2020-21 Community of Scholars Cohort



Angie Steward

Angie Stewart (she/her/hers)

DEI Lead, Organizational Learning

Angie is a passionate and enthusiastic trainer, coach, and facilitator. Angie’s curiosity and commitment to understanding the human experience have led her to projects across the world, from Senegal to Mexico. Angie is a champion of positive culture change who leads with a dynamic spirit and contagious, inspirational energy. Angie is an avid photographer, writer, runner, and lover of life. Her personal philosophy is driven by a penchant for lifelong learning, unapologetic authenticity, empowerment, and personal responsibility, and her focus and drive are counterbalanced by her witty sense of humor.

Angie is excited about the opportunity to partner with a colleague to create a roadmap for training facilitators in the art of dialogue. She also joined the IGR Community of Scholars to connect with like-minded folks.

[email protected]


Ashley Richardson

Ashley Richardson (she/her/hers)

Associate Director, Career Services, School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS)

Ashley Richardson has been working in education for 12 years, currently working in career services at the School for Environment and Sustainability as the Associate Director. Starting her leadership experience in post-secondary education molded her into an analytical, assertive, results-driven, leader. She now possesses over 8 years of leadership and management in career education. This has allowed her to combine her passion for creating meaningful relationships with her practice of teaching professionals how to advocate for themselves. Ensuring that diversity and inclusion are in career services practices is a compelling center for her work.

Ashley is very excited to learn about the opportunity to engage diverse professionals with the intention of enhancing how we interact with diverse groups in dialogue.

[email protected]


Christine Modey

Christine Modey (she/her/hers)

Director, Michigan Community Scholars Program

Prior to joining MCSP, Christine was the faculty director of the Sweetland Peer Writing Consultant Program for six years, where she taught courses in peer writing consultation theory and practice, supported an outstanding staff of undergrad peer writing consultants, and collaborated with a wide variety of campus partners to celebrate writing and writers on our campus. She is the co-editor, with former MCSP Director David Schoem, of Teaching The Whole Student: Engaged Learning With Heart, Mind, and Spirit, and has published her collaborative research in writing studies journals.

Christine joined the IGR Community of Scholars to learn more about intergroup dialogue and dialogic practices so she can support dialogue in MCSP and also include more dialogic practices in her courses.

[email protected] 


Deborah Willis

Deborah S. Willis (she/her/hers)

Program Lead, DEI Certificate, Rackham Graduate School

Deborah S. Willis is a passionate and enthusiastic educator, facilitator, and certified executive coach. She is the senior program lead for the University of Michigan Rackham Professional Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate, a program she designed to prepare participants to work in a diverse environment while fostering a climate of inclusivity. Throughout her professional career, Dr. Willis has provided vision and advocacy for faculty, students, and staff in the areas of leadership development, career development, and DEI professional development. Her engaging style of training and coaching encourages progressive, actionable, and tangible growth for the people she serves. She is committed to creating initiatives that support an inclusive community and promote institutional change. Dr. Willis holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan.

Since participating in IGR's National Intergroup Dialogue Institute several years ago, Deborah truly understands the importance of dialogue and appreciates IGR's unique model. She is eager to learn from, network, and collaborate with a Community of Scholars on campus to increase the capacity for dialogue among faculty, staff, and students at Michigan.

[email protected] 


Jessica Garcia

Jessica Garcia (she/her/hers)

DEI Manager, LSA Dean's Office

Jessica Garcia, Ph.D., provides consulting, training, and crisis-management support for the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts on DEI-related issues.

Jessica joined the IGR Community of Scholars so she can provide greater support to LSA departments in their discussions on DEI-related issues.

[email protected]


Joshua Thurman

Joshua Thurman (he/him/his)

Program Manager, Cultural Engagement, Interfaith, Intercultural Learning Programs, Trotter Multicultural Center

Josh serves as the Program Manager for Cultural Engagement, Interfaith and Intercultural Programs at Trotter Multicultural Center. He was born and raised in Detroit and holds a Master's degree in Education and a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the Trotter Multicultural Center, Josh served as Community Standards and Leadership Development Manager at Fraternity & Sorority Life and also taught 6th Grade Mathematics in Detroit.

Josh joined the IGR Community of Scholars so that he could incorporate dialogic practices as part of his work with student facilitators for the Interfaith Program. He is also excited to learn from the collective wisdom of the different members of this community.

[email protected] 


Mikalia Dennia

Mikalia Dennis (she/her/hers)

DEI Administrative Coordinator, LSA

Mikalia Dennis is a new, U-M employee. She currently provides administrative support for the LSA Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Professional Development, as well as the LSA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager. She plays an important role in advancing DEI initiatives for the Dean's Office, and she is looking forward to developing a long-term career with the University.

Mikalia is excited about the opportunity to both learn more and grow as a young, black professional at U-M. She looks forward to building lasting relationships with her new colleagues, through the IGR Community of Scholars.

[email protected] 


Priscila Papias

Priscila Papias (she/her/hers)

Program Manager, Trotter Multicultural Center

Hailing from California, Priscila serves as a Program Manager for the Trotter Multicultural Center. Her professional and academic career has been centered around accessible education with an emphasis on engaging student learning through multimedia.

Priscila is excited to join a community of individuals that are committed to learning more about themselves and use that as a foundation to build better relationships with others.

[email protected]


Sonia Joshi

Sonia Joshi (she/her/hers)

DEI Program Manager

Sonia Joshi uses her background in human dimensions and environmental justice to apply a lens of how race, class, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomics disproportionately impact certain members of society. As a trained facilitator, Sonia develops and leads training programs and DEI workshops and is committed to amplifying voices and representation of people of color in the environmental field.

Sonia joined the IGR Community of Scholars to incorporate dialogic practices into her work with students, staff, and faculty at SEAS and to building stronger relationships on Intergroup Dialogue across campus.

[email protected]