Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council

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Want to contribute to a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at CPS? Send us your suggestions and ideas. 


DEI Book Club

Jericho Brown’s 2020 Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poetry, The Tradition, has been selected as the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council Book Club Selection.

This publication is available as a free eBook through your Northeastern account.


Members

Corliss Thompson headshot

Dr. Corliss Thompson

Special Assistant to the Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Teaching Professor, Graduate School of Education
She, her, hers

Corliss Thompson, Ph.D. serves as special assistant to the Dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, responsible for coordination across the college, with faculty and staff who are working to address DEI issues related to the student experience, curriculum, and the workplace culture for faculty and staff. Her prior work in diversity, equity and inclusion includes consulting with leaders in in higher education, non-profits and corporations. She has led workshops and spoken to a wide range of audiences on systemic oppression, implicit bias, and action planning for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Thompson has presented on issues of social justice at academic conferences and practitioner gatherings. Dr. Thompson volunteers her DEI expertise in her community and has focused on issues of equity in her scholarship, including a National Science Foundation grant to spur more underrepresented students’ interest in STEM fields.

She is a Teaching Professor and Assistant Dean in the Graduate School of Education and has served on the faculty since 2013. She has taught research methods, research design, and social justice courses. Dr. Thompson has been involved with NExT, the Global Network of Experiential Educators, at Northeastern since its inception. Dr. Thompson is passionate about using culturally relevant and experiential approaches in her teaching and mentoring, and she also uses research methodology and program evaluation approaches for deeper understanding and improvement of teaching and learning as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Before becoming a faculty member, Dr. Thompson worked in a research and evaluation office in a school district and at the University of North Carolina, where she earned her doctoral degree. She also was an elementary school teacher in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, NC.

Dr. Thompson holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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Zeinab Alamagan

Career Services & Co-op Advisor, College of Professional Studies Toronto
She, her, hers

Zeinab Alamagan is Career Services & Co-op Advisor for the Toronto campus. She is responsible for supporting students in their career development as they build their professional brand. Zeinab also supports students in navigating experiential learning opportunities including co-op. Zeinab has extensive experience in higher education, with a focus on co-op and career advising and employer engagement in the Greater Toronto Area. She comes to Northeastern from Ryerson University. Prior to her years at Ryerson she was an Employment Specialist at the Career Foundation and a Human Resource Manager at Sunrise Resort and Spa. Zeinab is passionate about supporting students in developing their career potential. She has extensive experience in developing tailored career education programming to support equity-seeking students as they navigate barriers. Prior to her 11 years of experience in career education, Zeinab was a Business Analyst for Bell, T-Mobile and Microsoft.

LinkedIn Profile


Earlene Avalón, PhD, MPH

Lead Faculty and Associate Professor, Healthcare Administration, Health Sciences and Post-Baccalaureate/Pre-Health programs
She, her, hers

Earlene Avalón holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Health Professions Education. Dr. Avalón’s interest focuses on promoting healthcare equity for marginalized populations with an emphasis on supporting healthcare workforce diversity initiatives. Dr. Avalón has worked in healthcare and higher education for over 20 years and was featured as a “Women of Excellence” by Unity First Magazine and was named to the Honor Roll of Harvard Medical School’s Biomedical Sciences Careers Program. She has authored and co-authored various publications including a chapter for the Association for Nursing Professional Development 5th edition textbook as well as peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics and the Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA). Dr. Avalón is deeply committed to mentoring and is active within her community service.


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Erik Brenner

Student, Doctor of Education (EdD)
He, him, his

Erik is a non-profit and public sector leader who has been a DEI advocate for 20 years. Currently, he works for the National Foundation for Autism Research in San Diego where he helps improve work outcomes in the high-tech industry for young adults on the autism spectrum. Prior work includes being an elementary school administrator in metro Boston that served traditionally underrepresented groups. For his doctoral dissertation, he is researching how companies can create an inclusive work environment for autistic employees. He is encouraged with the recent progress in the neurodiversity movement, however, he understands there is much work that needs to be done. Erik is grateful to be a member of the DEI Council and looks forward to working with fellow allies.


