Alumnae

JDEI Alum Advisory Board

Message from the Chair

Greetings alums!

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Helena Garcίa ’12 (she/hers) and I am lucky enough to be serving as Chair of the new Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (JDEI) Alum Advisory Board this year. 

In 2020, we witnessed our country and our world reckon with issues long-standing within our social fabric: racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, classism etc. It was in that spirit of justice that I reached out to Mayfield after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police. My initial goals were to be heard and to help enact change for my alma mater as I shared the reality of my past experiences with racism during my time as a Mayfield student. When I was given the opportunity to meet with school leadership and administrators it was clear to me that this was a much overdue time for more alums to share their voices and demand change. I reached out to former classmates and peers and received an overwhelming response. Our group of alums continued to engage in these discussions throughout the summer of 2020. Our discussions expanded further after meeting with students and hearing the accounts shared on Dear Mayfield, which evidenced that much of the culture of silence regarding issues of racism and discrimination continue to affect current students at Mayfield. In September, the JDEI Alum Advisory Board was formally introduced.

Our mission as an Advisory Board is to aid Mayfield in its ongoing journey of inclusivity and anti-racism. We support Mayfield leadership, administration, students, and alumni in their efforts to recognize and dismantle systemic oppressions which stand as barriers to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. In collaboration with the school’s leadership and administration, our Advisory Board holds Mayfield accountable for embodying the school’s motto of “Actions Not Words” by embracing continuous learning and growth while amplifying and uplifting Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and other marginalized voices.

Since September, we have held two quarterly meetings and formed our Curriculum, Admissions, Faculty Professional Development, and Student Life subcommittees to continue the work of of creating an inclusive, anti-racist, and just environment at Mayfield.

As an Advisory Board, we recognize how privileged we are to have attended Mayfield. We feel called to action and call on other alums now to use our voices and privilege to help Mayfield grow. As alums, we want to see Mayfield meet the wants of the age and show up for its BIPOC students, LGBTQ+ students, and students with intersecting identities.

Helena Garcίa ’12
Chair, JDEI Alum Advisory Board

— Helena Garcia ’12

The most important thing Mayfield helped me develop was my voice. Now, I feel that it is my duty and my privilege to use that voice to help Mayfield grow. As an alum, it would be a disservice for me to allow Mayfield to continue being less than the very best it could be for its BIPOC students, LGBT students, and students with intersecting identities that are potentially being harmed while at school. This is my way of making sure I am using my words to create action.

Meet the Executive Board

List of 3 items.

  • Helena Garcia ’12 (she/hers)

    CHAIR
    Helena Garcίa is a Latina woman and first-generation American. After graduating from Mayfield, she went on to the University of San Francisco, where she obtained a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Criminal Justice Studies. From there, she attended Pepperdine University for graduate school to obtain her M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. Currently, she is a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist working in a community mental health setting at a non-profit agency in the San Fernando Valley. 
    Read More
  • Abeni Carr ’02 (she/hers)

    Vice Chair
    Abeni Carr began her journey as an activist for homeless youth in high schools throughout Los Angeles and Compton. As an educator, fundraiser, and college counselor, she has spent years working with unaccompanied youth and students experiencing homelessness in order to ensure that they applied and were admitted to college, received access to academic and financial aid, and began their post-secondary endeavors with the skills and supplies they needed for a successful college experience.
    Read More
  • Christine Bustillos ’13 (she/hers)

    Secretary
    Christine Bustillos is a biracial woman with deep roots in the Los Angeles area. After graduation from Mayfield, she attended Loyola Marymount University and earned her B.A. in Urban Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies. She currently works as an urban planner in the city of Los Angeles.  As a planner, she aims to use urban planning as a tool to create more just and livable neighborhoods for communities of color. As the Secretary of the JDEI Alum Advisory Board, she hopes to be part of a collaborative process to make Mayfield a more equitable and inclusive community for all students.

Meet the Subcommittee Chairs

List of 4 items.

  • Michelle Hansen DeBoever ’07 (she/hers)

    Faculty Professional Development Subcommittee Chair
    Michelle has a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College and a M.S from UCSD in Chemistry. She currently owns her own home organization business in San Diego. Michelle previously worked as the Director of Education, Outreach and Diversity for a research center at Caltech. During that time, she also mentored teams of Mayfield students on a solar energy research project. Her experiences at Mayfield, as both a student and mentor (and daughter and granddaughter of Mayfield alums), have shown her that this is a special place where students are supported to learn and grow into the best they can be. Inspirational Mayfield teachers like Ms. Tighe, Dr. B, and Ms. Vaaz had a huge impact on the person Michelle has become. She is now reciprocating by helping the current Mayfield faculty to be the best educators that they can be. 
  • Angie Kim ’10 (she/hers) 

    Curriculum Subcommittee Chair
    Angie currently serves as Associate Director for Inclusive Engagement and Student Life at NYU Silver School of Social Work. Prior to Silver, Angie worked in Residential Life and Housing Services at NYU. Having a JDEI lens towards curriculum is crucial as the classroom is where students spend most of their time. We aim to empower voices and narratives of communities of color in all classes.
  • Danielle Rutledge ’14 (she/hers)

