Task force members are listed in alphabetical order.

Carolin Aronis, PhD (she/her/hers)

Co-Chair of the Task Force
CSU Special Advisor on Prevention of Antisemitism
Research Fellow, Department of Communication Studies

Dr. Aronis is a Research Fellow in the Department of Communication Studies and a Postdoctoral Scholar at CU Boulder. Her research is situated at the intersection of critical media studies, rhetoric/discourse, and identity politics, focusing mostly on practices of racism, antisemitism, and sexism within the media, in academia, and through architecture and discourse. Since 2017, Dr. Aronis has taught extensively at CSU and CU Boulder about notions of intersectionality, privilege, and the oppression of marginalized groups in the U.S. society. She holds a PhD in Media and Communication Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2015), and worked in Israel as a lecturer, a journalist, and a biographer for Holocaust survivors. She has experience in bringing about policy change for human rights and inclusivity in academic settings. Since 2018, she has been active in addressing the situation of the Jewish community on campus. She is a third-generation holocaust survivor and identifies as a secular Jew. Dr. Aronis can be reached at Carolin.Aronis@ColoState.edu. More information about her work can be found here.

Brenda Epstein (she/her/hers)

Business Coordinator, Career Center
Academic Coach

Brenda Epstein was born in the Seattle area in the 1970s. Ancestry traits are Ashkenazi Jewish, Northwestern, and Eastern European. Brenda moved to Colorado in the year 2000 and lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two children. Brenda received her undergraduate degree at Washington State University and her master’s degree in accounting from Regis University in Denver. Most of her professional experience has encompassed a hybrid of HR and Accounting. This is the case in her current role as the Business Coordinator at the Career Center under the Division of Student Affairs. Here Brenda oversees the department budget, maintains office duties, and HR/staffing functions. Brenda is also an Academic Coach to 40 freshman students where she really enjoys the interactions with the newest generation of Rams. In her free time Brenda enjoys family volunteering with animals, creative projects, playing her violin, and outdoor activities with her family. Brenda is also very involved with Congregation Har Shalon in Fort Collins where she attends weekly Shabbat services. And where she recently completed the Pathways series of classes to learn more about the Jewish way of life, culture, and history. Brenda can be reached at: Brenda.Epstein@colostate.edu.

Mica Glantz, PhD (she/her/hers)

Co-Chair of the Task Force
Professor of Anthropology
Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Geography
Interim Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies
Director of the Human Osteology Lab

Dr. Mica Glantz received her B.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a paleoanthropologist who specializes in Neandertal paleobiology and paleogeography. Broadly, her research focuses on hominin dental and craniofacial morphology as well as Paleolithic archaeology in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in order to better understand Neandertal/modern human/Denisovan interactions during the late Pleistocene of Central Asia. She was a Fulbright Scholar from 2007-08 in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. Currently, she is collaborating on a multi-disciplinary project on Central Asian Paleolithic sites. Dr. Glantz identifies as a secular Jewish person. She grew up going to Jewish summer camp and eating bagels and lox Sunday morning with her family.  She worked for six summers at the Neandertal cave site of Hayonim, located in the Upper Galilee in Israel and collected her dissertation data from Tel Aviv University.  She is committed to creating a more inclusive environment for Jewish students and culture on CSU’s campus. Dr. Mica Glantz can be reached at Mica.Glantz@colostate.edu. Learn about her scholarly work here.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik

Member of the Task Force
Adjunct Faculty in the Philosophy Department
Faculty Advisor for the Chabad Jewish Organization, AEPi Jewish Fraternity, SAEPi Jewish Sorority and Students for Holocaust Awareness Week
Certifier/Consultant for the CSU Kosher Bistro
Member of the Consultation Team for Incidents of Bias in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity

Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik is a faculty member in the Philosophy Department at Colorado State University. He has taught on campus for 15 years and is a recipient of the CSU Best Teacher Award in 2014. He is the faculty advisor to a number of Jewish student groups on campus (listed above). Rabbi Gorelik is the executive director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Northern Colorado serving the cities and towns throughout the region. He lectures extensively on Jewish topics throughout campus and community. Rabbi Gorelik is also a chaplain (CPT) in the Colorado National Guard. He received his education and rabbinical degrees in Australia and the US and was ordained in Israel. Rabbi Gorelik is passionate about Jewish identity and education. He has advocated for Jewish students and for inclusion, equality and diversity on campus for many years. Rabbi Gorelik can be reached at Rabbi@ColoState.EDU, and more information about his work for the Jewish community at CSU can be found here.

