Alene Moris Women’s Center

Dr. Sutapa Basu, executive director of the UW Alene Moris Women’s CenterSutapa Basu, PhD (she/her)

Executive Director and Affil. Assistant Professor

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Phone: (206) 685-1090

Devoni Whitehead, MPA (she/they)

Administrator, Program Operations 

Devoni had received her Master’s in Public Administration at the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where she specialized in Social policy, and conducted a capstone evaluation and policy analysis on the Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot in King County. She utilized her time at UW to hold student leadership positions, creating dedicated spaces to enrich the learning experience for students. Before coming to the  UW Women’s Center as the Administrator, Devoni worked in Indigenous data sovereignty, facilitating the access to vital community information to tribes through the use of statistical analysis and community-centered data collection. 


As the child of an immigrant family, Devoni’s passions for social justice and advocacy stemmed from witnessing how rising sea levels, typhoons, and floods devasted her mother’s home country. As a Neurodivergent Black Filipina, Devoni is not only committed to highlighting the voices of all intersecting communities, but curating spaces that empower, uplift, and foster community-centered connections. 


In her free time, Devoni is a visual artist that creates pieces of art that explores topics of environmental racism, social justice, and community care. You can also find Devoni roller skating, cooking with loved ones, and taking care of her guinea pig, Pumpkin. 

Sarah Nguyen (she/they)

Assistant Director of Leadership Program and Advancement 

Sarah Nguyễn (she/they) is a second-generation Vietnamese American, daughter of refugees, and one of four sisters. Prior to joining UW, Sarah has worked in project management, organizing, and instruction roles for private, public, educational, for-profit, and non-profit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Việt Nam. Their professional experience spans across a diversity of sectors, including but not limited to technology start-ups, publishing houses, galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM), higher education, food and agriculture, dance and performance, city planning, and economic development. Sarah applies theory into practice using the intersections of information infrastructures, information disorder, and embodied memories in relation to immigrant community development. Motivated by community-centered and feminist practices of care, she seeks to build and create upon historical cultural legacies to uplift those who have been traditionally marginalized in racialized and gendered projects.In Sarah’s own ancestral practices of talk story, food traditions, and sensorial presence, she “brings forward familial and intergenerational sharing as a means for deconstructing and reimagining power dynamics, which is inspired by the legacies that the Women’s Center has developed as the foundations of the knowledge and wisdom for former, present, and future generations.” Currently, Sarah is working on her PhD at the University of Washington’s Information School investigating the intersection of memory, information disorder, and movement. She received her Master in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington, and has a dual Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Relations from the University of California, Davis. In their free time, Sarah practices movement and dance as means for internal to communal healing and creative placemaking.

Maria Abando (she/her)

Assistant Director of Making Connections Program 

Born and raised in Tacoma, WA, Maria joins Making Connections with a deep passion for youth advocacy and educational justice. She  applies over five years of experience as a community and electoral organizer in various local and national campaigns, political action committees, and nonprofit programs. A common thread throughout her work has been accessibility in education. As Maria states, “Through education, we strengthen our communities’ abilities to explore, collaborate and find solutions to the shared problems of our world. And once we are rooted in knowledge, and we come together across differences with our voices, stories, talents, and resources, we have the collective power needed to build movements that work towards the liberation of oppressed and marginalized peoples everywhere”. Maria knows firsthand that addressing educational disparities with youth and girls of color is a necessary step towards antiracist workplaces and communities. She graduated from the UW in 2017 with a B.S. in Biology, and felt that having support in school was especially essential in environments and classes where very few people came from backgrounds like hers – low-income, first-generation students, and immigrant families. Maria’s involvement in a similar pipeline program as a high schooler helped make her success possible. She found community support while working with the Black Student Union and Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and learned how to utilize her perspective as a Black and Filipina woman in her work after graduating. She has stayed connected to the UW through serving on President Cauce’s Minority Community Advisory Committee. In her free time, Maria is also a visual artist who enjoys balancing her volunteer and community activism with creativity, holistic joy, and lifelong learning.


Safiya Karmy-Jones, PhC (she/her)

Assistant Director of Returning and Non-Traditional Student Program and Special Projects

As assistant director of the Re-Entry/Non-Traditional Student program and special projects, Safiya utilizes her experience in teaching, advising, tutoring, and mentoring non-traditional students of all backgrounds. This experience includes working as an instructor in the University’s Interdisciplinary and Expository Writing Programs, a teaching assistant for the American Ethnic Studies Department, a tutor for the City of Seattle’s Upward Bound program, and a volunteer educator for the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound.