Lucy Bunning, PhD

Associate Teaching Professor, NU Global
She, her, hers

Dr. Lucy Bunning teaches English language and communication courses for multilingual international students. Her curriculum design work encourages integration of various learning experiences, and her research focuses on language learning beyond the classroom. Social justice and critical pedagogies guide Dr. Bunning’s approach to working with language learners to develop ease and flexibility in their communication, bearing in mind that language use is action. She is committed to contributing to a university community that values, learns from, and is changed and strengthened by the diverse voices of all its members. Dr. Bunning earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Lesley University, an MA in Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and a BA in anthropology from Smith College. She has taught ESOL, intercultural communication, and teacher education in corporate, community-based, and university settings in the Kenya, Rwanda, and the US.


Matt Capone

Program Manager, Professional Programs
He, him, his

Matt Capone oversees undergraduate degree program delivery and provides support for faculty in two academic domains, Quality Assurance & Advanced Manufacturing and the Analytics & Enterprise Intelligence, and also has the same responsibilities for the College’s English and Philosophy classes. Prior to joining Northeastern University, Matt worked at Indiana University for International Admissions and the Intensive English Program. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a BS in Biology from Indiana University-Bloomington. Currently, Matt is pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy from the Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities, during which he has researched issues such as transgender discrimination and racial inequities. Matt brings valuable personal experience to the Council, including as a member of the queer community, as a leader of a queer graduate student group, and as a participant in the Inclusive Working Environments Mentoring Circle at Northeastern.


Cherese Childers-McKee headshot

Cherese Childers-McKee, PhD

Assistant Teaching Professor, Graduate School of Education
She, her, hers

Dr. Cherese Childers-McKee is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Northeastern University and serves as the faculty lead for Curriculum in the Education Doctorate Program (EdD). Dr. Childers-McKee completed her Ph.D. in Educational Studies with a concentration in Cultural Studies at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, her MEd in Education – Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her BS in Spanish at Wake Forest University. Dr. Childers-McKee’s teaching and curriculum development experiences range from K-12 to higher education. She has taught middle school and high school culturally and linguistically diverse students; undergraduate pre-service teachers; undergraduate honors students; and masters and doctoral students. Dr. Childers-McKee enjoys studying, teaching, and writing about action research, social justice education, critical pedagogy, critical race feminism, and teacher advocacy. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Action Research Journal (ARJ).


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Wendy Crocker, PhD

Associate Teaching Professor, Graduate School of Education
She, her, hers

Dr. Wendy Crocker teaches in the doctoral program where she is the Principal Instructor for the “Leadership for Social Justice” foundation course required for all students in the Dissertation in Practice in the Doctor of Education Program. Her curriculum design work foregrounds the use of reflection as a tool for building inclusive course environments – especially with on-line, non-traditional learners. As a member of Northeastern University’s global network based in Ontario, Canada, Wendy brings a non-US perspective to discussions of social justice. Her own research interests stem from her 30 years in public education in Ontario and her work with the Old Colony Mennonites as a minoritized culture. She advocates for multimodal methods of communication as an opportunity to decentre Western ways of knowing. Dr. Crocker teaches courses in curriculum theory and design, as well as early childhood and leverages apps and tools to establish classroom communities where members learn with and from each other. Dr. Crocker earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Curriculum) from the University of Western Ontario and holds an MEd in Curriculum in addition to Bachelor’s degrees in Education and Physical Education. She is a licensed teacher, principal, and superintendent and was recently appointed to the Ontario Council of Teachers. Wendy has taught in both undergraduate and graduate programs at King’s University College, and the University of Western Ontario. She is active in the Ontario Mennonite Central Committee, and as a Board member of a not-for-profit childcare centre.


Ori Fienberg

Associate Director of Academic Quality and Integrity
Lecturer
He, him, his

Ori Fienberg is a Jewish, XXY writer and educator who has been a part of the Northeastern community for over 9 years. As the Associate Director of Academic Integrity for the College of Professional Studies he is responsible for initiatives to promote original, authentic work. Previous roles include CPS Tutor Coordinator, and Lead Writing Specialist for the Foundation Year program. He also teaches ENG3220 Writing Poetry. As an educator, Ori is committed to creating accessible environments and course work that reflects the transformative power of engaging with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. A graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, his essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in dozens of publications including BOAATCincinnati ReviewHeavy Feather ReviewMid-American ReviewPANKRattle, and Subtropics. Ori’s first collection, Old Habits, New Markets, is coming soon from Elsewhere Press. Ori lives in Evanston, IL. 


Joshua Hall sitting with laptop at desk

Joshua I. Hall

Senior, BS Psychology and Applied Behavioral Analysis Major
He/They

After completing six years of service in the United States Air Force, Joshua set his sights on completing his education at Northeastern University. Coming from a family of 11 siblings and being a triplet himself, he knows nothing short of strength in numbers as well as diversity. He continues his commitment of service before self as a Student Representative on the CPS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.

