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About The Staff

Craig Leets Jr.,

Greetings! I am so excited to be joining Portland State University and the Queer Resource Center as the Coordinator for Queer Student Services! I have been doing queer advocacy work on college campuses since 2006, and I feel so fortunate to be able to join this great institution. I am most recently coming from Penn State University (the other PSU), where I was the Assistant Director for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally (LGBTA) Student Resource Center. Before my role at Penn State, I was a Resident Director at the University of Maryland, College Park. Also, I completed my Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel while at UMD. Before moving to Maryland, I attended Chapman University in Orange, CA, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Leadership and Organizational Studies. I am originally from Las Vegas, NV, and am so excited to be coming back to the west after four years on the east coast.


Kirsten Keith,
Assistant Coordinator

Kirsten Keith has been working within queer communities for five years and is proud that the past three years have been with Portland State's Queer Resource Center. After graduating in 2012, Kirsten feels blessed to work with the engaging student population on campus as the Assistant Coordinator for the QRC. When not at work Kirsten spends their time with their partner and two dogs.

Maria Bonacci,
Transgender & Interpersonal Violence Resources Coordinator

Maria Bonacci is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at PSU. She has lived and worked in queer and trans communities in Portland for 12 years. She is psyched to join the QRC staff as the Trans and Interpersonal Violence Resources Coordinator.


Paola Saldaña,
Queer Students of Color Resources Coordinator

Paola grew up in Mexico where she developed a passion for social justice issues and an awareness of the needs of marginalized communities.  She then moved to Washington, D.C. where she finished her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies.  Currently, she is a master’s student in the Urban Studies department where she is hoping to research the relationship between queer women’s identity, urban space, and the development of community. Paola has worked as an intern at the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the Human Rights Campaign and the Women’s Building in San Francisco.  In the future, she hopes to continue working with communities of color at the intersections with gender and sexuality. Eventually, she also wants to get a PhD in cultural geography or urban anthropology.

Monica Lee Noé,
Queeries & Education Coordinator

Monica Lee Noé is glad to be returning to the QRC for her third year in the position of the Queeries and Education Coordinator. With six years of experience working within the framework of social justice education Monica focuses her programing on community growth and the betterment of campus climate. (photo courtesy of Mia Nakano for Visibility Project)


Vanessa DeSpain,
Design & Marketing Coordinator

Vanessa is a native Texan who enjoys printmaking, editorial design, illustration, and photography. She is inspired by mid-century design, indigenous folk art, and conceptual design that elevates social conversations and challenges the norm. Her work is based in the development of a strong foundational concept and utilizes the knowledge gained in her BA in Psychology to strengthen her designs. She is currently a post-baccalaureate Junior in PSU's Graphic Design program.


Melanie Altaras,
DeskCore Staff Member

A native Northwesterner, Melanie became involved in queer community work in 2004 with the No On 36 campaign, and soon after was trained in inclusive, comprehensive sexuality education with Planned Parenthood's Teen Council. She was elected as a Youth Board Member for Salem Rainbow Youth in 2005, and continues involvement there as a Group Facilitator and Board Member. Other affiliations have included Outside in, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Just Out, Oregon Students Equal Rights Alliance (a division of the Oregon Student Association), and Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

Melanie focuses on Communications and Media Studies at Portland State University and occasionally finds time for her favorite activities: brunch-eating and taking her dog on outdoor adventures. She strives to apply theories of social justice directly to the work she does, to empower youth, and to allow each person to be an expert on their own experience.


Kevin Holden,
DeskCore Staff Member

As a member of the Deskcore team, I am responsible for maintaining the front desk of the Queer Resource Center and representing the QRC for students, staff, faculty, and community members.  In addition, I am working on developing a Queer and Trans* Students of Color group at PSU as well as collaborating on the Queer Students of Color Conference.  I am pursuing to bring my efforts and interests into fields of education and/or non-profit work.

Mariah Leewright,
DeskCore Staff Member

Mariah is a Liberal Studies major with a focus on theatre and social justice. They are a super senior hoping to graduate in the spring. Mariah comes with an eclectic educational background: graduating from a performing arts high school, studying at a liberal arts college, and obtaining an associates degree from PCC. Additionally, Mariah has worked in Theatre of the Oppressed and volunteered for local queer organizations. They wish to participate in theatrical productions that explore the realms of social justice. Mariah enjoys cross stitching, watching netflix, and eating all of the foods. In their second year as deskcore, Mariah is excited to work with QSoCC programming and their fellow students accessing the center.

Zac Turner,
DeskCore Staff Member

Zac is excited about being a new member of the Deskcore. He is a senior and will be graduating in June with a degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Zac has been a part of the QRC since he was a freshman and is thrilled to be involved with something that has been such a large part of his college experience thus far. He hopes to be part of helping the QRC grow welcoming members of the community to the space. Zac has his eye on law school and is currently planning to, in the long term, end up in advocacy and policy change.