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The BIPOC Experience with Faculty and Staff

Black, Indigenous, and faculty and staff of color at Mac are here to guide your college journey, as well as nurture your sense of belonging. Here are some BIPOC community members whose experience and background gives them the perspective and tools to support students who share these identities.

Admitted Students

Let’s Talk!

If you’ve been admitted to Macalester and are interested in chatting with Macalester professors or staff listed below, please send your selections and we will get you connected.

Faculty and Staff in the BIPOC Community

Alicia Muñoz (she/her/ella)
  • Alicia Muñoz (she/her/ella)
  • Associate Professor and Chair, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Professor Muñoz is originally from East LA, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her interests span US Latinx Studies, Latin American literature, and border studies. She is happy to share her stories about being a first gen college student, her research, life in Minnesota, and finding mentors.
Ariel James (she/her/hers)
  • Ariel James (she/her/hers)
  • Assistant Professor, Psychology
  • Professor James is a cognitive psychologist. Her research is focused on individual differences in language processing. Her classes include Intro to Psychology, a seminar on intelligence, and the cognitive lab. She is from the Chicago suburbs. Her favorite things include her dog, knitting, trivia, and karaoke.
Christine Sierra O’Connell (she/hers/ella)
  • Christine Sierra O’Connell (she/hers/ella)
  • Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
  • Professor O’Connell is an ecologist, environmental scientist, Mexican-American second gen citizen, and faculty member in the Environmental Studies department. Talk to her about being Latinx at Mac, her research in how climate change is impacting tropical rainforests in Central and South America (especially Puerto Rico and Brazil), and equity in Environmental Studies, Ecology, and STEM. She’s also happy to talk about surviving winters if you’re from a warm place and where to get burritos in the Twin Cities!
Dennis Cao (he/him/his)
  • Dennis Cao (he/him/his)
  • Assistant Professor, Chemistry
  • Professor Cao teaches organic chemistry and researches organic electronic materials. Working with research students ranks high among the best parts of his job. He is a Chinese-American immigrant who grew up in California. Gardening, basketball, photography, and woodworking are favorite hobbies.
Devavani Chatterjea (she/they)
  • Devavani Chatterjea (she/they)
  • Professor, Biology and Neuroscience
  • Devavani is a biologist, and educator committed to immunology research, diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM/STEM education, and the improved health of individuals and communities endangered by structural inequities. She teaches courses in biology and public health that emphasize experimentation, writing, public communication of science, community partnerships in the US and abroad, and art/science/movement collaborations.
Donald Brooks (he/him/his)
  • Donald Brooks (he/him/his)
  • Director, Athletics
  • Donnie is the Director of Athletics. Supporter of all students and their identities. You can discuss what it means to be to be part of the varsity, club or intramural sports community at MAC. He’s worked at 4 liberal arts colleges, so you can also discuss what it means to be a person of color in these environments.
Donna Maeda (she/her/hers)
  • Donna Maeda (she/her/hers)
  • Dean, Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship; Professor American Studies
  • Donna Maeda grew up in St. Paul and lived and worked in Los Angeles for many years. She does work in the area of critical race and gender legal studies. She is interested in how racialized communities are building solidarity in the current moment and how diverse Asian American communities and organizations connect within broader BIPOC communities of the Twin Cities. She would love to talk about ways to connect what you learn in classes to engaging communities through the Civic Engagement Center and Center for Study Away.
Duchess Harris (she/her/hers)
  • Duchess Harris (she/her/hers)
  • Professor, American Studies and Political Science
  • Professor Harris was a Mellon Mays Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1991 with a degree in American History. Six years later, she earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She did postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School and at the Womanist Studies Consortium at the University of Georgia. In 1998, Harris joined the faculty at Macalester College. She became the first Chair of the American Studies Department in 2003 and was granted tenure in 2004. In 2007 she decided that attending law school would allow her to expand the scope of her scholarship even further.
Erika Busse-Cárdenas (she/her/ella)
  • Erika Busse-Cárdenas (she/her/ella)
  • Assistant Professor, Sociology
  • Professor Busse-Cárdenas is originally from Lima, Peru. As an immigrant, she identifies as Latinx. Coming from a three-generation family of migrants, not surprising her research focuses on Latin American immigrant families and how they navigate the racial hierarchies where they settled. She loves taking photos, cooking, and walking with her Peruvian American family.
