Q Center

Jen, Director

Jen's secret identity is that of renaissance queer with a kick-ass jump shot. A therapist and anti-oppression educator since 1996, Jen re-invented her queer activism through scholarship, program leadership, and teaching at the University of Washington, completing an MSW and a Ph.D. in social welfare. Jen believes that Audre Lorde, Cornell west, Martin Luther King jr., Andrea Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, Cathy Cohen, Ramona Beltran, and John Denver (yes seriously) knew/know that social and economic justice was/is rooted in resistance of domination and a love ethic.

Jen, moment to moment, works to align her life with those principles and grounds the Q-Center in a similar praxis. Jen has an active mind and aspires to visionary thinking, so she easily loses herself in big thoughts and feelings; she thinks that we should all look at pictures of space more often to contextualize our existence. Jen believes that love and light are not only the center of the universe but also the core concepts of socio-political justice, not to mention a winning combination for the Q-Center.

For Self's scholarly work see: Queering Queer Space. Self is affiliate faculty at the UW School of Social Work and affiliate faculty for the sexuality and queer studies graduate certificate program.

Jaimée, Associate Director

Jaimée (pronouns: she/her/hers & they/them/theirs) is an activist, an educator, and a scholar, and has used these talents to organize with queer people of color, youth, and first-generation college students for 15 years.  Jaimée earned a Masters in Social Work and specializes in community development, social policy, and program evaluation.

For the past six years, Jaimée has worked in student affairs and is honored to return to the Q Center - her home during undergrad - where she currently serves as the Associate Director. Jaimée gets excited about cultivating a space for people to be their full selves and building meaningful partnerships.  Outside of work, Jaimée loves to travel and is an aspiring chef.

Lev, Advisor

Lev (they/she) has a masters in social work from UW (’13) and is forever a student of life. Lev believes in harm reduction, self-determination, and magic.  Lev swims in Lake Washington year round and works in the community with Resource Generation, Jewish Voice for Peace Seattle, and QuAIA Seattle.

Max

Max (all pronouns) is Lev’s companion and is always searching for new friends and new snacks.  Max works at the Q Center Tuesdays 2pm-4pm and is also available by appointment.  Contact Lev at zohlev@uw.edu to schedule a time to take Max out for a walk or game of fetch, with or without Lev!

Juan, Graduate Assistant

Juan Franco (they/them), born in Bogotá, Colombia, is a visual and performance artist, community organizer, and arts educator.

My role as Graduate Assistant centers the role of arts and culture within the mission of the Q Center. I am aiming to facilitate community building and healing through meaningful and regular experiences with artists and cultural workers, especially within the QTPOC community in Seattle. I will combine my knowledge and experience of organizing within Seattle arts and culture with my graduate studies in contemporary art and curatorial practices. I center equity, justice, and liberation in my approach to this work.

Franco works in a multidisciplinary practice combining photography, performance, and collage to create works that investigate representations of intimacy, the queer body, and built environments. They are dedicated to creating and nourishing cultural practices through the lens of social justice, equity, and liberation politics. They are focused on dismantling institutional processes in Contemporary Art that perpetuate white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism.

Laura, Web Developer

Laura (she/her) is a graduate student in UX Design & Research at the University of Washington. She has worked in various creative fields varying from strategic public affairs campaigns to doing curatorial work at art museums.

Her main research focuses are inclusive and accessible design, and corporate social responsibility. Laura believes that inclusive design is a social justice issue and she aspires to create beautiful, functional products and software systems that meet the needs of as many people as possible.

She was born and raised in Brazil and enjoys playing board games, surfing, climbing, and competitive swimming.

CJ, Programs Coordinator

CJ (he/him) was born and raised in the small town of Westerly, Rhode Island where he moved just 30 minutes away to attend the University of Rhode Island to get an undergraduate degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. After several years of doing community-based service with AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, CJ has returned to the United States at the University of Washington to pursue a master’s degree in Leadership in Higher Education.

CJ is interested in the student success and completion of marginalized and underrepresented identity groups and he has been working in education and outreach for the past five years.

He plays on the Seattle Gay Inclusive Rugby team Quake and enjoys playing all forms of games, athletic and virtual. He will gladly talk to you on hours about any video game or cartoon.

Reece, Outreach Coordinator

Patrice (Reece) Ford  (she/they) received her B.A. in Religious Studies focusing on the effects that Religion has within societies, law, culture, mental health, and the world. Reece is now a Master of Social Work student at UW with a focus in Mental Health.

Reece has served as a Co-Mentor helping LGBTQ+ youth transitioning out of the foster care system and has served as a music minister. Before Reece moved to Washington state for school, they were a cook at the Three Broomsticks in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter within Universal Studios Hollywood - they are a huge Potter fan. Reece recently received their Zumba certification and looks forward to having a donation based Zumba class. Reece loves to sing, make people smile, dance, cook, and creating spaces for connection and community.

Valerie, Education Coordinator

Valerie Schweigert (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Washington. She received her M.Ed. in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington as well and holds a B.A. in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from Wells College.

Her research interests include investigating students of color identity construction and development—specifically for mixed identified, transnational students of color— and how that impacts their cultivation of community, sense of ‘belonging’, and navigation of their undergraduate experience at PWIs. She has extensive undergraduate and concurrent experience with youth empowerment, social justice advocacy, and anti-racism/anti-colonial/anti-oppression work along with facilitation of peer-to-peer mentorship programs.

As a queer mixed Filipina American and scholar, she seeks to center marginal and underrepresented identities through transformative praxis and best serve students by addressing their needs with intersectional approaches.

Eli, Graphic Designer

Eli is a third year Design major at UW from Wenatchee, WA. He may have been born an hour and a half after his twin sister, but he's never slow to show off his creativity and artful eye with the amazing graphics, flyers, and posters he creates for the Q Center. In his free time, he enjoys photography, drawing, and running (away from people who pronounce gif as "jif").

Jenesis, QPOC Advocate

Jenesis Garcia is a 4th year Major in American Ethnic Studies with a Minor in Gender Women and Sexuality Studies. She is passionate about mental health issues. And believes in the strong power that love has in transforming a person. Self-healing, self-loving, and self-caring is her favorite rhythm of life. She is also the creator of Viva La Healing Conference.
In her free time, she loves to just be. Also, she loves to create a home, design, nurture, give, collage, take pictures, dress fashionably, breath, dance, write, talk to trees, plants, take baths and cook. Self-pleasure can look a great many ways.

Layyan, Social Media & Web Programmer

Layyan (they/them/she/her/Layyan/ليان) is a West Asian (Middle Eastern) queer artist & transnational feminist. Layyan is interested in theory, fashion, and community building through an anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist framework. With relationality and radical empathy as their form of decolonial praxis, Layyan is ready to greet, get to know you, and cry with you know you at the Q-Center.