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Social Justice Research Center

314 UW Beta House

1731 Fraternity Row

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3422


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Who We Are

Kate Muir Welsh

Dr. Kate Muir Welsh, Director

Kate Muir Welsh is an educator with over twenty five years (10 of them at UW) experience in both formal and informal education settings. Her primary research agenda and published work to date focuses on equity, access, and social justice in education in general with an emphasis on science education. Welsh served as a member UW Shepard Symposium planning committee for seven years, chairing the committee from 2007-2010. During the 2010-11 academic year Dr. Welsh spent her UW sabbatical at Teton Science Schools working in the shadow of the Grand Tetons with graduate students and faculty. Currently she is an Associate Professor in the Elementary and Early Childhood Education department and the Department Chair of Secondary Education. Her teaching includes course work in math/science methods, place-based education and instructional strategies. In January 2012, Dr. Welsh was named the 2nd director of UW's Social Justice Research Center.

Logan Armstrong

Logan Armstrong, Graduate Assistant

Affiliation: Law and Public Administration | Logan Armstrong is a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration student here at the University of Wyoming. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Logan spent two years in Zambia, Africa, working on various agricultural and social-development projects. He was also previously employed as the operations manager of the FoCo Cafe soup kitchen, where he guided volunteer efforts and helped run food and clothing drives for those struggling with homelessness. Logan plans to use his education to pursue a career in the public sector, where he hopes that his creative thinking and optimism will inspire positive social change.

Conor Mullen

Conor Mullen, Social Justice Research Coordinator

Affiliation: Social Work and Environment & Natural Resources | I see social justice as a web of support that works to identify and eliminate injustices at their social, cultural, historical, and political roots, while simultaneously advocating for and equitably uplifting the wellbeing, potential, and participation of all people in the betterment of society. There is no social justice without environmental justice and there is no environmental justice without social justice.

Emily Monago

Dr. Emily Monago, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | In July 2017, Dr. Emily Monago began working as the first chief diversity officer at the University of Wyoming. Her role includes providing leadership and collaborating widely to develop the 2017-2022 UW Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and overseeing its implementation. Emily has more than 30 years of experience working at three different public universities. Most of her career has been dedicated to promoting and creating socially just communities as a means to create a more inclusive society. Her service as the co-director for the Social Justice Research Center during 2018-2019 is an honor to support researchers dedicated to advancing all of these efforts.

Melissa Alexander

Melissa Alexander, Advisory Board

Affiliation: College of Law | I joined the Social Justice Advisory Board because I believe that working on social justice, and aiding and encouraging other people who do, can help make concrete changes that improve lives. Studying health law exposes the myriad ways that structural inequality undermines health for vulnerable populations. Approaching health policy, practice and laws with humility, respect and solidarity with those impacted, leads to dramatically improved results and a stronger community.

Andrew Arnette

Dr. Andrew Arnette, Advisory Board

Affiliation: College of Business |

Christi Boggs

Dr. Christi Boggs, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning | To me Social Justice is honoring all ways of knowing and being. It is work to create an environment which is safe and supportive and within which the magnificent variety of human experience and difference is celebrated. It also includes ways of being and knowing that are connected to spirituality, the earth, the environment, nature… everything in an interconnected web of beauty. Social Justice includes challenging and breaking down systemic and personal barriers to individuals and groups so that everyone has the ability to realize their own dreams. As an activist and an accomplice it is my responsibility to use my privilege and power where and whenever I can support others in their pursuit of justice

Maggie Bourque

Maggie Bourque, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Haub School of Environment & Natural Resources | Social justice is a way of living and taking action with the understanding I am inextricably bound up with all others. The actions of social justice for me are grounded in broad and inclusive kinship—in being with one another, acting out of love, seeking to understand our own fears, and working to change the structural and individual barriers to justice. Participating on the board of the Social Justice Research Center allows me to engage in and help support academic research investigating all aspects of social justice, and to join the UW community in practicing kinship for a more just world.

Katie Christensen

Katie Christensen, Advisory Board

Affiliation: UW Art Museum | In a humanist model, we are all connected no matter our perceived differences. Social justice is learning to understand the complex histories of people and learning to dismantle systems where individuals are marginalized or face undue barriers simply because of who they are or how they identify. Through the arts and human pursuits of creativity, I am continuously learning and unlearning life lessons. I believe that social reformation starts with the individual. Through our creativity we can come up with new ways of beings, interacting with others and existing with more love in this world. I also recognize we are all connected to something greater than each of us as individuals. This is the power of the collective voice. The arts are a powerful tool for change. Let’s change for the better.

Nicholas Crane

Dr. Nicholas Crane, Advisory Board

Affiliation: College of Arts & Sciences | For me, “social justice” refers to the joyful work of collectively challenging systems and institutions that devalue, coerce, and exclude some categories of people. The SJRC is one body through which we can pursue that work, assert justice claims, and pursue reparation of social inequality.

