Diversity Resources Coordinator, Diversity Resources
C215 Seashore Hall (SSH)
Diversity, social justice, and multiculturalism have always been an important part of Dana’s life. She grew up in the small, but diverse town of West Liberty, Iowa, where she experienced and witnessed many challenges faced by her community. This led her to become a lifelong advocate for social justice, equity, and inclusion and continues to guide her in everything she does.
When Dana was a freshman in High School, she started participating in the Upward Bound Program through the University of Iowa. This prepared her for college and soon, she became the first in her family to pursue a college degree. Her college years at the University of Northern Iowa were rich with experiences. She was a student-athlete on the UNI Track & Field team, a volunteer camp counselor and director for the Camp Adventure Youth Services Program, and she experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity interning as a production assistant in Los Angeles, where she worked on two award-winning documentaries.
It was her experience in documentary filmmaking that made her pursue a path back to Hollywood shortly after graduation. After several years, she decided to return home to Iowa where she landed a job at ACT in Marketing and Communications. While at ACT she was appointed to the ACT Diversity Committee where she chaired the Retention and Inclusion Subcommittee for two years before accepting a position as an administrative services coordinator in the then newly formed Chief Diversity Office at the University of Iowa in 2011.
As an administrative services coordinator, Dana supported several efforts by the Chief Diversity Office to help build community and a foundation for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Iowa. Her multimedia creative design skills were put to good use, as more and more demand for programs increased, so did the need for marketing and promoting services and events available for the campus and community. She has contributed to many projects, events, and leadership committees for campus-wide initiatives and continues to do so through her new role as a diversity resources coordinator in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DDEI).
Dana is currently the longest standing member of the DDEI Marketing Committee, which works together to support the marketing and branding needs of the division and its units, as well as, current co-chair of the University of Iowa Trans Inclusivity Taskforce and the UI Pride Committee.
She is a member of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), as well as a facilitator for the LGBTQ Safe Zone Project, the Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) certificate program, as well as several individual training courses. She currently oversees the Diversity Catalyst Awards and the Cup O' Justice programs and participates on the Exploring White Identity Planning Committee.
Her favorite thing about her job is definitely those rare occasions when she gets to witness what she calls the "Ah-ha" moments. "It's during a workshop when you see a transformation in a person's demeanor, their expression, their body language... they might come in not knowing what to expect, maybe be a little guarded about what we are trying to teach, and then, slowly throughout the session, the change happens. They start opening up, they start participating, their arms uncross, their body leans in, they start to speak up and risk vulnerability, and every once in a while, tears will be shed. It's a true demonstration of the importance of this work and a gift to be able to witness the rediscovery one's humanity."
“Sometimes the only courage you need is the courage to not be 'normal'.” – Victor Lee Lewis, NCORE 2018