OIE Team

Maria Bautista (she/ella) Associate Dean and Director




Maria brings nearly 20 years of experience in higher education supporting the development, wellness, and academic success of historically underrepresented, international, first-generation, and LGBTQIA+ students. Maria has demonstrated a commitment to collaborative efforts that strengthen and advance institutional goals, and has worked across all levels of institutions to create more equitable and inclusive communities.

Maria is joining us from her most recent position as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Ripon College in Wisconsin. Although most of her career has taken place in California having served in various capacities as a Director of First Generation and advising programs within the California Community College system, Cal State University and the Director for Chicano/Latino Student Services at Loyola Marymount University.

Maria earned a Master’s and Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University, an M.A. from New College of California San Francisco in Humanities and Leadership, and her B.A. in Studio Art/Photography from San Jose State University. She is a proud first generation college student, a dedicated mentor/philanthropist in her hometown high school in South Central Los Angeles, and proud of her Latina roots as the daughter of Salvadoran refugees and the wife of a Mexican immigrant, now an accomplished elementary school Vice Principal.

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

  • Provide strategic vision and leadership for the OIE, including developing short- and long-term strategic plans
  • Oversee and support the team in designing and implementing a set of cohesive and integrated programs and services
  • Serve as an advisor to students who seek assistance, and connect them to necessary college resources

Dri Huber (they/she), Assistant Dean, LGBTQ+ Programs



Dri brings more than 10 years of experience supporting equity, inclusion and justice work in various education and community settings. Trained as a social worker, Dri brings both relational skills and systems thinking to the work of advocacy, student advising and program development. 

As a first generation college student, Dri earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Southern Maine and a Master Degree in Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work. Dri worked as a clinical social worker for several years before finding home in Student Affairs. 

Dri joins us most recently from the Office of Residential Life at the University of New England. There Dri engaged in student support, mentorship, program development and community level work of co-teaching the Diversity Leadership Certificate, as well as policy review and change.

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

  • Design and implement educational and community building programming for LGBTQ+ students
  • Collaborate with and advise the SPARQ Peer Mentors
  • Provide drop-in office hours at the OIE
  • Serve as an advisor to students who seek assistance, and connect them to necessary college resources

Dr. Ray O. Grant (he/him), Assistant Dean for First Generation & Bobcat First




Ray brings more than 15 years of experience championing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) through student advising and advocacy, program development and student engagement. Ray comes to Bates from Colby College where he serves as the Class Dean for First-Year Students and Programs. In that role, he has developed and implemented strategies to advance first-year student learning, engagement, resiliency, and retention. Prior to Colby, Ray served as the Assistant Director of Advising and Mentoring Services at DePaul University in Chicago. A first generation college student himself, Ray has a Doctorate of Education from DePaul University and a Master of Science in Urban Affairs from Hunter College of the City University of New York. 

Ray’s favorite hobbies include playing chess (he was a former national junior chess champion), cooking, and global exploration. His travels have included China, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Morocco, Iceland, and other countries throughout Europe and the Caribbean. 

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

  • Manage and coordinate the Bobcat First program
  • Supervise and Bobcat First Fellows
  • Provide office hours
  • Serve as an informal advisor to students who seek assistance, and connect them to necessary college resources

Mana Abdi (she/her), Program Coordinator



I am ethnically Somali but was born in Kenya and then came to the United States when I was eleven. Two years later, my family decided to move to Lewiston, Maine and we have been here since. Growing up in Maine with multiple identities has not been easy. Floating in between – never feeling fully “American” or “Somali” – has led me to seek out and support others who may feel different or “othered” in their communities. I firmly believe that we all have the right to have a sense of belonging.

I attended the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International and Global Studies. It was at UMF, that I found the power of my voice. I realized nobody else was coming to change things on campus and it was up to people like me to build an environment where all students would have the same opportunities for success. This realization led me to create initiatives and programming to bring awareness to campus culture in the areas of equity, inclusion, and diversity. My greatest achievement was spearheading the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Team, a task force of students, staff and faculty working together to address the needs of students of color.

As a working professional and community member, I have continued to educate and advocate for social justice and equity. At Disability Rights Maine (DRM), I advocated for and provided essential resources to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. In my role as the Vice President of the Maine Youth Network, my focus is to uplift and empower youth who share my experience as a refugee. Like the mission and work of the organization, I am passionate about providing immigrant children and young adults the necessary tools to compete
and succeed in life.

My professional goals and personal vision are one in the same – creating a just, safe, sustainable, and collaborative community. I am thrilled to join the Bates community and assist students in the Office of Intercultural Education and across the campus in embracing their many identities and strengths to carve out their own unique path to success.

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

  • Supervise OIE Peer Educators to assist with programs and to staff the OIE space
  • Develop the OIE staffing schedule, ensuring availability and accessibility of professional staff and student staff
  • Manage OIE room reservation requests
  • Serve as an advisor and mentor to students who seek assistance, and connect them to necessary college resources
  • Collaborate with OIE colleagues to design and implement BIPOC, first generation, and LGBTQ+ student programs

Shaula Edwards (she/they), Program Coordinator


I am a proud first-generation college graduate hailing from Laredo, TX, a city along the US-Mexico border, where I grew up in the liminal space between Mexican and American identities:  I attended a bilingual school, celebrated the 4 th  of July as well as Dieciséis de Septiembre, and watched novelas with my abuelita and my tías on the weekends that my dad didn’t decide to have a carne asada.

My border identity lent me a unique perspective as I entered college. I received my BA in English and Philosophy and my MA in Literature from Texas State University – San Marcos, working during the day and taking classes in the evening. Seeing a need for individuals with my unique background working within higher education, I decided to remain in the field, where I’ve now spent ten years in various capacities across a variety of institutions. I am driven by a passion

for supporting students as they navigate the intricacies of institutional life and bring energy and a
bright smile into my work with students, whether it be tutoring them on Walt Whitman’s “Song
of Myself,” volunteering at an alumni or departmental event, or even answering even the smallest of everyday questions about what resources might be available on campus, or where one might find a faculty member’s office hours.

When I’m not organizing a spreadsheet or staffing a table at a weekend event you might catch me on a long hike with my spouse, running a 5k with my spunky border collie mix, perfecting my sopapilla cheesecake recipe, playing video games, or participating in an NWS Skywarn class — I’m a certified weather spotter!

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

  • Manage the social media and marketing for the OIE
  • Support the Bobcat First Program
  • Serve as an informal advisor to students who seek assistance, and connect them to necessary college resources