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New director appointed for Intercultural Center

October 3, 2014

Jessica Guzman RaeThe University of Rochester has appointed Jessica Guzmán-Rea as the director of its Intercultural Center (ICC). In this role, Guzmán-Rea will promote collaborative programming and initiatives that are welcoming to students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds. She assumed the position on August 25, 2014.

“I am really excited to be back home at the University of Rochester,” said Guzmán-Rea, a native of Greece, NY. “I look forward to expanding the Intercultural Center and having constructive dialogues around the intersections of diversity and identity.”

Guzmán-Rea first joined the University’s Office of Minority Student Affairs in 2006, where she served as an academic program coordinator and counselor, and assisted in recruiting for the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program. Most recently, she was as an academic advisor in the Honors College at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she also served as an adjunct faculty member in the department of social work.

Guzmán-Rea reports to both Beth Olivares, dean for diversity initiatives, and Matthew Burns, dean of students.

The Intercultural Center at the University of Rochester exists to promote cultural awareness and engagement, and to educate on issues of diversity. An important function of the ICC, Guzmán-Rea said, is to provide opportunities for collaboration among faculty, staff, and students and to advance awareness about international human rights both in theory and practice from academic, activist, and artistic perspectives.

“Questions about how we identify ourselves and others, what communities and groups we do or do not belong to and why, and how these identities and identifications shift over time and in different circumstances are integral to many fields of endeavor,” Olivares said.

People who have thought about these topics, Olivares added, whether through the lens of art or music, as a result of a lecture, a cup of coffee with someone, or for those grappling with a thorny philosophical or political theory, are well suited to the expectations of a globalized culture. The ICC, she said, will foster these experiences.

One of her goals as the new director, Guzmán-Rea said, “is for the ICC to become a resource where faculty can supplement their course curriculum and where students can have meaningful conversations with their peers, professors, and staff members.”

Guzmán-Rea received a bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University, and a master’s in social work from Columbia University. She earned her doctorate at the University’s Warner School of Education and Human Development in 2010.

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Category: University News