UROC Staff

Kai Ecker
Graduate Research Assistant
612-626-8762|[email protected]
Kai Ecker studies clinical mental health as a master's degree student at the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development's School of Social Work. They support the UROC Research Agenda, the  Josie R. Johnson UROC Dissertation Fellows Program, and the UROC affiliation process.

Jasir Johnson
Principal Office and Administrative Specialist  
612-626-8762 |  [email protected]
Jasir Johnson is a principal office and administrative specialist at UROC. He provides clerical support to the UROC leadership team, works closely with UROC's office manager, and helps staff UROC's front desk. 

Kimberly Jones 
Community Liaison 
612-626-8762| [email protected]
Kimberly Jones supports UROC's outreach and engagement efforts in the areas of partnership building and enhancing and developing skills in senior citizens, African Americans, and immigrant refugees. She holds a bachelor's degree from Jackson State University and a master's degree in education from Fielding Graduate University.  

Claudette Lyng
Administrative Specialist  
612-626-8762 | [email protected]
Claudette Lyng serves as the administrative point of contact between UROC's leadership team and internal and external clients. She is responsible for handling the leadership team's administrative requests and queries. She has extensive experience in the medical and corporate arenas.

Kara Schmidt 
Administrative Services Manager
612-626-8762 | [email protected]
Kara Schmidt serves as operational leadership within UROC, managing the day-to-day operations of the building, providing support and oversight for operations staff and students, and centering UROC's mission in the relationship with vendors, partners, affiliates, and the public. She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a certificate in Ethical Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Lea Scott
Office Coordinator  
612-626-8762 | [email protected]
As UROC's office coordinator, Lea Scott provides oversight to UROC's front desk management and building scheduling operations. In addition to working closely with UROC's administrative services manager and leadership team, she plays a key role in UROC’s events and initiatives. Lea holds an interdisciplinary degree in Eco-Womanist Studies from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Makeda Zulu
Senior Director for Community Partnerships
612-626-9829 | [email protected]
Makeda Zulu is a connector and strategic partner working to address complex issues while transforming the way communities within and outside the University work together.  She has contributed to the handbook Preparing to Engage in Equitable Community Partnerships, and has been able to illuminate the work of UROC, its partners, and leaders who each center community to guide the work.  She lives her vision that self-determination linked with unified collective work and responsibility makes sustainable change. She holds a bachelor's degree in business management from Grambling State University and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.