Sara Davis

Sara Davis, Advisory Board

Affiliation: American Heritage Center | As an archivist, I aim to provide equal access to information and include all members of our community regardless socioeconomic class in the historical record. I joined the Social Justice Research Center Advisory Board in hopes to connect people with informational resources documenting inequalities of access to opportunities and be more involved in helping our community overcome these barriers.

Chelsea Escalante

Dr. Chelsea Escalante, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Department of Modern & Classical Languages | I am an Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics and a co-advisor for UW's chapter of Engineers Without Borders where I help with their service trips to Latin America. To me, social justice is a framework for conceptualizing our collective responsibility in creating opportunities for all members of our human family to thrive. I believe in examining and questioning the structures and systems in place in our world in order to identify groups of people that are systematically dismissed or silenced, and then actively engaging in projects that dismantle oppressive systems and that open the doors for alternative narratives and perspectives. In my research, I study language variation and linguistic diversity and explore how language can be used as a tool of oppression in macro-structures such as labor systems and educational institutions when we value certain ways of speaking over others. In my teaching, I invite my students to think critically about the attitudes we all hold regarding who speaks 'correctly' (and who doesn't), where those attitudes may come from, what real-life consequences await speakers of non-standard varieties (such as denial of educational, labor, housing, or civic opportunities), and what steps we can take in the future to promote multilingualism and multiculturalism in our pursuit of a more just society.

Erin Irick

Dr. Erin Irick, Advisory Board

Affiliation: College of Agriculture & Natural Resources | Social Justice is a primary focus in my personal life as well as professionally. This is why I wanted to join the SJRC advisory board. In my career, I educate and encourage consumers and companies in the apparel and textile industries to make more socially responsible decisions. This includes advocating for fair-trade policies, ethically-produced products and environmentally-sustainable methods, which I believe all fall under the larger umbrella of social justice.

Alec Muthig

Alec Muthig, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Information Technology | Social justice, at its very foundation, is a movement toward equitable human flourishing, and is concerned with the elimination of unjustified obstacles to flourishing faced by many members of society. Being associated with the Social Justice Research Center gives me a chance to support academic inquiry and educational programs that explore the qualities of a just society, identify factors that perpetuate unjustified inequalities, encourage persons to work toward a fair treatment of the various members of society, and ultimately remove obstacles to human flourishing.

Christine Porter

Dr. Christine Porter, Advisory Board

Affiliation: College of Health Sciences | Democracy theorist Iris Marion Young notes that “the concepts of domination and oppression, rather than the concept of distribution, should be the starting point for a conception of social justice” (in Justice & the Politics of Difference, p16). Social justice work, then, means working to end the ways our society systematically works against some groups of people according to classifications our society creates and marks as different. As “other.” As “them” and not “us.” The philosopher-activist Cornel West tells us how to do that work when he says that “justice is what love looks like in public” (fabulously on the Colbert Report, 1/18/11). Oppression stems from fear and the hate that grows from fear. Justice (and personal joy) grows when we muster the courage to face our fears (which often manifest as feeling anger, guilt or defensiveness) and to act, instead, out of love. Social justice work gives meaning and purpose to my life. It is my life’s work. Thus, I am grateful that UW has the SJRC to provide a “home” for collaborating on that work within our University.

Reed Scull

Dr. Reed Scull, Advisory Board

Affiliation: College of Education | Social justice is a larger, community-scale state of being, it is a cause, and it is a value. Fair treatment, care for the welfare of others, respect for differences, harmonious relations with neighbors, and the sharing of resources all are ideas consistent with social justices concepts. The opportunity to contribute to these ideas at the university level is why I have joined the Social Justice Research Center advisory board.

Samantha Peter

Samantha Peter, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Libraries Education and Resource Services | Information privilege is something many people in the world struggle with. Whether they do not have internet at home or access to a computer, many do not have equitable and easy access to information. As a librarian, we work to promote social justice through the equal access of information. In my research, I work to promote accessibility within libraries, museums, and archives for people with all types of disabilities, through accessible instruction and resources. I joined the SRJC Advisory board in order to continue to support social justice research on campus through the many different resources we provide at UW Libraries.

Valerie Thompson-Ebanks

Valerie Thompson-Ebanks, Advisory Board

Affiliation: Division of Social Work | Social justice has always been an important value to me and a foundation for my career aspirations. For me, social justice means action- actions in our daily lives and livelihood that demonstrate that each person has inherent value, dignity and worth; actions that take sincere efforts to ensure authentic participation of diverse groups in decision making, to promote equal rights and increased access to equitable allocation of resources/opportunities, regardless of each person’s background; and, actions that disrupt societal/systemic injustices, which involves removing barriers that impede inclusion and establishing a culture where all human rights are promoted and protected. To that end, I was pleased to join the SJRC Advisory Board with its emphasis on inclusivity, and the furtherance of social justice and social change.

Contact Us

Social Justice Research Center

314 UW Beta House

1731 Fraternity Row

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3422


SJRC logo
Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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