OIE Staff

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

ahuber@bates.edu
207.755.5981

Bio

A first generation college student born and raised in Portland, ME, I attended the University of Southern Maine (USM) and received my Bachelors in Social Work. It was at USM that I quickly found community and support for my identities as a queer person and a first-generation college student. I quickly became involved on campus, from residence life to LGBTQ+ work and mental health advocacy. My experience built the foundation for the rest of my career, and gave me the confidence to pursue my masters degree at Smith College School for Social Work.

A first generation college student born and raised in Portland, ME, I attended the University of Southern Maine (USM) and received my Bachelors in Social Work. It was at USM that I quickly found community and support for my identities as a queer person and a first-generation college student. I quickly became involved on campus, from residence life to LGBTQ+ work and mental health advocacy. My experience built the foundation for the rest of my career, and gave me the confidence to pursue my masters degree at Smith College School for Social Work.

I have always been a strong believer in utilizing my voice for change. As a white person, I was drawn by Smith’s commitment to anti-racism work. During this time I deepened my knowledge and language of the systems and structures that impact equity, and how to better work in solidarity with other marginalized individuals. 

Post- Smith, I worked as a clinical social worker with young adults. I loved the relationship-building of 1:1 therapy, but I felt pulled to use my skills to create change on a community level; I saw higher education as the perfect opportunity to make this transition, and accepted a position in the Office of Residential Life at the University of New England. There I  engaged in student support and mentorship as well as the community level work of co-teaching the Diversity Leadership Certificate, and engaging in policy review and change. 

I am excited to bring my passion to Bates College as a community that is prioritizing the work of equity and inclusion. In my free time I enjoy adventuring with my soon-to-be wife, Sam, and our rescue pup, Rosie, and searching for the best iced coffee. 

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

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

Tonya Bailey-Curry, Director of Special Projects

tbaileyc@bates.edu

Bio

Being born and raised in Maine as a black woman, I am no stranger to the weight of adversity. Navigating the journey of being a first-generation college student, I have a profound appreciation for education and the opportunities it can provide.  Having found a way to link my passion of embracing and nurturing human connection to my purpose of supporting others, I am excited to be a part of the Bates community.

My name is Tonya Bailey-Curry and I always knew I wanted to work with people in a way that would honor all parts of them. I chose to pursue a degree in social work as a way to elevate the need for social and racial justice, particularly in predominantly white spaces. I found an educational home in the University of Southern Maine where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Social and Behavioral Science and my master degree in Social Work. 

My career path and lived-experience has afforded me the opportunity to see the many ways privilege and power impact growth and trajectory for individuals from traditionally marginalized groups. I chose the field of social work because it is fueled by action and passion and I feel honored to support students individually on the micro level through clinical work at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), as well as on the mezzo level through my role with the Bobcat First program. 

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

mabdi3@bates.edu
207.786.5980

Bio

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 student employees 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

Manuel Cruz (he/him), Program Coordinator

mcruztol@bates.edu
207.786.6033

Bio

Being the youngest first-generation master’s graduate in my family, I know the value of education. Life is a great teacher, and I am proud that I have been able to not only master my chosen subjects but pass on my knowledge to students as well. My name is Manuel Cruz and my world shifted when I moved from Mexico to Portland, Maine in 2019. 

I’m a Graphic Designer who recently graduated with my Master of Arts Degree in Marketing with a specialty in Branding and Retailing. As a person who helps others to communicate through graphics, I’ve learned to appreciate how much of an impact one can make in the subtlest ways. 

I believe the base of every human interaction is within the communication that we can have with others. As a former professor, teaching for LaSalle University and ITSON (Institute of Technology of Sonora), I learned to see not just what was on the surface but to be able to read between the lines to understand my students’ needs in different ways. During my time serving as a mentor for Enactus I helped to empower and support young entrepreneurs who care about making an impact in vulnerable communities and realized that helping students along their journeys was both exciting and rewarding. 

I always look at change as an opportunity, to grow, to learn, and to improve. Trying to adapt to another culture, language and even weather that was vastly different from what I had known has been challenging, but it’s also been an opportunity to meet new people and grow as a person. Another difficulty I have experienced here was a lack of community and diversity, so I have taken that as a challenge to give back and work in this new Maine community to promote LGBTQ+ and immigrant causes through my design experience. 

My career in branding and design has helped me to discover that communication is the basis of every community, and a strong community needs those willing to meet new challenges, be open to new ideas, and bring a unique diversity of thought. I am excited about the start of my next chapter at Bates. I look forward to both expanding my horizons and bringing my experiences and distinct ways of thinking to this amazing institution.

Primary Responsibilities in OIE

  • Market, advertise, and communicate OIE programs and services
  • Complete administrative duties to support OIE operations
  • 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