Creating Safe, Equitable, and Affirming Spaces to Advance Student Health and Well-Being

Feb. 23rd, 11AM-1PM, Rasmuson Hall Room 101 & Zoom

Time Topic Presenter(s)
11:00 AM Meet & Greet  
11:10 AM Welcome Dr. Debbie Craig
  Land Acknowledgement Jessica Ross
11:30 AM Opening Act Performances by Dr. Mari Hahn’s class (CAS)
Musical Identities:  Songs of Diversity and Inclusion
12:00 PM Multicultural Student Services and Pride Center Dr. Sara Caldwell-Kan
Jessi Saiki
Quacyya Cuaresma
12:40 PM The Importance of DEI in Higher Ed and Healthcare Jocella Thompson
12:55 PM Closing Dr. Amana Mbise


speaker Bios

mari hahn posing in front of snow covered forest

Musical Identities:  Songs of Diversity and Inclusion

  • Waving through a Window (Dear Evan Hansen) by Pasek and Paul
    • Drew Cochran, singer
    • Janet Carr-Campbell, piano
  • Melting Season (Original Song by Caroline Landis)
    • Caroline Landis, singer and pianist
  • Imagine by John Lennon
    • Jorden Barnhill, Joey Butcher, Kori Callison, Apryl Cardwell, Drew Cochran, Matthew Falvo, Austen Hardy, Alyssa Henegar, Hannah Klemm, Caroline Landis, Marilyn Pier, Alison Pogue, Sonja Rivas, Krista Seetamona, Ren Smith, Deanna Wissher.
    • Directed by Mari Hahn
sara caldwell posing in front of black background

Sara Caldwell-Kan (she/they)

Sara Caldwell-Kan is an activist, scholar, dreamer and long time higher education professional. She has a PhD in Education, with a focus on Equity and Education Policy. They also have an MPH in health promotion and health equity. Sara's doctoral research was on understanding Asian American college students' experiences with wellness and anti-oppressive forms of health promotion using AsianCrit Counter-Storytelling. Sara’s career has been centered on uplifting students and transforming higher education to be an institution where all students can be their full selves all the time. She believes that wellness is wholeness and imagines a future where we can embrace our full selves, including our ancestral strength, to build a collective community of love. At UAA, Sara oversaw the creation of Alaska's first collegiate Pride Center, as well as the state's first campus multifaith prayer spaces. They have been an invited facilitator at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) around multiracial healing and story circles, and an active leadership member in the Transracial Adoptee and Multiracial Knowledge Community (TAMKC) and Regional Board for NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education National Association. Sara loves cycling, exploring the outdoors, and connecting with the land whenever possible.

quacyya cuaresma smilling on tundra hike holding berries in hand
Quacyya Cuaresma (she/her)

Quacyya Cuaresma is a Student Engagement and Belonging Coordinator at MSS! She is a lifelong Alaskan born and raised on Dena’ina lands. She earned her BS Health Sciences degree at UAA and has been involved with Multicultural Student Services (formerly Multicultural Center) since 2017. She is now pursuing a Master of Public Health at UAA! Her background is in health education, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. She is an advocate for community wellness, equity, and inclusion. Quacyya’s focus at MSS includes the JEDI Leadership Program, belonging initiatives and programming for students of color, and supporting programs for the range of marginalized and intersecting identities represented at UAA.

jessi saiki smiling in house with adorable brown and white dog
Jessi Saiki (they/them)

Jessi Saiki is an artist, advocate, Master of Social Work student, and UAA Alumni with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in handbuilt ceramic sculpture. As the Pride Centers' Engagement and Belonging coordinator, Jessi supports the belonging of BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, neurodivergent identities, and all the lovely intersections our identities can have. Jessi lovingly focuses on day to day operations of the Pride Center and Rainbow Initiatives, which supports and celebrates our LGBTQIA2S+ community through programs, events, and awareness initiatives.

jocella thompson posing in front of windows overlooking green treesd
Jocella Grace Rabang Thompson (she/her)

Jocella Thompson is a graduating nursing student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She was born in sunny Philippines and raised in rainy Kodiak, AK, where she graduated from Kodiak High School in 2019. She was drawn to UAA’s proximity to her family and hometown, and the many opportunities and programs within the College of Health. As a student in UAA, Jocella works in the First-Year Experience department as the Student Manager of the Orientation Leader team. She leads the Orientation Leaders with creating belonging in the university and helping incoming students navigate their journey as a university student by facilitating programs and events such as Howl Days New Student Orientation, Answer Desks, and Seawolves Connect. As a member of the First-Year Experience, Jocella collaborates with campus partners such as the Multicultural Student Services and their JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) Leaders to better guide our diverse student body through engaging events like New Seawolves Belong. She is also a member of the Kabayan Community, a student-led organization that strives to bring the university community together by celebrating and learning about Filipino culture, values, and food. As a student leader, Jocella has been recognized for her efforts with MLK Student Appreciation awards commending her positive impact on the university community.