Meet the Staff

Director of the Cultural Centers

Erin EcholsErin Echols

Erin Echols is the Director of the University of San Francisco's Cultural Centers, which include the Intercultural Center and Gender and Sexuality Center.  Prior to coming to USF, Erin served at California Polytechnic State University for eight years, most recently as the Assistant Director of the Dean of Students Office for the Cross Cultural Centers. Additionally, Erin worked at Colby-Sawyer College for five years as the Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Orientation Program Coordinator.

Her educational background includes an MA in Educational Leadership from California Polytechnic State University, an MFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and a BS from the University of New Haven.

Erin has focused on increasing the retention and persistence of underrepresented students at colleges and universities through programming and research. A highlight of her work in this area was a research study specific to the retention of LGBTQIA students.

As a passionate student affairs professional, Erin’s interests include social justice programming, strategic planning, assessment, collaboration development, marketing, and fiscal planning. Her professional organization and community involvement has included founding and chairing the Pride Faculty Staff Association at Cal Poly and serving on the executive board of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education.  At Cal Poly, Erin was proud to receive the Chandler Award for excellence in Student Affairs.

Contact Erin: eechols@usfca.edu

 

Assistant Director for the Cultural Centers

Ann Le, Cultural Centers Assistant DirectorANn Le

Ann Le serves as one of the two Assistant Directors for the Cultural Centers, directly supporting the Intercultural Center. Previously, Ann had served as the Graduate Student Coordinator of the Intercultural Center and as a Housing and Residential Life Program Coordinator at the San Francisco Art Institute. 

She holds a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of San Francisco and bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine. Ann’s graduate research focused on Vietnamese college student success rooted in community connection, which heavily influences how she centers community and belonging in the her work at the Cultural Centers. She believes community building, critical reflection, and meaning-making are at the crux of solidarity and social justice. Ann enjoys painting, reading webcomics, and attending live music shows in her free time. 

Contact Ann: ale32@usfca.edu 

 

Assistant Director for the Cultural Centers

Dan Perez-Sornia staff photoDan Perez-Sornia

Dan is one of two Assistant Directors of the Cultural Centers, directly supporting the Gender and Sexuality Center. Prior to working at the Cultural Centers, Dan worked at their alma mater as a Program & Media Coordinator for Associated Students, and as a graduate student served as a Residential Operations Manager for Student Housing at USF.

Dan holds an MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs from USF, and a BS in Biology, with an emphasis in microbiology from Humboldt State University. As a graduate, their research focused on student employment, neoliberalism, and the use of student narratives to give voice to and elevate data. 

As a professional, Dan's student affairs philosophy is grounded in community and coalition building to address systemic inequity at its roots. In their free time they enjoy reading, cooking, and serving as a DM for Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

Contact: djperezsornia@usfca.edu

 

Graduate Interns for the Cultural Centers

Adeline Diaz, USF graduate student Adeline Diaz

Graduate Student Coordinator for the Intercultural Cultural Center

Adeline is a second-year graduate student in the Higher Education & Student Affairs Masters program. After graduating from Saint Mary’s College, she spent her gap year serving as an Americorps VISTA member at a local non-profit organization in Oakland. Her identity as a Filipina-American first generation student has impacted her passion to co-create spaces centered on the needs of BIPOC students within higher education. She has a bad case of wanderlust and the pin collection to prove it. When she isn’t dreaming of new places to visit, you can find her reading sappy rom-com novels, binging Netflix shows, or exploring trails around SF.

 

Makynna Knockum, USF graduate studentmakynna knockum

Graduate Student Coordinator for the Gender & Sexuality Center

Makynna is a first-year graduate student in the M.A Counseling Psychology Program with a concentration in Marriage, and Family Therapy. After graduating from California University Chico state with her bachelors in Sociology, Makynna spent her gap year working full-time at the African American Family & Cultural center in Oroville. Her passions include creating brave spaces for multicultural communities, discussing social justice issues, and hanging out with her dog Bella. Makynna is excited for her next big transition: Navigating grad school in a new city, making new friends, and becoming a part of the USF community.

 

Undergraduate Interns

Megan Ponce, USF studentMEGAN PONCE

Cultural Centers Graphic Design Intern

Megan is a creative student pursuing a major in design. After her first year at USF, she found many welcoming communities with the same ambitions as her. Looking forward she wants to continue to create a welcoming space for other as these communities have done for her. As a graphic design intern for the cultural center, she wants to create more connections with fellow students and strengthen her understanding of the world. She values having the opportunity to advocate for herself and others and can’t wait to use her creative skills to show that.

