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DEI Welcome Page


DEI's Mission

The New York Film Academy Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (NYC) seeks to improve and increase diversity, equity and inclusion within the NYFA community and its sphere of influence by developing actionable goals in training, programming, curricula, policies and procedures.

Current Membership

Catherine Kobayashi, DEI Council Co-Chair, Chair of Post-Production, NYC

Dafina Roberts, DEI Council Co-Chair, Screenwriting Instructor, NYC

Carlye Bowers, Director of Student Life, Title IX Coordinator, NYC 

Linda Gilbert, Housing/Associate Director of ESL, NYC

Andrea Swift, Chair of Documentary Film, NYC

Chris Recker, Associate Director of HR, NYC, SoBe, LA

Jeanine West, Associate Director of HR, NYC, SoBe

Elli Ventouras, Campus Dean, NYC 

Kayla Alperson, Coordinator of Student Accessibility Services, NYC 

Jacky Hunt, LCSW Director of Counseling, NYC

Randall Dottin, Chair of Screenwriting, NYC 

Neal Weisman, Chair of Producing, NYC

Paula Rey Jiminez, Social Media Manager, NYC

DEI’s Responsibilities, Definitions, and Structure

Powers and Responsibilities:

  • DEI develops proposals to present to NYFA administration or other deliberative bodies for consideration.

  • The DEI has a responsibility to fulfill the DEI Council’s mission and the mission and values of NYFA.

Definition of Terms:

  • Diversity - Encourages strong leadership, inclusive decision-making, and global citizenship that respectfully consider other points of view. DEI values this as an asset to bring to bear, an ideal to strive for, and a guiding principle for all it does.

  • Equity - Ensures fair and respectful treatment of all members of the NYFA community. DEI recognizes the existence of inequality for underrepresented groups and will advocate to safeguard equity through its recruitment, education, and post-graduation practices and programs. Underrepresented groups and protected classes include, but are not limited to, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, citizenship status, genetic markers, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, political activities or affiliations, military or veteran status, and status as a victim of domestic violence.

  • Inclusion - Creates environments that respectfully give voice to all. It cultivates creativity and promotes a greater mutual understanding of our differences, which fosters empathy to reach across cultural, political, and socioeconomic boundaries.


DEI seeks to achieve its mission through three committees: Diversity Training, Programming, Curriculum, and Policies. Each committee is charged with doing focused work around respective topics. Details are below.

Employee Diversity Training Committee: The Employee Diversity Training Committee shall develop and implement in partnership with non-profit experts and thought leaders live and recorded diversity training for NYFA’s U.S. employees across all three campuses.

  • Membership: Dafina Roberts (Co-Chair), Jenni Powell (Co-Chair), Angelina Tala, Kendall Nelson, Jacky Hunt, Naomi White, Pankti Shah, Randall Dottin

  • Completed and Ongoing Programming:

    • Anti-Racism, Anti-Sexism, LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity and Trauma-Informed Training 

Programming Committee:  The Programming Committee shall develop and/or implement short- and long-term events and training for NYFA students, faculty, and/or staff in order to educate and provide forums to better understand topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  • Membership: Jacky Hunt (Chair), Carlye Bowers, Catherine Kobayashi, Neal Weisman, Chris Recker, Paula Rey Jimenez

  • Completed and Ongoing Programming:

    • Asian American & Pacific Islanders History Month

    • Black History Month

    • Diversity Awareness Month

    • International Education Week

    • LatinX/Hispanic Heritage Month

    • Pride Month

    • Transgender Awareness Week

Curriculum Committee:  The Curriculum Committee shall develop and advocate for diverse perspectives in all aspects of curriculum, including the diversity in films and other works, inclusivity in pedagogy, and other classroom practices.

  • Membership: Andrea Swift (Chair), Dafina Roberts, Elli Ventouras, Naomi White,Randy Dottin

  • Completed and Ongoing Work:


Policies Committee:  The Policies Committee shall develop proposals for institutional policy changes or additions that considers how policy and process may impede diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, the Policies Committee should propose and review policies that can increase diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Membership: Linda Gilbert, Jeanine West, Kayla Alperson

  • Completed and Ongoing Work:

    • Updated hiring policy for inclusion

    • Employee Affinity Groups

Get Involved!

If you have questions or would like to be involved in any of DEI’s work, please contact dei.ny@nyfa.edu.

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