Speakers and Presenters – Young, Gifted & @Risk 2017, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Wiliam Alexander

William Alexander, Ph.D. is currently the Director, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his masters and doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. Working in psychiatric hospitals, CMHC, private practice and now college counseling, Bill’s career over the past 35 years has focused on adolescents and young adults. His work with young children of divorced parents led him to an early career in family and marital therapy. He was the Co-Director of a family therapy program in adolescent state psychiatric hospitals where the effort was to return institutionalized children to their families rather than go to adult hospitals. Bill draws from his early experiences in community non-profit organizations and as a teacher, guidance counselor, and college administrator. His focus for the past 19 years in college counseling has been the implementation of a public health model of clinical intervention in an effort to reach underserved student populations within the university community.

Gordon Bell

Gordon Bell, CFA, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has provided service as board Gordon Bell is EVP at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation’s first community development corporation, started by Bobby Kennedy. He oversees several divisions, including real estate development, the Brooklyn Business Center and sustainability initiatives.
Mr. Bell gained experience at Wall Street firms including JP Morgan, Prudential, Citibank, Legacy Growth Partners, Utendahl Capital and Lehman Brothers. Gordon has held positions as Business Developer, Portfolio Manager, Trader, and Director of Finance and in his long tenure on Wall Street. Gordon earned his A.B. with honors from Harvard College, his MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Rotary International Fellowship to the University of Mexico. He also earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1993. He is a member and officer (Chair, Treas and Sec) to a several organizations including the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center, the New York Real Estate Chamber, North General Hospital, Literacy Partners, the Industrial Development Agency of New Rochelle, and the Harvard Class of 1983, NY. Gordon has humbly received honors and recognition by various publications and non-profit associations. Residing in New Rochelle, NY with his wife, Prof. Sherrie Bell, and three children, Gordon and his family participate in a variety of community service activities and sports.

Crystal Bullard, M.D., is a child and adolescent psychiatrist currently serving as an outpatient psychiatrist at Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, NC. She also serves the pediatric population at Levine Children’s Hospital as a consultation and liaison psychiatrist.​ Dr. Bullard is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a historically Native American college. She received her medical degree from East Carolina University. She completed her psychiatry residency and her child and adolescent psychiatric fellowship at the University of South Carolina. During her residency training, Dr. Bullard was a co-author of the 2012 book, Women in Psychiatry: Personal Perspectives. Under the leadership of her residency training director, Dr. Bullard participated in an outreach parenting program for four consecutive years on a Cree Indian Reservation in Alberta, Canada called the Hobbema Reserve. Dr. Bullard is currently an adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry for medical students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also teaches Advanced Clinical Practitioners at Carolinas Healthcare System during their one-year fellowship training in psychiatry. Dr. Bullard also enjoys working with media relations and has been interviewed by several local television stations as an expert psychiatrist.

Alfiee Breland-Noble

Alfiee Breland-Noble

Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, Ph.D., is Director of the AAKOMA (African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully-Healthy Adolescents) Project and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Medical Center. She serves as Senior Scientific Adviser to The Steve Fund. Dr. Breland-Noble, psychologist and researcher, focuses on reducing mental health disparities in racially diverse youth and families. Her clinical expertise includes culturally relevant treatment for depression and anxiety in teens and adults. She has spent most of her career in academic medicine and is a recognized expert in adolescent depression disparities. Dr. Breland-Noble is currently funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the National Institutes of Health. She leads multiple research teams with a focus on patient-centered outcomes research, community-based participatory research, behavioral clinical trials, and faith-based mental health promotion. She has been appointed to the American Psychological Association Board to Develop Depression Treatment Guidelines and the PCORI National Advisory Panel on Addressing Disparities. Dr. Breland-Noble completed her training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD), New York University (MA), Howard University (BA), and Duke University School of Medicine (MHSc).