Hana Dinku (she/her/hers)
  • Hana Dinku (she/her/hers)
  • Director of Diversity Education, Leadership and Inclusion, Department of Multicultural Life
  • Hana’s educational background, professional employment, and leadership experiences have all focused around the education and empowerment of marginalized communities in the Twin Cities. Her mission is to build strong communities and empower students through liberatory education.
Karin Aguilar-San Juan (she/they/siya)
  • Karin Aguilar-San Juan (she/they/siya)
  • Professor and Chair, American Studies
  • Karin is a second-generation Filipina American and now advises the Filipino/a Student Club at Mac. She practices martial arts (tai chi and kung fu) and loves Bruce Lee. She and her spouse (who identifies as she/her) live in St. Paul, where she is active in the BIPOC Buddhist community on social justice issues.
Karin Vélez (she/her/hers)
  • Karin Vélez (she/her/hers)
  • Associate Professor, History
  • Professor Vélez is a historian and a transplant from a large Puerto Rican family now residing in New Hampshire. She thought that being one of few Latin/x folks in small New England towns would prepare her for moving to Minnesota. It did not. She is happy to share with you hilarious stories about being a square peg in a round hole. Prof. Vélez loves dragging her toddler and her students to obscure historical sites. At Macalester, she teaches pre-1800 and world history and advises first-generation BIPOC students in the Mellon-Mays and Graduate School Exploration Fellowships.
KiJuan Ware (he/him/his)
  • KiJuan Ware (he/him/his)
  • Assistant Football Coach, Athletics
  • Father – Husband – Football Coach. Coach Ware enjoys working with the members of our team, our community and our institution. He embraces the teaching of lifelong lessons of commitment, discipline, and respect.
Mario Solis-Garcia (he/him/his)
  • Mario Solis-Garcia (he/him/his)
  • Associate Professor Economics
  • Professor Solis-Garcia is a computational (and admittedly somewhat opinionated) macroeconomist in economic fluctuations and policy. He identifies as Latinx and is still discovering what it means to have brown skin when most people around him do not.
Marjorie Trueblood (she/her/hers)
  • Marjorie Trueblood (she/her/hers)
  • Dean, Department of Multicultural Life
  • Marjorie is the Dean of Multicultural Life. She is in her third year at Macalester and can talk about how the institution pursues its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well ways for students to get involved or find support outside of the classroom. The Department of Multicultural Life provides diversity resources to people throughout college, but provides specific support for BIPOC students, undocumented students, LGBTQIA+ students, and students who are first generation college students.
Mina Kinukawa (she/her/hers)
  • Mina Kinukawa (she/her/hers)
  • Assistant Professor, Theater and Dance
  • Mina is starting her first-year as a tenure-track faculty at Macalester. She is a mixed race, Japanese and Italian, who was born and raised in Tokyo. She first came to the US for her undergraduate degree, transferring from a design school in Milan, Italy. In the US, she has lived in MI, CO, CA, OR, and for the last 10 years in MN.
Morgan Jerald (she/her/hers)
  • Morgan Jerald (she/her/hers)
  • Assistant Professor, Psychology
  • Dr. Jerald is a faculty member in the Psychology department, where she teaches courses on gender, race, and research methods. Her research examines sociocultural factors (such as the media and stereotypes) that influence Black women’s gender beliefs, sexual well-being, and experiences of sexualization.
Morgan Sleeper (he/him/his)
  • Morgan Sleeper (he/him/his)
  • Assistant Professor, Linguistics
  • Morgan Sleeper is a linguist whose research focuses on the interaction of language and music. He is a Cherokee Nation citizen and passionate about music, public transit, and tea, and exploring the Twin Cities in the name of all three.
Myhana Kerr (she/her/hers)
  • Myhana Kerr (she/her/hers)
  • Associate Director of Major Gifts, Advancement
  • Myhana is a 2018 Mac grad, born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Atlanta, GA. Her family is Jamaican and she came to Mac not knowing anything about Minnesota. She studied Anthropology and Chinese while at Mac. After two years in health care, she’s back in the Mac community as a fundraiser.
Myrl Beam (he/him)
  • Myrl Beam (he/him)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Myrl teaches in the WGSS department, focusing on queer and trans social movements, capitalism, and racial justice. Myrl also works on the Tretter Trans Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota and co-hosts a podcast called Transcripts, which uses oral histories to bring stories of trans activism to a wider audience. Each Fall Myrl teaches a community-engaged Trans Oral History course which offers Mac students the chance to intern with the project, collect oral histories themselves, or create audio/video projects using the oral histories. Myrl is deeply involved in queer and trans movements for racial justice in the Twin Cities and strives to connect Mac students to organizing and internship opportunities.
