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Owning our stories

Four "I Am U Thriving" campus storytellers shared personal experiences of love, success, pain, privilege, marginalization and other messages they want our campus to know.

“By voluntarily telling our own stories—on our own terms—we help reclaim and share power among our community," said Dr. Bryan Hubain, associate vice president, Student Development and Inclusion.

"There is power in what we have to offer and what we have to share and power in celebrating and uplifting one another for our differences and more importantly—our similarities,”  said Hubain, who is also the creator of the I Am U Thriving initiative.

I Am U Thriving is a visual story campaign that focuses on the individuals that comprise our diverse One U community. This spring volunteer storytellers were able to sign up for a photo shoot holding a whiteboard with their own handwritten narratives about who they are, what they have overcome and what they know to be true about themselves. The photographs highlight and validate the experiences of our community members, particularly those of color and other marginalized populations on campus.

I Am U Thriving is not a marketing campaign aimed at increasing diversity and retention. Plans are underway for the fall semester to continue to grow this initiative. Watch for announcements on the I Am U Thriving Instagram account.

It was no joke that on Thursday, April 1, 2021, Student Development and Inclusion hosted a panel featuring five stories, including Dr. Hubain's, where the storytellers shared personal thoughts and feelings about the story behind their photos. Watch their stories below.

Introduction from Bryan Hubain, Ph.D. and story

Bryan Hubain hails from the Helen of the West Indies, Saint Lucia. He joined the University of Utah in November 2019 as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Student Development and Inclusion. The focus of his career has been to improve the experiences and wellbeing of underrepresented students through challenge, support, collaboration and educational outreach to the campus community and surrounding external communities. His broader interest related to diversity and equity focuses on the complexities offered by examining the intersections of race, gender and sexuality.


Ermiya Fanaeian

Ermiya Fanaeian is a trans youth activists and co-founder of March for our lives Utah, who has worked closely with the ACLU of Utah and has lobbied against conversion therapy. She has worked on many political campaigns to help elect pro-LGBTQI candidates, including congressmen Ben Mcadams' Congressional campaign and Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential Campaign. She served as the Director of Diversity for ASUU this past year and is currently the Director of the Salt Lake City Pink Pistols.

Dr. Daniel K. Cairo, Ph.D.

Daniel Cairo (he/him/él) brings over 10 years of experience in leading programs that support diversity, equity and inclusion. As an educator and organizational leader, he has developed successful equity and inclusion programs at multiple institutions.

Kamisha Johnson-Davis M.D.

Kamisha Johnson-Davis is an associate professor at the University of Utah in the Department of Pathology and medical director for Clinical Toxicology at ARUP Laboratories. She received her B.S. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside and her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Utah. She was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Human Toxicology and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical chemistry at the University of Utah, Department of Pathology. Dr. Johnson-Davis is board certified in clinical chemistry and toxicological chemistry. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and director for the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program at the University of Utah and a fellow of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry Academy.

Sam Dalton

Sam Dalton (he/him) is in his third year studying performing arts design with an emphasis in scenic design. Over the last three years, Dalton has been involved in the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and Housing & Residential Education as both a resident advisor and the vice P\president of the Residence Hall Association. After graduating in the spring of 2022, Dalton plans to pursue a degree in educational leadership to work toward expanding access for students with disabilities.

Storytellers final thoughts and celebratory video