Social Justice and Equity Fellowship

The Social Justice and Equity fellows are students who spent two semesters researching challenges faced by specific populations and devising recommendations for how MiraCosta can address these challenges.  The fellows received training and support from the Student Equity Department, as well as faculty and staff members across the college community.  In May 2017, they gave presentations about their ideas for how to make MiraCosta more inclusive and accessible to all students.

The Fellowships will not be offered for the 2017-2018 academic year, although there are many other opportunities to get involved with social justice and equity. See for more information about upcoming events and activities.  For questions, please contact Jodi Mulhall at (760) 757-2121 x6918 or email

2016-2017 Fellows

Social Justice - Transgender Community

jamila1.JPG Jamila Huerta-Jimenez is an Honors student at MiraCosta College working for the Social Justice & Equity Center [room OC3445]. She is representing the Transgender Community and is currently working to create a program that will educate the youth community about the diverse existence of gender identities and sexuality that has been oppressed by strong social norms in society. Her major is Psychology with an emphasis of LGBTQIA+ Studies. With passion and encouragement from friends, faculty and staff, Jamila was able to educate approximately over 500 college/university students in the spring 2016 school semester. She is also part of the North County San Diego LGBTQ Resource Center as the Coordinator in Education for the Gender Advocacy Project.  She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian, and loves to dance.

Access – Black/African-American Students

asha1.JPG Asha Dunigan is a political science major emphasizing in international relations. She has received an Associates Degree from MiraCosta College in Behavior Science and she plans to transfer to a California State University in fall of 2017. She is a former Summer Bridge student, a current Umoja student as well as an Oceanside Senator for ASG. She wants use her research to create a project that will greatly improve the college experience and also increase the success rate for incoming black students. She hopes to positively impact her community by strengthen their preparedness for higher education.

Access – LGBTQIA+ Students

LGBTQIA+ Students Van works to increase the equity of and visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community through educational and student outreach events including celebrating LGBTQIA+ achievements and history! Although their heart resides with LGBTQIA+ youth they diversify their humanitarian efforts both on campus and in the greater community, having received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for their work. They are currently conducting research in order to develop a capstone project that will address the underrepresentation of LGBTQIA+ students in STEM courses and majors with the end goal of increasing LGBTQIA+ representation in STEM agencies nationwide. They are the Gender Sexuality Alliance Club President, an honors scholar, and a business major, having already received their Associates Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Caring deeply about the plight and affliction of animals in factory farms, they educate others about this issue and are a proud vegan! Van has two Scottish terriers and is transferring in the Fall of 2017.

Social Justice – Economic Disadvantage

Heather SorgineHeather Sorgine is a second year physics major and Social Justice Research Fellow with focus on the economically disadvantaged. Heather was born in Seattle, WA and as the product of a tumultuous childhood has lived in many of the Western states. Her humanist values and sense of duty to serve her community were inspired by her early experiences and reinforced by the family that generously took her in as a young adult.

She has worked with many nonprofits in various capacities. She is currently a board member of the local non-profit, Feeding the Soul Foundation. This organization promotes creative generosity through advocacy and fundraising for other local nonprofit beneficiaries. Her work with this organization earned her the President’s Volunteer Service Award for completing more than 150 volunteer hours within the community during the 2015-2016 school year.

Prior to attending MiraCosta as a re-entry student, she has had the opportunity to work in many fields including civil law and infrastructure construction. Rich life experience and the determination to continue learning push her to follow her imagination into the sciences. She acknowledges that although there is a rising trend of female involvement, women in STEM fields continue to be under-represented and their participation is paramount to the advancement of science and technology as a whole. She is eager to join her peers.
Final Recommendations

Access – Formerly Incarcerated

Formerly Incarcerated Lucas is passionate about many things, but he is most passionate about education and social justice.  He is currently working on increasing access to higher education for formerly incarcerated students.  His research project seeks to create meaningful connections both on MiraCosta College’s campus, and in the community with the end goal of empowering students who have experienced incarceration.