Jeannine Cicco Barker

 Jeannine Cicco Barker, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified art therapist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). There, she serves as leader and coordinator of the Eating Concerns Team and is a member of the Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention (STTOP) Team. Dr. Cicco Barker’s areas of specialty include eating concerns, trauma, sexual assault, First Generation Low-Income (FGLI) student concerns, Latinx student concerns, and family of origin concerns. Dr. Cicco Barker attended the University of Pennsylvania fully assisted by the Philadelphia’s Mayor Scholarship, which is awarded to low-income Philadelphia area high school students, and graduated with a major in fine arts. She then obtained a master’s degree in art therapy from Drexel University. She earned a master’s and doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Widener University, where she was awarded the Abrams Award for Academic and Clinical Excellence upon graduation. Following her doctoral studies, she was a postdoctoral fellow at CAPS, leading into her permanent role on staff. Dr. Cicco Barker is presenting at The Steve Fund Conference as a psychologist who is very committed to supporting FGLI students of color. Much of her clinical experience prior to CAPS has been working with underserved communities, primarily low income people of color in the Philadelphia area. In addition to her work at CAPS, Dr. Cicco Barker is passionate about social justice advocacy and activism, which influences her work. She proudly serves on the Board of Directors of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit located in High Falls, NY focused on farmed animal rescue and animal rights advocacy.

Estefanía Colón is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Sociology. Stef, as she has been endearingly nicknamed, is a proud Boricua, or Puerto Rican, born and raised in Queens, New York. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting, acting, and eating (lots of) fried food. In the future, Stef aspires to break boundaries in the media and entertainment industry and inspire young women of color to chase their dreams. After graduation, Stef will be taking the first step on her path to achieving her goals as she heads to the West Coast to work at Google.

Valerie Cruz

As a student affair professional for 25 years, Valerie De Cruz has worked at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Oberlin College. At Penn she oversees the Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC) – where she has vastly extended the center’s reach among diverse student populations at Penn, forged connections with colleagues across campus, and directed the growth of innovative intercultural courses, programs and services at the center. Under her leadership, the GIC has demonstrated a capacity for innovation. Through cross campus partnerships, Valerie has helped design robust practices to support changing student demographics and emerging needs at Penn. Valerie’s personal experience and her training as a counselor have equipped her with the knowledge and skillsets to understand the needs of first generation low income (FGLI) college students. In partnership with Penn First, a student organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of FGLI students, Valerie, her team and partners around the Penn campus have created the FGLI Program to provide more holistic support services for students at Penn. Valerie is committed to her role in helping institutions better understand the intersectionality of educational access, cultural identity and socio-economic issues so that they can better support the unique challenges experienced by college students. Valerie De Cruz graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and earned a Master’s of Education degree in Counseling from Wichita State University

DJ Ida

DJ Ida

D. J. Ida, Ph.D., has over thirty five years of experience with Asian American/Pacific Islanders and other ethnically diverse populations. In 2016 she was awarded the inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Health Equity Award by the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health. She has helped establish numerous organizations including the Asian American EOP at U of Colorado as an undergrad and many years later the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, of which she now serves as Executive Director. She was invited to the first White House Conference on Mental Health in 1999 and served as a peer reviewer for Mental Health: Culture Race and Ethnicity: A Report of the Surgeon General. Dr. Ida also served on the boards of US Dept. HHS SAMHSA, Center for Mental Health Services, Mental Health America, Annapolis Coalition on Behavioral Health Workforce, UC Davis School of Medicine Center for Eliminating Health Disparities, and the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans. She is committed to strengthening the community and developed training programs including Growing Our Own, Working with AAPI children/youth/and families to train providers on providing culturally appropriate services; Mental Health Interpreter Training; and Achieving Whole Health. Working with students continues to be a special area of interest. She understands that finding our place in the world isn’t always easy and the power of friends can be crucial in helping us on our journey. She therefore helped create Friends DO Make A Difference a mental health awareness campaign designed for college students.

Rev. William Gibson

The Reverend William C. Gipson is Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Access at the University of Pennsylvania. Gipson, formerly Penn’s Chaplain, also serves as the faculty director at the W.E.B. DuBois College House. Penn’s Equity and Access programs guide and support scholars of all ages and backgrounds, from first-generation college students to military veterans and adult learners. Rev. Gipson also oversees four resource centers that celebrate Penn’s rich cultural diversity: Makuu Black Student Center; La Casa Latina; Pan Asian American Community House; and the Greenfield Intercultural Center. From 1996 to 2007, Rev. Gipson served as University Chaplain and Special Adviser to the President. Prior to that, he was Princeton University’s Associate Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel. Rev. Gipson began his career as a journalist writing for community newspapers. Ordained in 1980, he has served in pastoral capacity and ministered to congregations in Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey. He is active in organizations devoted to educating and empowering urban youth and has led international interfaith trips for students. Rev. Gipson earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a master of divinity degree from the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He is the proud father of two adult daughters and an adoring “Pop Pop” to one grandchild.

