Former Teaching Assistants

Garrett Heller 

College of Human Ecology | Human Development

Garrett Heller (Teaching Assistant, Workshop Coordinator, Conference Coordinator) is a recent Cornell graduate, having received his B.S. in Human Development in December 2016. As a student of Intergroup Dialogue in Fall 2015, Garrett participated in a section focused on sexual orientation, and later facilitated a race dialogue and a socioeconomic status dialogue. Intergroup Dialogue Project has been a transformative experience for Garrett, challenging him to be critical of the both the social systems and the self and offering improved communication skills, empathy, and confidence that are assets in every domain of life. Garrett would love to pursue a legal education after Cornell, but knows that whatever is next, he will be better for having been involved in IDP. He is absolutely honored to be spending this semester growing in new ways through IDP and hopefully helping the program to do the same.

Paola Muñoz  

College of Human Ecology | Human Development

Paola Muñoz is a senior majoring in Human Development, minoring in English, Education and Inequality Studies, with a concentration in Cognitive Development at Cornell University. She is currently a Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program research scholar. Paola is the co-head of the Advocacy Committee within the Office of Academic Diversity Initiative’s First in Class program. She is also one of four facilitators for the Women/Womyn of Color Support Group, working to foster mental health awareness and self-care within an intimate setting. Outside of Cornell, she’s been the Cornell University’s Head Delegate for the Latinx Ivy League Conference at Brown University. Paola has found and projected her voice most notably through writing for the Cornell Daily Sun newspaper as an opinion columnist with over 14 publications, as well as through writing for the Huffington Post where she discusses critically intersectional social justice through a representative narrative approach.

Aaron Ong 

College of Architecture, Art & Planning | Urban & Regional Studies

Hailing from the sunny island of Singapore, Aaron’s transition, from being part of the majority in his home country to being a minority in the US, triggered his interest in social identities. Having heard that Intergroup Dialogue was an “easy A”, Aaron enrolled in EDUC 2610 in his second semester, only to find it the most personally challenging and rewarding course in his Cornell career. He has remained with the program ever since, contributing to the program’s curriculum, teaching, and research. Intergroup Dialogue has deeply impacted Aaron’s worldview, and he simply cannot imagine what he would be today without this experience.

Christine Barker, M.P.A. 

Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

Christine is a second-year MPA student at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) examining the intersection between federal migration policy and local government in the US. Before Cornell, Christine organized in Fresno, CA for 4 years, leading 2 grassroots collaboratives that organized thousands of multilingual San Joaquin Valley residents (primarily from low-income communities of color) for investment in health-promoting neighborhoods. Her responsibilities included: designing participatory adult education workshops, conducting collaborative multilingual policy analysis and the nitty-gritty work of facilitating collaboratives.  Christine was raised in Fresno and studied International Studies (Political Science) at Whitworth University. She received a certificate in Service-Learning and Community Development from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. After working with refugee communities in Spokane, WA and living in a resettlement community for asylum seekers in Toronto, Canada, she decided to return to Fresno in 2011, to see what she could do to recreate the resilient communities she had been a part of in her own hometown of Fresno.

Erin Routon, M.A.

College of Arts & Sciences

Erin is presently a 4th year Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Cornell University. Before arriving at Cornell, she received her B.A. in English at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and received her M.A. degree in Religious Studies at University of California, Riverside. Her previous M.A. research focused on immigrant material culture in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands of Arizona and California and faith-based humanitarian border aid volunteer groups. Her present dissertation research focuses on humanitarian aid workers offering pro bono legal services to immigrant and refugee detainees in South Texas.

Laura Menchaca Ruiz

College of Arts and Sciences

Laura Menchaca is a graduate student of Sociocultural Anthropology at Cornell University where she studies community resilience. She has been involved in social justice activism in California, New York City, the Dominican Republic, Ithaca and beyond. Though originally from California, she now lives with her husband in Ithaca, NY.  She has served as a community educator for over 10 years and looks forward to many, many more years of community engagement through teaching, research and the arts. She enjoys traveling, learning languages, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Jumoke (Jum) Warritay

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Jumoke (Jum) Warritay serves as Associate Director of the Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE), a resource for employee education in academic and corporate environments. CITE uses theatre to facilitate dialogue about issues of diversity, inclusion, identity, and privilege. Jum has worked with CITE as an actor for eight years and, in her current capacity as Associate Director, engages in research presentation, program development, and facilitation. Jum’s work with CITE melds her interests in theatre with a vocation for public sociology. Also a PhD candidate at Cornell University, she is trained as a historical sociologist in the Department of Development Sociology, with expertise in political economy and cultural studies. Her dissertation looks critically at African development through the lens of African print textiles markets in Ghana. Before graduate school, Jum worked in education research at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. She is a graduate of Northwestern University with a dual degree in Education and Social Policy, and International Studies.