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  • Meet the 2015-2016 Diversity Leaders

Aleks, 16'

Social justice is important to me because I believe in the undeniable value of the individual and their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I look to create an inclusive community where any individual can stand in front of their fellow peers and say, with no hesitation, “I belong.” I have founded an organization on campus called Hawks for Haiti which seeks to help and support orphans in Haiti. In addition I have started Roger William’s first support group for adopted students of different backgrounds. I am studying psychology with a minor in business management and educational studies. I hope one day to start my own business as well as create a nonprofit organization. However, when I’m not doing all those things you can find me in the movie theatre with a large popcorn and soda all to myself watching any horror movie!

Ashleyann, 15'

My name is Ashleyann Perez-Rivera and I am a Junior majoring in Historic Preservation with a minor in Sustainability studies. I have been involved with social justice since my junior year in high school where I began learning about LGBTQ issues and privilege. This upcoming 2015-2016 school year will be my second year working with the Diversity Leadership program. During the summer I will be interning with the Department of Environmental Protection of Massachusetts’ Diversity office in hopes to involve underrepresented communities and individuals in sustainability issues. I am also the President of the Multicultural Student Union here at RWU. I am a total bookworm and spend much of my train rides drowning in literature series. My favorite book by far is Cloud Atlas, but I also enjoy watching romantic comedies and cartoons. I am a huge fan of old romantic spanish music and am a die hard yankees fan. I believe that diversity makes up who we are, our beliefs and the experiences that we live. It is important to have different views and opinions represented in order to truly challenge ourselves and those around us. As a person of color and an active ally, what makes social justice so important to me is the way that it affects individuals of all backgrounds.

Kerlie , 17'

Diversity is important to me because I believe that a healthy community is where there is a constant exchange of knowledge and perspectives from people from different backgrounds. Social justice is also important to me because I believe that there are so many human rights issues in the world that require action.  I am Afro-Caribbean, born and raised in a Hatian culture. I live in the Greater Boston area. I am the founder and president of the Africana Student Coalition at RWU.


Mariela, 17'

My name is Mariela O’Neill and I am a junior here at Roger Williams. I am majoring in Criminal Justice and Philosophy and minoring in Sociology/Anthropology. I am from East Providence, Rhode Island and identify as Puerto Rican. Over the past two years I have been involved with social justice work and advocacy for students on campus. My freshman year I was a mentee in the Diversity Leadership Program. This experience allowed me to meet other students from diverse backgrounds and allies. The relationships that I have made are long-lasting and meaningful. My sophomore year I was a mentor in the program. As a mentor I learned more than I ever thought. The experiences my mentees had and shared with me shaped my understanding as an individual. 


Nada, 17'

Having a diverse background has taught me how the unique qualities of different cultures shape our individual experiences and perception of the world around us. Having an open mind provides others with the respect they deserve to reach their full potential, bettering the community as a whole. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I love to travel and hope to be trilingual before graduation. 



Nelly, 18'

My name is Ronelly Olivo-Luna, I am currently a freshman here at RWU and intend on majoring in American Studies. I am from Brooklyn, New York and identify as a Dominican-American female. I mentored for 2 years in high school helping other students become more knowledgable about the college application process. From a young age I knew that social justice was something that would become incredibly important to me, and that activism would some day become an important part of my life. A fun fact about me is that I am a proud vegetarian and hope to one day become a full vegan. 

Sarah, 16'

I'm Sarah Gomes, a member of the 2016 graduating class with a history major and a triple minor in American Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Psychology. As an intersectional feminist and support of the LGBTQ+ community, diversity and social justice are important to me because I believe that every member of a community, no matter their social location, should have a voice and feel important. This interest is reflected in my academic life, as a revisionist historian, extra-curricular life, as a member of SAFE and the Women's Center, and professional life, as a writing tutor. In my free time, I love spending time in coffee shops playing board games, visiting museums, and marathoning various TV shows on Netflix. Most people don't know that I am an avid fan of slam poetry and can get lost for hours watching performances in person or on YouTube.