Caleigh Grogan ’18
Education Partnerships – Attleboro YMCA VISTA (She/Her/Hers)
Caleigh Grogan ’18 serves as an Americorps VISTA working to strengthen the relationship between Wheaton and the Attleboro YMCA by expanding mentorship programs to serve the youth of the greater Norton community. Caleigh is excited to be working with the YMCA and to see the mission and values of the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact at work outside the “Wheaton bubble.” Caleigh graduated from Wheaton in 2018 with a BA in Religion and plans to continue pursuing social justice and creating a positive community impact as she follows a path towards ministry.
Caleigh has an office both in Attleboro and at Wheaton College.
Cassie Peltola ’14
Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement (She/Her/Hers)
Cassie Peltola ’14 works in the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact at Wheaton College as the Assistant Director for Community Service and Civic Engagement. Cassie is responsible for connecting students with community based organizations to work on community-identified needs as well as strengthening relationships with local community partners. She also supports civic engagement efforts on campus.
Social Justice Ancillary (He/Him/His)
Dani Roberts is a charismatic higher education professional. He is currently the Area Coordinator within Wheaton College’s Office of Residential Life. In his role as an Area Coordinator, Dani oversees the day-to-day operations of the GWEEKS Quad and supervises a staff of Resident Advisors. In addition to his role as an Area Coordinator, he works in the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact as a Social Justice Programming Coordinator to develop programs and initiatives focused around diversity and inclusion for the Wheaton campus community.
Dani’s specific area of interest in higher education is in programming, specifically in promoting diverse programming at the institutional level and within student life. He stands by the idea that diverse programming is just as important as diversity programming. As an advisor he works with students to assess their past and current programs to develop future programs that would benefit a wider variety of students, specifically those whom identify with minority groups. Representation matters. If we are only programming to a specific audience and consistently hiring performers/speakers that identify within the majority, how should we expect our students who identify with different sexualities, genders, races, socio-economic status, etc. to feel visible and/or welcome at the institution or our organizations?
Dani thinks of himself as a lifelong learner. Although he may be knowledgeable of a subject he continues to seek out new information and experiences, especially from his students. It’s his work with his students that provides him with the most learning opportunities; their experiences and their knowledge help him develop into a stronger advocate, scholar, and professional.
Jasmine Silva-Jones ’18
First Generation Program Development VISTA (She/Her/Hers)
Jasmine Silva-Jones ‘18 is serving as the First Generation Program Development VISTA for the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact. A recent first generation graduate of Wheaton College this past May, she continues to support Wheaton’s population of first-gen college students based on her personal experiences. Jasmine focuses on the development, coordination, and execution of a program for a peer cohort of scholars that integrates tutoring, mentoring, and leadership programming. She strives to build a proud and supportive community of confident student leaders who self-identify as the foremost person in their family to attend a four-year college/university to attain a bachelor’s degree.
If you are a first generation student interested in becoming involved or are seeking support, please feel free to contact Jasmine with any questions or feedback that you may have.
Coach Hodgdon has been the Wheaton College Women’s Basketball coach for the past 15 years. She is a first-generation college student who graduated from Springfield College in 1991 with a BS in health education and minor in psychology.
As a NCAA Division 1 assistant basketball coach for 9 years before coming to Wheaton, Hodgdon worked at University of New Hampshire, Niagara University and College of the Holy Cross. In 1999 she completed her MS in School Counseling from Niagara University.
Coach Hodgdon has a passion for basketball but enjoys fishing and visiting her family in mid-coast Maine in her free time.
Safe Zone Intern, (He/Him/His)
Pratt joins the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact as a recent graduate of Stonehill College, where he was involved in campus-wide social justice efforts. He is excited to continue working towards positive change for the LGBTQ+ community in his current role as Safe Zone Coordinator. Pratt oversees the creation, implementation, and expansion of the Safe Zone training program, and is looking forward to engaging with the Wheaton College community.
In his spare time, Pratt enjoys creative writing, watching films, acting, adventuring with his boyfriend, and listening to Stevie Nicks.
Interfaith Engagement Coordinator, (She/Her/Hers)
Prathiksha Srinivasa is excited to serve as the interfaith engagement coordinator at the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact. Prathiksha recently earned her Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, where she studied the relationships between religious pluralism, secularism, and democracy. She is also interested in issues of faith and doubt. Prathiksha is eager to merge theory and praxis at Wheaton and help develop programming that highlights religious and spiritual diversity on campus. When she is not thinking about religion, Prathiksha is making South Indian food, misting her house plants, and watching reality television (all at the same time).
Shaya Gregory Poku
Director of the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact (She/Her/Hers)
Shaya serves as a leader in the Division of Student Affairs and on campus in creating, implementing and shepherding programs and strategic initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. She has particularly been charged with providing students with the opportunity, training, space, and resources to explore the many ways to have an impact on the world locally and globally.
A certified mediator through the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, she brings to Wheaton twelve years of experience promoting understanding among people with disparate backgrounds and advancing equity in domestic and international contexts. Prior to Wheaton, Shaya directed the Social Justice Resource Center at Northeastern University. There, she gained a distinguished record of pioneering cross-departmental efforts to bolster students’ critical thinking and self-knowledge. Poku has also worked in the non-profit sector. This included work with an international non-profit organization to develop programs across Sub-Saharan Africa and in the U.S. to advance the rights of historically marginalized and underserved groups.
Shaya holds a Master of Arts Degree in Intercultural Relations with a concentration in Intercultural Conflict Management from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations from Agnes Scott College. She also holds a Master of Science in Security and Resilience Studies from Northeastern University.
Administrative Associate (She/Her/Hers)
Winnie Collins works in the Center for the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact/Religious and Spiritual Life and the Dean of Students’ Office. Winnie has worked at Wheaton for 33 years and is the ‘go-to’ gal for administrative help and projects. She’s in the office afternoons, Monday through Thursday. She’s usually available unless she’s at a zoo playing with the gorillas, her favorite primate.