Yuhong He

Yuhong He, Ph.D., is the International Specialist and a Staff Psychologist at the Counseling and Psychological Services of the University of Pennsylvania. She is originally from China and a recent immigrant to the U.S. where she has spent over 15 years studying and working in various higher education institutions. Dr. He has worked extensively with college students especially international students, students of color, and first-generation/low-income students on a wide range of mental health concerns through career counseling, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, outreach, consultation, mentoring and advising. She provides multilingual services to students, parents, staff, and faculty.

Rev. Charles Howard

The Rev. Charles L. Howard, PhD is the University Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.  Prior to his return to Penn, he served in both hospital and hospice chaplaincies, and as a street outreach worker to individuals experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. His writing has been featured in such publications as Black Arts Quarterly, Black Theology: An International Journal, Daily Good, Urban Cusp, Sojourners Magazine, Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, The Christian Century, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Slate.  He is the editor of The Souls of Poor Folk, a text which explores new ways of considering homelessness and poverty, and the author of The Awe and The Awful, a poetry collection and Lenten Devotional, Black Theology as Mass Movement, a call to theologians to expand the reach of their theological work, and Pond River Ocean Rain,  a collection of brief essays about going deeper with God. He shares life with his beloved wife, Dr. Lia C. Howard and their three daughters.

Kareli Lizarraga

Kareli Lizarraga serves as the Associate Director for La Casa Latina: Center for Hispanic Excellence. She was born in Mexico and raised in California and Arizona but very much considers Philadelphia her home. She is a proud first-generation alumna from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a B.A. in Political Science. She is passionate about the intersections between immigration, race, education, and the Latinx identity. Her interest in educational issues began as an undocumented student applying for college and seeing the limited resources that were available to students that considered the United States home but did not have a social security number. As a student in college, she interned in the education department for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and worked closely with families that were recent immigrants and wanted to advocate for their children. Seeing the systemic issues surrounding access to a high-quality education, Kareli became a teacher upon graduation. In 2013 she was the first teacher in the country with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status through Teach For America, teaching 7th-grade language arts in Denver, Colorado. Seeing her students thrive in middle school but have limited options at the high school level and beyond motivated Kareli to work in higher education in order to ensure that students had access to the same life-changing opportunities she was exposed to as a first generation low-income student. In her role at La Casa Latina, Kareli works to advocate and support the Latinx community at Penn through mentorship programs and mental health workshops that promote the wellbeing of students.

Faria Khan

Fariha Khan is the Associate Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania where she also teaches courses on South Asians in the U.S, Asian American Communities, as well as Muslim Identity in America. She received a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research focuses on South Asian American Muslims and the Asian American community.  Actively involved in the Philadelphia community, Dr. Khan is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Pan Asian American Community House at Penn and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Folklore Project.  She was appointed in 2015 to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

Hikaru Kozuma

Hikaru (Karu) Kozuma is the Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania.  Originally from New York City, Karu attended Middlebury College, majoring in English and minoring in American History. Upon graduation, Karu worked for Middlebury for three years, serving as a resident director and the housing director. In 2001, he attended Harvard¹s Graduate School of Education and received his master of education in higher education administration.  In 2002, Karu returned to New York to join the Columbia University student affairs staff and worked in the Office of Residential Programs.  He served in several different roles within the department, including director. He has been highly involved in NASPA – National Association for Student Personnel Administrators – since 2005 and served as the National Co-Chair for the Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community from 2009–2011.  Outside of higher education, he has served on the International YMCA Board of Managers. He earned his doctorate of education from Penn¹s Graduate School of Education in 2015, focusing his research on critical race theory, coalition building, and student engagement and empowerment. He has taught graduate and undergraduate students, including a course about Asian American activism and organizing.

Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad

Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad is the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF) a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue education and training. She also serves as the Fellow for Spirituality, Wellness and Social Justice at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and advisor to Penn Sapelo, the first Black Muslim student organization. In this capacity, Kameelah supports students in their exploration of identity, faith-based activism, and spirituality.  Working in conjunction with the Chaplain’s Office, she collaborates with other cultural centers on campus to facilitate intersectional conversations on race, religion, belonging and advocacy. Kameelah served three years as the Muslim Chaplain at UPenn and continues to facilitate discussions on religious identity development and challenges faced by American Muslim youth.  In addition to Kameelah’s involvement in mental health advocacy and religious life, she is a proud social justice activist and serves as the advisory board member of Muslim Advocates and Stony Point Center.

