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2022-23 EPIC Community College Fellows

Thomas Chen

Professor of Cell Biology, Santa Monica College

Thomas T. Chen is professor of Life Sciences at Santa Monica College and has taught various courses for bio majors and non-majors. Tom has held positions as professor at the University of Tennessee, Colorado State University, the NIH, and conducted sabbatical research at the Medical University of South Carolina and Stanford Medical School. His research focuses on reproductive endocrinology, infertility, anti-cancer drug Taxol, and environmental endocrine disruptors. He has also been active in promoting students from traditionally marginalized populations to careers in endocrinology or cell/molecular biology. Tom is currently a Co-PI on an NSF- funded project to develop an equity-centered Biotechnology Technician Education program at SMC.

Project: Improving Access to Inspirational Stories of Cross-Cultural Minority Role Models in Biology for Traditionally Marginalized Students

I plan to build an easily accessible and user-friendly database of compelling stories of cross-cultural biologist role models to inspire traditionally marginalized and all students to consider a STEM field. I will create story boards in the form of a single slide for each scientist with a QR code to assist instructors and empower students. They could be used by teachers as an opener in their lectures. Students could scan the code and dive deeper into the life story for a biologist of their interest.

View Thomas' presentation here


Amy Coren

Professor of Psychology, Pasadena City College


Dr. Amy Coren is a professor of psychology at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, CA. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas, Austin and her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Amy was also the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Grant to Hungary, where she taught courses in forensic psychology, theories of consciousness, and cross-cultural psychology at the University of Pécs. In addition to teaching, Amy is also a licensed and practicing attorney, actively participating in DEI initiatives with the Washington, D.C. bar association and providing free legal services to underserved populations.  

Long interested in both cross-disciplinary collaboration and research, Amy has engaged in several collaborative, cross-cultural research projects spanning the areas of business, law, and psychology. She has worked for the U.S. State Department while living in Ankara, Turkey, where she focused on riparian policy disputes and has also worked with humanitarian groups in Hungary and Ethiopia, focusing on the psychological impact of trauma. 


Project: Internationalizing the Id: Reconceptualizing the Introduction to Psychology Course Through a Global, Cross-Cultural, and Multicultural Approach

This project aims to redesign and internationalize the existing introduction to psychology course at Pasadena City College to reflect an updated global, multicultural, and cross-cultural approach. Although many colleges & universities have begun to employ a variety of internationalization strategies to aid students in becoming globally and culturally competent, most pedagogical resources at the introductory level include little on internationalization. This project aims to update existing OER course materials to incorporate more multicultural and international approaches and perspectives in the field of psychology.

View Amy's presentation here


Dayamudra Dennehy

ESL Professor and Distance Education Coordinator, City College of San Francisco

Dr. Dayamudra Dennehy is ESL tenured faculty at City College of San Francisco, where she works with language learners at all levels in the Credit, Non-Credit, and Vocational programs, face-to-face and online. She is active in a network of California community college online educators and serves as her college's Distance Education Coordinator. Dayamudra founded her own educational non-profit organization, Jai Bhim International, and a residential program for girls, Blossom Projects, collaborating with an India-based team on an alternative leadership academy, serving caste-oppressed Dalit and Adivasi students in Kerala who have dropped out of high school. She led these projects as volunteer Founder and Creative Director for 14 years and remains connected as a friend and mentor. Dayamudra has also led community English projects with Mayan weavers in Guatemala and Gypsy/Roma artists in Hungary, has taught in Indonesia, and has studied in Japan and Mexico. In 2021 Dayamudra was awarded a doctorate in Educational Leadership, with a focus on Equity and Social Justice, from San Francisco State University. She is ordained as a Buddhist in the Triratna Buddhist Order and has taught meditation and yoga workshops around the world. Her name means "Gesture of Compassion".

Project: Humanizing ESL Online Post-Pandemic: Training English Language Learners for wellness and Resilience with Skills for the 21st Century Global Workforce

An online ESL community college curriculum organized around six interconnected themes: Critical Thinking & Analysis; Complex Problem-Solving; Active Learning; Resilience; Stress Tolerance; and Flexibility. These lessons engage students in personal training for language development and the practice of real world negotiation, design thinking, effective time management, goal setting, nonviolent communication, active listening, deep relaxation & wellness, self expression & personal reflection, grounded in cross cultural curiosity, awareness, and sensitivity, to build excellence as global leaders.

