Diversity Fellows Program
The Diversity Fellows initiative is a new Presidential initiative to 1) recognize those that have demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion at NAU; 2) serve as NAU community leaders in diversity and inclusion providing a vision to institutional efforts in diversity and inclusion, and; 3) serve as liaisons to the NAU community in the implementation of the NAU Diversity Strategic Plan (DSP).
Structure and Organization Accordion Closed
The Diversity Fellows constitute a Diversity Fellows Council (8-10 in total) which is a council of knowledge experts who have demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion across the NAU community. Diversity Fellows are faculty and staff an important differentiation from known existing university fellows programs that are limited to faculty appointments. Diversity and inclusion leaders can and should come from throughout the NAU community to bride broad perspectives and bring unique experiences.
Responsibilities, Expectations and Appointment length(s) Accordion Closed
Diversity Fellows will serve to provide vision to NAU in terms of diversity and inclusion activities and also serve as liaisons in the implementation of the DSP across the NAU community. Appointments are for three years with a potential one time renewal. Diversity Fellows will receive an annual $1,000 stipend from the President’s Office.
Advisory Committee to the President on Diversity and Inclusion: The Diversity Fellows provide counsel to the NAU President on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives including institutional vision, direction and logistical implementation of programs.
Diversity Strategic Plan Implementation: Diversity fellows serve as DSP subject matter experts assisting colleges, academic, and non-academic units in implementing DSP initiatives into individual unit strategic plans thus aligning institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.
Diversity Strategic Plan Assessment and Refinement: Diversity fellows lead DSP evaluations and refinement processes including future iterations of the DSP.
Chief Diversity Fellow
Gabe Montaño Accordion Closed
Dr. Gabriel Montaño is a native New Mexican born and raised in Gallup, NM and has spent his academic and professional careers in the southwest. Gabriel attended New Mexico State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1997 and was introduced to research working in the lab of Dr. Peter Houde. He then attended Arizona State University where he completed his PhD in the lab of Dr. Robert Blankenship in 2002. Upon completion of his PhD., Gabriel accepted a postdoctoral appointment in biomaterials design with Dr. Andy Shreve at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2005, Gabriel accepted a position as a Technical Staff Member with the newly developed Department of Energy-Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) where he remained until the fall of 2017. In the fall of 2017, Montaño moved to Northern Arizona University (NAU) and led the creation of the Center for Materials Interfaces in Research and Applications (¡MIRA!) and continues to serve as the ¡MIRA! Chief Scientist. In addition, he led the establishment of the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science at NAU and serves as Department Chair. In the spring of 2019, Dr. Montaño was also selected to serve as the NAU Diversity Fellow and oversees all diversity initiatives at NAU.
Dr. Montaño’s lab group investigates membrane biophysics and non-equilibrium bio-inspired materials. In particular, they are interested in bio- and bio-synthetic interfaces and supramolecular structure/function relationships. Gabriel is as devoted to outreach initiatives as he is to his research, in particular to enhancing diversity in the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. Among his outreach efforts, Gabriel has served as a Board Member and as President of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), as a member of numerous committees and Task Forces including the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) STEM task force the Minority Affairs Committee of the Biophysical Society, and currently leads the Hubs of Innovation Task Force for the National Institutes of Health. He has dedicated his career to demonstrating to aspiring scientists the possibility of being an effective, high-impact research scientist while making a difference through outreach initiatives that can help current and future generations of scientists.
2021 Inaugural Class of Diversity Fellows
Luis Fernandez – Chair/Professor, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice Accordion Closed
Dr. Luis A. Fernandez is a Professor in, and chair of, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. He served as the President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems in 2017-2018 and is currently the co-editor of Critical Issues in Crime and Society, a book series at Rutgers University Press. He is the author and editor of several books, including Policing Dissent, Shutting Down the Streets, and Alternatives to Policing. His work also appears in various book chapters and journals, including Social Problems, Contemporary Political Theory, Social Justice, Critical Criminology, and Qualitative Sociology. His most recent research focuses on understanding the claims and consequences of reimagining public safety and policing. He has worked in various community-based efforts related to immigration and policing. Dr. Fernandez is also strongly committed to faculty governance, student success, community engagement, and scholar-activism. His driving values include fairness, justice, and dignity. He is dedicated to increasing diversity of all types, with a specific focus on LatinX representation.
