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Identity, Lived Experience

Wednesday, January 25, 2023  |  3:00-4:30 PM Central Time

 (4:00-5:30 PM Eastern, 2:00-3:30 PM Mountain, 1:00-2:30 PM Pacific; convert other time zones here)

Registration is free; space is limited! You must have a Zoom account and use the associated email address during the registration process.



Live captions and sign language interpretation provided. Email for assistance.

Webinar Description:


Am I even supposed to be here? First-generation Higher Ed Professionals carry the burden of figuring it all out for the first time. They find themselves navigating complex and unfamiliar workplace dynamics. Instead of focusing on professional growth and advancement, they constantly fear that one mistake will lead them to lose it all. First-generation professionals navigate new obstacles, relationships, and challenges through the lens of their identities and personal experiences. With a focus on intersectional identities, this workshop will introduce and analyze the experiences of first-generation professionals and equip participants with tools to share their narratives, engage in dialogue and advocate in a professional context. This session will benefit participants looking to analyze and identify tools for development and growth as new professionals.




Monica Hanna, MEd,  Assistant Director, Residential Life,  UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Motivated. Monica is driven by creating spaces of community and belonging for BIPOC individuals. She helps others own their experiences and identities and feel confident in sharing their story. She goes to work every day with the goal of empowering women and BIPOC individuals to achieve their greatest potential.

Achiever. As a Jesuit educated Fordham alum, Monica graduated with a B.A. in Theology with a research focus on ethics and social justice work. Monica went on to earn a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Rutgers University. Monica has over 10 years of experience in leadership development, dialogue facilitation, and building programs based on needs assessment. Monica is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education at UCLA.

Educator. After earning her Masters, Monica began working at UCLA Residential Life in 2015 where she currently serves as an Assistant Director in Residential Life. Monica’s philosophy as an educator is centered around holistic outside the classroom learning. With students, she facilitates experiences for them to have “aha!” moments where they begin to realize the complexities around identity, privilege, and access. In her current role supervising professionals, she is focused on their leadership growth and development.

Facilitator. Monica is a seasoned dialogue facilitator and trainer through her consulting work with Mint Lemonade Consulting. She has over eight years of experience in immersive learning programs, conflict management and resolution. She co-developed and instructs a UCLA class focused on exploring marginalized identities and how they impact impostor syndrome, which is commonly experienced by women and people of color.

Activist. Influenced by the values of Jesuit education, Monica served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Phoenix, AZ. She worked as a Job Developer for Refugees at Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement and embodied the program’s values of community, spirituality, simple living, and social justice.

Mentor. As an Egyptian American immigrant, Monica spent years struggling with her identities and how they fit in the spaces she navigates every day. Monica understands the work that it takes to free ourselves of societal pressures in order to live authentically and honestly. Monica utilizes personal experience and research-driven methods in her work as a mentor and coach to students and young professionals.

Joey Ann Mateo, BA,  Assistant Resident Director, Residential Life, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Joey Ann Mateo, also known as “JAM”, is a first-generation Filipino American. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Public Affairs. During her time as a student, Joey Ann was a Resident Assistant for UCLA Residential Life for two years and partook in various clubs including, Samahang Pilipino and Colleges Against Cancer. Immediately after graduating, Joey Ann returned to UCLA ResLife as a full-time Assistant Resident Director (ARD) for Dykstra Hall where she worked with two living- learning communities, PilipinX and Global Health, as well as supervising the building’s Resident Government Council. Along with this, Joey Ann chaired the annual UCLA Geek Week committee and assisted in the Resident Assistant student staff training planning and execution. After working as an ARD for over a year, Joey Ann decided to explore her passions within the animation industry.

Joey Ann is currently working as a Talent Development Coordinator at Skydance Animation Studios. Within this role, Joey Ann works overhead with all departments within the studio to ensure studio talent is heard and advocated for in their artistic journey and personal growth. She continues to support various communities and identities within her role at Skydance and supports diversity and inclusion within the development of projects. This role has allowed Joey Ann to combine her love for art, her passion advocacy, and the skills she used in her previous role in Residential Life, such as counseling and supporting personal and professional development of others.

Danielle Espinoza, BA, Assistant Resident Director, Residential Life, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Danielle Espinoza serves as an Assistant Resident Director in Residential Life at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In her work within student affairs, she specifically oversees a 1,000-plus sub-community of students living on-campus (most of whom are transfer students), amongst other responsibilities serving the more than 14,000 students living at UCLA. As a transfer alumna of UCLA, Danielle is passionate about the transfer student narrative and bolstering the presence of transfer students within all spaces of academia to further solidify their integral positions as part of diverse academic communities. From living on-campus to understanding one’s growth in identity to navigating the pathway to graduation, her work within student affairs aims to holistically uplift students as they pursue their academic and personal endeavors during their undergraduate careers. Her work emphasis focuses on discovering where students’ academic and professional development coalesces with their personal growth during such a dynamic time in their lives. In addition to her work serving college students, Danielle holds a special place in her heart for students of all ages with disabilities and is passionate about educational policy, its impact on accessibility for neurodivergent learners, and research supporting the continued, expanding inclusion of students with disabilities within all spaces.

Danielle hails from Palm Springs, California, a sunny and dry desert-landscape known more for its palm trees and casinos than for its educational opportunities. After completing continuation high school, she spent several years in community college at College of the Desert in Palm Desert before transferring to UCLA, where she majored in American Literature and minored in Education Studies. Her identity as a first-generation, Latina transfer student and now first-generation professional in student affairs continues to shape the work she does and positive impacts she hopes to create for all who she meets both in and out of academic settings. Having experienced a multitude of educational environments- independent studies and continuation high school as an adolescent, community college and a world-renowned university in her twenties, and private schools while working with young children- Danielle has harnessed the unique touchstones from each setting and applies them to her current work, and hopes to continue utilizing the knowledge gained from such diverse environments to help create an equitable, accessible, and socially-just educational and professional landscape for those of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

In her free time, Danielle can be found spending time doing the things she loves most: heading outdoors with her chihuahua, Hazel; discovering new food joints in LA with friends; exploring bookstores and hunting down baking cookbooks; attempting new songs on her piano; and spending time on the phone with family and most often her mother, Lori, a current University of California, San Diego transfer student who is always eager to receive Danielle’s advice on navigating higher education.


Important Details:

  • Download the latest version of Zoom on your device BEFORE the webinar begins. Launch and sign into Zoom, click on your profile picture (top right corner) and select Check for Updates. 
  • A recording will be sent to registrants approximately one week after the webinar.


Questions? Email