor, Spanish
Professor Kalscheur Suárez has loved living in the wonderfully diverse border region of San Diego since she completed her doctoral studies at UCI. She looks forward to each new semester as an opportunity to build community within her classroom and help her students succeed in their study of the Spanish language and cultural productions of Spanish-speaking populations around the world.
Project Assistant, Career Center
I am a first generation college graduate from a low-income and refugee family background. I majored in Urban Studies and Planning at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and I am now pursuing my Master of Arts in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs from the San Diego State University (SDSU). I currently work at the San Diego Mesa College Career Center leading and developing the first Career Peer Ambassador Program in the California Community College system. I am committed to serving students, especially disproportionately impacted populations, through educationally empowering and investing in the narratives of my students to assist them in developing and shaping their life experiences to obtain their academic, personal and professional goals. In my spare time, I enjoy Crossfit training, and spending time with my loved ones.
Adjunct Professor, History
I am a parent of a LGBTQ+ kid, and part of a group called Mama Dragons. We are over 2700 strong internationally. We provide hugs and safe spaces for LGBTQ+ kids who are in need. We are the mamas LGBTQ+ kids sometimes find themselves without. Sometimes we breathe fire when necessary... While I myself am married to a man, I am a historian of gender and sexuality at Mesa College. My classes are inclusive of sexuality and gender identities. I am a resource. I am an ear on campus if needed, and my classes are very LGBTQ+ friendly.
Adjunct Professor, History
Mark Vezzola has taught Native American history at Mesa College since 2007. He is a practicing attorney specializing in federal Indian and tribal law. Originally from the east coast, Mark graduated from UMass- Amherst with a BA in history and moved west in 2001 for grad school. He earned a JD and MA in American Indian Studies from UCLA. He and his husband live in North Park.
Lauren B. Wade, MA, CPA
Associate Professor, Accounting
Lauren B. Wade is a graduate of the University of San Diego. She graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in accountancy and a master's degree in Peace and Justice with an emphasis in conflict analysis and resolution. Lauren is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of California and worked in public accounting as an auditor prior to transitioning to academia. Lauren is interested in helping her students find their perfect "career" and loves getting to know her students. Lauren is passionate about inclusion and is an active member of Mesa College's Committee for Diversity, Action, Inclusion, and Equity. She is an active member of the San Diego community. Outside of work you can find Lauren exploring the world with her family. Lauren enjoys participating in the vast cultural events offered in San Diego and can be found at the various museums during her free time.
Career Peer Ambassador, Career Center
I am a Mesa College student and a Career Peer Ambassador at the Mesa College Career Center. I am double majoring in Psychology and Hospitality and am looking forward to earning my degrees by Spring 2020. I believe one of my strengths is empathy because I value connectedness and bringing people together. I hope to create a safe space when working with students of all identities at the Career Center. Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I found it difficult to find a sense of belonging but I am thankful I found a safe space at Mesa College where I am working my first job while also being a full-time student.
MESA LGBTQ+ advocacy
Mesa College faculty and staff attending the CCC-LGBTQ Conference at UC, Riverside
in November, 2017
Left to right: Kevin Branson, Waverly Ray, Claudia Perkins, Gloria Kim, Michael Harrison, Judy Sundayo
Safe Zone trained
The following members of the Mesa College community have taken part in the Safe Zone Training program:
- Pam Luster, President
- Ailene Crakes, Dean of Student Development
- Bridget Herrin, Associate Dean of Research and Planning
- Andrew MacNeil, Dean of Learning Resources and Academic Support
- Kevin Branson, Supervisor, Instructional Computing Specialist, College Technology Services
- Nina (Carolina) Rostworowski, Instructional Assistant, MT2C Tutoring
- Rocio Sandoval, Digital Color Technician, Printing Services
- Trevor Amery, Instructional Lab Technician, Sculpture
- Amber Alatorre, Counseling
- Kristina Carson, Counseling
- Ron Dewse, Counseling
- Adrienne Dines, Counseling
- Shirley Flor, Counseling
- Terrence Hale, Counseling
- Guillermo Marrujo, Counseling
- Laura Mathis, Counseling
- Miriam Pacheco, Counseling
- Kari Parke, Counseling
- Raul Rodriguez, Counseling
- Raquel Sojourner, Counseling
- Judy Sundayo, Counseling
School of arts & languages
- Hannah Padilla Barajas, Spanish
- Carina Diaz, Spanish
- Lodovica Guidarelli, Italian
- Michael Harrison, Spanish
- Carmen Lira, Spanish
- Alison Primoza, Spanish
- Ann Kalscheur Suárez, Spanish
- Patxi Zabaleta, Spanish
School of business & technology
- Lauren Wade, Accounting
School of Humanities
- Sakeenah Gallardo, Communication Studies
- Bryan Malinis, Communication Studies
- Das Nugent-Odasso, Communication Studies
- Scott Plambek, Communication Studies
- Jorge Villalobos, English
school of mathematics & natural sciences
- Laleh Howard, Mathematics
school of social/behavioral sciences and multicultural studies
- Ian Duckles, Philosophy
- Gloria Kim, History
- Ryan Mongelluzzo, Anthropology/Archaeology
- Oscar V. Torres, Psychology