View Dayamudra's presentation here


Fran Farazdaghi

Associate Professor of Global and Peace Studies, Golden West College

Fran Farazdaghi is an Associate Professor of Global and Peace Studies at Golden West College. Her professional and academic work is centered on Conflict Resolution, Social Justice, Environmental Justice, and Nonviolent Activism. For the past fifteen years, she has organized Golden West’s International Peace Conference, as well as numerous global peace-themed forums, screening documentaries, discussion panels, speaker series, and multiple workshops on several international and contemporary issues, such as genocide, migration, human trafficking, trauma recovery, environmental sustainability, and other events. An advisor to Leadership Club, she mentors students with their academic studies and career paths. She has established four fellowships in the areas of Diversity, Social Justice, Environmental Sustainability, and Compassionate Communities. She has also established a scholarship for Black Student Union (BSU) at Golden West College. A board member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at U.C. Irvine, and the Euphrates Institute, she is active in Global and Peace Studies-centric work with a variety of institutions and organizations, including The Euphrates Institute and the Ojai Cultural Center.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science and a Master of Arts in History from Northeastern University.

Project: Developing Global Leadership Course & Champion the Global Studies Program at GWC

The project I am proposing involves teaching a course in Responsible Global Leadership to community college students, which will help prepare them to live, work, and contribute to the complex world they’ll be entering while maintaining a conscientious, ethical mindset. It is my intent to turn this course into a transformative academic experience for our students, one that will provide them with a rigorous and nuanced approach to issues as complex as environmental conservation, economic inequality, women’s rights, nuclear proliferation, free and open elections, and global militaristic conflicts.

View Fran's presentation here


Elizabeth Flynn

Professor of Engineering and Mathematics, Porterville College

Elizabeth Flynn started her position as a full-time engineering and mathematics professor at Porterville College in the fall of 2020.  Originally from Northern New York, she received her bachelors and masters in bioengineering from Syracuse University.  She subsequently moved to the Bay Area and spent three years teaching seventh and eighth grade algebra for the Oakland Unified School District.  While teaching middle school, Elizabeth earned her teaching credential in secondary mathematics education from San Francisco State University.  Succeeding her position for OUSD, Elizabeth spent five years as the Head Women’s Water Polo Coach at Laney College in Oakland.  She is proud to have earned her master's degree in mathematics from California State University East Bay in the spring of 2020.  She is interested in developing curriculum and strategies that engage and retain underrepresented students in math and engineering.  Elizabeth enjoys a variety of activities including swimming and water polo.  

Project: Expanding Intercultural Awareness Through Engineering & Entrepreneurship

Our project will bring together students to address United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. We will be developing a curriculum framework to implement an international collaboration to support female engagement in social engineering within Iraq's Kurdish region. We will train our college students to create lesson plans for junior high or high school aged women in Iraq, centering on entrepreneurship and utilizing engineering basics to address social problems. The intent is to equip Kurdish females in Iraq with critical thinking and STEM skills to support academic advancement and occupational opportunities.

View Elizabeth's presentation here


Alison Gurganus

Online Services Librarian, San Diego Mesa College

Dr. Alison Gurganus has been the Online Services Librarian at San Diego Mesa College for 15 years. She is also the Acting Instruction Librarian and Chair of the School of Learning Resources and Academic Support. She received her doctorate in education technology (Ed.D) from Pepperdine University, master's degree (MLIS) in Library Science from San Jose State University and bachelor's degree (BFA) from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts she also participated in the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians at the Graduate School of Education in Cambridge Massachusetts. She is passionate about creating a globally conscious and information literate society. She specializes in the creation of interactive face to face instruction as well as teaching through digital learning objects (i.e. custom video creation, research guides and online learning modules). She believes that the examples used in information literacy instruction need to be impactful and infused with equity and a globally conscious framework.

Project: Bringing Global Consciousness and an Equity Lens to Information Literacy Instruction

Using examples that are created with a globally conscious framework and an equity lens, students will be taken through the entire research process of choosing a topic, narrowing the topic, analyzing and evaluating the topic, using it in their work, and ultimately being able to participate in meaningful scholar conversation. They will not only be taught information literacy with global consciousness and equity as the backbone, they will have the ability to take that backbone into all of their future research endeavors whether those are academic or personally motivated.

View Alison's presentation here


Michelle Macfarlane

Agriculture Faculty and Distance Learning Coordinator, Sierra College

Michelle Macfarlane has been teaching courses in Agriculture for over twenty years At Sierra College she continues to teach in addition to filling the role of the Distance Learning Coordinator. Her training is in animal science, food access and educational leadership. Her current interests include social justice in the food industry and education as well as humanized online learning. In her spare time, she enjoys hot yoga, paddle boarding and traveling along with watching her identical twin daughters play softball at Utah State. She is a native of California where she attended the Butte Community College, California State University, Chico and has earned graduate degrees from the University of California, Davis.  

Project: Decolonizing the United States Food System

With the help of the EPIC Fellowship program, the project goal is to develop a course titled “Decolonization of United States Food Production.” This course will elevate the awareness of the contributions of historically unrepresented groups of people to food production in the US. Clint Smith, in How the Word is Passed, looks at the stories America tells itself about who we are and what we remember and emphasizes the importance of looking at what is missing from the story. This project will begin to tell the full story about the establishment and continuance of the U.S. agriculture industry previously ignored in formal education at all levels.

