2020 – 2021 Graduate Student Diversity Council Executive Board Members

Rosie

Rosie Ojeda, President
2nd Year Ph.D.
College of Education
Department of Education, Culture, & Society

Rosie Ojeda is a PhD student in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society. She also works as a Grassroots Organizer Fellow for United Way of Salt Lake. She is from the Central Coast of California, and has worked as an English teacher, teacher trainer, and educational consultant. She has an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of San Francisco and a BA in English Education from BYU-Idaho. Before beginning the doctoral program, she was an English Language Fellow (a U.S. Department of State Program) in Guadalajara, Mexico where she prepared Engineering teachers to instruct in English, and also conducted social justice workshops for high school students. Rosie is an advocate for social justice, Indigenous practices, and decolonization efforts. In her spare time, she enjoys working on her podcast, Rethinking with Rosie.

Jeremie Oliver, Vice President
2nd Year Ph.D./M.D./MBA
College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering

My name is Jeremie Oliver, I am currently seeking joint MD/PhD/MBA degrees with a research focus on in utero genetic engineering therapeutics to cure craniofacial anomalies (e.g. cleft lip/palate). I aspire to a career as a surgeon-scientist in academia pursuing translational craniofacial biology research and clinical trials of novel therapies for patients affected by developmental disorders and traumatic injury of craniofacial tissues. My past academic training in Microbiology (BA ’16), Biomedical Science (BS ’16) and the Science of Healthcare Delivery (MS ’20) coupled with my current joint degree training has prepared me to make significant contributions to the fields of medicine, science, engineering, and bioindustry business innovation. I am currently pursuing my doctoral thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Rena N. D’Souza, whose research focuses on the genetic and molecular mechanisms of craniofacial development. Her mentorship has impacted me to the core; not only as a budding clinician-scientist, but as a culturally responsive human being. She has helped me to focus on becoming an expert in our subject area and blaze a trail toward the future of practice and discovery. Integral to this future is my desire to continue to promote and positively impact students and communities from underserved backgrounds. My background, similar to Dr. D’Souza’s, has humble origin, as my grandfather and his siblings uprooted from their home in Puerto Rico following a fire that cruelly consumed their parents. Without education, let alone knowledge of the English language, my grandfather constructed a new future for our family from the ashes of his past. His example to me inspired me to dedicate over two years of my life as a volunteer service ambassador in impoverished regions of Brazil and Nicaragua, returning frequently as a medical brigade leader. I have further attempted to carry this spirit of service to the underserved in our domestic communities, particularly those driven toward science and medicine. I pledge my commitment to bolstering the upcoming generations of passionate students and trainees from underprivileged backgrounds to play my small role in building a much brighter and holistic future workforce.

Som Chivukula, Budget Officer
1st Year M.Acc  
School of Business
Department of Accounting

I’m a former journalist with an MBA in finance and accounting. I started my second master’s degree (in accounting) in the summer because I wanted to embark on a new academic challenge, and eventually sit for the CPA. I grew up in SLC in the 1990s (undergrad at the U; ’98) and then spent 17 years in the New York area prior to relocating to Salt Lake City at the end of 2017.

I have consistently reinvented myself both professionally and personally—due to the changing economic environment and to fuel a strong desire for personal growth. Professionally I have worked in finance, accounting, events, marketing, PR and business development (as reflected in my resume). Now, in addition to school, I am a controller for an electrical manufacturer where I handle accounting and finance for a $10 million annual revenue business. My interests are varies as well: I love movies, theater, fundraising, organizing events, jazz and blues, cooking, wine, sports, working out, comedy clubs and more.

Andrew Lopez, Public Relations
1st Year MHA 
School of Business 
Healthcare Administration Program

My name is Andrew Lopez and I am a first-year student at the University of Utah in the (P)MHA Program. A little about myself is that I come from a pretty well-structured background to include growing up in a military household where ‘excuses’ are hard to find. I am the oldest of three. Learning first hand, my dad provided the support and knowledge needed to start my career. Since graduating the University of Arizona with a Bachelors Degree in Public Health I have joined the US Army Reserves and was activated in 2019. In support of Operation Inherent Resolve overseas, I was newly married and had a little baby girl on the way.

