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Access and Diversity Center

LGBTQA Mentor Bios

Rachel Hager

My name is Rachel, I’m 22 years old, and a first-year PhD student in ecology at USU. I just moved to Logan after graduating from an all-woman’s college on the East Coast. I am in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend, who lives most of the year on the East Coast. I identify as a lesbian, but did not come out to my mother until I was financially and physically independent from her out of the fear of being cut off from my family. Throughout phases of my coming out I have used alcohol and insecurities about my body as ways to escape emotional turmoil. Surrounding myself with people who love and respect me for who I am has helped me become the strong, independent, and mature person I am today. Please feel free to message me with any questions or if you just want to talk and need a friend!

Kristen Heroy

Hi! I’m a grad student in the natural resources department pursuing a PhD in Wildlife Ecology. I’ve identified as bi for most of my life, but I hate the stigma associated with being bi (like the “it’s just a phase” or the “why can’t you decide one way or another?” thinking). I like thinking of it as I fall in love with the person, not their gender. Although escaping through addiction ruled my life for a number of years, I’m back in school hoping to help those who still might be struggling. Even if you just need someone to talk to, I’m here for you.

Things I’m passionate about are: nature, animals, smiling, my fur babies, learning, and spirituality (not organized religion spirituality). Some of my hobbies include: drawing, hiking, shooting and archery, meditation, and rock hunting. Thanks for reading my bio- and even if I’m not the mentor for you, I hope you have an awesome day!

Chirsty Berk

My name is Christy Berk, and I am sophomore at USU studying Communications Studies as well as Political Science. I grew up in a conservative Catholic household in a very religious community just outside Salt Lake City. I started questioning my sexuality when I was a junior/senior in high school, but did not come out as lesbian until my freshman year of college. Coming out to my parents and few other people was difficult and there are relationships that are still strained to this day. For the most part though, it has been a freeing and positive experience and I am so happy to live the life I love! I also love being at USU and in Logan in general; I find the atmosphere to be much more open and accepting than my hometown. I am a member of LIFE, on the OUTSpoken panel and play rugby for the women’s club team at USU. Feel free to ask me anything!

Bret Nielson

Greetings! I am Bret Nielson and I am a senior in Social Work. I was raised in South Jordan, Utah in a religious LDS home with one brother and two sisters. My sexual identity was disclosed to my family early in my adolescent years and I struggled with both my religious and sexual identity for several years. I came up here to Utah State University to pursue a degree in Social Work and concentrate on gay-related issues. During my time here at USU, I have worked with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In fact, this year I am a social work intern at SAAVI and I work at the Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (CAPSA). In addition to my work with survivors of interpersonal violence, I also research sexual identity formation and the integration process of a non-affirming religion and a non-heterosexual identity. I will be submitting a developmental theory to the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health to better inform social scientists on practicing with this population. I operate from a strengths-based perspective and use individual's strength's to accomplish their goals and maintain a high quality of life. Please message me if you have any questions. I look forward to working with you!

Jake Hansen

Hi, I am Jake Hansen and I am a LGBTQA+ Mentor for Utah State University. I am also involved in a copious amount of other things here on campus. I feel a bit pompous writing a biography about myself so I apologize if this is awkward.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah by two awesome parents. They have always been accepting of who I am and pushed individuality on me like they were the cast of “Glee.” I am a pansexual and coming out was never a huge issue for me. Everyone was cool and accepting about it. Even so, it was still difficult figuring out my niche of all the sexualities out there.

I have a strong passion for art and how individuality and vulnerability can be such positive things when it comes to expression. I love fashion, poetry, skateboarding, writing, comedy, leadership, animals, and a long list of things that I do not have time to dive into. Anyway if you need support or a good laugh feel free to email me!

Rock on,
All the love, J

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