Meet the Team

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Loyola Marymount University
One LMU Drive, Xavier Hall 111
Los Angeles, CA  90045
(310) 338-7744 

Emelyn A. dela Peña, Ed.D.

Emelyn dela Pena

she, her, hers
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
(310) 338-7744 |

Emelyn is Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Loyola Marymount University, where she serves on the President's Cabinet and oversees the university's Anti-Racism and DEI efforts. She also serves as the university ombudsperson. Emelyn has spent almost three decades as an administrator and teacher. Prior to LMU, she served as Associate Vice Provost for Inclusion, Community & Integrative Learning at Stanford University, was Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis, served as the inaugural Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Harvard College, and was a Campus Diversity Officer and Director of the Women’s Center at the University of California, San Diego.

She has presented and taught nationally on social justice, gender, and diversity issues and has co-authored “Paying homage to college and university women’s centers: gender justice work in the center for diversity and inclusion” in University and College Women’s and Gender Equity Centers: The Changing Landscape, “From Slavery to SlutWalk: Brown Bodies and the Misguided Politics of Sexual Agency” in the Critical Black Studies Reader, “Social Justice Leadership: Silos to Synergies” in Culturally Responsive Leadership in Higher Education, and “Emergent Approaches to Diversity and Social Justice Work in Higher Education” in Teaching Diversity.

Emelyn brings an intersectional approach to diversity and social justice work and is particularly influenced by the third space theory and practice of queer women of color. She holds a doctor of education from a joint University of California, San Diego, San Diego State University, and California State University, San Marcos program. She earned a master’s degree in postsecondary educational leadership from San Diego State University, and a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies from University of California, San Diego. She is a native of Los Angeles and currently lives in Ladera Heights with her dog Jimmy Choo.

Joseph Bernardo, Ph.D.

Joe Bernardo

he, him, his
Director, DEI Capacity Building 
(310) 338-1698 |

Joe joined Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2015 and currently runs DEI’s leadership development programs: Leading Institutional Units and Programs | Inclusive Excellence and Senior Vice President Fellows.  He also manages LMU’s Implicit Bias Initiative.  Prior to coming to LMU, he worked in several sectors including government, philanthropy, and non-profit.  Joe holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Washington, an M.A. in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. from UC Santa Barbara.  He continues to be active in the Asian/Filipino American community.  In his free time, Joe likes to play basketball, go fishing, and practice Filipino Martial Arts and yoga.


Jamal Epperson

they, them
Assistant Director, DEI Initiatives 
(310) 258-7966 |

Jamal Epperson (they/them) joined the LMU community in 2019 and joined the DEI team in 2022. As the Assistant Director of DEI Initiatives, Jamal works with various initiatives throughout DEI, such as Implicit Bias and the LMU Antiracism Workshop Series. In addition, Mx. Epperson serves as a liaison between HR and DEI by assisting with equitable recruitment and hiring practices for faculty and staff. Before this role, Jamal worked in various capacities in the Student Housing Office and Student Affairs, where they learned to center their work from a feminist abolitionist framework by promoting radical love. Jamal is currently a doctoral student at the University of San Francisco studying International Multicultural Education with a concentration in Human Rights Education and a minor in Organization & Leadership. Prior to their studies at USF, they received their M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Marquette University and a B.A. from Western Michigan University in Music and Psychology. Outside of work, Jamal volunteers at Centinela Youth Services as a Restorative Justice facilitator, is a Capricorn sun, rising Scorpio, and Aries moon, and enjoys writing music, playing video games, traveling, thrift shopping, and annoying their dog Nico.

Valeska Gutierrez

DEI Operations and Program Specialist
(310)-338-7744  |

Valeska Gutierrez (she/her/ella) is a truth-teller, community builder, and strategist dedicated to driving social impact. Growing up between Oakland, CA, and Atlanta, GA, with Honduran roots, she began her journey in social justice through The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After several years of stewardship in different roles within the NAACP, Valeska has worked in various capacities to help historically excluded communities thrive. Valeska has worked primarily in the non-profit and education sectors. Her focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been central to her work, where she has championed learning and invested in the success of individuals to drive meaningful social impact. 

Throughout her career, Valeska has leveraged her expertise to organizations such as Oakland Kids First, East Bay Asian Youth Services (EBAYC), Girls Inc., Children’s Defense Fund, SMASH Academy Morehouse, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, and The Center for Cultural Power. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Georgia State University.

Outside of work, Valeska finds joy in exploration, experimenting in the kitchen, and indulging in seasonally inspired pastries. As a self-described multipotentialite, she thrives on embracing diverse interests and experiences. As an avid coffee enthusiast, Valeska is always ready to savor a freshly brewed cup, embodying her passion for both community and caffeinated conversation.

Steven Neal

Steven Neal

Director, Academic Community of Excellence
(310) 338-7826 |

Steven Neal is the director of the Academic Community of Excellence program at LMU. He develops and oversees educational services that support the graduate and professional school aspirations of underrepresented students. He also teaches courses that offer strategies and tools to prepare for, apply to, and enroll in master's and doctorate degree programs. Some of his greatest rewards include investing in the educational futures of ACE students and celebrating their collegiate and postgraduate achievements. Steven earned an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, an M.Div. from The Master’s Seminary, and a B.A. in English from San Diego State University.



Keisha Chin-Goosby

DEI Faculty Fellow
310.258.8768 |

Keisha Chin Goosby is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Academic Program Director of the General Education Intern/Resident/Practitioner teacher credential program in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. Her personal experiences as a formerly undocumented immigrant, first-generation college graduate, and parent of two young adults inform her work as a scholar-practitioner. Dr. Chin Goosby intentionally centers the advancement of anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in her teaching, mentoring, and research in education. She has published and forthcoming work that addresses: preparation of historically excluded students for graduate school, an unorthodox support model to mentor undocumented students, higher education classroom practices that promote equity, voicing the experiences of leaders of color in education, and a practical guide for educators to support undocumented students. Her career in education includes elementary and secondary teaching in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, teaching and mentoring K-12 teachers, and preparing undergraduate students for graduate school. She enjoys working with and learning from her students. 

Anna Oguoma-Richards

Anna Oguoma-Richards picture

Graduate Research Assistant


Anna Oguoma-Richards worked as a graduate assistant in the office of DEI and joined the team in 2022; her time in the office has been expansive, helping the team with TRHT and many more programs, Story Circles, and the importance of its facilitation, assisting in Ignition Institute Leadership courses and more. Oguoma-Richards is a screenwriter in the Loyola Marymount University Writing for the Screen Graduate Program and primarily focuses on creating stories that showcase the beauty and realism in the face of tribulation. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021, where she studied Entertainment and Media Studies with experiential knowledge in screenwriting, directing, and producing and minored in African/African American Studies. She is a first-generation Nigerian raised in the United Kingdom; her identity plays a vital role in her storytelling, imploring her mind to spin facts into creative content that poses vital zeitgeist questions. 

Kenny Pratt

Kenny Pratt picture

Undergraduate Assistant

CBA '26

Kenny Pratt joined the DEI team in 2023 as an undergraduate assistant. He works to create various marketing and recruiting materials for use at events such as the Black Doctoral Network. He also updates databases of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges or Universities), HACUs (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities), and other institutions to maintain relationships between the DEI office and academic programs at universities across the country. Kenny is a marketing student at LMU's College of Business Administration and has a passion for using his imagination to produce creative work that is authentic to himself. He works as a freelance video director and editor for brands and artists. His hobbies include watching soccer, listening to funk music, and traveling.