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Alain “Alan” Aguilar (he/him), MA, ATC, NASM CES/CPT/PES
Teaching Associate Professor  

I identify as an American, was raised in a midwestern suburb by parents who immigrated from the Philippines and Mexico. I believe all people should be able to live, work, and learn in spaces that fully support their aspirations and welcome their differences.  Unfortunately, I’ve spoken to many people who have not felt supported or welcomed in our shared spaces. So, I’m on this committee to find ways to change the status quo so that all people can reach their potential. I believe that inclusion and unity can be improved through relationships and that equity and fairness can be improved through organizational policies and practices.  

 

Photo of Lori George
Lori George
Grants Manager  

As an EXSS staff member, I am part of EXSS DEI to learn how to help the Department meet goals pertaining to the elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  These elements help create a safe working environment where all can thrive and cohesively journey onward.  People are now better understanding that our world will perpetually be shaken to its core until these elements are understood, promoted, and upheld by all.  My hopes are that amongst the departments at the nation’s oldest public university, we can collectively continue helping form a more perfect Union so that everyone will know they are always welcome Go Heels! 

 

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Tori Hooker (she/her)
Senior Assistant Director of Sport Programs (Campus Recreation) 

I want to serve on the EXSS DEI Committee to help assess existing and future policies, procedures, and practices (spoken and unspoken / written and unwritten) that create barriers to access and affect feelings of belonging or exclusiveness in our department, programs, and spaces. The goal being to create a department that prioritizes diversity, has equitable practices, and is inclusive, welcoming, and inviting to everyone regardless of their visible and invisible identities.  

 

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Zachary Y. Kerr (he/him/his), PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor 

It is important for our department, alongside university efforts, to consider manners to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion. We can be the driving force to identify how we can best provide safe spaces that are inviting and considerate. Unfortunately, I have experienced situations in academia where I have felt unwelcomed, be it for being a first-generation college student, Asian-American, and/or gay.  I don’t want anyone else to ever face these as well, and I myself, don’t want to be the one making another in the department felt unwelcome.  So I want to be part of that change: to share my experiences and to learn from others. That is why I’m a member of the EXSS DEI Committee. 

 

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Kristen L. Kucera (she, her), PhD, MSPH, ATC, LAT
Associate Professor  

I’m an associate professor in EXSS and I joined the EXSS DEI committee when it was created in 2017 because I wanted to support efforts to address issues facing women in science and to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all students, faculty and staff in EXSS.  Through the work of this committee, we can ensure everyone feels welcome and valued so that they can succeed and thrive. 

 

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Patricia Pagan Lassalle (she/her), M.S.
PhD Student 

A native of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, I completed my B.S. and M.S. in Exercise Science at Syracuse University and am currently a second year PhD student in the Human Movement Science curriculum at UNC Chapel Hill. As a Latinx woman in STEM, my mission is to improve diversity, equity and inclusivity within my community. I am particularly committed to improving female and minority representation in higher education through mentoring. As a graduate student, often I have felt alone in my journey through higher educationwith no one to turn to with similar experiences. My hope is to be the mentor that I needed for those who come after me.  

 

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Christopher Mertz
Facilities Technician

Hi!! I have been employed here at UNC for 4 years and yes, I have my dream job!! We moved to Chapel Hill from South Dakota in August of 2016, and I am so thankful that this job with Exercise and Sports Science became available and that I was hired. The reason I wanted to be part of DEI is because I want to see the world become a better place. My goal is to hopefully one day have everyone be as happy to be here as I am!!

 

Barbara Osborne, J.D.
Professor

 

Jacklyn Rojas (she/her), B.A. in EXSS (December 2020 grad)
EXSS alum

The identity I am most proud of is my identity as a Hispanic person. My parents were born and raised in Peru and immigrated to the U.S. in pursuit of the “American Dream.” As the only American-born in my familyI have always felt like it was my duty as a first-generation student to accomplish this dream. As I advanced in my academic career, particularly in college, unfortunately felt cheated by the system that makes it remarkably difficult for students like me to succeed. I am a member of the EXSS DEI committee because I want to play an active role in making this elusive “American Dream” more achievable to those who have worked hard and sacrificed everything in order to have a sustainable life.  

 

Quintin Terry (he/him/his)
Coordinator of Sport Programs (Campus Recreation) 

My name is Quintin Terry, UNC Campus Recreation, Sport Programs Coordinator. I chose to serve on the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee because I am committed to being a voice on campus to educate and promote the importance of creating a more welcoming environment for all at UNC. I strive to be a steady drumbeat by continuing to share resources and opportunities with the student body. My goal is to collaborate with other UNC organizations to provide creative programs and services to highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion within our university. 
 

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Erik Wikstrom, PhD, ATC
Associate Professor & Katherine Smith Gunter Fellow 

I am part of the EXSS DEI committee for several reasons.  First and foremost, I firmly believe that being kind and empathetic to all people should be a fundamental human behavior.  Second, creating a welcoming environment, for all individuals, promotes better health within the community and enhances the community’s ability to solve problems, big and small, because diverse perspectives on a problem enhances meaningful solutions.