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.

Hillary Henderson

she, her, hers
Administrative Specialist
(310) 338-7744 |


Seal Flores-Valleyfield

Seal Flores-Valleyfield

they, them, theirs
Senior Administrative Coordinator
(310) 258-4611 | 

Seal Flores-Valleyfield became a member of the LMU community in September of 2017. A Minnesota native, Seal moved to Los Angeles from Milwaukee, WI where they worked at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as an administrative assistant and undergraduate program coordinator. In total, they have worked in post-secondary education for almost 9 years. Seal is a fellow cat enthusiast. They also enjoy swimming, music, food, biking, traveling, and otters. Seal is a non-binary, agender person and their pronouns are they, them, theirs.



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.

Sam Hsu Davis

photo of Samantha Davis

she, her, hers
Strategic Project Associate
(310) 258-7962 |

Sam joined the LMU DEI team in 2023, where she supports the VP for DEI, Emelyn dela Peña and the Director of DEI Research, Evaluation, and Grants, Kim Misa, in implementing LMU’s strategic projects, including LMU’s Strategic Plan and the Anti-Racism Project. Sam partners with the Assistant Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and other stakeholders across the university to further the strategic goals and objectives of the supported offices. Before LMU, Sam spent several years as an engineer and project manager at Raytheon Technologies and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Sam is mom to her cat Tobin, is an Aries sun, Aquarius moon, Scorpio rising, and is an ESFJ. She loves food, animals, Ted Lasso, and being active, and her love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service. In her free time, Sam can be found at hot yoga or pilates, at LA Kings, Angel City FC, or Dodgers games, or at home having a Netflix day/watching trash reality TV with her tolerant husband.

Kimberly Misa

she, her, hers
Director, DEI Research, Evaluation, and Grants
(310) 338-5343 |

Kim joined Loyola Marymount University in 2010. She completed her B.A. at the University of California at Santa Cruz (Go Banana Slugs!). Her first job was in enrollment management where she discovered her passion for serving students of color in higher education. She moved onto work at a private foundation in southern California, where she became interested in education policy. She received her M.A. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California at Los Angeles. In her current role as Research Associate, she is responsible for evaluating office initiatives as well as utilizing institutional data on students, staff, and faculty to examine issues and inform decision-making. She also administers the Inclusive Excellence Grants program. When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.


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.



Ariane White

Ariane White

she, her, hers, they
Director, Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Center Alliance
(310) 568-6654 |

Dr. Ariane White directs the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Center Alliance at LMU, which is part of a national network of TRHT campus centers hosted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She previously served as the supervisor and coordinator of clinical fieldwork in the School of Education and is a graduate of LMU’s Educational Leadership for Social Justice program, where her research focused on restorative justice in schools. Dr. White is a longtime K-12 educator and facilitator of restorative practices, emphasizing community-building strategies to cultivate healthy relationships and to shift culture to foster equity and inclusion. Drawing upon her work with AWARE-LA, Dr. White co-founded AWARE-LMU to invite white colleagues in the LMU community to support each other in the ongoing work of becoming allies and co-conspirators engaging in anti-racist work.

Matt Morris

Graduate Research Assistant

SFTV '23

Anna Oguoma-Richards

Graduate Research Assistant


Kenny Pratt

Undergraduate Assistant

CFA '26