 

Ally Hernandez, USF student Ally hernandez

Cultural Centers Graphic Design Intern

Ally is a design major and advertising minor at USF. In her free time, they like watching cartoons and anime, playing video games, drawing, singing, and playing piano. Some other interests include Marvel, Star Wars, and well you guessed it, Disney and Pixar. She hopes to go into the design field after USF, specifically in UX/UI design or interior design. They also hope to be more involved in the designing field at USF, and is super excited to be a part of the Cultural Centers team as a graphic design intern this school year. She's been in the Bay Area, specifically South SF, their entire life and loves adventuring out into the city looking for hidden gems.

 

Bea Johnson-Drysdale, USF studentBea Johnson-Drysdale

Gender and Sexuality Center Signature Program Intern

Bea is a third year engineering major working as the Gender and Sexuality Center’s Signature Program Intern. Throughout her studies, they worked at the Cultural Centers as the Queer BIPOC Community Intern for a year and were involved in many cultural and academic clubs as well. This year, she plans to broaden her programs to fit the needs of the diverse student body here at USF as a Signature Program intern. Implementing their passion for social justice, arts, and community, they plan for a fun and engaging semester.

 

Nia Ratliff, USF studentNIA RATLIFF

Gender and Sexuality Center Trans & Non-Binary+ Community Intern

Nia is a transfer student originally from Washington state currently majoring in design. As an intern, they hope to meaningfully contribute to and foster safe spaces at the cultural center. They are interested in queer history, printmaking, animation, and art. Some of their hobbies include reading, drawing, and playing bass.

 

Sam Joon Fernandez, USF studentsam joon fernandez

Gender and Sexuality Center Queer BIPOC Community Intern

Sam is an established Second Year student at the University of San Francisco. Originally adopted from South Korea, he is interested in learning about cultures abroad. He is pursuing a major in International Studies, with a focus on Cultures, Societies, and Values. He hopes to study Central Europe, additionally pursuing a minor in German Studies. In his time at USF, Sam is also pursuing career in Dance, double majoring in Performing Arts and Social Justice (PASJ), with a concentration in Dance. He participates in PASJ's Fall and Spring Showcases to develop his dance skill. In his free time, he values time with his family, friends (his second family), and learning new K-Pop dances whenever he can. Also, he is an advocate for AAPI Justice, Queer BIPOC activism, and strengthening Interminority/Intercultural relations. During his time as an intern with the USF Cultural Centers, he plans to study the way intersectionality affects diverse individuals who identify as Queer, BIPOC, or have other diverse backgrounds. Through this study, Sam hopes to uplift and amplify diverse voices within the evolving society at USF and beyond.

 

Chi Nam Tran, USF studentCHI NAM TRAN

Intercultural Center International Community Intern

Chi Nam Tran is an ambitious international student from Vietnam, majoring in Finance and Business Analytics. Nam wants to share his cultural inheritance, appreciate diverse backgrounds, and remind everyone of their unique upbringings. He is a curious individual and likes companionship, so in his spare time, he loves exploring the city while having engaging conversations with those alongside him. Nam also likes to involve himself in numerous communities by volunteering as a board member. He strongly advocates for mental health and believes that it should be as important as physical health. Being an International Community Intern at Cultural Centers, Nam hopes to develop a pathway for international students to thrive in the US, as well as help students, find their community and place in USF.

 

Brandon Gagante, USF studentBrandon gagante

Intercultural Center Lyricist Lounge & Arts Intern

Brandon is a Filipino-American poet and Entrepreneurship Major from the Bay Area. He has a passion for how the conversations and interactions had within an individual's community can develop growth, self confidence, new perspectives, and opportunities for positive transformation. While at USF, he has been involved with organizations such as Kasmahan, VarCity, and Spaces In Between; pursuing knowledge of culture, the arts, and the community through social justice-based engagement. As the Lyricist Lounge and Arts intern at the Cultural Centers, he desires to create fun and engaging programs that centers dialogue about the community, advocacy, accessibility, inclusivity, culture, traditions, Brown and Black joy, and much more. Brandon is always happy to share and listen to others about poetry, dance, painting, family, cats, and anything else one would feel passionate about.

 

Imani Im, USF studentIMANI IM

Intercultural Center Multiracial & Multi-Heritage Community Intern

Imani is a second year student from Kansas City, Missouri majoring in Critical Diversity Studies and minoring in Communications. Born and raised in the Midwest, Imani is first generation half-Egyptian and half-Cambodian, a background which fosters her interest in connecting with others of diverse backgrounds. She looks forward to helping spark meaningful discussions about race, what it means to be multi-racial; the privileges, the struggles, and everything in between, as well as how that intersects with other aspects of our various identities. Imani is eager to connect through storytelling, art, humor, and food.