Now, I am blessed to have a healthy daughter of 10 months and a loving wife in support of our goals to better our future. I have been with a pharmaceutical company for a little over 8 years and function as one of the managers supervising healthcare staff and operations. Family and friends are a big part of my life and we take every opportunity to visit them. I wish to be a part of the council to share my ideas, experience, and time.

Ashley Coombs, College Representative | Arts, Education & Humanities
2nd Year Ed.S.  
College of Education
Department of Educational Psychology

Ashley is a second-year school psychology Ed.S. student. As a biracial woman and member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is passionate about cultivating multicultural competence in the classroom and critically examining our own biases through the lens of intersectionality. Ashley is dedicated to promoting accessibility of student and community resources, and supporting local organizations that advocate for marginalized populations. She has an M.Ed. in educational psychology from the University of Utah and graduated from Utah Valley University with a B.S. in psychology and a minor and certificate in autism studies.

Zachary Scott, College Representative | Business & Law
3rd  Year J.D.
College of Law

Zachary Scott is a second-year law student at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. Prior to pursuing a J.D., He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Westminster College where he also played collegiate basketball. In addition to his academic and athletic endeavors, he worked part-time through school to cover his expenses. Despite these time commitments, He remained heavily involved in the community. He was involved with Westminster’s Black Student Union as well as served as the Student-Athlete Title IX Ambassador and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s Marketing and Promotions Coordinator. Further, he volunteered time during Westminster’s Annual Days of Service, where he had to opportunity to lead local elementary students through various service projects. Moreover, he had the chance to teach young kids the fundamentals of sports and teamwork through Westminster’s Youth Sports Days and volunteering at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake. Upon graduating from Westminster, he immediately started his Master of Finance Degree at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, where he was able to immerse himself and make connections with the business school’s graduate faculty and students. 

As a law student, Zach has maintained the same level of academic excellence and community involvement. He serves as a “Famtor” in the University of Utah’s “Famtorship” Program (a university mentoring program pairing diverse undergraduate students with recent graduates and graduate students) and holds a seat on the Utah Center of Legal Inclusion’s (“UCLI”) Progress Tracking Committee. This committee is dedicated to advancing the goals of equity and inclusion in Utah’s legal profession. His role is to help generate and implement plans to that end. He also spends time as a mentor in UCLI’s elementary school program, where he meets weekly with 6th graders to help develop their writing, debate, and public speaking skills. Ultimately, Zach understands that diverse representation of all races, genders, and ethnicities promotes a more effective and impactful community. 


Juan Alberto Esquivel, College Representative | Health & Sciences
1st Year MPH  
School of Medicine
Department of Public Health

My name is Juan Alberto Esquivel, and I am an international student from Mexico. I grew up in Matamoros, Tamaulipas across the border from Brownsville, Texas. I was essentially raised in 2 countries, crossing the border every morning to go to school in Texas. From a young age, I understood and experienced two very different and yet connected worlds that taught me the importance of traditions, cultural diversity, and mixed heritage. I graduated from Saint Joseph Academy high school in 2015 and decided to go to the University of Utah to pursue a bachelor’s in history and a minor in chemistry. Immediately after arriving, I decided to be involved in my Hispanic community by being a medical interpreter for 4 years throughout different clinics and hospitals around Salt Lake City. I was involved at my local Catholic Newman club and helped create events for undergraduates. As a history major, I chose to focus on the history of LGBT rights and led me to write my thesis on the Catholic response to the AIDS crisis in Utah. This project allowed me to see what the Catholic community in Salt Lake City did to respond and empathetically treat patients who died of AIDS. I understood very quickly the magnitude of what being a part of an underrepresented meant in terms of social and cultural care. Currently, I am a graduate student in the division of Public Health in the school of medicine of the University of Utah. I currently work as a graduate research assistant aspiring to apply to doctoral studies in developmental psychology to study sexuality after completing my masters program.