Kameelah graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and MEd in Psychological Services. She has pursued further graduate education, completing a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling (MRP) from the International Institute for Restorative Practices and obtaining a post-Masters certificate in Family Therapy from the Philadelphia Child & Family Therapy Training Center. Kameelah is a certified instructor in Adult, Higher Education & Youth Mental Health First Aid. She is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA

Meghana Nallajerla-Yellapragada

Meghana Nallajerla-Yellapragada is a final year student at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. On campus, Meghana chairs the Penn Association for Gender Equity, an umbrella organization for gender equity groups on campus. As Chair, Meghana’s focus has been on intersectionality and expanding feminist spaces to be welcoming to women of color. Meghana is also the co-founder of Spice Collective, a discussion and community-building program that brings together APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans) women to address issues pertinent to their unique identities. In addition, Meghana is passionate about immigrant rights, racial justice, anti-Islamoracist and anti-casteist work both on and off campus. As a first-generation immigrant, Meghana is invested in inclusive organizing that is accessible to immigrant parents and elders. She ultimately aspires to pursue a Phd in Clinical Psychology to research and implement culturally accessible, community-based forms of psychotherapy for South Asian immigrant communities.

Annelle Primm

Annelle Primm

Annelle B. Primm, M.D., MPH is a psychiatrist who has lectured and written widely on community psychiatry and cultural psychiatry, including two books she co-edited, Disparities in Psychiatric Care, published in 2010 and the 2012 book, Women in Psychiatry: Personal Perspectives. Well-known for her leadership in educating the public about mental illness, Dr. Primm produced the culturally-tailored DVD, Black and Blue: Depression in the African American Community. Dr. Primm was a physician executive at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) from 2004-2015 a period during which she led APA’s Division of Diversity and Health Equity and served as Deputy Medical Director. Prior to her service at the APA, Dr. Primm was Medical Director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Community Psychiatry Program where she oversaw a variety of mental health services for adults.  Dr. Primm is currently an adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Howard University, Johns Hopkins and New York University Schools of Medicine, and is Senior Medical Adviser for the Steve Fund. A Distinguished Fellow of the APA and a member of the American College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Primm has received numerous awards and honors including the Alexandra Symonds Award from the American Psychiatric Association Foundation in 2016. A graduate of Harvard for undergraduate studies, Dr. Primm received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and psychiatry residency training at Johns Hopkins. She completed, also from Johns Hopkins, a master’s degree in public health and a fellowship in Social and Community Psychiatry.

Andres Pumariega

Andres Pumariega

Andres J. Pumariega, M.D. has devoted his career in academic child and adolescent psychiatry to children’s systems of care and cultural diversity in mental health. He is currently Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Cooper School of Medicine at Rowan University. His M.D. is from the University of Miami, and residencies in general and child psychiatry at Duke University. He has headed two pediatric psychiatry consultation services, three directorships of child & adolescent psychiatry, and two previous departments of psychiatry. He has served on the editorial boards of multiple journals, and published over 200 scientific publications and over 200 abstracts, and four edited textbooks. As co-Chair of the Latino Panel, he led the drafting of the CMHS Cultural Competence Standards in 1999, and the AACAP Practice Parameter for Cultural Competent Child Psychiatric Care in 2013, the only national-level cultural competence standards for behavioral health services. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists and has served as President of the American Association of Social Psychiatry and the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He was awarded both the American Psychiatric Association’s 2004 Simon Bolivar Award and Lecture in Hispanic Psychiatry, and the 2007 Jeanne Spurlock Award and Lecture in Diversity and Culture by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry among others for his work.

Lauren E. Reid

Lauren E. Reid, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Arcadia University where she teaches the following courses in the Graduate Program in Counseling: Advanced Counseling Techniques, Cultural Bases of Counseling, and Internship Seminar. Dr. Reid earned her B.A. in psychology from Loyola University in Maryland, Ed.M. and M.A. in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University, and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from University of Miami.  She completed her pre-doctoral internship and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Prior to coming to Arcadia, she worked as an Assistant Professor of Instruction in Counseling Psychology at Temple University, where she was also the program coordinator for the M.Ed. program. Her research and clinical interests focus upon biracial and Black individuals’ mental health. Her research uses a mixed methods design to explore the relationships between identity, coping, vicarious trauma, and psychological well-being. Dr. Reid is a licensed psychologist and her practice specializes in working with biracial/multiracial people, intersecting identities, and cultural factors in mental health and counseling.

