Students of Color Alliance (SOCA)

Our Mission

The mission of the Students of Color Alliance (SOCA) is to:

  1. Promote solidarity and fellowship by providing a safe, welcoming, and supportive space for the BIPOC community at GSPIA.
  2. Strengthen community and influence change by working with leadership to address concerns related to diversity, social justice, equity, and inclusiveness.
  3. Provide a safe environment to engage with our allies in honest dialogue about the daily challenges faced by BIPOC students in academic and professional settings.
Our Vision

The vision of SOCA is to create a decolonized school environment where all students feel respected, heard, and supported in school curriculum and programming.

Collaboration
Collaboration

We seek to collaborate with Pitt student organizations, GSPIA staff, faculty, and school leadership to create programming that includes speakers, workshops, and events that helps enrich the campus by fostering multicultural perspectives.

Students sitting on sidewalk
Community

Our goal is to create a space where all GSPIA students of color are able to come together to support one another, have a sense of belonging and be their most authentic self.

Student on computer
Impact

We work to achieve measurable, and sustained impact in GSPIA school policy ensuring that BIPOC voices are amplified throughout the school system.

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Community Building

SOCA received the inaugural Inclusion Award for Community Building from the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). This inaugural award celebrates programs and efforts that deepen a sense of connection within the community, particularly those that bridged different groups.

Meet SOCA

Founding Executive Members – Caelan Hidalgo Schick (MPIA); Adriana Bowman (MPA);  Rhea Henry (MPA); I Younan An (MID); and Yeraldyn Pacheco (MPIA).

Current Student of Color Alliance's Executive Leadership Board:

  • Tasha Mwanakalando
  • Anisha Mallik
  • Sarah Lamour
  • Evelyn Zamora-Vargas

Meet the Student of Color Alliance's Executive Leadership Board

Tasha Mwanakalando
Tasha Mwanakalando (she/her/hers) is pursuing a Master of Public and International Affairs with a major in Human Security. Her hobbies include singing, trying new vegan/vegetarian recipes, traveling and hiking. She joined SOCA because she truly values community and having people who share the same experiences as you. She wants SOCA to be a safe space for BIPOC students to be their full selves and be encouraged and supported through navigating not just grad school but everyday life.
Anisha Mallik

Anisha Mallik is a joint-degree student pursuing a Master of International Development and a Master of Public Health, majoring in Human Security and Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, respectively. Anisha’s passion is in sanitation and waste management, and she hopes to be part of the efforts to secure access to safe sanitation for all people. Anisha joined SOCA to find a community of BIPOC students who shared similar experiences. She envisions SOCA to continue being a force for good at GSPIA, holding space for BIPOC students and being a useful resource for all.

Sarah Lamour

Sarah Lamour is pursuing a Master of Public and International Affairs with a major in Human Security. Her hobbies include cooking, painting, thrifting, and foreign language learning. She speaks French and Haitian Creole and is currently learning Amharic independently with the hopes of becoming a polyglot. Sarah joined SOCA because she wants to be a part of the active and continuous change toward a more inclusive environment at GSPIA. She hopes that the creation of safe spaces along with collaborative efforts with GSPIA administration and a more inclusive curriculum will have an invaluable impact on the experiences of BIPOC students and allies.

Evelyn Zamora-Vargas

Evelyn Zamora-Vargas: The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Evelyn Zamora-Vargas was born in Antwerp, Belgium, and raised in Miami, Florida. She is a MPIA candidate pursuing a major in Security and Intelligence Studies. She completed a dual degree in Psychology and Philosophy at Pitt alongside certificates in Transatlantic Studies and West European Studies. Evelyn is proud of her Cuban heritage and in her free time enjoys salsa dancing and playing dominos. She joined SOCA because she wants to help make GSPIA a more welcoming and inclusive plan for BIPOC folk. She believes that by fostering understanding through education and exposure, our community can thrive and embrace diversity.

Connect with Us

Email: gspia.soca@gmail.com
Instagram: @soca_gspia
Facebook: SOCA: GSPIA Students of Color Alliance
Text or call SOCA Secretary Natividad Zavala: 971-599-9238