Camaya Wallace Bechard, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) serves as the Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access for University of Illinois Extension. She provides leadership that promotes the mission of Illinois Extension. Camaya delivers training to support transparency and accountability in all aspects of our work. Through lifelong learning and critical self-reflection (cultural humility), Camaya works to continuously advance the vision of Illinois Extension as an outreach division of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where everyone feels represented, respected, supported, and valued.
Camaya has worked with University of Illinois Extension since 2018. In her previous role as an educator, she incorporated lifespan perspectives to understand the financial needs and circumstances people face at different life stages. She also built her programming on the principles of family resiliency and mindful financial literacy, encouraging holistic views of the individuals and communities she served. Camaya used evidence-based information to help people move toward healthy money practices that support their financial well-being.
Education and Background
- Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies, Michigan State University
- M.S. in Social Responsibility, St. Cloud State University
- B.S. in Sociology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Camaya’s research has focused on family diversity, lifespan human development, immigrants’ remittance and banking experiences, and inclusive financial education through direct and informal opportunities. Her interdisciplinary background included subject matters such as contemporary social problems, social and cultural change, sociology of gender roles, global perspectives on women, gender and violence, women of color in the U.S., race and ethnicity, power and inequality, structural inequalities and families, cultural anthropology, world religions, and global social responsibility.
Certifications and Training
- Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement, University Outreach and Engagement, Michigan State University
- Diversity, Inclusion, & Sensitivity, training, Michigan State University
- Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access (IDEA) Essentials, training, University of North Texas
- Mental Health First Training, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
- Trauma-Informed Care, Trained Facilitator, The Ohio State University and University of Illinois Extension
- Leadership in the City, Urban Extension, The Ohio State University
- Real Colors Personality Test, Trained Facilitator, Real Colors, Arizona, USA