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Who We Are

Diversity and Inclusion 

Dereca Blackmon,  Associate Dean and Director

photo of Dereca Blackmon

Dereca is an educator, facilitator and spiritual activist with over 25 years experience supporting communities in radical healing and strategic development. She has worked with a wide variety of corporate, government, nonprofit and community-based groups to facilitate “uncommon conversations” on issues of race, gender, class and social justice.

Dereca is also a Stanford alumni with a distinguished history of leadership and service in local and national organizing efforts on subjects as diverse as ethnic studies and police accountability, including serving as a lead architect in the movement for justice in the murder of Oscar Grant, III in Oakland, California. She is co-instructor for Psych 103 Intergroup Communication, an experiential course that examines and explores group identity. Additionally, Dereca is co-founder of Aya Unlimited, LLC, a social-justice consulting firm that specializes in research on the intersection of race, gender and class. 

Email Dereca Blackmon.

 

Joseph Brown, Associate Director

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I am a first-gen college student and Army brat from San Antonio, Texas. After majoring in physics at Southwest Texas State University I went on to receive an Sc.M. degree inbioengineering from Brown University. For a short time I sold mainframes for IBM in Boston, then joined the psychology PhD program here at Stanford, conducting research on the influence of stereotypes and prejudice on the intellectual performance and identities of minorities and women.

Here at Stanford I work as an associate director for the Diversity & First-Gen Office and as Graduate Diversity Recruitment Officer for the School of Humanities and Sciences.

My training in social psychology has shaped my approach to diversity & inclusion in that it impressed upon me a conviction that the most seemingly intractable societal problems can be solved, and that seemingly small actions can have extraordinary impacts. It is with this hopeful perspective that I approach each day. My role is to collaborate with my partners across the campus, staff, faculty, and students, to 1) create spaces that nurture in all students a sense that they belong, that they are valued and respected—it is that sense of belonging that leads students to invest their whole selves in the educational enterprise, to exert high effort, to question their assumptions, and to take the risks that are necessary in any challenging endeavor, and to 2) model for students that investment of the whole self by bringing everything that I am, the emotional and spiritual as well as the intellectual and professional, to the work. 

 

Heather Browning, Program Director

heather browning

Heather is the Program Director for the Emerson Peace & Justice Fellowship, a new position between the Haas Center for Public Service and the Diversity & First-Generation Office. Heather has a demonstrated history in institutional diversity and inclusion, higher education, and student support services. Her understanding of systematic and institutional barriers for historically underrepresented students assists her in the coaching and mentoring of students across campus. 
Heather values creating space and opportunities for transformative learning. Prior to Stanford, she worked at Northwestern University where she worked to improve the Black student experience through the management of programs and activities focusedon identity engagement. Heather is excited for the opportunity to make a positive impact at Stanford University.
Originally from California, Heather earned a B.A. in International Studies from California State University, Long Beach and a M.S. in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. In her free time, Heather likes running and hiking with her dog, Vito Corleone, traveling, and spending lots of time with friends and family. 

Email Heather Browning.

Stanford FLI Office

Jennifer "Mindy" Rolen,  Assistant Dean & Associate Director

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Jennifer is a proud FLI college graduate. She grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor's and a master's in sociology. She is an advocate of humanity and supports the idea of creating a harmonious society through relationships and education.

She came to Stanford from the Educational Partnership Center at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she worked as a director of various programs. Her expertise is in facilitation, conflict management, program management and fund development. Jennifer supports all students in their endeavors in higher education and is committed to being a resource and advocate.

Meet with Jenn

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Adriena Brown,  Assistant Director of First-Generation and Low Income Programs

photo of Jennifer Rolen

Adriena is a first-generation college graduate from Detroit, Michigan. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and M.Ed. in Student Affairs from University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked in a variety of roles within both secondary and higher education, and is committed to uplifting and inspiring FLI students to pursue their purpose. Throughout her career, Adriena has worked to promote college access and equity and ensures all students feel supported, encouraged, and connected to the campus community. Prior to coming to Stanford, Adriena worked with foster youth in the Peralta Colleges and as a counselor with the Educational Opportunity Program at California State University, East Bay.

Email Adriena Brown