Safiya credits who she is today as well as her academic and professional passions to the communities and people that raised her, most centrally the stories and convictions of her sitty (paternal grandmother), whose teachings were deeply informed by her status as a Palestinian refugee. Safiya is also proud to be the sibling of an autistic self-advocate, her brother, to whose example she owes her identity as a disability studies scholar. Both of these role models impressed upon Safiya the importance of stories, history, and education from a young age.

As Safiya states, “The people I love taught me to be someone who strives for access and equity in my scholarship, professional work, and personal life. In my experience, the Women’s Center is an organization dedicated to and built on these ideals. I am proud to join the Center’s team and to be of service to students, staff, faculty, and community members.”


Picture of Dora. She is in front of a window. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail. She is wearing a hoodie.Dora Reyes Saavedra (she/her)

Making Connections Coordinator

Dora is a Junior at the University of Washington hoping to major in Psychology (B.A.). She is also a graduate of the Making Connections program. In her words, “As an alum of the program, I am thrilled to work with Making Connections students and am grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward.” In addition, Dora loves to read, play soccer, watch Netflix, or work out in her free time. She has a beautiful one-year-old daughter and lives with both her and her husband off-campus. Dora is always busy, so she makes sure to squeeze 10min breathers almost every day! She strongly believes in working hard and taking breaks for self-care from time to time.

Amiria Dunlap (she/her)

Administrative Assistant

Amiria is a Senior at the University of Washington majoring in Public Health and minoring in both Global Health and Diversity Studies. As an Administrative Assistant, Amiria manages the front desk and fulfills daily operations and duties within the Women’s Center. Amiria hopes to pursue graduate school and graduate with a master’s degree in Public Health so she can continue her work on improving the well-being of marginalized communities and helping those in need. In her free time, she loves to spend time with family and friends and also spends most of her time hiking and being outdoors. Amiria says, “As someone who is passionate about community engagement and public health, working at the Women’s Center allows me to fulfill my aspirations and achieve my goal of pursuing graduate school. I also enjoy working at the Women’s Center because of the mission and values it stands for.”


Danielle M. Hickman, MPA (she/her)

Grant Writer

Danielle is an MA student at the University of Washington’s School of Urban Studies in the Community Planning program. She grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and is the first in her family to attend college; she wants to set a good example for her daughter. She received her BA and MPA from Evergreen State College with an emphasis on social equity and a background in sociology. Danielle hopes to build a strong relationship with the University of Washington to obtain her PH.D. Her academic interest included community-based research, urban education, social determinants of health, and planning for equity. Her research has focused on the topics and issues around community engagement, housing, healthcare equity, poverty, education, outdated policy, and policy revision. Danielle wants to be an influential advocate for social justice and change through the lens of equity. Some of her experience in grant writing includes writing a grant for a multilingual computer literacy program and a music program for underserved and marginalized community members in the Seattle area. She hopes to become an expert in community planning and analysis of community policy and believes that with all the uncertainties and ongoing issues, more innovative policies are needed more than ever.


Colleen “Bo” Gair (she/her)

Program Assistant for anti-Human Trafficking

Bo is the new Program Assistant for anti-Human Trafficking. Inspired by the work and mission of the Women’s Center, Bo is excited to start researching and planning for anti-Human Trafficking Conferences and delve into other anti-Human Trafficking projects. She’s hoping to build on her previous experiences as a sexual educator at her college and as a volunteer at Boston-based women’s centers to support and help effect change for women worldwide. Bo is a 1L student at UW Law and hopes to pursue a career in International Public Interest Law. She previously earned a BA in Neuroscience and English at Middlebury College. In her free time, she enjoys trail running, baking, and FaceTiming with her newborn niece!

Aja Knott (she/her)

Administrative Assistant 

Aja (she/her) is a Master of Social Work Student at UW. She grew up in Houston, Texas and is new to the Seattle area. Aja’s career goals include policy advocacy, specifically in the realm of healthcare. In her free time, Aja likes to spend time with her dog, hike, and cook. Aja says, “The Women’s Center makes me feel even more connected to the University of Washington. The mission at the Women’s Center aligns with my personal professional aspirations and I’m grateful to be here.”