The IDEC Fellows is a group of undergraduate and graduate students who play an integral role as student advocates in USM’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council (IDEC). The Fellows lead IDEC’s Student Experience Committee and facilitate campus forums and initiatives, participate in planning and governance, and work directly with University leadership on behalf of students and the community.
In alignment with IDEC’s mission, the IDEC Fellows mission is to:
- Serve as a bridge between students and University administration
- Be a voice for students, especially those who are marginalized & oppressed; and
- Work in service to students, IDEC and the USM community through outreach activities, collaborations, and advocacy
To submit questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact Student Fellows.
Please find our summary reports here.
The IDEC Fellows for the Academic Y20-21 is a group of 11 undergraduate and graduate students
Ali "Pal" Covie (they/them) is a third-year graduate student in USM's School Counseling program. They are particularly passionate about advocating for inclusive policy, curriculum, training, and professional development change that relates to reducing barriers to access, opportunities, and visibility for LGBTQ+ individuals. Those who are transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive hold a special place in Pal's heart, and they are equally interested in the intersectionality of race and LGBTQ+ identity. Originally from Midcoast Maine, Pal now lives in Buxton with their wife and dog and enjoys playing and coaching basketball, writing, and frequenting local ice cream shops.
Amina Nur (she/hers) is a Nursing major and Women and Gender Studies and Biology double minor at USM. She was born and raised in Portland. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, riding her bike, and streaming TV shows and movies. She has a passion for amplifying voices of marginalized people and helping others and the environment.
Ashlyn Tomer (she/hers) is a senior studying General Management with a Sustainability Track and Marketing. She is a Native American student, part of the Penobscot Tribe of the Wabanaki Confederation. The area of advocacy she is passionate about is Native voices on campus. She plans to speak up about the unique struggles Native American students may encounter throughout their college experience.
Deepak Kandel (he/him) is a rising senior, who was born and raised in the rural hills of Nepal. He came to USM as an international student and later became a legal resident of Maine. He is the 1st from his family to go to college and 1st from his hometown to pursue a Bachelor of Science. He comes from an underrepresented and disadvantaged community. Previously, as a Promise Scholars Ambassador, he helped a diverse, talented group of Scholars in the transition from high school to college life. Deepak aspires to go to the Medical School and work as a doctor in underserved communities and rural areas. He loves to hear voices from all people and react equitably. He wants nobody to feel left alone or lonely. He understands the importance of human cooperation and justice. He is hoping to advocate for strengthening the all-inclusive values of USM to create diversity and a progressive environment. He has no place for racism or undermining the importance of diversity. He believes every person is unique in their capabilities; therefore, the diversity of people brings the diversity of capabilities that strengthens our society.
Dorcas Ngaliema (she/hers) is an asylum seeker born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in South Africa. She was president of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) on-campus organization. SPLC is an organization that emphasizes the idea of real life conversation about social and political issues led by students for students. She received an organization award and the Student of the Year award at SMCC for her leadership work in her community. She graduated from SMCC with a liberal arts focus on political science and she studies Political Science at USM. She hopes to get a master’s in Education or go to law school to become an immigration lawyer.
Dylan Bell (she/hers) is a senior majoring in Political Science with a minor in Anthropology. She is extremely honored to be an IDEC Student Fellow this year and she is motivated to enact changes needed to combat racist policies within our institution through education, empathetic dialogue, policy reform, and activism. Crucial awareness followed by action and implementation is imperative to reconstruct our policies together as antiracists. She plans to focus on resource equity and space for students of color as well the much needed education around the nuance of difference among our diverse population at USM. She hopes that together we can foster a community of empathy, education, and eradicate racist policies.
Finn Wilder (they/them) is a master's student in the USM School of Nursing, working towards becoming a family nurse practitioner. Finn identifies as queer, trans, nonbinary, and neurodiverse. They are dedicated to fighting stigma and inequities through visibility and leveraging their privilege as an educated white person who’s not afraid to be loud in the face of injustice. They believe that for the world to change, activism, anti-racism, and anti-oppression work must be as much a part of our lives as eating and breathing. We must all actively choose to fight against the systems in this country that are built to oppress BIPOC and other minorities. Finn has done trainings on the importance of language, inclusion, and diversity for faculty, staff, students, and healthcare providers at multiple institutions, is a graduate assistant doing diversity, equity, and inclusion work for the School of Nursing, and is looking forward to returning for their second year as an IDEC Fellow.
Grace Brenner (she/hers) is an undergraduate Social Work and Honors student at USM. She has completed several hours of community service with the immigrant population in Maine.
She values helping people feel welcome and included in their community and also enjoys being able to practice her French skills. Grace is looking forward to working with the IDEC team in order to make USM a place that focuses on equity and inclusion.
India Evans (she/hers) is a transfer junior from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. She is majoring in Media Studies and Communications, and she is not sure if she still wants to do a minor, so we'll see what happens. She is from Washington, DC, so coming to Maine was a big shock, but she doesn't regret it because she has done different things that she would have never been able to do in the city. She is excited to be an IDAC and learn and meet people who want to change things for the better. She is excited for what's to come.
Onye Obi-Okoye (he/him) is a management consultant and doctoral scholar in the University of Maine School of Law. His research and teaching interests include international human rights, organizational capacity building, social engineering and strategic conflict management. Characteristically cheerful, creative and engaging, Onye brings significant experience to the Intercultural and Diversity Advisory Council, having lived and/or worked in five different continents of the world. He is proud to hold sterling certifications in organizational resource development, sociology, law, and peacebuilding. At USM, Onye is the convener for ASSA, a new association that brings together scholars, staff and students who might be interested in dialogue surrounding African society, Black cultures and the African-heritage experience. As a 2020-21 Fellow, Onye is excited to serve on IDAC's employee relations and curriculum development subcommittees.
Reagan Brown (she/hers) is a Biology major at the University of Southern Maine, class of 2023. She is passionate about women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and ending micro-aggressions and systemic racism on campus. She would like to work on making USM a more inclusive and safe space for all POC.
Black lives matter.
The first cohort of IDEC Fellows - Academic Y2018-2019 was a group of 10 undergraduate and graduate students:
Amy Paine, Angel Melvin, Brooke Smith, Erik Eisele, Julia Gustafson, Katie Tomer, Lian Lin, Lilah Akin, Suheir Alaskari.