Meet our WashU IT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee members.

Paige Dunk

Paige Dunk

Hi! My name is Paige Dunk, and no one place has ever really been my hometown, since I’ve lived in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and now here in Missouri. While the moves brought their challenges, they also gave me incredible experiences and the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people from various backgrounds and cultures. In fact, I might say that observing these vast cultures and diverse peoples and how they interacted was probably the starting point of my interest in diversity and inclusion.

Professionally and educationally speaking, I received my Bachelors of Communications from UMSL (along with a certifications in advertising, marketing, and public relations), and have worked jobs ranging from journalism, event planning, and emergency preparedness and crisis management before finding my way to WashU IT as a Communications Specialist. I’ve had a blast working here at WashU as there are always new challenges to solve and fun, talented people to work with.

When I’m not at work, you can find me playing video games with my wonderful fiancé, spoiling my adorable cat, exploring the outdoors, writing creative stories, cooking something new and challenging, or volunteering within the community!

Jill Fechtman

Jill Fechtman

“In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” – Audre Lorde

“People have the right to call themselves whatever they like. That doesn’t bother me. It’s other people doing the calling that bothers me.” – Octavia E. Butler

These quotes, from two amazing women, illustrate why DEI is important to Jill and why Jill joined the WashU IT DEI Committee. For as long as she can remember, even as a small child growing up in Indiana, Jill has been aware of the problematic ways in which social constructs (things like gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, class, religion, and masculinity) have served to disenfranchise certain members of our society and allowed others to attain unearned and undeserved social status and privilege. 

While not perfect, Jill strives to listen, to be open to learning new things and to be curious, compassionate, and thoughtful. 

Jill has been at Washington University in various capacities over the years and landed in WashU IT in April 2020. 

Dragana Mijajlovic

Originally from Serbia, Dragana came to the United States approximately 21 years ago. Coming from a different culture and with English not being her first language Dragana experienced a lot of challenges but in spite to these disadvantages Dragana excelled in school. She attended the St. Louis University where she earned her Bachelor degree and the Webster University where she earned her Master’s. During that time Dragana met her husband and decided to stay in the US.

Working in different organizations and facing the barriers due to the unique background made Dragana think about what is the value of diversity and what are the ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion throughout organizations and specifically work teams to integrate the knowledge, perspectives and unique background of every member to make the organization more successful.

Theophilus Murphy

Theo Murphy

Pronounced THEE-ah-fill-US, born and raised in St. Louis, MO. I hold a degree in I.T.S.M. (I.T. Service Management) I am a coach (Football and Baseball), Community Outreach Coordinator (church) and Strength & Conditioning Trainer for several local high school Athletes. I enjoy to make new connections and have been known by my family to “NOT KNOW A STRANGER”.

I’ve been with WashU for 3 years and am determined to stick around as long as possible. DE&I has become a passion for me, after lifelong exposure from family and other mentors, which highlighted various levels of socio-economic and civil injustice that plague every part of our nation…and even world. I’m a firm believer in ideas such as “Love Conquers All” and strength in numbers.

I don’t believe that this is a fight ANY of us can afford to avoid, so it’s MY hope, that we can help people identify THEIR strength in assisting eradicating injustice.

Personal Motto: Love me enough to hurt my feelings w/ correction, don’t LIKE me enough to let me be wrong.

Regina Sykes

Regina Sykes

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, she is married, has 6 adult children (4 sons and 2 daughters (one of which she tragically lost in 2016)), 6 grandchildren (all boys) and fully enjoys being a grandmother. Regina is the founder and president of Monica’s Voice, a non-profit 503c organization assisting families with missing loved ones, which was created in memory of her daughter Monica. Regina loves keeping active by dancing, exercising and occasionally going for ride on her Harley Sportser!

Regina’s background is in the Information Technology field where she has spent 30+ years as a Business Analyst and managing teams of Business Analysts, Technical Trainers, Technical Writers, Communications Specialist, Process Improvement Analysts and Customer Service Representatives. Regina spent 20+ years in corporate America working in the information technology field for companies such as Wells Fargo and Spectrum (Charter Communications). In 2013 she entered into the new world of higher education.

Regina’s motto is “meet people where they are” and by doing this you will treat people how they want to be treated and not how you want to treat them.

Julie Szaj

Julie Szaj

Originally from Wisconsin, Julie moved to Missouri in 1987. She is married, has 2 adult children, and loves living in an “empty nest.” Julie is an avid gardener, photographer, and loves to travel and meet people from all over the world.

Julie’s background is in education/instructional design. She was a classroom teacher for 10 years then worked for Mizzou for 15 years as an instructional designer. She was hired at WashU as a Performance Support Analyst in 2016.

Julie’s motto is “better together” and firmly believes that we can accomplish great things if we listen to each with open ears and hearts, and approach life with empathy and kindness.

Monique Tumbleson

Monique Tumbleson

Monique Antoinette (she/they) was born in Coral Springs, Florida. Adventurous by nature, she has lived in Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana, and now Illinois. Raised as a latchkey kid in a single parent household in rural Michigan, Monique developed interest in their hobbies at a young age to keep herself and her siblings entertained through the evenings. She enjoys painting, drawing, reading, knitting & crocheting, weaving, gardening, caring for her collection of 100+ houseplants, enjoying her vinyl collection, and riding her 1986 Nishiki Modulus around her neighborhood. Monique and her partner spend a majority of their time gardening and renovating/remodeling their 1929 craftsman home they purchased in July 2019 as first time homeowners. They share their home with three very spoiled, and much loved, rescued fur babies- Stellaluna (an all-black Chihuahua & Pomeranian mix), Binx (a tuxedo DSH cat), and Lavender (an all gray DSH cat). 

Her interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion started at a young age due to the experiences she lived as a child. They are a firm believer that the personal is political. She received her high school diploma while homeless, was a graduate from the TRIO Upward Bound Program where she studied at UIC, and she also dual enrolled in writing and drawing courses at Grand Rapids Community College while in high school at Godwin Heights. They earned their college degree (with the aid of many scholarships and Pell grants) from Grand Valley State University in 2013; a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Community Development & Planning, and Women & Gender Studies. She has a personal connection to the following social justice causes: LGBTQIA oppression, sexuality & gender issues, child welfare, family privilege/familial inequality, prison reform, mental health equity & recovery, poverty and economic justice, and systemic racism.

Shahira Wallace

Shahira Wallace

Hi! My name is Shahira (Sha-high-ra) and I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. My family is originally from St. Louis, so I would visit frequently growing up. As a young girl, I was only exposed to one area in St. Louis and I remember how different I thought it was from Des Moines. My sister and I use to play a game by counting how many black people we saw in Des Moines while we were out. When visiting St. Louis, we would count how many white people we saw. It wasn’t until I was in high school and able to drive when I realized St. Louis was much bigger than the area I was exposed to as a young girl. After becoming a little more familiar with St. Louis, the opportunities, and the increase in diversity it had to offer than what I was use to in Des Moines, I decided to move to St. Louis after graduating college. Throughout all my experiences in life thus far, I have learned how much a person’s upbringing can dictate their outlook on the world and other people. This is why I believe it is important to explore and practice seeing things from a different view as you maneuver through life.

Adam Wylie

Adam grew up in the St. Louis area, living in several locations across town. He has a degree from Webster University and has worked at Washington University for over five years. His professional background includes concert sound and lighting, corporate audio visuals, training and media production.

Adam strives to only measure individuals by their actions and to first assume good intent.