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2023-24 UCRJ Steering Committee

Samantha Auerbach, PhD, WHNP-BC

Sam (she/hers) is a sexual and reproductive health Nurse Practitioner with clinical experience in contraceptive and abortion care. She is currently the ACTIONS postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, where her research focuses on upholding reproductive autonomy by supporting abortion and contraceptive decision-making in the context of increasingly restricted avenues to care, and working to increase the availability of nurses in abortion care. She is committed to championing reproductive justice in our community, and aims to highlight the various ways in which this movement intersects with other movements for justice, including racial justice, environmental justice, immigration justice, and more.

Rev. Sally Fritsche

Associate Minister

Unitarian Church of Urbana-Champaign

Rev. Sally Fritsche is a Unitarian Universalist minister, ordained in June 2020, and serving a congregation in Urbana, IL. Her faith calls her to honor the dignity and autonomy of all people, which means fighting for universal access to birth control, comprehensive sex education, and abortion care. She is grateful to be surrounded by other community leaders and people of faith in this vital effort to defend reproductive justice in all its forms.

Nicole Frydman

Director of Operations

Uniting Pride

Nicole Frydman (she/they) started her activism journey at a young age, going with Mom to picket lines, rallies, and protests, and to knock doors for worthy candidates. Inspired by those experiences, they started a group at her junior high school called "Kids Who Care" and hasn't stopped this kind of work since. Nicole firmly believes bodily autonomy should be sacrosanct. They also know that Reproductive Justice is interwoven and intersectional. It cannot and should not be separated from the ongoing work all marginalized communities are doing in the fight for freedom and equality. Stripping these rights away is just one more tool to keep power concentrated in one place with one group, and Nicole will do everything in her power to fight that. They're grateful to be invited to do this work with this program and with these incredible people.

Tuyet Mai Hoang

Assistant Professor

School of Social Work

Dr. Tuyet Mai Hoang’s research focuses on the intersection between perinatal mental health and the navigation of reproductive and contraception services using community-engaged and patient-centered approaches. Her research agenda aims to increase culturally sensitive services and reduce racial mistreatment for People of Color in seeking reproductive services. As a Woman of Color, mother, and first-generation student, Dr. Hoang’s overarching research goal is to address systematic health disparities by improving delivery of and access to culturally responsive reproductive and contraception services for People of Color.

Jeannie Ludlow

Professor

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Jeannie Ludlow, Ph.D., is Professor of English and director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Eastern Illinois University where she teaches feminist and queer theories, reproductive justice, and American literatures by women and BIPOC authors. In gratitude to everyone who helped her have a positive, healing, and legal abortion experience, Jeannie has worked as an abortion patient advocate and peer counselor at multiple clinics since 1996. Jeannie’s scholarship applies what she’s learned in clinics to literary, artistic, and popular culture expressions of abortion and abortion stigmatization. She is also on the Board of the Abortion Conversation Projects, a national organization that promotes and supports open, honest, and sometimes difficult conversations about abortion and reproductive justice.

Stacey McKeever

Regional Dir. of Operations

Planned Parenthood of Illinois

Stacey McKeever (she/her) is Regional Director of Clinical Operations at Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL), where she directs PPIL's central and southern Illinois health centers, as well as its telehealth program.  Stacey has over two decades of experience in non-profit program management, with a strong background in the healthcare and higher education sectors.  

Apporva Nag

Graduate student in Social Work

Apoorva Nag (she/her) is pursuing her PhD in Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on improving how survivors of gender-based violence seek help from various formal and informal response systems, through a reproductive justice framework. Through her work, she aims to support the community of Urbana-Champaign to develop coordinated and integrated survivor-centered response systems that can address their intersectional needs.

Isis Rose

Co-Founder/Exec. Director

BIPOC for Better Birth

Isis (she/her) is a student midwife, doula, lactation counselor, and anthropologist. After researching birth justice in graduate school and planning home births, Isis became a passionate supporter of midwifery and out-of-hospital-birth. She currently studies at Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery with plans to become a licensed, certified professional midwife.

Cache Merriweather

2024-2025 Intern

Clinical/Community Psychology &

Social Work

Cache (she/her) is a senior majoring in Clinical/Community Psychology with a minor in Social Work. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a PhD in either Counseling or Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include mental health disparities amongst LGBTQ+ BIPOC students in higher education with an emphasis on intersectionality and the multiple minority stress model. She hopes to develop interventions/implementation strategies to better aid students of color in response to their unique mental health experiences within college clinical settings. Through working with UCRJ, Cache hopes to educate her peers, advocate for reproductive justice rights, and be part of a larger conversation about the adverse effects of the absence of accessible and comprehensive reproductive health and education.

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