Pamela Graglia, PhD (she/her/hers)

Member of the Task Force
Assistant Director of University Housing for Apartment Communities
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE)

Dr. Pamela Graglia is a member of the University Housing Leadership Team and works specifically with CSU’s on-campus apartment communities, including a wide range of diverse resident populations including undergraduates, graduates, international students, families, and children. Whether working in student affairs, academic affairs, or not-for-profit settings, her work is grounded in anti-oppression and social justice work, particularly through the lens of critical reflection, expression, and storytelling. Pamela teaches Autoethnography and Reflective Practice in the SAHE program and trains regularly on a model of leadership through critical reflection on identity. She also serves as the graphic designer and administrative coordinator for the Social Justice Training Institute (SJTI).

Renee Cohn Jones, PsyD (she/her/hers)

Advising Member of the Task Force
Fort Collins Community Advisor
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, MA in Psychology, MS in Education
Temple Or Hadash, Director of Education

Dr. Renee Cohn Jones serves as a community advisor to the Task Force. She is founder and CEO of Helping Parents Parent, Director of Education at Temple Or Hadash, and VP of Philanthropy of the National Charity League in Fort Collins. She is actively assisting the Poudre School District and the City of Fort Collins in their desire to prevent anti-Semitism and be more aware and inclusive of their Jewish constituents. Dr. Renee Cohn Jones obtained a BA in Psychology and MS in Education from the University of Rochester and an MA and PsyD from the University of Hartford. During her studies, Dr. Cohn Jones was active in Residential Life, Student Affairs, and was elected to the Executive Board of the American Psychological Association Graduate Student Division and served as the liaison to the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology. She is committed to helping CSU better understand the issues of anti-Semitism on-campus and in surrounding areas.

Mariah Kornberg–DeGear (she/her/hers)

Member of the Task Force
Campus Director for CSU Hillel

Mariah Kornberg–DeGear (she/her/hers) is the Campus Director for CSU Hillel, a Jewish Student Organization committed to offering a “home away from home” Jewish experience while attending University. She is also an ACA Level One trained Chaplain. Mariah brings her extensive business, marketing, entrepreneurial and alternative medicine experience to the task force, having worked in retail pharmacy operations, apothecary ownership, as well as businesses operations and consulting for small business owners and non-profits. Mariah also has certifications, taught classes and developed curriculum in aromatic medicine, reflexology, holistic healing, and tarot. Mariah is passionate about metal health care, the prevention of antisemitism and the absolute necessity for providing a safe, equitable and authentic space for students to thrive while attending CSU. Mariah can be reached at mariah@hillelcolorado.org. Find more information about CSU Hillel here.

Nancy Levinger, PhD (she/her/hers)

Member of the Task Force
University Distinguished Teaching Scholar
Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (courtesy zero-time appointment)

My Jewish identity is more ethnic than it is religious. I am the daughter of two first-generation immigrants who found refuge from the Nazis in America. Born in New York City, my family moved to Cleveland, OH and then to Fort Collins, CO when I was a child. I never felt uncomfortable about my cultural heritage in Cleveland, but with so few Jews in Fort Collins, I felt out of place here. Although Fort Collins and CSU have changed dramatically from 1968, when my family moved here, and since 1992 when I started my faculty position, Jews still represent a minuscule fraction of the community. To recognize and honor the rights, views and practices of all people, an inclusive campus also includes Judaism from all perspectives. I hope our task force increases inclusivity for all members of the CSU community and beyond. Bias on any level is not an option. Dr. Levinger can be reached at Nancy.Levinger@ColoState.EDU. Learn about her scholarly work here.

Lucas Miller (he/him/his)

Member of the Task Force
CSU Senior Associate Director for Residential Dining Services

Lucas Miller serves as the Senior Associate Director for Residential Dining Services within Housing and Dining Services at Colorado State University. He directly oversees dining centers that serve over two million meals per year to the 6,000+ residential students on campus. Lucas guided the opening of the Kosher Bistro, CSU and Northern Colorado’s first kosher dining facility. While earning degrees at Purdue University and The Culinary Institute of America, he traveled extensively oversees working in hotels to broaden his experiences living and working amongst different cultures. Using those experiences and others gained by working in the diverse hospitality industry, and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, have allowed him to value and promote diverse working and living environments. He looks forward to working in the Task Force to elevate Jewish voices, identity, and access within the CSU community. Lucas can be reached at lucas.miller@colostate.edu.