    Student Life Subcommittee Chair
    Danielle is the JDEI Alumni Board’s Student Life Subcommittee chair and is currently in the midst of applying to medical schools and works as an AmeriCorps VISTA at an organization called Up2Us Sports in Los Angeles. She continues her work with her subcommittee to ensure that students at Mayfield continuously feel welcome and that they have a safe space to belong.
  • Cassandra Feliciano Wilkins ’07 (she/hers)

    Admissions Subcommittee Chair
    After graduating from Mayfield in 2007, Cassandra attended Stanford University and has since officially called the Bay Area home. As a Creative Writing Conservatory alum, studying print journalism in college was a no-brainer for Cassandra. However, after a while, it was no longer enough to just write about everyday injustices; Cassandra wanted to take an active role in creating change. To prep for law school, Cassandra continued to work in the legal field, including stints as a contracts negotiator for PG&E and Medallia, Inc., a San Mateo, CA tech company, for almost 10 years after graduating college in 2011. Cassandra is now a second-year law student at Santa Clara University, where she continues to pursue her passion for social justice litigation; she currently serves as an extern for the ACLU of Louisiana's Justice Lab, an intensive legal effort to challenge racist police practices and violence. Ultimately, Cassandra wants to ensure she remembers to also bring this level of change closer to home, like the JDEI Alum Advisory Board at Mayfield.

— JDEI Alum Advisory Board

As we work towards growth and progress, it is important to the Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JDEI) Alum Advisory Board to recognize the history of the founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Cornelia Connelly. It has been acknowledged by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus that Cornelia Connelly and her husband, Pierce Connelly, were owners of enslaved people in the southern United States from 1835 until approximately 1839. While Mayfield was established after this period, we feel this acknowledgment is an important part of Mayfield’s journey of inclusivity and anti-racism. We ask that the Mayfield community reflect on the meaning of this history in the present. Our community must consider the complex historical and moral questions posed as we confront the past injustice and harm of slavery and its enduring impact on the systemic oppressions that we face as a society and school today.

Subcommittee Goals & Initiatives

Faculty Professional Development

Chair: Michelle Hansen DeBoever ’07

What We Loved:

I was pleased to hear that Mayfield now has two faculty members who serve as JDEI Co-Directors. They are invaluable in helping our committee do our work and implement necessary changes. 

Hopes & Dreams:

Our mission is for all faculty to feel empowered to teach anti-racist curriculum and have the capacity to respect and support the uniqueness and dignity of each individual student. We want them to embrace the hard conversations and to always keep learning. Mayfield should be a safe and welcoming home for everyone. 

Actions Not Words:

By the start of the next school year in the fall, we plan to have a new set of professional development requirements and professional growth goals in place. A robust database of PD opportunities will be available to faculty, and all mandatory trainings throughout the 2021-22 school year will be implemented by BIPOC, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or those with other marginalized identities.

The Faculty Professional Development Subcommittee is currently reviewing the existing professional development requirements and offerings, in addition to surveying the faculty to identify areas where they could use more support and training. From the information gathered, we are making recommendations for future programming. This so far includes: 

  • updates to the individual Professional Growth Plans for faculty and staff 
  • new mandatory intensive trainings led by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ educators, both at the start of the school year and on-going through the rest of the year
  • implementation of a Faculty Diversity Task Force
  • updated course evaluations for students to rate JDEI efforts in the classroom
  • a more robust database of available workshops and conferences with feedback from past attendees to share which opportunities were most impactful
  • increased support and incentives for pursuing further education in JDEI topics 
  • and lots more to come. Our committee is also working closely with the Curriculum Subcommittee to offer the necessary resources and support for faculty to effectively teach updated curriculum.

Curriculum

Chair: Angie Kim ’10

What We Loved:

As we started our work, we acknowledge and value the existing efforts to diversify and implement JDEI frameworks in some class curriculums. Our goal as a subcommittee in collaboration with the Co-Directors of JDEI and faculty is to support in expediting the timeline towards implementation

Hopes & Dreams:

Our mission is to embed JDEI curriculum into classes that are required for every Mayfield student such as Math, English, History, Science, Religion, etc.

Actions Not Words:

We are intentionally collaborating with Mayfield faculty and staff, as well as the Faculty Professional Development subcommittee to align curriculum implementation with training and pedagogy. We are working towards establishing relationship with representatives from each academic department to form an ongoing collaborative relationship with our subcommittee.

Student Life

Chair: Danielle Rutledge ’14

What I Loved:

When I joined the Student Life subcommittee and became its chair, I was the most excited about the creation of Affinity Groups. When I was at Mayfield, we didn’t have anything like this so I was excited about helping to support the creation of them. I feel that Affinity Groups are a good way for people with similar identities to connect with each other. I have been excited to collaborate on revamping the Student Helpline to combat harassment, discrimination, and/or bullying

Hopes & Dreams:

The Student Life Subcommittee’s mission is to take actionable steps to ensure that students at Mayfield Senior School have a just, diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment in which to grow and learn. We are also working on helping to create a diversity and inclusion training during student orientation.