Jani Ingram – Regent Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Accordion Closed
Jani C. Ingram, PhD is a member of the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department, and her research focuses on investigating environmental contaminants with respect to their impact on health in at risk populations. A critical aspect of her research is to foster collaborations with the Native American community and leaders to build trust and gain insights into their health concerns. She works with a diverse group of students in her research. This diversity represents students with different ethnic backgrounds, academic disciplines, and sexual orientations as well as where they are in their academic careers (middle school to graduate students). She is a member of the Navajo Nation (born to the Náneesht’ ézhi clan) and has been involved in outreach activities for Native American students in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate research. She is the principal investigator of the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention and the director of the Bridges to Baccalaureate program. She was named the 2018 recipient of the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. She received an associate degree from Yavapai College, a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from New Mexico State University, and a doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Arizona. She was a staff scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory for twelve years before joining the faculty at Northern Arizona University in 2002.
Catherine Lockmiller – Librarian, Cline Library, Phoenix Biomedical Campus Accordion Closed
Catherine Lockmiller is a health science librarian at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. She completed her masters degree in English literature in 2011, and her masters degree in library information science in 2017. The best parts of her work involve researching and writing about critical theory in information science, and how it can build a resistance politics rooted in transformative justice. She gave a TEDx talk in 2018 on the harm done by sex assignment at birth, and recently created a grant-funded, eight hour class on gender diversity in sports. Catherine is a founding co-chair of the Arizona Library Association’s EDI Committee and the current chair of the Medical Library Association LGBTQIA+ Caucus.
Eric Otenyo – Professor, Politics and International Affairs Accordion Closed
Dr. Eric E. Otenyo is professor of Public Administration in the Department of Politics and International Affairs. He has advanced degrees from Syracuse University and Miami, Ohio. He first came to NAU in 2001 and helped establish state-wide online courses in public management. In addition to teaching and mentoring graduate students, he is an advisor in the MPA program. Dr. Otenyo is a current member of the Dinè Institute for Native Educators (DINÊ) University Advisory Council. In 2017, he served as Seminar Leader for the Institute. His community service includes appointment to the City of Flagstaff ‘s Charter Revision Commission in 2015. Dr. Otenyo continues to serve on the Commission of Ethnic Diversity (CED) and as faculty advisor to NAU’s African Students Association. Dr. Otenyo has published widely in the areas of comparative administration, public policy, and international politics.
Marcela Pino Alcaraz – Arizona Innovation Alliance Fellow, Vice President of Enrollment Management Accordion Closed
Marcela Pino Alcaraz is the Arizona Innovation Alliance Fellow at Northern Arizona University (NAU). After an eight-year career at General Mills, Marcela decided to focus her energy on developing young leaders with a change into higher education. Today, she partners with ASU and UArizona to innovate for student success in the areas of retention, academic performance, and graduation, especially for traditionally underrepresented populations.
Throughout her career, Marcela has championed diversity, equity, and inclusion. Marcela has advocated for vocal corporate leadership on critical social issues and has been a key collaborator in developing public statements supporting equity policies for immigrants and LGBTQIA+ communities. As Vice President of the General Mills Hispanic Network, Marcela accepted an award at the Latina Style 50 Diversity Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. She serves as a Commissioner on Flagstaff’s Commission on Diversity Awareness, which capitalizes on her experience developing community partnerships, conducting fundraisers, and leading community events. In her past work with NAU’s Interdisciplinary Global Programs, Marcela forged alliances with various DEI partners on campus and contributed to the team being awarded the NAU President’s Diversity Award. Her experience working on global teams across Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia has honed her cultural fluency, which she uses as a model representative for NAU with partners globally. Marcela enjoys leading professional development and student trainings, such as Learning Global Perspectives, Best Practices for Working Globally, Identities Abroad, and Courageous Conversations.
Marcela graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Supply Chain Management and an International Business Certificate from Arizona State University and is pursuing an M.A. in Applied Sociology with a Concentration in Globalization at NAU. Marcela is Colombian-born and bilingual in Spanish and English. She is currently enjoying life in Flagstaff with her husband José and son Andrés Sebastián.
