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A Closer Look Panel Series

Take Action by Addressing inequality.

October 2023 • 12:30-2:30 p.m. • Phoenix Rooms

"A Closer Look" Panel Series continues this semester as we examine the intersections between poverty and other systems of inequity, along with ways we can work toward equity. The panel series will challenge ideas and assumptions and destigmatize poverty issues, address structural barriers that contribute to poverty and raise awareness of community resources.

Directions to Campus


Wed. Oct. 11
Hear discussions about intersections between income inequality and education at all levels.

Panel Information


Tues. Oct. 17
This panel will explore inequities within childcare related to funding, wages, government assistance, benefits and more.

Panel Information


Wed. Oct. 25
Learn how various identities intersect and how they relate to income inequity on a systemic level

Panel Information

A Closer Look at Education

Wednesday, October 11 • 12:30-2:30 p.m.

A discussion on the intersections between income inequality and education at all levels, covering education access, affordability, quality, policies and practices, funding, and more.

Watch Virtually

Aaron (AJ) Walker

AJ Walker, a Police Lieutenant at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Police Department, brings a diverse background in law enforcement, education, and military service. Holding a Master's in Applied Professional Studies, AJ authored a community-based mentoring program for new officers, focusing on City of Green Bay intelligence-led policing.

Previously, AJ served as a school resource officer at West High School and Franklin Middle School in Green Bay, where he piloted the Future Blue mentoring program, encouraging students to consider careers in policing. He also ran an advocacy group mentoring boys of color, emphasizing resilience and persistence in education.

Enrolled in a doctor of education program, AJ's research centers on resiliency training to support student success. Additionally, he is a combat veteran with experience in military police and intelligence roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout his career, AJ remains passionate about education's transformative power, particularly for minoritized communities.

Dr. Jon Shelton

Dr. Jon Shelton is associate professor and chair of democracy and justice studies.  He is the author of The Education Myth: How Human Capital Trumped Social Democracy (Cornell University Press, 2023) and Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order, which was the winner of the International Standing Conference of the History of Education’s First Book Award in 2018.  Shelton has also published work in the Washington Post, Dissent, Jacobin, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, and other publications.  He is the Vice-Chair of the city of Green Bay’s first ever Equal Rights Commission and sits on the Board of Directors for the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Wisconsin Labor History Society.   He also serves as Vice-President for Higher Education of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin.

Amanda Garcia

Amanda Garcia is currently the Executive director of Casa ALBA Melanie. Casa ALBA Melanie has served as a trusted resource and hub for information for over a decade, with a mission to promote the well-being and wholesome development of all Hispanic and Latinx members and families living in the area. Amanda says her work at Casa ALBA is made possible by her dedicated team, community focus, collaborations, committed volunteers, and many generous donors. Her experience in education, community engagement, and nonprofit development has helped her become a key leader in identifying the needs and successes of the incredibly diverse Hispanic/Latinx community in the area, in the region and in the state of Wisconsin.

Amanda’s additional Community Involvement positions include: Brown County United Way Advocacy Council Vice Chair, Achieve Brown County Board Member, Latino Professionals of Northeast Wisconsin Member, Northeast Wisconsin Latinx Rising Advisor, Northeast Wisconsin Education Latino Task Force (NEWLET) Chair​.

Jenny Tice


For nearly a decade, Jenny Tice has been managing the scholarship program for CollegeReady, a Green Bay nonprofit organization that encourages and invests in area students to succeed in higher education. CollegeReady awards scholarship funding to college-bound students in Northeast Wisconsin, selecting recipients based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and community involvement, and financial need.

Jenny manages all aspects of the organization’s scholarship program, including volunteer coordination, recipient support, alumni relations, and selection processes. She strives to inform and encourage local students from all backgrounds about opportunities to fund their education, and is passionate about helping them succeed. Additionally, in leading the organization’s communications, Jenny hears directly from the deserving students and families who receive financial support, and is especially proud of the positive impact made on those who, without help, would be unable to pursue a college education.

Dr. Shara Cherniak


Shara Cherniak began her career teaching elementary school in dual-language (Spanish-English) contexts, mostly kindergarten. She then obtained her master's and PhD at the University of Georgia, with an emphasis in Early Childhood, Teacher Education, and a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies.  Select research publications include: Intra-being: Implications for early childhood education; and “The “new”: A colonization of non-modern scholars and knowledges.” For the past nine years, Shara has taught higher education; currently teaching in the Professional Program in Education at UWGB.  Enduring questions guiding her teaching and research include: what material-discursive conditions support humans in living lives of wellbeing and in symbiotic relationship with one another and our Earth home and, in what ways policies, practices, and pedagogy in early childhood education support this relational equity?  She views her work as moment-to-moment responsibility and opportunity to abolish inherited hegemonic structures and turn towards justice and mutual wellbeing.


A Closer Look at Childcare

Tuesday, October 17 • 12:30-2:30 p.m.

This panel will explore inequities within childcare with discussion topics including childcare deserts and access, COVID19 government funding, lack of culturally competent providers, childcare wages, government assistance and the benefits cliff, and more.

Watch Virtually

Jamie Brassfield

Jamie is the Early Childhood Manager at the Family and Childcare Resources of Northeastern Wisconsin (FCR NEW). FCR provides education, support, information referrals, and evidence-based home visitation programs and early childhood consultation for two primary segments: parents/guardians and professional childcare providers.

James McGee


James McGee is the Black Youth Alliance Community Coordinator at We All Rise African American Resource Center. The Alliance offers summer and after-school programming for youths that focuses on mentorship, education and economics.  James has always had a passion for volunteering and helping others. He is honored to be part of a team that makes We All Rise a place where young people can have fun, learn about who they are, and comfortably be themselves.

