Kelsey O’Neil joined UConn in the summer of 2018 to serve as the Director of the Rainbow Center; the University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexuality (LGBTQIA+) resource center. As the director, Kelsey serves as the leader in campus inclusionary efforts. They are charged with planning, organizing, and administering programs designed to provide awareness and understanding of LGBTQIA+ issues, social support for student constituents, and assistance in achieving their professional, educational, and personal goals. Kelsey identifies as a trans masculine, queer, higher educational professional focused on working as a social justice advocate by intentionally seeking out intersectionality. Within their professional work they are interested in transformational leadership and mentoring programs. Kelsey came to UConn from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH where they previously served as the Assistant Director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
In their free time Kelsey enjoys exploring the New England outdoors with their dog, TajMahal, a mastiff/Labrador mix. They love kayaking, hiking and the ocean. Kelsey is also a foodie and is always up for trying a new recipe.
Chris is a Black non-binary educator, writer, advocate, and coach with a passion for holistic wellness. They began their career in higher education, serving for 10 years focusing on counseling and student development, with an emphasis on supporting first-generation students of color as they enter and navigate the academy. Chris served as a Residence Director at Westfield State University and Central Connecticut State University, assisting students towards building equitable and just campus communities that prioritized social justice and individual development.
Chris was formerly the Talent and Training Manager at Re-Center, whose mission is to activate youth and adults to drive transformative change towards racially just schools and communities in Connecticut. Chris received their masters in counselor education and a bachelors in English from Central Connecticut State University.
They were inspired to join the University of Connecticut’s Rainbow Center team due to a passion for creating and supporting academic systems that function as not only inclusive environments, but spaces that can meet the needs and honor the lived experience of all students. Chris takes the words of James Baldwin to heart, believing that “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced”, and uses these words as motivation for the critical social-justice work that remains to be done within communities.
Graduate Assistant (Fall 2020)