Meet the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council

Established in 2015, the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council (DDLC) is KU Law’s student committee dedicated to promoting diversity and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the KU Law community. 

The DDLC, composed of 11 students, collaborates with the Dean’s office and the Faculty and Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEI) to provide educational programming and community-building events focused on diversity and inclusion matters. Members of both the DDLC and the DEI committees, in an effort to make our programming and events more tailored to the needs of the student body, welcome and encourage students to contact us with ideas, concerns, or general input. Scroll down to see a listing of the DDLC and DEI members, along with information about their involvement at KU Law and their emails for easy contact.

This year, the DDLC and the DEI are excited to host a new series of brown bag lunches which will be aimed at providing education and training for our entire KU Law community around the issues of diversity and inclusion. Assistant Dean for Academic & Student Affairs Leah Terranova said administration is excited about taking a more proactive role in creating an environment that promotes diversity and fosters inclusion.

“The brown bag lunches are a way of creating space for discussions that, while sometimes difficult, are important for us to have with one another,” Terranova said.

The first of these lunches was held on Sept. 11, and it was focused on creating community standards for communication and interactions during the brown bag discussions. Terranova said the goal of the initial lunch was to establish standards that will both benefit the brown bag lunches as well as help maintain a tolerant and compassionate environment throughout all of Green Hall. 

This semester’s remaining brown bag lunches are scheduled for Wednesday Oct. 9 and Nov. 13 over the lunch hour. Specific details will be posted in Dean Mai’s weekly newsletter closer to those dates. 

The DEI will also be hosting the KU Law Diversity Dash and Welcome BBQ on Sept. 19, with the dash starting at 4:45 p.m. in Room 104 and the BBQ at 5:15 p.m on the Green Hall Patio. This will provide students a fun way to learn about the diversity within Green Hall and connect the student body with KU Law’s diverse student organization leadership. 

Additionally, in an effort to make diversity and inclusion resources at KU more accessible to the student body, the DDLC has created a resource brochure that includes information about offices and organizations on KU’s campus that handle issues of diversity and inclusion. An online version of this brochure is available here. 

The DDLC and DEI committees are excited for the new initiatives being introduced this year, and eager to collaborate with the larger student body to provide truly valuable programming that’s both engaging and effective. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any committee member via their emails below, or to the DDLC as a whole at ddlc@googlegroups.com.


DDLC Committee Members

Malika Baker

Malika Baker

  • Hometown: Lansing, KS
  • Undergrad: University of Kansas
  • Student Org Involvement: Black Law Students Association Vice President, Women in Law
  • Email: m121b002@ku.edu

Michael Bené

Michael Bené

  • Hometown: Prairie Village, KS 
  • Undergrad: University of Kansas (BA, currently enrolled in MA in Economics)
  • Student Org Involvement: Hispanic American Law Student Association, Graduate and International Programs Committee, Vice President of KU Flying Club
  • Email: m488b813@ku.edu



Terra Brockman

Terra Brockman

  • Hometown: Kansas City, KS
  • Undergrad: University of Kansas (Rock Chalk, baby!)
  • Student Org Involvement: Student Bar Association President, Student Ambassador, Mock Trial Counsel, Graduate Student Advisory Board
  • Email: terrabrockman@ku.edu

Claudia Chavarria

Claudia Chavarria

  • Hometown: El Paso, TX
  • Undergrad: University of Texas at El Paso 
  • Student Org Involvement: Hispanic American Law Students Association, International Law Society, First Generation Professionals, Women in Law
  • Email: cichavarria@ku.edu

Denise Dantzler

Denise Dantzler

  • Hometown: Omaha, NE
  • Undergrad: MidAmerica Nazarene University
  • Student Org Involvement: Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy Editor-in-Chief, Lawyering Skills TA, Black Law Students Association
  • Email: denise.dantzler@ku.edu

Aidan Graybill

Aidan Graybill

  • Hometown: Lincoln, NE
  • Undergrad: University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Student Org Involvement: Native American Law Student Association, Women in Law, Mindfulness in Law, American Constitution Society, OUTLaws & Allies, Black Law Students Association
  • Email: aidan.graybill@ku.edu

Delaney Hiegert

Delaney Hiegert

  • Hometown: Topeka, KS
  • Undergrad: Newman University
  • Student Org Involvement: OUTLaws & Allies President, Black Law Students Association 2L representative, ACLU of KU Sergeant-of-Arms
  • Email: delaney.hiegert@ku.edu

