Career Staff

   Ahmad Qais Munhazim - Director

     Contact Information: Email - |  Phone: 612-625-8519  |  Office: Appleby Hall 50

  • Pronouns: He/Him/His

The Director provides leadership and oversight for all aspects of the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life operations including hiring, supervising, mentoring and evaluating staff, the strategic direction of programming and educational efforts and all aspects of fiscal management. 


   Melinda Lee - Assistant Director

     Contact Information: Email -  |  Phone: 612-626-8086 |  Office: Appleby Hall 48Black and white headshot of API gender nonconforming person wearing glasses and smiling

  • Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
  • Received their Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota School of Social Work- Twin Cities, & Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Worcester State University
  • Active member of the Trans Advisory & Action Team
  • Queer, non-binary, first-generation Cambodian person born and raised in Long Beach, CA.

The Assistant Director helps educate and provide resources for members of the University community about issues that impact the experience of LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Primary responsibilities focus on providing services and programming for students on LGBTQIA identities including awareness training, educational programming, individual advocacy and event planning. The Assistant Director works closely with the Director in assisting campus units, departments and colleges with education, training, and consultation designed to increase the capacity of those departments to meet the needs of LGBTQIA students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.

  Frankie Jader - Project Coordinator

   Contact Information: Email -  |  Phone: 612-625-0537  |  Office: Appleby Hall 46

  • Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
  • Received her Bachelor's degree in Diversity Education and Identity Studies from Metropolitan State University
  • Boards: Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection &  2016 BECAUSE Conference Co-chair
  • Active in the LGBTQIA Twin Cities Good Times Softball League (TCGSL)
  • Makes jewelry, crafts, and is obsessed with paranormal fiction novels!
The Project Coordinator acts as the first point of contact for the office. In addition, communications, marketing, administrative duties including budget management, space design, and student staff coordination are regular responsibilities. 

Student Staff

  James Schwartz - Outreach Coordinator

  • Pronouns: He/Him/His
  • This is my senior year and fourth year working at the Center! I serve as the Outreach Coordinator here at the GSC, so you may see me around campus (don't be afraid to say hello).  As a part of my duties and responsibilities at the Center, I work with the Sexuality and Gender Ambassadors, and help organize various outreach events. When I'm not working at the Center I am over on the St. Paul campus where I study Forest and Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Parks and Protected Areas Management.  This is a glorified way of saying that I really love the environment and being outside, hiking, visiting parks, biking, hiking, ect.  If you're another STEM queer/trans student, come stop by and chat with me!

  Peiying Shi - International Student Outreach Coordinator

  • Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
  • Hi I am Peiying! I am from China and a current master student at the U. I finished my undergraduate with psychology and sociology here and now major in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology. I am working on International Student Outreach at our center. I am more a home person and enjoy cooking, reading, and watching documentaries about dogs and cats. Occasionally I will hang out to take photos of the city. Love the people here, love the gardens and lakes here, love everything and everyday here, except the half-year long winter.


  Sameera Akella - Assistant Project Coordinator

  • Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
  • My name is Sameera Akella and I'm a junior majoring in Sociology here at the University of Minnesota. This is my third year working as the Assistant Project Coordinator for the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life! My job title is self explanatory, because I assist any sort of event and project planning, as well as any operational work. If I'm not working at the center, I love trying new food with friends, being outdoors, and listening to music. I enjoy getting to know new people, so feel free to stop by and chat with me! 



How do I contact the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life?              

  • Email:
  • Phone:  612-625-0537
  • Main Office: 40 Appleby Hall
  • Additional Offices:  46/48/50/51 Appleby Hall



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