Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Members

 

Jose B. Alvarez

Jose B. Alvarez, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations (Taskforce Chair)

Born in Venezuela to a Venezuelan father and a Cuban mother, JBA was raised in a multicultural environment between his native country, Switzerland, and the United States. His Ph.D. in Cultural Studies emphasizes the study of Cuban culture, paying particular attention to the analysis of gender roles primarily in films and short stories of the Revolution. Due to a family relocation, he left his tenured job at the University of Georgia and moved to Italy 10 years ago. From an early age, he started questioning divisions based on race and social injustices. 

   
Kwame Phillips

Kwame Phillips, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies (Taskforce Vice-Chair) 

Born in London and raised in Jamaica, Professor Kwame Phillips specializes in sensory media production, visual anthropology, and audio culture. His work focuses on resilience, race, and social justice and he is passionate about merging art, activism, and academia. An avid cinephile, his current work oscillates between experimental documentary and mixtape scholarship.  

   
Raei Yohannes Megerssa

Raei Yohannes Megerssa, Student Representative of the Africans in the World Cultural Club

Raei Yohannes Megerssa is from Ethiopia and is undertaking a degree in Communication with a minor in Entrepreneurship. She is striving to leave a legacy of goodwill and immense change in the world through providing opportunities for the less privileged through the education she is receiving here at JCU. Raei hopes to make the JCU community a more comfortable and safe space for students to voice their opinions and thoughts on racially sensitive topics and to be the bridge between the student body and the administration. 

   
Francesca Yang

Francesca Yang, Student Representative of the Asian Culture Club

Francesca is an Italian-Chinese senior at JCU, majoring in International Business with a minor in Economics. She believes everyone should be comfortable to share their cultures and be curious to learn about others. As a task force member, she hopes to build a diverse, inclusive, and equal environment not only for the Asian community but for all JCU members.

   
Betselot Dejene

Betselot Dejene, Student Representative of the Student Government Diversity Committee

Betselot Dejene is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is majoring in International Affairs with a minor in Legal Studies. She believes in creating spaces for people to voice their opinions and share their identities and perspectives. She is a firm believer in the beauty that is created from diversity and hopes to work towards making that beauty more visible on campus. She took on the position of Vice Chair of the Student Government Diversity Committee in Fall 2021 and joined the task force to represent the committee and help foster diversity, inclusivity and representation on campus. 

   
Myriam Paola Villacres

Myriam Paola Villacres, Student Representative of the Organization of Latin American Cultures

Paola is an Ecuadorian junior at JCU doing a double major in History and Communications. Through her experience at an American high school in her own country and participation in different international camps, she believes that representation of Latin American cultures is necessary. Nonetheless, her priority is to make all communities at JCU feel represented and included in the University’s environment. 

   
Danah Alkhafaji

Danah Alkhafaji, Student Representative of the Women’s Leadership Initiative 

Danah is currently studying Humanistic Studies at John Cabot. She was born in America, to a Saudi mother and Iraqi father. Danah grew up living between the Middle East, America, and Europe. Throughout her life, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality have been at the forefront of her passions and experiences. She represents the Women’s Leadership Initiative within the task force, and constantly strives to include intersectionality within discussions of diversity and inclusion, especially the intersections of gender and race.

   
Lorenzo Polverari

Lorenzo Polverari, Vice President of the Queer Alliance

Lorenzo (he/they) is a Junior student from Rome who is currently majoring in Communications with a minor in Gender Studies. As a firm believer in the power of representation of the immensely vast spectrum of queer lived experiences, Lore is the current Vice President of the Queer Alliance. As a Task Force member, Lore hopes to represent JCU’s queer individuals as well as making changes that will make JCU a comfortable place for anyone willing to explore their identity and sexuality.

   
Michel Rosuelo

Michel Rosuelo, Coordinator for Partner Schools Admissions (Staff Representative)

Originally from the Philippines, Michel moved to Rome 10 years ago. After earning her degree in Education and teaching for 3 years in her home country, she graduated from JCU in 2013 with her second degree, in Communications. Right after graduation, Michel started working in the JCU Admissions Office and has been working there since. She is responsible for processing study abroad applications from JCU’s partner schools.

   
Julia del Papa

Julia del Papa, Director of Community Service, Religious Life, and Multiculturalism (Staff representative)

Born in Rome, Italy, to a Japanese mother and American-Italian father, and attending an international school, Julia’s childhood was a daily celebration of diversity. While obtaining an MA in International Relations, Julia interned at a Disabilities Center and at Refugee Aid Organizations, which were eye-opening experiences on how diversity affects individuals in different ways. In her role at JCU, she has worked closely on issues of discrimination and marginalization with students and at-risk communities and has hosted workshops on Diversity & Identity. 

   
Giulia Ricci

Giulia Ricci, Student Cultural Programs and Activities Coordinator (Staff representative)

Born and raised in Rome, Giulia has always been attracted to foreign cultures, and through travel and empathy, this has allowed her to create deep human connections with people from all over the world. She believes that life is a kaleidoscope of many traditions and stories with different backgrounds, each of them containing something vital and precious that enrich our journeys. She particularly loves this quote from Paulo Coelho: “When a stranger approaches, and we think he is our brother, and all conflicts disappear, that is the moment when night ends and day begins.”

   
Peter Sarram

Peter Sarram, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies (Faculty representative) 

Professor Peter Sarram studied Economics at Boston College and Film and Media Studies at Northwestern University's School of Speech. He has published extensively on popular culture, recorded music, and film, and his research is primarily involved in investigating the relationships between the construction of social subjectivities and popular and mass culture. His work revolves around questions of popular culture, social identities, and technology.

   
Isabella Clough Marinaro

Isabella Clough Marinaro, Associate Professor of Italian Studies (Faculty representative) 

Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro is a sociologist who does fieldwork research with people in Italy affected by discrimination and social exclusion. Among these are Roma communities, squatters, and people who work in informal economies. Her courses focus on diversity and, especially, on how structural inequalities impact people’s life chances and experiences in different ways. In her classes, students critically explore the mechanisms underlying disparities of treatment and opportunity and identify strategies for improving inclusion and equality.  

   
Allison Grimaldi Donahue

Allison Grimaldi Donahue, Lecturer in English (Adjunct Faculty representative)

Professor Grimaldi Donahue grew up in an Italian-Irish-American family and was educated in a traditional Roman Catholic setting. When she came out as a lesbian in her last year of college, and has since been interested in working with students to broaden community understanding of LGBTQ issues. Her background is in comparative literature and creative writing and she has worked with many groups of artists and writers all over the world to make publishing a more inclusive industry. She is interested in teaching methods that allow for open, respectful discussions based on radical listening as well as creating more spaces for multilingual writers in the classroom.