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About Us

Created out of student activism in 2003, the Center for Intercultural Relations (CIR) has served as the intersectional space for students with multiply marginalized identities at SDSU. The CIR supports the academic, personal, and professional success of multiply marginalized students through: multicultural programming, intrusive advising, academic support, access to basic needs, and wellness programming.

By eliminating barriers to student success the CIR is designed to decrease retention and graduation equity gaps for historically underrepresented and underserved students. The CIR fosters an environment where students’ cultural strengths and counter narratives are validated and celebrated. Our values are: academic and professional empowerment, identity development, cultural wealth, intersectionality, and community wellness.

  1. Support students’ academic, personal, and professional success.
  2. Cultivate students’ growth, self-discovery, and self-efficacy skills through academic coaching.
  3. Remove barriers to student success by identifying and supporting students’ basic needs.
  4. Promote health and wellness as a vital part of student success.
  5. Foster students’ sense of belonging to the Center and the campus community.

Academic and Professional Empowerment: The Center supports students in developing a clear vision of their personal goals and degree path. We empower students to define what success means for themselves and support their attainment of these academic, personal, and professional goals.

Identity development: We prioritize the ongoing exploration, education, and research of marginalized social identities and the intersections of various identities.

Cultural Wealth: Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth model represents a framework to understand how students of color access and experience college from a strengths-based perspective. Yosso defines six forms of cultural capital: aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistance. The Center seeks to support students in understanding the cultural capital (talents, strengths, and experiences) they bring into their college environment as defined in Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth model.

Intersectionality: As a multicultural center, we intentionally want to bring various intersections of identity together in order to critically examine, dialogue, and heal multiply marginalized identities through programming and support.

Community Wellness: We believe that mental health and wellbeing are an inherent part of student success. We promote a culture of wellness and balance by providing spaces for students to engage in community and self-care.

Meet Our Staff

Name
Paige Hernandez, M.A. 
Director
She/Her/Hers
[email protected]
 
Paige received a Bachelor's in Anthropology and Geography from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a Master's in Higher Education and Student Affairs from San Diego State University. Paige has worked at SDSU for nearly five years with academic and retention initiatives, within the Division of Diversity and Innovation, Black Resource Center (BRC), Center for Intercultural Relations (CIR), Guardian Scholars Program, and CSU Program for Education & Research in Biotechnology. Her passion is advocating for the needs of historically underrepresented students and helping them navigate higher education spaces.
Name

Mohamed Abdi, M.A.
Assistant Director
He/Him/His
[email protected]

Mohamed received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration with a minor in Business Management from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He holds a Master’s in Postsecondary Educational Leadership and Master’s in Education with a concentration in Counseling from San Diego State University. Mohamed has worked as a SDSU research associate and contributed to reports that highlight the disparities in suspensions in K-12 schools throughout California. Mohamed has an immense interest in academic research, counseling, and the relational interaction between students and educators.
Name

Ikram Aweys, M.S., PPS
Coordinator
She/Her/Hers
[email protected]

Ikram Aweys is an SDSU alumna, having earned her Bachelor’s in Child and Family Development and recently earned her Masters in Science in Counseling, with a specialization in School Counseling. Ikram is passionate about providing holistic support to students and guiding them through the educational system to support their success. She has extensive experience supporting and empowering students and families.  Much of her experience has been supporting marginalized & underserved students in the educational setting, specifically in K-12 schools. In these roles, Ikram was a mentor, advocate, and ally for students. She believes all students have the capacity to reach their highest potential through support and access to opportunities.

 

Name

Allison Villa
Academic Success Peer
Undergraduate Student
She/Her/Hers

Name

Damian Pangelinan
Academic Success Peer
Undergraduate Student
He/Him/His

Name

Gabby Preciado
Academic Success Peer
Undergraduate Student
She/Her/Hers

Name

Sandy Mekany
Academic Success Peer
Undergraduate Student
She/Her/Hers


Name

Alex Reyes
Academic Success Coach
SDSU Graduate Student
He/Him/His

Name

Will Tran
Academic Success Coach
SDSU Graduate Student
He/Him/His

Name

Yasmeen Elbanna 
Academic Success Coach
SDSU Graduate Student
She/Her/Hers
Name

Yolotzin Morales
Academic Success Coach
SDSU Graduate Student
She/Her/Hers