Dr. James K Duah-Agyeman
I am originally from Ghana, West Africa, and a member of the Ashanti tribe. I came to Syracuse in 1982 to pursue my PhD in Mathematics Education. I am currently serving as director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience. My interest in the student affairs profession is advancing student retention through mentoring, leadership development, civic engagement, and academic achievement. I am committed to educating the whole person to become a global citizen. For my own professional development, I have been trained in couple diversity education models and continue to take certification courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Among such courses is “Designing and Building Institutional Antiracist Spaces (D-BIAS) through Coursera, and Cornell’s Certification Program on Diversity and Inclusion. I believe in community engagement through programming and serving on boards of community-based organizations. On campus, I have served on various search committees for administrative positions and am currently serving as chair of the Senate Committee on Race, Equity, Ethnicity, and Inclusion as well as the Associate University Marshall for commencements and convocations. I am a Lead Instructor for the First Year Seminar (FYS 101) and CARE facilitator. I enjoy discussions around all aspects of diversity advancing the notion that “diversity is the differences that make us unique.” And unless we talk to each other, we will never come to know and appreciate the differences that make each of us unique.
Associate Director, Multicultural Affairs and the Kessler Scholars Program & Interim Director, Disability Cultural Center
Huey Hsiao serves as the associate director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program. In his role, he provides leadership and direction on programming that enriches Syracuse University's diverse campus culture and results in students' academic, social and personal success.
First established at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and Arts, the Kessler Scholars Program has grown into a network of colleges and universities. As the leading scholarship program for first-generation students, the program is distinct in that it provides comprehensive support through wrap-around, multi-tiered services to ensure students’ success from the moment they enroll to after graduation. Syracuse University welcomed its first cohort of Kessler Presidential Scholars in fall 2020.
In addition, Huey leads the nationally recognized WellsLink Leadership Program, and coordinates the University’s annual celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Huey also serves on the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence and the Chancellor’s Ad Hoc Committee on DACA/Undocumented Students; and he is the Student Liaison for DACA/Undocumented students and students with "mixed-status families".
Huey also serves as the interim director for the Disability Cultural Center (DCC). The DCC provides a space for connection and community while engaging in programming and outreach focusing on disability as diversity.
Huey has nearly two decades of experience in higher education in roles spanning diversity and inclusion, student success, international education, advising, enrollment and recruiting. From 2006 to 2011, he served as assistant director of student services for M.B.A. and M.S. programs at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Prior to joining the University, he held multiple positions with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) (1999-2004), including program advisor and program officer and enrollment officer, in addition to a semester abroad as assistant resident director at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. He also taught English-as-a-Second-Language at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, through the Colorado China Council (1997-1998).
Huey was born and raised in North Haven, CT. He received a bachelor's degree in biology and an Asian studies certificate from the University of Rochester. He earned an M.B.A. from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain.
Assistant Director, Native Student Program
Regina A. Jones is a member of the Oneida Nation, Turtle Clan. The Oneida Nation is part of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee. The Haudenosaunee are located in and around New York State and include the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora Nations. She grew up and still resides on the Onondaga Nation territory located just a few miles south of Syracuse University.
Regina received her Bachelor of Science degree in child and family studies from the Syracuse University College of Human Services and Health Professions (now the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics). Regina has been with the Office of Multicultural Affairs since July of 2000. She began her tenure at Syracuse University in 1989. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Native American Studies, the Consortium for Children’s Services, Inc., the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, and the Manlius Pebble Hill School.
It is with honor and respect that Regina directs the Native Student Program. She looks forward to working with Native students, faculty, staff, and families on new and existing initiatives that help Indigenous students transition into college and remain connected with their heritage, which is key to the retention of Indigenous students in higher education. The Native Student Program exists with the same home-away-from-home theme that is central to the Office of Multicultural Affairs. She is a single parent of four, grandmother of eight, and great-grandmother of three.
Cedric T. Bolton, M.S.Ed.
Coordinator of Student Engagement
Cedric T. Bolton joined the Office of Multicultural Affairs in August 2004 as the Coordinator of Student Engagement. He was previously employed at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he was an Educational Specialist in the African American Learning Resource Center. While at Syracuse University, he has designed the spoken word poetry program Verbal Blend, ECLISPE Dialogues, Poetry for the People, Black Men & Women’s Think Tank, Poets Learning Community, and coordinated efforts for Black History Month each year. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University and Master’s Degree in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University.
Cedric is an adjunct instructor with Renée Crown University Honors Program and the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a published poet and his poetry can be found in Stone Canoe, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, Minnesota Saint Cloud Times, and the Post Standard. He has recorded two spoken-word poetry CDs, and published a chap book entitled The State of the Ghetto Address. He has mentored students, staff, faculty and community writers to be confident in their voice and writing for twenty years. His writer’s workshops are the embodiment of community, family, and the continuing presence of “One Mic, One Voice.”
He was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and was raised in Paterson, New Jersey. Cedric values and understands the importance of active community involvement and participate on few committees in the greater-Syracuse community.
Breana Nieves Vergara
Coordinator of Mentoring Programs
Breana Nieves Vergara joined the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) in July 2021. As Coordinator of Mentoring Programs, Breana is responsible for maintaining both the fullCIRCLE, and Dimensions mentoring programs, as well as leading Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month and supporting the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program.
Breana Nieves Vergara received her Bachelor’s in Sociology with minors in Latinx Studies and Education Studies from Ithaca College. During her time at Ithaca College, she was a part of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, which provided her with the opportunity to pursue a year-long Helen Gurley Brown fellowship post-graduation. As a Syracuse native, who was previously an On Point for College student herself, Breana worked for the organization and served as the Programming Fellow; where she created and coordinated their mentorship program.