Actions not Words:

First and foremost, we want to introduce ourselves to the student body in March so they know that we are here to support them. We will also gather student input for the initiatives we have been working on. Since we are doing this for them, it is important to us that we hear student voices. So far, the subcommittee has made recommendations on what organizations Mayfield can use for the helpline and created a survey that will be sent out to gather students’ input. We have also created a list of recommendations for organizations that can execute a diversity and inclusion training. For Affinity Groups, our first line of action will be to talk to students about their creation and what they would want to experience in the Affinity Groups.

Admissions

Chair: Cassandra Feliciano Wilkins ’07

Why I Joined This Subcommittee:

Admissions is the first impression that any future student gets of Mayfield. And I want to make sure that in that first look, every student can actually see themselves represented among the current student body, the faculty and staff and the day-to-day actions (not just the words) that the Mayfield community takes in regards to diversity and inclusion. I believe in the education I received here and it has been paramount to my success, but I also know that it is not accessible to everyone and I know that this lack of accessibility affects BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students the most: that needs to change.

Hopes & Dreams:

When we first met as a subcommittee, we immediately spotted two crucial gaps: transparency and accountability. Right now, it seems that the structures around the Admissions effort operate in a very siloed way, so that those making the ultimate decisions do so without the optimal level of understanding around the needs of families forced to shoulder the weight of those decisions. Transparency within Mayfield and with applicant families will help dissolve those barriers and ensure that Mayfield stays committed to equal AND equitable access for any student who wants to attend this school. 

Actions Not Words:

We've seen the current numbers on who applies and is admitted to Mayfield, and have thought about the obstacles for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ applicants. Our goal is to hone in on the transparency and ensure that Mayfield is held accountable by: 

  • Meeting with other organizations within Mayfield that are involved in high-level decisions, like the Board of Trustees' Finance Committee; 
  • Presenting recommended action items for Mayfield to grow its network of feeder schools, reach communities outside of Pasadena and provide better access to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ applicants 
  • Work with Mayfield on a concrete game plan with timelines to underline the commitment already voiced by the school

JDEI Alum Advisory Board

EXECUTIVE BOARD

Chair
Helena Garcia ’12
Vice Chair
Abeni Carr ’02
Secretary
Christine Bustillos ’13

SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRS

Faculty Professional Development
Michelle Hansen DeBoever ’07 
Academic Curriculum
Angie Kim ’10
Student Life
Danielle Rutledge ’14 
Admissions
Cassandra Feliciano Wilkins ’07

MEMBERS

Karina Alvarez ’13
Anna Arboles ’13
Alex Arnett ’12
Alexandra Badie ’14
Malissa Balderama ’09
Sabrina Beason ’03
Amber Berrios ’07
Ruby Bugarin ’89
Emma Camp ’12
Jalen Carter ’12
Leah Carter ’08
Vicki Chiang ’96
Katie Clancy ’11
Carolyn Cota ’06
Courtney Chung ’02
Remy De La Peza ’99
Katrina Deloso ’12
Tori Dutcher-Brown ’13
Carmela Feliciano ’12
Carol Flores ’12
Ealoni Friedenthal ’12
Angela Howell ’76
Venezia Hyland ’13
Kimberly West Isaac ’90
Desarae Jones ’04
Daina Petronis Kasputis ’80
Gerianne Sarte Kim ’90
Katy McGee ’09
Lora McManus ’14
Sarah Miller ’12
Amanda Morales ’12
Ashley O'Bryant ’04
Gail O'Rane ’90
Maddie Pena ’15
Indira Persad ’03
Charlotte Reid ’86
Phedellee Reyes ’02
Ivy Robertson ’06
Elizabeth Sanchez ’11
Nicoletta Smith ’06
Yasmin Firouzi Sotomayor ’02
Jamie Engler Stoney ’01
Hanami Sutton ’02
Gabrielle Porter Taylor ’90
Linda Buccola Thompson ’61
Amanda Torrez ’13
Catherine Van Dyke ’12
Tiffany LaJoye Walker ’02
Dominique Porter Wallace ’02
Leah Weidman ’11
Christina Yamasaki ’03
Julie Zovak ’12
Celeste Zumwalt ’11

What We're Reading: Books

What We’re Listening To: Podcasts

Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay
The hosts dissect the biggest topics in Black culture, politics, and sports.

Scene on Radio, Season 2: Seeing White
The podcast dives deeply into issues central to American society. In its second season, the podcast looks at the roots and meaning of white supremacy.

Code Switch (NPR)
Hosts of color tackle the subject of race head-on and examine how they impact every part of society.

Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
This podcast features movement voices, stories, and strategies for racial justice. The hosts give their unique takes on  race and pop culture.

Pod Save the People
The host explores news, culture, social justice, and politics.

Intersectionality Matters!
The host, Kimberlé Crenshaw, is an American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory.

1619 (New York Times)
This podcast explores the history of slavery and its beginning in this country as a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia in August of 1619.

Contact Us

Helena Garcia ‘12

Chair, JDEI Alum Advisory Board
Email

Nicole Cosand Burcham

Director of Alum Engagement
Email
Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 28 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.