Dr. Amanda Garcia is a paleobiologist and staff scientist on a NASA astrobiology team at the University of Wisconsin called MUSE (Metal Utilization and Selection across Eons). MUSE is centered on understanding the early coevolution of nitrogen fixation and the Earth environment; the team hopes to discover what factors determine life’s selection of chemical elements. She came to Wisconsin after working on the same project when it was housed at the University of Arizona. She’s earned a number of honors, including the University of Arizona Galileo Circle Postdoctoral Scholar Award and UCLA Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award. She earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in geology and paleobiology from UCLA, where she was undergraduate department valedictorian in 2014.
Juan Jimenez is Associate Dean of General Studies at Western Technical College and president of the La Crosse School Board. Prior to his current role, which he took on in 2017, Jimenez was the associate dean for the Learner Support and Transition division at Western. He also served as a math educator in rural Wisconsin for several years, and continues to serve on several educational, philanthropic, and volunteering organizations.
Ana Simpson is Director of Community & Economic Development at the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. She took that position in 2019 after a year as Director at Veterans Business Outreach Center for Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corportation and a long career in banking and insurance. She serves the community as a member of the boards of directors of TEMPO Milwaukee and La Familia de Arte, the advisory boards of Family Service of Waukesha and La Casa de Esperanza, and the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability.
Dr. Lourdes Shanjani is Bilingual Health Education Coordinator at Public Health Madison and Dane County where she provides leadership for public health staff and community partners to assess, develop, implement and evaluate health education programs and services to meet community health priorities. She received her Medical Degree at Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She also holds a Master of Science in Health Sciences with a double concentration in Health Education and Public Health. Dr. Shanjani has over a decade of experience working with under-served communities in both the United States and the Caribbean; providing direct services as well as designing, managing and fundraising programs that benefit immigrant communities. She also serves as Communications Secretary for the Medical Organization for Latino Advancement Board of Directors.
Michelle McCoy is Coordinator of the Parent Support Program at Briarpatch Youth Services in Madison, an organization that provides support for at-risk youth and their families. She joined Briarpatch in January 2022 after more than four years as a program specialist at the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and a nearly two-decade career in banking. As a volunteer, she is a Commissioner for Affirmative Action and Chair of Community Impact Advisors Council, serves on The Law Enforcement Leaders of Color Collaboration, and previously served on the Micro Investment Team and Community Volunteer Awards as a Judge with United Way. She also serves as a Guide for Wisconsin Leadership Summit annually as well as has been chosen to serve on the Culture Steering Committee for Wheda.
Maria Yturriaga Dyslin joined One City Schools as elementary school principal in July 2022. She began teaching in the Madison Metropolitan School District in 1998 after graduating from the UW-Madison Teach for Diversity Program. She holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught in MMSD for 19 years as a classroom teacher in grades 2, 3 and 4 and an instructional coach with a literacy emphasis at Mendota Elementary and Virginia Henderson Elementary. She transitioned into school leadership as principal at Sunset Ridge Elementary School in Middleton in 2017 and served as principal there until June of 2022.
Jesús Villa is Equal Rights Division Administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. A 1998 graduate of the Duke University School of Law, he practiced as an associate with Michael Best & Friedrich and a partner with Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan before joining Northwestern Mutual as a diversity and inclusion consultant and later Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, a role he held for 14 years. In addition to his law degree, holds a degree in sociology from Princeton and a master’s degree in public policy from Duke.
Kenny Perez is Assistant program director and afternoon drive-time host at Radio Milwaukee, where he also hosts “In the Mix with DJ Kenny Perez,” which showcases both local talent and world-renowned DJs. He’s also performed as a DJ around the Milwaukee area for nearly 30 years, including as a Summerfest regular. He’s also had a long career in education, starting as a computer specialist teacher at La Causa Charter School and later Dean of Student and Systems Operations Manager for Hope Chrisitian Schools.
Adriana Nanis Rodriguez is Executive Director of Public Allies Wisconsin, overseeing programs of Public Allies Milwaukee and Public Allies Racine/Kenosha. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Nanis is a proud Public Allies alumna. She then continued to stay connected to the organization as a Program Manager and volunteer facilitator. Currently, she is working on her doctoral dissertation exploring youth organizing in the city. She has dedicated over 15 years to building learning spaces that are anti-oppressive and reduce the perpetuation of harm through learning and community building. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marquette and master’s degree from UW-Milwaukee, where she is now a doctoral candidate.
Part Five coming tomorrow!