LinkedIn Profile


Peggy Hayes

Director of Communications
She, her, hers

Peggy is responsible for digital, social and print communications strategy and management for the College of Professional studies, including the college’s website, working with faculty and all staff units across the college. Prior to joining Northeastern University, Peggy held two positions in higher education. At Harvard University, she was Director of Communications for the Harvard University Allston Development Group, and at Tufts University, she managed health sciences communications for the Tufts University health sciences campus in Boston including the Medical School, the Dental School, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Previously, she worked in public relations in New York for two national firms: Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum, and on the staff of a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. Peggy holds an MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication from Northeastern University and a BA in English from Vassar College. She is an active volunteer in social justice organizations and local and national initiatives for LGBTQ equality.


Marissa Lemus-Reynoso headshot

Marissa Lemus

Student, Master of Science in Biotechnology
She, her, hers

Marissa Lemus was born and raised in Guatemala and moved to Boston in 2007. She is intellectually, emotionally and socially motivated. Marissa was a Board member of the Blackstone Innovation School from 2013 to 2017 and member of the East Boston Central Catholic development team from 2017 to 2020. She works as Vice President of Public Relations for the Latino Association in Science and Engineering (student chapter), and is an active member of the Association of Latino Professionals for the America (ALPFA)-Boston Chapter. Both national organizations are dedicated to serving the Latino communities. Marissa currently holds a second job as student coach for the TRIO Student Support Services, a federally-funded program that allows her to support first generation, low-income students, and students with special physical or learning abilities. Her goal is to promote academic success and personal development of students who are underrepresented. She has learned many things from her interaction and broad experience with students from different cultures and abilities and she looks forward to continuing supporting diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities for all. Marissa recognizes the importance of diversity and the strength that a group of diverse people can bring when working together as one. While working for the Boston Public Schools she learned about the “UBUNTU” philosophy, “I am because we are”. Since then, Marissa fostered that philosophy and committed to promote a culture of respect and unity everywhere she goes.


Danielle Lucas headshot

Danielle Lucas

Student, Doctor of Education (EdD)
Associate Director of Scheduling (Registrar)
She, her, hers

Danielle Lucas is a higher education professional with over a decade of experience and holds an undergraduate degree in Theater/Dance, as well as a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Business Management. She is also an arts advocate and ran a theater company in Boston for 14 years with a focus on giving a voice to those that needed amplifying. Through theater she supported equality, social justice, and increasing understanding of one another by producing new works by local playwrights. Her current studies in the Doctor of Education (EdD) program is focused on intercultural communication across online platforms in communities with a global presence such as Northeastern. She is also committed to increasing awareness of social justice and lack of equity, through clear communication, education, change management, and empathy. As she currently works in the Northeastern Registrar’s Office in charge of finals, Teacher Rating and Course Evaluation system (known as TRACE), and general scheduling needs, as well as co-leading the Communications Committee within the office. She is passionate about representing the CPS community and bringing her experience of amplifying voices.


James Mahaffey

Student, Bachelor of Science in Analytics and Master of Professional Studies, Enterprise Intelligence
He, him, his

James Mahaffey is a Northeastern student, SaaS startup founder and dad of two daughters. With a focus on gender equity for girls, fellowship and gender equity for active dads, he co-founded Boston Dads Group. He leads (new dad) classes at the Little Lovage Club in the South End where he curated a curriculum whose aim was to expand the understanding of their role while exploring the evidenced-based reality of the impact of dads on their children. In June of 2014, he was invited to represent fathers at then Vice President Joe Biden’s administration’s first-ever White House Summit on Working Fathers. He’s been quoted in the Boston Globe, Boston Parents Paper and Le Journal De Montreal regarding aspects of fatherhood.  Currently as a CPS Analytics major and mission-driven, commercially focused founder of rainKnowledge, he seeks to develop relational database(s) to analyze existing data sets, gather additional data and extract the stories they reveal to further identify where business opportunities overlap with targeted measures and curated solutions for underserved groups.


