We are grateful to have the support of so many people! Here are a few of the heavy hitters that are behind the scenes.
Founders & Key Decision-Makers
Deon Harrell has an extensive Equity and Inclusion background spanning 12 years. He has served as an American Sign Language Interpreter (EIPA 4.7) as well as an Access and Inclusion Consultant for Instagram (Facebook Inc.). He has worked with several K-12 school districts across north and central Texas to develop and enhance regional day school programs for the Deaf.
Deon studied Economics at Texas Tech University and is currently completing advanced coursework towards an applied science degree in Linguistics with a focus in American Sign Language Interpretation.
Since becoming a member of the West Coast Swing community in 2015, he has been an active competitor, judge, teacher, and community organizer.
Judith Asem has received multiple institutional awards for her diversity, inclusion, and community service work, beginning as early as high school. She received a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University before completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Neurobiology from UC Irvine.
She has served as outreach coordinator for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for underrepresented minority youth for 8 years and has personally mentored young women in STEM in California and Colorado for 6 years. Her passion for mentoring led her to serve as a research advisor for Muslim undergraduates, offering her own lab office as a safe space for prayer when their safety became a concern. She is an expert in learning theory and served as an adjunct professor at several institutions before moving into curriculum and instructional design for healthcare companies.
Judith came upon the Lindy scene in Baltimore, MD, in 2013, but became an active swing dancer after discovering WCS in Irvine, CA, in 2015.
A group of community members, appointed by the Co-Directors and Board members, that serve as a sounding board and set of accountability partners. This group is non-voting.
Thank you to our 2021 Advisors!
Brandi Guild, Markus Smith, Robert Royston, Tren Veal
Board of Directors
Members of the Board are voting members. These positions are temporary, with elections occurring at a cadence that has yet to be determined. The inaugural Board will be appointed by the Co-Directors, with guidance from the Advisory Committee. Once the inaugural Board is formed, future Board member applications will be voted on by current Board members.
Rassamy Mone | Education Lead
Tracy Wang, Ph.D. | Data Science Lead
Tracy has been in the west coast swing community as a dancer, teacher and event organizer for the last 13 years.
She is a founder and co-event director of Wild Wild Westie in Dallas Texas and has founded programs such as the College Swing Scholarship, The Summer Swing Triple Crown and the All-Star Intermediate (AI) Mentorship program.
She has a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and has 15 years of research experience at universities such as WashU in St. Louis, UC Irvine, UT Dallas and UT Austin. Currently, she is a Research Program Manager at Microsoft where she runs human insight/customer experience research in Azure Engineering.
Sam Anspach | Data Science Support
Sam is a passionate problem solver, people person, and learner.
A San Francisco native, he now works for Dropbox, where he empowers the People Team with well crafted analytical deep dives, data infrastructure work, automation, and industry research.
Sam attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where he got a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Multimedia Communication. While in college, he joined the local ballroom club and eventually found the West Coast Swing family. Find him at any one of the Bay Area Westie socials or on the dance floor at some of your favorite conventions.