H.J. Siegel, PhD (he/him/his)

Member of the Task Force
Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University (CSU)

H.J. Siegel is a Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University (CSU). From 2001 to 2017, he was the George T. Abell Endowed Chair Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at CSU, where he was also a Professor of Computer Science.  He was a professor at Purdue University from 1976 to 2001. He received two B.S. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the M.A., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University. HJ grew up in the lower east side of New York City (Manhattan), where he was Bar Mitzvah. HJ, wife Janet, and daughter Sky moved to the Fort Collins area in 2001, and immediately joined the Congregation Har Shalom (CHS) synagogue, where Sky attended Sunday and Hebrew school, and was Bat Mitzvah. HJ has been on the CHS Board of Directors since June 2017 and is currently Board President. For more information: Homepage: http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~hj  E-mail: HJ@ColoState.edu

Ria B. Vigil (she/her/hers)

Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Organizational Practice
Office of the Vice President for Diversity

Ria Vigil serves as an Assistant Vice President for Diversity in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity at Colorado State University. Ria brings humor, compassion and deep expertise to her work. She is a highly regarded trainer who has worked with many CSU and community partners. She has created a diversity certificate program for both faculty and staff at CSU and has trained over 5,000 CSU employees over the last six years, in Diversity and Inclusion practices and Inclusive Pedagogy. In addition to training on campus, Ria serves as a strategic thought leader and consultant to institutional departments in the ongoing process of infusing social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion into the culture of CSU. Ria is currently pursuing a PhD in the Higher Education Leadership Program at CSU through the School of Education at CSU. Ria can be reached at Ria.Vigil@ColoState.EDU.

Yael Wallen (She/Her/Hers)

Member of the Task Force
Student, Major: Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Professions
CSU Hillel and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi Religious Chair

My name is Yael Wallen and I am the religious chair for both Hillel and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi. I grew up in Jewish communities all over America and in England, in everything from Reform to Masorti to Orthdox synagogues. When I came to CSU I did not expect to be so involved in the Jewish community however I have started to find that it is the place that I feel like I belong the most. I experienced some antisemitism in high school and I would like to find a way to create a more welcoming environment for Jews and people who are interested in the Jewish faith here at Colorado State. When I am not attending meetings for any of these organizations or doing school work I am knitting, drawing, or rock climbing. I am hoping that through my work with the task force I can help spread education about Judaism and create a welcoming place for all Jewish students on campus. I can be reached at ybwallen@colostate.edu. I would love to have coffee or take a walk around Fort Collins!

Deborah Yalen, PhD (she/her/hers)

Member of the Task Force
Associate Professor, Department of History

Deborah Yalen (she, her, hers) is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. Her scholarly research focuses on the social, cultural, and political history of Jews in the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s. Her primary research languages are Russian and Yiddish, and she has worked extensively in archives and libraries in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. At CSU, she teaches courses in Imperial Russian, Soviet, and modern European history. With a grant from the Holocaust Educational Foundation, she recently developed the first semester-long course at CSU devoted entirely to the history of the Holocaust. In spring 2021, she will teach a new course on transnational modern Jewish history, with an emphasis on eastern Europe. She believes that offering a multifaceted Jewish studies curriculum at CSU is a crucial step in addressing antisemitism on campus. She identifies as a secular Jew with a strong interest in Yiddish language and culture. Dr. Yalen can be reached at Deborah.Yalen@ColoState.edu. Learn about her work here.

Joshua Zaffos (he, him, his)

Member of the Task Force
Communications Specialist, Department of Anthropology and Geography
Program Lead/ Instructor, Communications for Conservation, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Joshua Zaffos is the communications specialist for the Department of Anthropology and Geography and interim Assistant to the Chair for the Department of Ethnic Studies. He is also the program lead and instructor for Communications for Conservation, an online graduate certificate program through the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, and a journalism instructor. His writing on the environment has appeared in High Country News, Audubon, Scientific American, Slate and many other outlets. He holds a master’s of environmental management from the Yale University School of the Environment. Zaffos was raised Jewish and he continues to celebrate and share the culture with his own family and to research his family’s past. He has visited the towns in Germany where his maternal grandparents grew up before fleeing from the Nazis. His paternal grandparents were Romaniote (Greek) Jews, among the oldest and lesser-known Jewish communities in Europe, and he plans to visit that region one day, too. Zaffos can be reached at joshua.zaffos@colostate.edu.

Matthew Zidbeck (He/Him/His)

3rd-year undergraduate Health and Exercise Science and Psychology Student

My name is Matthew Zidbeck and I am the Vice President of Chabad at CSU. I grew up with a Jewish mother at a reform temple in a small and unenthused community. I was able to cultivate a strong sense of pride for my Judaism at CSU with the help from my fellow students and the Rabbi. However, when I began to open up about my Judaism I was met with social and cultural resistance. I would like to create an environment that allows other people, curious about their culture, to explore without some of the difficulties I experienced. With the current climate at CSU, the pursuit of knowledge and ability to openly express pride in one’s Jewish culture seems to be increasingly difficult. An inclusive campus allows students of all Jewish backgrounds to comfortably learn, study, and express our culture in a way anyone wants. Matthew can be reached at mpz1121@rams.colostate.edu.