““The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Jamie patton (he/him/his)
Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs (D&I)
Dr. Jamie Patton is responsible for developing, implementing and managing new programs and initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion at Cal Poly. As a division-wide leader and diversity officer, he provides direction and consultation for services and policies to ensure inclusive practices across all Student Affairs departments. In addition, he helps provide campus-wide support for diversity and inclusion efforts in partnership with the Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity.
A native of north Philadelphia, Dr. Patton is a first-generation college graduate with more than 15 years of experience as a higher education administrator. Prior to Cal Poly, he served as the Assistant Dean of Students for Ohio University, where he directed the Parent and Family Program, co-initiated programming to increase graduation and retention rates among African-American male students, and implemented social justice development workshops for Student Affairs staff. Dr. Patton found his passion for a career in Student Affairs at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, where he held student leadership roles as Vice President of the Student Cooperative Council, President of the Black Student Union and founder of the Distinguished Gentlemen. He later served in several positions during a nine-year period at Northern Arizona University, including Director of the Student Learning Centers and Director of Inclusion and Multicultural Services.
Doctor of Education- Northern Arizona University
Master of Education- Northern Arizona University
Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
“It is not our differences that divide us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” - Audre Lorde
BeYA MAKEKAU (She/hER/hERs)
Director of Student Diversity & Belonging
Beya is here to ensure that Cal Poly continues to have events and programs that serve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Beya works to support, advocate, and develop students in any way that she can. She is a resource for students and her work is a celebration of the culture they bring to Cal Poly.
Master of Arts- San Francisco State University
Bachelor of Arts - University of Oregon
“Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud”
- Dr. Maya Angelou
Samuel Neil Byrd (ANY PRONOUNS)
Lead Coordinator for LGBTQ Campus Life
Samuel is a Gender & Sexuality educator, consultant, and national board-certified counselor originally from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. As a first-gen professional, Samuel works to expand access to public education, to support students mental health & wellbeing, and to dismantle systems of oppression. Over the years Samuel has served as a public school teacher, college lecturer and counselor, interfaith chaplain, and community activist.
Whether in the halls of Vatican City, Moral Marches on the state capital, or in the classroom, Samuel advocates for underrepresented students and promotes communities that celebrate a radical and enthusiastic practice of inclusion. Samuel coordinates LGBTQ Campus Life (PRIDE) at Cal Poly, serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the GALA Pride & Diversity Center, represents Cal Poly on the Police and Community Together Taskforce, the LGBTQ Advisory Council for Tenet Health Central Coast Hospitals, and the Growing Together Fund Committee at the Community Foundation; co-chairs the Interfaith Campus Council and serves as Trustee for the El Camino Real Diocese of the Episcopal Church, USA. Samuel's current research explores the intersections of Queer, Womxnist, and Postcolonial Theology.
Master of Theological Studies - Pacific School of Religion
Master of Education- North Carolina State University
Bachelor of Science- Appalachian State University
Richmond International University of Rome
Anya Booker (She/hER/hERs)
Lead Coordinator for Black Academic Excellence
Anya is the coordinator for the Black Academic Excellence Center at Cal Poly. She has devoted her life to the excellence and growth of black students in higher education.
Master of Fine Arts- American Film Institute
Master of Fine Arts- Antioch University, Los Angeles
Bachelor of Arts - University of California, Berkeley
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
— Aboriginal activists group, Queensland
Olivia Tran (She/hER/hERs)
Coordinator - Womxn & Gender Equity Initiatives
Olivia is committed to working for and with womxn-identified students and students of all underrepresented gender identities to affirm and celebrate existence and resistence on campus. With background in programming for LGBTQ+ and APIDA students, her work focuses on cultivating understandings of intersectionally marginalized identities and carving out spaces for students to exist in their fullest, most authentic selves.
Olivia studied history at the University of California, Los Angeles and received her M.Ed in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia.
Master of Education - University of Georgia
Bachelor of Arts - University of California, Los Angeles
"[Our] responsibility, as circumstances around us change, is to speak, live, and make decisions in such a way that the horizons of possibility move towards shalom, flourishing for everyone in our sphere of influence, especially the vulnerable."
- Andy Crouch
Nick Bilich (he/him/his)
Coordinator - men & Masculinities
Born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA, Nick came to Cal Poly in 2002, graduating with a BA in English, and a minor in Communication Studies. Nick’s passion for gender-based violence prevention and masculinity topics began at Cal Poly during his service as an AmeriCorps VIP Member with Safer and the Gender Equity Center (2011-2013). Prior to being hired as the Men and Masculinity Program coordinator, Nick facilitated Safer's six-week Sexual Misconduct Training and participated as an advisor in their Respondent Advising Program. Nick and his wife Jill love living in SLO, and share a passion for their faith, people, soccer, music, the outdoors, and having guests over for dinner.