David Rivera

David Rivera

David P. Rivera, Ph.D., is an associate professor of counselor education at Queens College, City University of New York. He holds degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Wyoming. A counseling psychologist by training, his professional experience includes college counseling and higher education administration. His practical work also includes consultations and trainings on a variety of cultural competency issues. Dr. Rivera has worked at a variety of institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, the New School University, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and the Addiction Institute of New York. His research focuses on cultural competency development and issues impacting the marginalization and wellbeing of low-income/first-generation college students, people of color, and oppressed sexual orientation and gender identity groups, with a focus on microaggressions. Dr. Rivera is adviser to The Steve Fund, director of the City University of New York’s LGBTQI Student Leadership Program, faculty with the Council for Opportunity in Education, board member of CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies, on the executive board of the Society for the Psychological study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, lead coordinator of the 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit, and on the American Psychological Association’s Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. He has received multiple recognitions for his work from the American Psychological Association, the American College Counseling Association, and the American College Personnel Association.

Calvary Rogers is a rising studying Law and Society with a minor in Africana Studies from Rochester, New York. On campus, he has proved to make an impact on the Penn community as a member of UMOJA, the 2019 Class Board, University Council’s Committee of Diversity and Equity, the Division of Public Safety Advisory Board, the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, and the Black Pre Law Association. As seen through his dedication to research within the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Political Science Department and School of Social Policy and Practice, Calvary has transformed his passions into a reality through technology, academia, and policy. Throughout his undergraduate career, Calvary has strived to make Penn a more inclusive environment for everyone by working to expand mental health resources to students of color through administrative work, student activism, and goal planning. As a member of Penn’s track team and an Opinion Columnist for the Daily Pennsylvanian, Calvary enjoys reading, writing, and running in his free time.

Shantee Rosado

Shantee Rosado is a Ph.D. Candidate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised between the island and New Haven, Connecticut. Shantee received her B.A. in sociology and psychology from Macalester College in 2009 and has been a graduate student at Penn since 2011. Broadly speaking, her research examines racial and ethnic identities and inequalities in Latin America and among Latinos in the United States. She also has research interests in social movements, with an emphasis on movements for racial and economic justice. For her master’s project, Shantee used quantitative methods to measure how civil war conflict impacted the migration patterns of different racial groups in Colombia. Her dissertation examines how second-generation Latinos understand race and Blackness in the United States. In addition to research, Shantee has taught several courses at Penn, including Race and Ethnic Relations, a writing seminar titled U.S Race and Racism, and a graduate-level course titled Cross-Cultural Awareness through the Graduate School of Education. Currently, Shantee is a senior graduate fellow at Penn’s Center for Teaching and Learning, where she has been working on inclusive teaching programming for graduate students since 2016.

Evan M. Rose

Evan M. Rose is co-founder and president of The Steve Fund, the nation’s only organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of college students of color. Evan came up with the idea of starting the Fund days after the passing of his brother and best friend, Steve, who died from mental illness in 2014. Steve had received a master in psychology and was deeply supportive of the well-being of others. The Steve Fund is the legacy of a gifted, loving, and compassionate young man who felt called to help others. The Fund works with colleges and universities, outstanding non-profits, researchers, students, emerging adults, mental health practitioners and experts, and with groups serving diverse populations to stimulate dialogue and promote effective programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s students of color as they enter, matriculate in, and transition from higher education. Its core pillars are knowledge building, programs and partnerships, youth engagement, and tech innovations. The Steve Fund’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Diverse Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post and The Harvard Crimson. Mr. Rose is a graduate of Harvard College and resides in New York with his wife.

Howard Stevenson

Howard Stevenson, Ph.D., is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative at Penn, designed to promote racial literacy in education, health, and justice institutions. He is also the Director of Forward Promise, the national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to provide philanthropic support for organizations designed to improve the health of boys and young men of color and their families. He is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher on negotiating racial conflicts using racial literacy for independent and public K-12 schooling, community mental health centers, teachers, police and parents. Two mental health research projects funded by National Institutes of Health examine the benefits of racial literacy. The PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) Project uses basketball and racial socialization to help youth and parents cope with stress from violence and social rejection. Dr. Stevenson also co-leads the SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers Project which trains Black barbers as health educators to teach Black 18-24-year-old males to reduce their risk of — HIV/STDS and retaliation violence — while they are cutting hair. His recent best-seller book, Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference, is designed to reduce racial threat reactions in face-to-face encounters. He is the father of two sons, Bryan and Julian.


