Director search to follow year of OPAL turnover

by Noah Goldstein | 11/12/14 8:21pm

The Office of Pluralism and Leadership will begin searching for a new director in the winter. Since former director Alysson Satterlund left in July, Center for Gender and Student Engagement director Reese Kelly has served as OPAL’s interim director and the office has focused on filling other vacant positions.

A search committee comprising students, staff and faculty will convene early next year, associate Dean of the College Elizabeth Agosto said.

Agosto said she hopes to include feedback from students who work with CGSE in the search. Interested students will have the chance to meet candidates and ask them questions at meals, open presentations or other interview opportunities, she said.

Before hiring a new director, she wanted to make sure to first fill positions that provide direct support to students. After OPAL filled all vacancies with interim or permanent staff in September, the office turned its attention to hiring new program coordinators.

Most recently, Sebastian Munoz-Medina joined the office’s staff as CGSE program coordinator on Nov. 3.

CGSE was founded in 1988 as a part of OPAL, but then split off to help connect CGSE with the women’s and gender studies program. This fall, CGSE was reabsorbed into OPAL.

As a result of the combination, Kelly said, a position was needed to reflect both offices’ work around gender and sexual diversity.

The position provides general support for students and staff, showing them how to access different campus resources and helping them affirm their identities, said Munoz-Medina, who will work on events like V-Week and Pride Week, as well as intersectional programs like Crossing the Line.

Munoz-Medina, who holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Florida, plans to bring experience as a transgender activist and advocate for healthy relationship awareness and body positivity to Dartmouth. Munoz-Medina will assist Men’s Project fellows, who spend a year developing projects related to issues like male sexuality and mentoring male youth, and will work with a student coordinator to boost the OUTreach peer mentoring program.

Pan-Asian advisor Shiella Cervantes, who recently joined OPAL after working as a pan-Asian American community house director at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in an email that she has “been taking this term to get a feel for the school.”

“The students have been incredibly inspiring and the diversity of student life rivals that of many other larger institutions,” Cervantes wrote. “I’ll be honest though — I do miss the food scene in Philly.”

Students have expressed a desire for a more cohesive pan-Asian campus community and increased co-curricular activities, she wrote.

OPAL is currently seeking a permanent advisor to black students and program coordinator for the Native American Program.

Interim advisor to black students Dia Draper, interim student and community program coordinator Jeremy Guardiola ’12, who also serves as interim advisor to first-generation students, and pan-Asian advisor Shiella Cervantes joined OPAL this fall.

 

 

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