Augusta "Gus” Alexander is executive assistant to Van, working in the Dream Corps Office of the President (or, “Team Van”).
Gus graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), with a BA in Community Studies and Politics and a focus in public health. She came to us after working with a health equity research and advocacy group called Human Impact Partners (HIP), in Oakland, focusing on the social determinants of health. There, she developed an interest in research ethics, specifically research for social justice. Learning from the great researchers at HIP and pulling from the structural-level thinking of Community Studies (questions of power and position), Gus devoted her final university work to researching the historical implications – the beautiful and the ugly effects – that outside researchers can have on communities of people that they’re not intimately connected with.
Gus’ experience includes work with the California Rural Legal Assistance in Watsonville; two years as co-chair of an international clean-water organization; and four years as an active member of the UCSC African Student Union, where (as a white woman) her understanding of race and racism in the US was transformed. Gus is one of the three recipients of the 2016 UCSC Herman Blake Award for "outstanding scholarship and deep commitment to service and social justice." She is determined to approach the rest of her work with the same (and even deeper) type of heart, reflexivity, and active listening that got her to this opportune position.