Frances Riemer – Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education Accordion Closed
Dr. Frances Julia Riemer is Professor of Educational Foundations and Associate Faculty/former Director of Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Women’s and Gender Studies Program. An educational anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research in the US, Africa, and Latin America, she focuses on gender, development, and sustainable communities, change and issues of equity and access, and cultural difference and the social organization of community, school, and workplace.
Dr. Riemer is the author of Working at the Margins: Moving off Welfare in America, co-editor of Qualitative Research: An Introduction to Methods and Designs, and editor of Front and Back Stage of Tourism Performance: Imaginaries and Bucket List Venues, as well as author of book chapters and articles in a range of journals and texts. She is a Fulbright Fellow affiliated with the University of Botswana, and her work has been supported by the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, the International Literacy Association, and the Arizona Board of Regents Innovation Fund.
Dr. Riemer’s current research and writing projects investigate decolonial feminisms and tourism, women’s handicrafts as economic development, safari and community-based natural-resource management in southern Africa, the intersectional gendering of niceness, and first generation college students’ study abroad. Dr. Riemer chaired NAU’s Commission on the Status of Women, was the recipient of the CSW Faculty Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Award, and co-chaired the City of Flagstaff’s Commission on Diversity Awareness. She organizes for progressive policies locally, and regularly speaks on Women’s Suffrage, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and Gender and Climate Change.
Martin Tease – Coordinator, Office of Inclusion: Multicultural and LGBTQIA Student Services Accordion Closed
Dr. Martin L. Tease is a Coordinator for the Office of Inclusion: Multicultural & LGBTQIA+ Student Services. Dr. Tease assists with the design and implementation of intentional educational programming (programs, events, workshops, and dialogues) to raise awareness and cultural competency for students, faculty and staff in support of social identity, cultural, and global understanding. Dr. Tease works to help direct leadership for and involvement in developing and overseeing mentoring programs to support students of color and LGBTQIA+ community, creating, connecting and supporting all multicultural student organizations; fostering a sense of community and connection across multicultural student organizations and the campus at large. In addition to academic research and continuing to work in TV/Film Production, Dr. Tease worked as an Associate Tutor designing several lectures, film screenings and teaching workshops with an emphasis on Multicultural Diversity, Inclusion and the LGBTQIA+ community for film and media students interested in working in the field, studying creative practice, film history and theory, seeking internships or work experience through the schools production unit. Among other recognitions, Dr. Tease was the American Scholar in Residence for the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library in Norwich, United Kingdom, received an outstanding distinction award for outreach and work as an assistant Program Manager for the Prince’s Trust Youth Development Program in addition to being awarded and recognized as the Director for the Murdoch Community’s outreach programs and mural focusing on the history of African American residents in Northern Arizona.
KT Thompson – Associate Professor, Department of English Accordion Closed
KT Thompson is honored to be among the inaugural class of NAU’s Diversity Fellows. KT joined the Department of English faculty at NAU in 2018 with a desire to serve students in the diverse and complex borderlands of what is presently known as Arizona, in a border town called Flagstaff. Their research-driven and interdisciplinary scholarship and writing concern historical and ongoing forms of settler-colonial dispossession that rely on resource extraction, wastelanding, and the expansion of privatized land, and how these infrastructures and power relations both rely on and reinforce heteronormative and binary gender constructions. KT’s queer and white settler identities and their origins in unceded homelands of Lakotas inform their work, pedagogy, and commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They teach courses in creative nonfiction writing, contemporary literature, and critical theory, and update and retool syllabi every semester to account for diversity—racial and ethnic, gender and sexual, class, disability, and citizen status. And as a nonbinary scholar and writer, KT is committed to being present, visible, and actively engaged in mentoring practices for queer, nonbinary, and trans students. Outside of the classroom, KT supports their students by being a present and engaged advisor and advocate. They work to recruit and retain students who will help us shape curricula and programs that understand and attend to the racial/ethnic, national, cultural, gender, and economic diversity in which we live.
KT Thompson holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis, and is currently a Creative Nonfiction Editor for ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment) and a research fellow at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies in South Dakota.