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Susan Pett SHRM-CP

Manager, Administration and Employee Experience
She, her, hers

Susan Pett is Manager, Employee Experience and Administration at the College of Professional Studies and serves as the first point of contact for all staff human resources (HR) concerns. Susan works on recruitment, hiring, onboarding, and special projects. She has a Bachelor of Science from University of Arizona and an HR certification from Society for Human Resource Management. Susan’s background is diverse, having experience in consulting, financial services, web development, office management and human resources. Northeastern is Susan’s second higher education experience with previous experience working at Boston University. She is concerned with promoting opportunities in the workplace for all employees.


Denise Reid

Student Engagement Manager
She, her, hers

Denise is an experienced higher education administrator, and social media specialist focused on the Student Experience. She is an Afro-Caribbean woman born in Boston, Massachusetts, driven by her identities. Denise is passionate about finding upward mobility pathways within marginalized communities. As the Student Engagement Manager for the College of Professional Studies Student Experience division, her goal is to identify student engagement strategies that correlate to high retention and graduation rates. Outside of her primary role at Northeastern University, Denise considers herself an unofficial Northeastern community leader, being involved as a student and staff member in multiple affinities and student groups such as Graduate Student of Color Collective and NUDREAM. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication Degree with a minor in Sociology and Business, and a Graduate Certificate in Marketing from D’Amore McKim School of Business. She is enrolled in the Part-time Masters in Business Administration at the D’Amore McKim School of Business. 


Karen G. Reiss Medwed, PhD, DD

Associate Teaching Professor
Assistant Dean of Networks and Digital Engagement, Graduate School of Education
She, her, hers

Dr. Reiss Medwed’s scholarship includes understanding the growth of the field of online education and instruction in higher education, K-12 education and faith-based education. Dr. Reiss Medwed earned her Ph.D. from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning with a specialization in Jewish education.  She was also a Steinhardt Fellow for the four years of her doctoral studies. She went on to design and develop a Master of Education program in Faith-Based Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Medwed also has studied the development of innovative practices for online course design and instruction for higher education.  While her work began in faith-based education, it has now expanded to encompass network and remote learning. 


Youngbok Ryu headshot

Youngbok Ryu, PhD

Assistant Teaching Professor, Professional Programs
He, him, his

Dr. Ryu teaches Commerce and Economic Development courses and conducts research projects on supplier diversity and entrepreneurial resilience. He is also assisting small businesses, particularly diverse-owned ones, in scaling up as a founding member of the Northeastern Lab for Inclusive Entrepreneurship. Before joining Northeastern University, he was a faculty member at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology where he provided technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses along with Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He also worked with RAND Corporation as an assistant policy researcher and with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow. While at think tanks, he studied various public policy issues ranging from environment and technology to health and transportation. After serving as a military officer in the Corps of Engineering, in addition, he worked as a patent data analyst and consultant for five years in South Korea.

LinkedIn Profile


Mamta Saxena, PhD

Assistant Dean of Academic Quality and Assessment
She, her, hers

Dr. Mamta Saxena is responsible for providing leadership to execute a long-term strategy for data collection and measurement of student learning outcomes and learning analytics for the purpose of program improvement and instructional innovation. She works closely with the faculty, as well as the academic leadership at the college and across the university to implement a culture of inquiry and continual improvement. Before joining Northeastern, she led the instructional design team at Southern New Hampshire University where she provided quality oversight and supervision of the instructional design team. She has also worked in corporate and academic settings to implement state-of-the-art instructional design and assessment approaches, both in India and in the United States. Dr. Saxena earned her Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning from Capella University, and MEd in curriculum and instruction program from Lesley University. Her background is in education with a focus on instructional design for online learning and assessment. She has taught as part-time faculty in the Graduate School of Education and published on the topics of globalized, experiential and culturally responsive learning and assessment. She brings to the table her own cultural background and experiences as a brown, Asian, immigrant from India, along with her research and work inside and outside of CPS on equitable and culturally responsive assessment and design.


Tanvi Tawde headshot

Tanvi Tawde

Student, Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs
She, her, hers

Tanvi Tawde is a Master’s student from India in regulatory affairs at Northeastern’s Toronto campus and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Dr. L. H. Hiranandani College of Pharmacy. She is a passionate and self-driven individual with a drive to make a difference. From her past experiences both professionally and personally, Tanvi brings a diverse cultural perspective and value to the DEI Council. As a Council member, she believes she can help and empathize with people around her and welcome them. In her view, change starts from within and a friendly smile can do wonders. Tanvi notes, “Even though from different backgrounds, all of us are humans on an equal level, and being one makes us stronger.” That is something she deeply ponders. As a student herself, she believes she can help her fellow learners offer the feeling of belonging by welcoming diverse cultures, backgrounds, and virtues openly.