View Michelle's presentation here


Yuliana Mendez

Associate Professor of Business, Yuba Community College

Yuliana Mendez is a business professor at Yuba Community College where she teaches courses such as Global Business, Personal Finance, Business Math, and Entrepreneurship. She received her MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business and a BA in Philosophy from California State University, Sacramento. In addition to teaching, she serves as a Tax Strategist and Financial Advisor at MYeCFO, where she helps clients with wealth management, investments, tax strategy and financial planning. Prior to teaching, she worked in various roles within the California State Senate, where she crafted statewide legislation including the California Dream Act, tracked the work of the state’s first Citizens Redistricting Commission, and oversaw gubernatorial confirmations.

Project: Globalizing Personal Finance Curriculum

This project aims to globalize personal finance curriculum by developing learning materials that integrate global issues and insights into personal finance course topics. By integrating and connecting global issues and events such as wars, recessions, health crises, foreign economic policies, economic and financial theories into the curriculum, students will gain a greater understanding of the relationship and interconnectedness between their personal finances and the global economy. Having a global perspective will allow them to not only make informed decisions about their own finances, but also to become more knowledgeable global citizens.

View Yuliana's presentation here


Elisa Queenan

Professor of Business and Economics, Porterville College

Elisa Queenan is a Professor of Business and Economics at Porterville College and has a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership. She has taught within California Community Colleges for over 15 years. Her research primarily focuses on (1) the economic value of postsecondary education for underrepresented populations, poverty, and homelessness, specifically in California, and (2) impact entrepreneurship to create strong international collaborations with the intent of building empathy. The most important thing in her life though is her four children and by default their four dogs!

Project: Expanding Intercultural Awareness Through Engineering & Entrepreneurship

Engineering and entrepreneurship students will address UN SDGs 4 & 5. We will implement an international collaboration to support secondary school female engagement in social engineering within Iraq's Kurdish region. We will train our students to develop lesson plans, mentor, demonstrate sensitivity to and respect others, and participate actively in intercultural group decision-making. On the Iraq side, the intent is to equip and expose Kurdish females in Iraq with critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and STEM skills to support academic advancement and occupational opportunities.

View Elisa's presentation here


Mark Rauzon

Professor, Chair of Geography Department, Laney College

Mark James Rauzon is a tenured geography professor at Laney College, Oakland. He is also a seabird biologist, specializing in the effects and eradication of invasive animals and plants on tropical islands to enhance populations of threatened seabirds. He has worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, US Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps in the Pacific. The experiences were used to write Isles of Amnesia- the history, geography and restoration of America’s forgotten Pacific islands, published in 2016. He also authored Isles of Refuge; Wildlife and History of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (both published by the University of Hawaii Press); winner of the 2002 award for Excellence in Writing Nonfiction. He is also the author of over 20 nonfiction science books for children, including the Reading Rainbow book, Water, Water, Everywhere (Sierra Club Jr. Books); now 25 years in print. As a founding board member of the Friends of Sausal Creek, an Oakland-based community creek advocacy that is 25 years old, he was recognized as a ‘Local Hero” by Oakland City Council in 2020. Rauzon designed the platforms that successfully attracted cormorants  from the old to the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and is designing seabird habitat for the old Berkeley Pier. He is a research associate with the Point Blue Conservation Science and has received the Special Achievement Award from the Pacific Seabird Group in 2006.  Currently, he is working on a book about climate chaos in the Bering Sea.

Project: Breaking Up in the Bering Sea: The US/Russia Geopolitics of Climate Change

The melting sea ice in the warming Bering Sea is opening up the Arctic to Russian resource exploitation, putting the US and Russia on a collision course in this historic Cold War region. Russian war games on the frontier border in 2020 and now the Invasion of Ukraine is prompting US military build-up, placing indigenous Siberian Yup'ik people in harm's way. I will examine their experience, the Russian oil marketing to China, the US responses and the ecological changes coming, and develop a World Geography course module from this research.

View Mark's presentation here


Allison Tripp

Anthropology Instructor, Chaffey College

Allison earned her MPhil in Paleolithic Archaeology and Human Origins from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She has presented workshops at Chaffey College’s Faculty Success Center on a variety of topics related to increasing awareness about cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity, as well as undocumented student advocacy. She enjoys learning more about other cultures and expanding her worldview through fieldwork, travel, and conversations. 

Project: Integrating Storytelling to Increase Global Competency and Equity

All human cultures use storytelling and narrative to convey important cultural and historical information. Yet, the integration of narrative is underutilized in college-level instruction. My project seeks to integrate cross-cultural storytelling as a way to increase global competency, equity, and engagement in the classroom. Specifically, it will focus on increasing equity and engagement through the principles of universal design to combat literature bias in academia, and help underrepresented populations see themselves in the material. Lastly, it will emphasize the importance of global perspectives as a way to expand one's worldview.

View Allison's presentation here