Breana is interested in initiatives that focus on guiding students on their academic journeys, as well as creating an environment that encourages identity development and fosters community. In her free time, Breana enjoys spending time with her partner, and their cats, Fernando and Oliver. She also enjoys exploring waterfalls, trying new recipes, and reading ethnographies.
Marissa L. Willingham
Program Associate for Budgets and Operations
Marissa Willingham joined the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) in October 2006. As Program Associate for Budgets and Operations, Marissa is responsible for maintaining the office budget, supervising student employees, event planning, and assisting the director and staff.
A native of Syracuse NY with close connections in the Syracuse community, Marissa has served on many committees and has worked on countless projects and initiatives whose emphasis focused on celebrating culture, constructing inclusive spaces, building and maintaining relationships, community engagement, and social justice awareness. Marissa describes herself as a mother of three, and very passionate about the work she does to enrich the lives of people.
Willingham attended Onondaga Community College, where she took classes in computer information systems. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at Syracuse University.
Graduate Assistant, C.A.R.E.
Robin Maxile is a Ph.D. student in the School of Education’s Cultural Foundation program at Syracuse University and serves as the Academic Consultant for C.A.R.E.. She also works as a Graduate Assistant in the Higher Education Department and is the Events Coordinator for the Black Graduate Student Association. Robin is originally from Louisiana where she completed her Bachelor’s degree at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and later went on to obtain her Master’s in General Counseling Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles. She served two years in AmeriCorps, a national service program dedicated to addressing and improving the critical needs of residents in underprivileged communities. During her time in AmeriCorps, Robin worked as a college and career advisor, advocating for resources that address student needs both emotionally and academically.
As Robin continued to work with her students, she began to notice a disconnect between school policies and student needs. Using her own background as a low-income, first-generation student, along with her AmeriCorps experience, Robin’s interest in the matter peaked and led to her current research into chronic absenteeism among students in underserved communities. Through the Cultural Foundations program, Robin is exploring the connections between chronic absenteeism, marginalized communities, and school policies.
From Natchitoches to Los Angeles to Syracuse, Robin is passionate about empowering students of color, encouraging them to think outside the box and exhaust all their resources. Rejections are only redirections to something greater.
Alonzo D. Turner
Graduate Assistant, fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program
Alonzo D. Turner is a Ph.D. student in the School of Education’s Counseling and Counselor Education program at Syracuse University. He serves as a Graduate Assistant for the fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program and is the President of Counselors for Social Justice. Alonzo is originally from North Carolina where he completed his BA in Mass Communications at Winston-Salem State University and MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Ed.S. in Couples and Family Counseling form the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Upon graduating from UNC-G, Alonzo began serving at Family Services of the Piedmont where he provided individual and group counseling addressing the mental health and substance issues for clients of marginalized identities. He is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) in the state of NC and has several years of counseling experience. Prior to joining OMA, he has served as a Graduate Assistant in Career Services, the Counseling Center at Syracuse University and the Department of Counseling and Human Services.
A proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alonzo helped coordinate the Blackballed: Lecture Series with BGSA and the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs to help address issues of implicit bias at Syracuse University. As a burgeoning counselor educator, he aspires to engage students and clients through approaches that affirm less privileged identities. As a Black feminist, his research explores the intersections of class, race/ethnicity, gender, spirituality, sexual orientation and social justice.
Academic Consultant, WellsLink Leadership Program
Cassaundra Caudillo (a.k.a Cassie) is a graduate student in the School of Education, working to get her Master’s in Cultural Foundations of Education. She is from Los Angeles, CA and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at Humboldt State University in Northern California. During her time there she was a student staff member in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion where she took part in putting together equity-minded learning sessions both on and off-campus, as well as lending her voice on the President’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and student government. She also was a part of a grant-funded pilot program for first year, low income students who could benefit from having a peer mentor to ease their transition into a college atmosphere. Within the community she was a part of an organization whose mission it was to bring racial bias and targeting to the forefront of the city’s agenda in order to recognize and minimize it. Cassie is particularly interested in the retention rates of students of color in higher education and making sure that all students feel a sense of belonging here. When she’s not in class she enjoys cooking, working out, and spending time with her two dogs, a Great Pyrenees and a corgi.
Academic Consultant, WellsLink Leadership Program
Tyler Kerr recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Textual Studies with a minor in Education Studies from Syracuse University and has begun to pursue his masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. During his undergraduate career Tyler participated in several different organizations on campus such as the Filipino Student Association. Tyler is also a brother of the Syracuse University Associate Chapter of Sigma Beta Rho Multicultural Fraternity Inc., where he's served in a variety of roles such as New Member Educator, Vice President, Rush Chair, Events Chair, and Secretary. He was also heavily involved in his Greek council, the Multicultural Greek Council, having been the President throughout his senior year. In his free time Tyler likes going to the gym, going for runs, or tinkering with his computer. He also likes working with his friends and brothers to create comedy sketch videos when they can all get together.
Shakaya I. Walcott
Academic Consultant, Native Student Program
Shakaya Walcott is from Waterbury, Connecticut and attended Southern Connecticut State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work. During her undergraduate collegiate journey, she became a very involved student holding several leadership positions such as Peer mentor, Resident Advisor, Peer Academic Success Coach, Orientation Ambassador, and President of her Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. She is currently in the Higher Education program here at Syracuse University and is very excited to begin connecting with students on campus.
Shakaya is a first-generation college student and has a passion for creating spaces for minoritized students to feel empowered and welcome on their college campus. She is excited be working with the Native Student Program and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.