Dagmar Whitaker

Assistant Dean of Administration and Employee Experience
She, her, hers

Dagmar Whitaker is the head of the Human Resources, Administration and Employee Experience in the College of Professional Studies. Dagmar oversees all human resources (HR) functions and initiatives for staff and faculty and provides full-cycle human resources support for the College. She collaborates with Dean Loeffelholz, College leadership, business partners in Human Resources Management, and the Office of the General Counsel to provide strategic direction related to the role of HR within the College. Dagmar is also responsible for addressing all employee relations matters and assists in other areas of College administration, including academic human resources, faculty experience, employee engagement, process improvement and design, and workforce planning and development. Dagmar is actively involved in various professional working groups within the College and the University; helping to enhance employee satisfaction, experience and learning. Prior to joining Northeastern University, Dagmar held various HR positions in the education field, including at Boston University, Foreign Service Institute, and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Dagmar holds a BA in Humanities and Social Sciences and an MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic. Dagmar is an active member of various HR professional organizations such as Society of Human Resource Management, Northeast HR Association, HR Certification Institute and Human Capital Institute. Dagmar also holds several HR professional certifications.  Dagmar is passionate about making a positive impact, keeping employees engaged and enhancing creativity and diversity in a workplace.


John Wolfe

Associate Teaching Professor, Foundation Year
He, him, his

John began teaching at P.S. 58 on East 176th Street and Washington Avenue in the Bronx, NY during the 1967/68 school year. He notes that he became a teacher only because he was about to be drafted into the Army and he was against the American war with the people of Vietnam. His draft board deferred him because so few men were willing to teach in schools like 58. John describes the time: “1968 was a terrible year: the people of Vietnam were being incinerated by napalm and decimated by “carpet bombing”; Martin Luther King was assassinated; Bobby Kennedy was murdered a few months later; protesters at the Democratic Convention in Chicago were brutalized by the police. And Richard Nixon, campaigning on a Republican Party platform that stoked racism, class conflict, and hatred, was elected president.”  “So I began my professional journey while the country was torn apart by war, violence, and hatred; and, as I near the end of my career (I turned 74 in October), the nation is now facing pandemic, ever more entrenched systemic racism, and an unending ‘war against terrorism.’ But I remain hopeful because I have had the privilege of teaching and learning from young people who are passionate, determined, and hard-working and who deserve our support.”


Jeff Yu, M.Ed

Orientation and Student Event Manager, NU Global
He, him, his

Jeff supports both N.U. Immerse and Global Pathways students’ onboarding and transition experience. He is also part of the committee forming the Northeastern University Asian Faculty and Staff affinity group. Jeff earned his Master of Education in Student Affairs from Merrimack College, and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education.  Jeff brings both his professional and personal experiences to his work and to the Council. Jeff was a foreign student and has been working in the higher education field for several years. In his time supporting varied student populations in different institutions, Jeff has noticed that institutions frequently lack solid infrastructure to support international and immigrant students upon their arrival. He notes that these services are often lower priority, rarely get direct attention or have dedicated support. Serving on the Council, Jeff hopes to contribute to developing solid plans to bridge those services gaps and enrich the Council with his experiences.


Prior Events

Pocket Stories: A storytelling event celebrating CPS’ diverse community

Date: Wednesday September 29

We stored our moments in our invisible pockets and they went unheard from the world. Pocket Stories provides the opportunity for the community to share and understand the experiences of others.

Access for All: COVID Vaccine Inequity in Massachusetts

Date: March 31, 2021
Recording link: https://northeastern.zoom.us/rec/share/Jj4VQixvyCCpKhEy3lTKDTWGh-qPMBPMmlHlzi-NT0WayWwJ3iOEvQha1QvFFh1s.G_TIWRVws7hzMcr3

After a challenging rollout of the COVID- 19 vaccine, the Biden administration developed a new distribution goal for the first 100 days. However, evidence of inequity in distribution to potentially life-saving vaccines has been rampant. Gaps in data, cumbersome sign-up processes to receive the vaccine, and other systemic healthcare issues have all been cited as contributing factors. 

In this webinar, the College of Professional Studies Council for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Initiatives and Bouve College of Health Sciences examine the following issues and discuss potential solutions:

  • What are the long-term repercussions if we fail at equitable distribution locally and globally
  • With a continually evolving situation on the ground, how do we best prepare for the next rollout?