2021 Conference Sessions

Day 3: Wednesday, Jan. 27th, 2021

OWHE Wise Professional Panel

An opportunity to hear from voices currently in Higher Education, sharing experiences and tools from the perspective of a student, new professional and senior administrator. This year's panelists are Alice Harra, Jessika Chi, Ale Pena & Elizabeth Guzman Arroyo

Alice Harra

Alice Harra helps people tell their stories. At Reed College, Alice is the Associate Dean of Students and serves as Director for Center of Life Beyond Reed (CLBR). Previously, Alice worked closely with recruiters seeking undergraduate and graduate-level talent at Northwestern University’s Career Advancement Center as Director of Employer Relations. Prior to Higher Education, Alice held senior-level positions with two of the world’s largest higher education publishing houses: Prentice Hall and McGraw-Hill.

At Reed College, Alice’s focus is the design and implementation of CLBR’s transformation into a visible and trusted partner for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community/industry partners. Her efforts are centered on a purposeful rather than passive center, and institutionalizing a unique “Communities of Purpose” narrative, created in early 2015. She helps students develop clarity, confidence, and connections for success during and after Reed, and leads Reed’s efforts to develop strategic relationships with the business community. Previously, as McGraw-Hill’s Senior Editor of College and Career Success, Alice consulted with private and public colleges and universities across the country on institutional success factors including student readiness, retention, faculty development, and comprehensive career service delivery.

Through her work with many types of companies and institutions, and across multiple  organizational functions, Alice offers a depth of knowledge in business strategy, corporate story-telling, organizational design, project design and management, clarity of mission and roles, leadership, and staff development. Early in her career, Alice lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and worked as a journalist for United Press International (UPI) and Business Asia, as well as serving as Educational Advisor at the Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE), the Fulbright Program, and USIA. Alice has studied, lived, and traveled internationally. She now lives happily in SE Portland, Oregon, in the middle of a magical old-growth forest.

Jessika Chi

Jessika Chi (she/they) is the assistant dean for institutional diversity at Reed College in Portland, OR. They have over ten years of experience in higher education and student affairs. They have a B.A. from Southern Methodist University, M.A. in Educational Administration and Leadership from University of the Pacific, and are currently a Ph.D. candidate at Pacific University in the Education and Leadership program. In response to the pandemic, Chi is focusing on the radical practice of rest as resistance with the belief that fostering cultures of rest and self- and community- care are crucial to justice movements and creating a more sustainable and humane world.

Ale Pena

Hello, my name is Alejandra and I am a proud alumna of the University of Oregon. Now working at my alma mater, I’m currently entering my second year as an admissions counselor within the University of Oregon Office of Admissions. Working directly in the recruitment process, I work closely with prospective students from Montana, and Eastern Oregon geographic regions. I’m currently working with multicultural and underrepresented students; who will always hold a special place in my heart. While transitioning into the digital realm, I discovered how the statement “self-care is the best care” speaks volumes. In regards to my personality type, I identify in what I like to consider an ‘introverted-extrovert’, since I hold qualities from both introvert and extrovert tropes. I myself, like potentially some of my colleagues, have picked up a new hobby to help enlighten my creativity. I have not explored my creative side in quite some time and found comfort once I realized that I could express my energy into another outlet. It's definitely the little things that I have found myself celebrating during this unique time. The exhilarating feeling of being able to share new passions and inspiring projects with one another, assists me to reconnect with the people closest to me and the world around me; even if we are physically apart.

Elizabeth Guzman Arroyo

For over a decade, I has centered my career on mitigating barriers that impact the educational outcomes of students with BIPoC, low-socioeconomic status, immigrant, first-generation, and Queer identities - all of which I embodies. Currently, I am at Portland Community College where I serve as the statewide Program Manager for the STEP Community College Consortia. In this role, I support all seventeen Oregon community colleges in implementing a federal grant to increase equitable postsecondary opportunities and economic mobility for SNAP recipients. To continue being in relationship with one-another during this pandemic, I organize drop-in virtual statewide meetings multiple times a month. Outside of work, for self-care, I partake in creative projects that I can share with loved ones. Candle making, cider brewing, and zoom game nights have been a few along with curating a mental health activity book titled, ‘Last Year was Trash, Let’s Not Do That Again: Mental Health Strategies for 2021’

10:45 - 11:45 AM: An Ascribed Identity: The Experiences of Middle Eastern Muslim Women on College Campuses, by Marwa Al-Khamees

With the increasing diversity of the incoming college students and the intersection of various identities, it’s more important than ever to abandon stereotypical ideas of the Muslim college student. Middle Eastern Muslim women experience high levels of microaggression, discrimination, and harassment due to the multiple identities they hold. This presentation will explore the factors affecting the identities of Middle Eastern Muslim women in higher education, as well as the resources and best practices for student affairs professionals in working with Muslim students.

12:00 - 1:00 PM: Global Citizens or Unofficial Diplomats? Understanding the Role of U.S. Foreign Policy and Citizen Ambassadorship in the Study Abroad Student Experience, by Ashley Weibel

In this session, I discuss the history and sociopolitical context of study abroad programs and their historical connection to U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy goals. I also discuss the developmental impacts of study abroad on U.S. college students. This background is provided to stimulate group discussion on how the macro level implications of study abroad can be applied to individual case studies of students. Through active participation and breakout room discussion, attendees will be empowered with the knowledge and tools to better advise study abroad students before departure, while abroad, and upon return

2:00 - 3:00 PM: Liberationships: Critical Mentorship as Womxn of Color in Higher Education, by Kim McAloney & Jenesis Long

*This is a closed session for Womnxn of Color

This interactive session discusses a newly developed theoretical model of women of color mentorship within higher education examining ways of sustenance, deep productivity, and sites of resilience. Using the model, this session will provide participants with activities, reflection, and discussion about radical transformation of relationship spaces across positional divisions that liberate from White supremacist ways of being in higher education. Participants will leave with a tangible piece of art they create during the session to help them implement what they learn (no art experience necessary).

3:15 - 4:15 PM: Balancing in the Rain:  How We Show Up, Practice Self-care, and Respond, Matters Today and Tomorrow! By Janette Clay

Let’s be honest, we are balancing a lot these days! How do our social identities and positionality affect how we show up and balance? What can we do for self-care? And finally, how do we turn this awareness and care into short and long term action? This is a community based session, with polls, group discussions, and takeaways. It includes a personal inventory, a basic introduction to self-care (including radical self care), and closes with a brainstorm of socially just ways to move forward and respond. 

Connect with Leaders

Networking with women, non-binary, and trans leaders in the state of Oregon will enhance your professional experience. We look forward to creating opportunities to meet, connect and develop together.

Engage in Professional Development

Participate in opportunities for professional growth through educational programs that are provided by our campus contact network right on your campus, in your region or at a state wide gathering. The focus is on providing you with the leadership skills and mentoring necessary to lead.

Lead Change in Higher Education

Higher education in the state of Oregon provides a dynamic environment where women, non-binary, and trans people can impact change. Whether in the community college, 4-year institution, public, or private, we want you to be a part of shaping the future of higher education by empowering and affirming your leadership abilities.