Tiffany Thompson, M.S., an Associate Director of the LGBT Center at the University of Penn, has over 15 years of experience in sexual and reproductive health, homelessness, trauma, youth and young adults, and LGBTQ advocacy.  She attended Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where she received a BA in International Business and Marketing, as well as a minor in Japanese.  Later, she earned an MS in Strategic Communications from the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. Even though Tiffany is native to Philadelphia and proudly loves her city, she also studied and worked in Japan for five years learning the Japanese language and culture. Prior to joining Penn, Tiffany worked as the Director of Program Strategy at Philadelphia Youth Network, the Director of the Youth Health Empowerment Project (Y-HEP), the Community Education Coordinator for CHOICE and served as the Interim Executive Director of GALAEI.  Tiffany has served as a board member of the Equality Forum, GALEAI, CHOICE, and Philly Black Pride. She is a current member of the planning committee for the Philly Dyke March. Tiffany is also a cohort anchor of the Brown Boi Project, a national group of masculine of center womyn, men, two-spirit people, and transmen, who are committed to changing the way society handles gender. Whatever role she plays, Tiffany always brings her passion for presenting and critiquing the intersectional of race, gender, sex, and queer identities through work that bridges theory and realness.  Tiffany also finds joy in projects that involve mason jars, Legos, or cross-stitching because Real Butches Craft!

Rodolfo Victoria

Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D., is a first-generation college student of Mexican descent and is a proud product of the Los Angeles Unified public school education system.  He completed his undergraduate studies at California State University, Los Angeles where he majored in psychology and focused his studies on understanding the impact of race, racial identity, and racism on middle-of-the-spectrum groups such as Asian/Asian-Americans and Latinas/os.  He continued his education in New York City where he graduated with his doctoral degree at Teachers College, Columbia University; his dissertation project focusing on the influence of skin color and racial identity on Latinas/os perceptions of racial discrimination experiences.  Also while at Columbia, he studied under the advisement of Dr. Robert Carter and conducted research examining the construct of race-based traumatic stress. Dr. Victoria is currently a senior staff psychologist and research coordinator at the Counseling Center at UC Irvine where he provides psychotherapy services to under-represented university students while continuing his research efforts on various multicultural topics. Research and clinical interests include working with underrepresented populations, transfer students, and first-generation college students.

Viraj Patel

Viraj Patel, M.Ed., is a community organizer, scholar, and practitioner in higher education student affairs whose roots are in student activism and social justice education. Currently serving as the Associate Director at the Pan-Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania, Viraj focuses on advocacy, wellness, access, leadership and mentorship programs for Asian and Asian Americans both on and off a college campus. Viraj is a skilled facilitator, advisor, and writer. She is also an organizer with the Philadelphia South Asian Collective and the Philadelphia chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. She is a proud past board member of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, and past organizer with East Coast Solidarity Summer, a summer camp for South Asian and Indo-Caribbean diaspora youth. Viraj’s approach to social change is heavily rooted in transnational feminism, critical race theory, grassroots organizing, femme-centered leadership, and community building for change.    She holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in English with a minor in Asian American Studies, and an M.Ed from the University of Vermont.

Vanessa Volpe

Vanessa V. Volpe, Ph.D., is a developmental health psychologist focused on the race-related experiences of members of marginalized groups that contribute to long-term health disparities and what factors may preserve health in the face of risk. She is an Adjunct Fellow at Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ursinus College. Vanessa received her Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was honored to receive several teaching and mentoring awards and served as a Stephen C. Rose Legacy Scholar. Much of her work focuses on the impact of everyday experiences on the mental health and bodily stress responses of Black (African American, Caribbean Black, African immigrant, Bi-/Multi-racial) individuals (lab twitter: @BlackHealthLab). She has also conducted research with members of other marginalized communities, including Latinx, Karen, Burmese, Turkish, Muslim, and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. Vanessa maintains consulting and collaborative appointments with schools, communities, and non-profit organizations which seek to enhance the holistic well-being of youth of color, including conducting research on the potential of arts instruction and programming. She serves students in several direct and indirect capacities – as a first-year advisor, mentor to research students, instructor, and committee member for institution-level diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Sara Wong

Sara Wong is a 2nd-year M.S.Ed student in the Higher Education program at Penn GSE. Prior to Penn, Sara attended Boston College where she graduated with a dual major in Applied Psychology and Human Development; and Sociology. Her interests include supporting marginalized groups in higher education institutions, specifically first-generation low-income students, and students of Color. She is currently the FGLI Graduate intern for the Greenfield Intercultural Center and works closely with PennFirst.