The Organizing Committee

Melvin L Oliver

Melvin L. Oliver is the sixth president of Pitzer College, an award-winning professor, author and a noted expert on racial and urban inequality.

Oliver co-authored Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality with Thomas M. Shapiro, which won the Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award from the American Sociological Association, the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the award for the outstanding book on the subject of human rights from the Gustavus Myers Center for its groundbreaking exploration of race and equality when it was first released in 1995. He is the co-editor of four books, including Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles, and the author of numerous special journal issues and more than 50 scholarly publications.

Adrian D. Pantoja is a Professor in Political Studies and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College and currently an Associate Dean of Faculty in the Office of the Dean of Faculty. Prior to his appointment at Pitzer College, Pantoja was a professor at Arizona State University and the University of Connecticut. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the Claremont Graduate University in 2001.

His research has appeared in numerous books and academic journals including Political Research Quarterly, Political Behavior, Social Science Quarterly, American Behavioral Scientist, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Religion and Society, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Journal of International Migration.

Barbara Junisbai, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies, teaches interdisciplinary courses in organizational theory, organizational culture and politics, and institutional dynamics and change.  Her research on post-Soviet politics and society has appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Problems of Postcommunism, Post-Soviet Soviet Affairs, and Europe-Asia Studies, among others.  Prior to joining the Pitzer faculty in 2016, she taught political science at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan (2014-16) and served as Assistant Dean of Faculty at Pitzer (2011-2014).  

Jessica M. Kizer is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College and an affiliate of the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. Jessica received her B.A. from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her research projects come from her interests in the intersection of race/ethnicity, inequality, and the family. She has published in Social Forces,  American Behavioral Scientist,  The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and Socius. 

Fely Catan is Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures at Pitzer College. She holds a Ph.D. in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies with a concentration in Caribbean Studies from the University of Miami. She holds an M.A in French Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A in Spanish Arts from the University of Texas at Brownsville (today The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). She examines the Black diaspora through the cultural representations of History/Memory and Revolution/History. Fely’s current research focuses on issues of sovereignty and independence in the Caribbean from a transnational and multilingual perspective.

Linda Lam is the Director for the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS). Starting her eighth year at Pitzer College, she continues to support, develop and advocate for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students through educational and community-building programs while providing resources to the Pitzer community. She also supports diversity, inclusion and equity efforts, such as coordinating the mentor program for the FirstGen Program.

Linda graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Psychology and Asian American Studies. After UCLA, she worked in environmental justice and community health non-profit organizations in her hometown of Los Angeles for eight years. Her volunteer experience includes involvement in worker’s rights organizations, high school mentoring programs, equitable community development and community organizing.

Quentin Jenkins, ’23 is a second-year at Pitzer College from Chicago, Illinois majoring in Sociology and Political Science. Aside from being the student representative on the Racial Justice Committee, he was also one of the organizers of the #NobodyFailsAtPitzer initiative that demanded the implementation of the Universal A during Spring 2020 in light of COVID-19. Quentin also holds many leadership titles in clubs at Pitzer such as the First-Generation Club, the Black Student Union, and works as a tour guide and resident assistant.

Quentin has an interest in public policy and education. He is in the process of conducting research with one of his professors on institutional inclusivity. Quentin is an advocate for equal opportunity education and his long-term goal is to eradicate educational inequities and inequalities in low-income communities like his own on the southside of Chicago.