Master of Arts - Western Seminary
Bachelor of Arts - California Polytechnic State University
“To be a student and not a revolutionary is a contradiction"
- Salvador Allende
Lilianne Tang (she/her/hers)
Coordinator - multicultural initiatives
Lilianne Tang was born and raised in Chinatown of Los Angeles, CA and she earned her B.A. in Political Science and B.A. in Sociology: Social Inequalities from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). This is where she learned the bureaucratic operation of the systems and structures in place, and how they reproduce inequality for communities of color. She is passionate about educational equity and has served as a College Adviser for 2 years, directly engaging and supporting first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students in their pursuit to higher education. Because of her students, she felt empowered to go to graduate school at Loyola University Chicago. She is the first in her family and is among 5% of Cambodian Americans to receive her M.Ed. During her time in graduate school, she realized her potential as a scholar-practitioner and used theories to inform her work facilitating dialogues around identity development for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students. Lilianne is very passionate about social justice and is committed to learning it and working towards it both personally and professionally. As one of the Social Justice and Multicultural Programs Coordinator, Lilianne provides a forum in which students can connect, grow, develop, organize, and build community with one another. She wants to help shape the next generation of leaders and scholars who will challenge the mainstream structure and discourse of higher education.
In Lilianne’s free time, she enjoys watching TV, painting, playing the Nintendo Switch, and struggling through 1000-piece puzzles. She believes dishwashers are a scam and has once gone viral on Twitter tweeting about birth control as healthcare. She also absolutely loves bonding and building community over food, boba, and board games.
Master of Education - Loyola University Chicago
Bachelor of Arts- University of California, San Diego
“What we say and what we do ultimately comes back to us so let us own our responsibility, place it in our hands, and carry it with dignity and strength"
- Gloria E. Anazaldua
erika Landa Sarmiento (they/them/ella)
Erika Landa Sarmiento was born in Puebla, Mexico and raised in Whittier/Pico Rivera. She earned her B.A. in Chicana/o Studies from California State University, Channel Islands (Chumash land). She then attended University of San Francisco (Ramaytush Ohlone land) where she is currently finishing her M.A. in Migration Studies. Erika is passionate about empowering and lifting underrepresented student populations, more specifically to her role Indigenous and Latinx students. Her understanding of indigeneity stems from her involvement in her Danza Mexica (Aztec Dance) community and her research with Undocumented/Indigenous folks. Her goal is to lift others as she rises and provide students with the tools to become critical thinkers and support them on their journey. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, and dancing.
Master of Arts - University of San Francisco
Bachelor of Arts- California State University, Channel Islands
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” - Thích Nhất Hạnh
vania agama ramirez (She/hER/hERs)
Coordinator - Dream Center
Vania is dedicated to increasing access, resources, and retention for undocumented/DACAmented students at Cal Poly. She believes in the importance of engaging in an equity driven, culturally affirming, and inclusive practice to uplift students, disrupt oppressive systems, and create healing spaces. Her personal mission is to aid historically underrepresented students in their goals and ensure their longterm holistic success.
She recieved her M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Master of Education - University of Michigan
Bachelor of Arts- University of California, Irvine (UCI)
“My search for love led me to feminism.”
- Bell Hooks
Katie Ettl (she/her/hers)
Americorps VIP Fellow
Katie was born and raised in Yuba City, CA and moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly in 2015. She graduated in June 2019 with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Women’s & Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Queer Studies, and Media Arts, Science, and Technology. As a student, Katie was heavily involved with feminist, anti-racist, and queer activist communities creating positive change on campus. Katie worked for the Gender Equity Center, and was involved with OWN (Original Womxn’s Narratives) as a crew member and actor since its first show in 2016. She was the facilitator for Gender Equity Movement (GEM) Training, which she has continued on with in her role as a staff member. Katie aims to assist the coordinator for Womxn & Gender Equity Initiatives as well as the other Student Diversity & Belonging staff in building and sustaining feminist and anti-racist spaces for students to thrive, learn, and find a home in. Through her AmeriCorps service, she is developing and maintaining volunteer infrastructure for the Gender Equity Center.
When Katie is not in the GEC, she is doing work for her side hustle – paid research for one of her favorite professors in the Science, Technology, and Society program at Cal Poly. You can also find her riding her bike around downtown SLO.
Bachelor of Arts- Cal Poly State University
“here and there in the barrios and the favelas,
among those who have least, beat hearts of hope, fly sparks of Overcoming” - Mumia Abu-Jamal
Leilani Hemmings Pallay (She/hER/they/them)
Leilani has been in San Luis Obispo for 4 (going on 5) years now. They recently graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies with minors in Womxn's and Gender Studies, Queer Studies, and Science, Technology, and Society (with a concentration in Gender, Race, Culture, Science, and Technology). During their time as an undergraduate, Leilani worked as a Student Assistant for the Gender Equity Center (GEC) for 3 years; within this role, they also served as the Producer for the 2019 and 2020 production of the GEC’s Original Womxn’s Narratives (OWN). Outside of Student Affairs, they worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Ethnic Studies Department and were involved with many student, community, and activist organizations; it is through this coalition-building and organizing that they were given unique opportunities such as giving a TEDx talk at the 2018 conference on campus and presenting their Senior Thesis “Tree Rings as an Ecofeminist & Decolonial Alternative to the Feminist Wave Theory“ at the National Women’s Studies Association.
In line with their ongoing commitment to communal care and (re)distribution of resources, they will be serving as the Americorps VIP Fellow for the Black Academic Excellence Center for the 2020-2021 academic year.
In their free time, Lani is thinking of their nephew Dorian, scheming on when they’ll be able to get a dog and/or a frog, and tending to their plants.
Bachelor of Arts - Cal Poly, SLO