Olga González (she/her/ella)
  • Olga González (she/her/ella)
  • Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Anthropology, KAIGC
  • Olga González is associate professor in the Anthropology Department, affiliated faculty in the Latin American Studies Program, and Associate Dean of the Kofi Annan Institute of Global Citizenship. She is the author of Unveiling Secrets of War in the Peruvian Andes. She has been the advisor for two traveling art exhibits in the United States, Weavings of War; Fabrics of Memory and Ayacucho: Tradition and Crisis in Peruvian Popular Art. She also curated the exhibit Ayacucho: The Times of Danger at the Macalester’s Law Warschaw Gallery in 2012. Her current research focuses on memory and visuality in post-war Peru. She identifies as an immigrant from Latin America (more specifically Peru), and Latinx and BIPOC since she became an American citizen in 2007.
Pa Dao Yang (she/he/hers)
  • Pa Dao Yang (she/he/hers)
  • Assistant Director of Student Support and Success, Department of Multicultural Life
  • Pa Dao identifies as a Hmong/Asian American woman who comes from a background of first generation, low-income, refugee/immigrant, and bi-lingual (Hmong – white dialect). Pa Dao grew up in North Minneapolis and went to all Minneapolis public schools. Pa Dao earned her BA in Sociology and MA in Leadership at Augsburg University located in South Minneapolis, MN. Pa Dao pursued a career in higher education to empower and support underrepresented students – specifically first generation and BIPOC students. Pa Dao enjoys jogging, baking (still learning!), cooking, outdoors, traveling, and spending time with family.
Ronald Brisbois (he/him/his)
  • Ronald Brisbois (he/him/his)
  • Professor, Chemistry
  • Professor Brisbois teaches primarily introductory and advanced organic chemistry. He has collaborated with more than 100 undergraduate research students, working on developing new methods for synthesis, designing novel fluorescent molecules and colorimetric sensors, and exploring aspects of metal-mediated supramolecular self-assembly. In terms of campus service, Professor Brisbois serves as Macalester’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, working closely with student-athletes and coaches and participating in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference governance structure. Professor Brisbois is a descendent of the White Earth Nation, where his father is an enrolled member of the Pembina Band of Ojibwe.
Sedric McClure (he/him/his)
  • Sedric McClure (he/him/his)
  • Assistant Dean, Department of Multicultural Life
  • Sedric is focused on the success of students, by creating programs and practices that transform the campus learning and living environment. The substance of his career has revolved around college access for underrepresented students, social justice education, as well as creating pathways for students’ academic trajectories and self-actualization.
Sonita Sarker (she/her/hers)
  • Sonita Sarker (she/her/hers)
  • Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Professor Sarker finds herself categorized as a brown female of South Asian descent, majority in some contexts and minority in others. While she may be defined by these identities, she is not confined by them. She takes these categories into account in her work creating positive social change.
Dr. Suzanne Rivera (she/her/ella)
  • Dr. Suzanne Rivera (she/her/ella)
  • President, Macalester College
  • Dr. Suzanne Rivera is the President of Macalester College. She also is a Professor of Public Affairs, and her scholarship focuses on research ethics and science policy. Rivera received a BA in American Civilization from Brown University, an MSW from UC-Berkeley, and a PhD in public policy from UT Dallas. She identifies as Latina and Cuban-American.
TK Morton (ze/zir/zirs)
  • TK Morton (ze/zir/zirs)
  • Assistant Director of Diversity Education, Leadership, and Inclusion, Department of Multicultural Life
  • TK is the Assistant Director of Multicultural Life! When not working, ze loves listening to music (specifically Kpop), doing tarot readings, eating at new restaurants, going on adventures, and centering joy! Ask TK about LGBTQ+ life, programming for BIPOC students, general questions about the Department of Multicultural Life, and support for LGBTQ+ BIPOC students.
Xavier Haro-Carrión (he/him/his)
  • Xavier Haro-Carrión (he/him/his)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow of Geography
  • Xavier is a land change scientist, he uses satellite images to analyze human-environment settings with a regional focus on the New World tropics. Originally from Ecuador, he moved to Florida about ten years ago and in 2019 to Minnesota. Being relatively new to Macalester, he has a fresh perspective on moving to a new place and navigating a new environment.


We’re always happy to answer questions about exploring identities at Mac. If you’d like to talk with Admissions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Admissions at Macalester

[email protected]