Saber Hossinei

Saber Hossinei

  • Hometown: Wichita, KS
  • Undergrad: Wichita State University
  • Student Org Involvement: Midwest Innocence Project Student Organization Co-Founder and President, Asian Law Students Association student representative, First Generation Professionals, Women in Law, Federal Bar Association
  • Email: saber@ku.edu


Joy Merklen

Joy Merklen

  • Hometown: Bali, Indonesia
  • Undergrad: University of California, Berkeley
  • Student Org Involvement: Kansas Law Review Editor-in-Chief, Lawyering Skills TA, Shook Scholar for Civil Procedure, Project for Innocence Student Intern
  • Email: joymerklen@ku.edu

Bria Nelson

Bria Nelson

  • Hometown: Woodstock, IL
  • Undergrad: Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!)
  • Student Org Involvement: Black Law Students Association Treasurer, Student Ambassador, Equal Justice Works student representative, OUTLaws & Allies, Hispanic American Law Students Association, ACLU of KU
  • Email: brianelson@ku.edu

Abe Pfannenstiel

Abe Pfannenstiel

  • Hometown: WaKeeny, KS
  • Undergrad: Fort Hays State University
  • Student Org Involvement: St. Thomas Moore Legal Society, First Generation Professionals, Library Committee, Dole Institute Student Advisory Board
  • Email: abepfannenstiel@ku.edu

DEI Committee Members

Margaret Hair

Margaret Hair

  • Hometown: Greensboro, NC
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Volunteer with the Ballard Center
  • Position at KU Law: Director of External Affairs
  • Email: mhair@ku.edu

Yolanda Huggins

Yolanda Huggins

  • Hometown: Topeka, KS
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Black Law Student Association, Hispanic American Law Student Association, Volunteer with the Girl Scouts
  • Position at KU Law: Faculty Support, Administrative Assistant
  • Email: ylhuggins@ku.edu

Stephen Mazza

Stephen Mazza

  • Hometown: Huntsville, AL
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Dean
  • Courses taught at KU Law: Federal Income Tax, Taxation of Business Enterprises
  • Email: smazza@ku.edu

Jean Phillips

Jean Phillips

  • Hometown: Rapid City, SD
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Faculty Advisor for First Generation Professionals, Chair of Promotion and Tenure, Member of the Campus Equity Implementation Committee, Associate Scout Advisor for all-female Venture Crew
  • Courses taught at KU Law: Criminal Procedure, Criminal Practice in Kansas, Director of Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies
  • Email: phillips@ku.edu

Betsy Six

Betsy Six

  • Hometown: Lawrence, KS
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Director of Academic Resources, Student Scholarship Committee Member, KU Academic Systems Steering Committee Member, Volunteer with Family Promise and LINK (Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen)
  • Courses taught at KU Law: Lawyering Skills I & II, Jurisdiction, Writing for Law Practice
  • Email: bsix@ku.edu


Leah Terranova

Leah Terranova

  • Hometown: New York City, NY
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Faculty Advisor for OUTLaws & Allies, First Generation Professionals, Non-Traditionals in Law and Mindfulness in Law Society; Director of Diversity; KC LEGAL Board Member; KS Task Force for Lawyer Well-Being Member; Inn of Court Diversity Chair; AALS Section on Balance in Legal Education Executive Committee Member; University of Kansas Staff Fellow
  • Position at KU Law: Assistant Dean, Academic and Student Affairs
  • Email: leaht@ku.edu

Kyle Velte

Kyle Velte

  • Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD
  • Campus/Community Involvement: OUTLaws & Allies Faculty Advisor, Committee Member of the KU Law Judicial Clerkship Committee, Appointments Committee, Faculty & Staff Council on Sexuality & Gender Diversity, AALS Section on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Executive Committee Member, Member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, Colorado LGBT Bar Association, National LGBT Bar Association, Central States Law School Association Board of Directors
  • Courses taught at KU Law: Evidence, Torts, Employment Discrimination
  • Email: kvelte@ku.edu

Shawn Watts

Shawn Watts

  • Hometown: Catoosa, OK
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Native American Law Students Association
  • Courses taught at KU Law: Lawyering Skills I & II, Mediation Clinic, Tribal Law Clinic
  • Email: shawn.watts@ku.edu

Lua Yuille

Lua Yuille

  • Hometown: Monrovia, CA
  • Campus/Community Involvement: Volunteer with the Willow Domestic Violence Center, Member of Amnesty International, Association of Political Economy in the Law, LatCrit, ClassCrit, Journal of Law and Political Economy
  • Courses taught at KU Law: Business Organizations, Immigration, Asylum, Property
  • Email: lyuille@ku.edu

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