James grew up in Waukegan and North Chicago, Illinois, and has lived in the Green Bay community for over a decade. He is a proud father of a 15-year-old daughter. James is also an active member of JOSHUA - Justice Organization Sharing Hope & United for Action, focusing on criminal justice reform.

Kristi Pearson


Kristi Pearson is an Assistant Dean of Students at UWGB. She grew up in New Glarus, WI and received her degree in Communication from UW-Milwaukee and Masters in Educational Leadership & Policy with an emphasis in Student Affairs from the University of Utah.

Kristi has been at UWGB in the Dean of Students office for approximately two years and primarily works out of the Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses.  She has recently taken over the oversight of the Phoenix Childcare Support Program and is happy to answer any questions you might have about this program!

Cindy Johnson


Cindy (Lopez) Johnson joined the Multicultural Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay as a Multicultural Student Success Manager in August 2020. In 2022 she co-founded the employee resource group Working Caregivers, a group for UW Green Bay employees with caregiving responsibilities. As a proud alumna of UW-Green Bay, she is honored to have the opportunity to work at her alma mater. Prior to returning to UW-Green Bay as a professional, she was an academic advisor for TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) at UW-Oshkosh, where she worked with first-generation and limited-income college students.

Cindy majored in Human Development and Spanish at UW-Green Bay and received her Master’s Degree in Higher Education from the University of Arkansas Little Rock in May 2015. As a first-generation college graduate, she feels fortunate to be part of many students’ college journey.
Cindy says “In my free time, I enjoy crafting, reading, kayaking, spending time outdoors, and traveling. I currently live in Appleton with my husband, Jake, our spunky two-year old daughter, Elena, and our 3 fur babies.”

A Closer Look at Intersectionality

Wednesday, October 25 • 12:30-2:30 p.m.

This panel will discuss how various identities (race, gender, ethnicity, age, ability, sexuality, etc.) intersect and how they relate to income inequity on a systemic level

Watch Virtually

Dr. Dawn Crim

Dr. Dawn B. Crim has demonstrated effective leadership and extensive managerial skills throughout a 27-year career in state government and higher education administration. Crim currently, serves as the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Community Engagement and Inclusivity at UW-Green Bay. Although this role is three-fold, Crim is guided by 3 principles:
  • All should feel welcome learning, working, and visiting campus
  • Community should understand they are welcome here and know that we are excited to collaborate to support one another and the region toward greater growth.
  • Donors should understand we are prioritizing needs that support and is fully align with our campus mission of being an access institution.
Crim recently earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For her research study Unearthing the Barriers, Challenges & Resiliency of African American Women Presidents at Baccalaureate Institutions, she used two theoretical frameworks – Black Feminist Thought & Intersectionality.

She also earned an M. ED. in Education Counseling from Penn State University and a B.A. in Rhetoric and Communication Studies from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Sawa Senzaki


Dr. Sawa Senzaki is Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Professor of Psychology the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta in Canada. Sawa is interested in examining how social and cultural environments shape the way we think, and how culturally unique values and perspectives are transmitted across generations from parents to their children. She teaches courses such as Introduction to Human Development, Infancy and Early Childhood Development, and Cross-Cultural Human Development. Her recent project examines the process of cultural transmission from parents to their children in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. She enjoys working with students in research assistantships.

Said Hassan


Said Hassan is co-founder and executive director of COMSA, a resource center serving immigrants and refugees in Green Bay, actively fostering inclusivity and equality. He is deeply committed to social justice and community development and brings an extensive background in leadership roles within the non-profit and public service sectors. Said serves on the city's Equal Rights Commission and the Board of Bellin Health. He has previously held roles as Research and Evaluation Manager at Brown County United Way and a Paraprofessional at the Green Bay Area Public Schools District. His international perspective on public service stems from his time in South Africa, where he worked in public relations for Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students (UTRS) and held various roles within the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. Said is a human rights activist and peace ambassador, tackling xenophobic violence and advocating for justice locally and worldwide.
His education includes Bachelors in Communication studies, BA honor in International Development from South Africa, a Master's degree in Public Administration with a focus on Non-Profit/Public/Organizational Management and Leadership from the UW-Oshkosh. Additionally, he has further developed his leadership skills at St. Norbert College's Center for Exceptional Leadership.

Dr. Christine Smith


Dr. Christine Smith is Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and a Professor of Psychology, Human Development, and Women’s and Gender Studies at UW- Green Bay. Dr. Smith teaches courses on women and gender, social psychology, and research methods. She has done research examining the partner preferences of lesbian and bisexual women, the impact of fat stigma, and the relationship between cognitive flexibility and homophobia. She has also written on the romantic relationships of lesbians and gay men at midlife. Dr. Smith also serves on the board of Rainbow Over Wisconsin, an LGBT community foundation in northeastern Wisconsin and is faculty advisor to the Sexuality and Gender Alliance student group at UW- Green Bay. Her other passions include animal rights, travel, and stand-up comedy (watching it, not doing it).

Accessibility Accommodations

If you have a disability and would like to discuss accommodations, please contact the Student Engagement Center at 920-465-2720.

Resources for you

View this helpful guide of UW-Green Bay and community resources for individuals who may be facing financial insecurity, need assistance with childcare, are struggling with mental health, or are looking for community-based support.

Want to Know More?

Contact Allyson, the Student Engagement Center's AmeriCorps Campus Compact VISTA, to learn more about this ongoing panel series.

Email Allyson