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.


Ori Fienberg

Co-chair, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council
Associate Director of Academic Quality and Integrity
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. 

Karen G. Reiss Medwed, PhD, DD

Co-chair, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council
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. 


Stephen F. Amato, PhD, MBA, RAC (US/EU)

Teaching Professor
Faculty Director, Global Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance and Advanced Manufacturing
He, him, his

Dr. Stephen F. Amato has over 20 years of professional experience in the global medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.  Previously, he served as the Managing Director of East Coast Operations for Cardinal Health Regulatory Sciences, where he led the development and oversight of regulatory, healthcare product supply chain and logistics businesses.  Earlier in his career, he was an Executive Director at Anika Therapeutics where he managed all aspects of the company’s product portfolio, including marketing strategy and operations, pricing, regulatory affairs and reimbursement.  From 2000 to 2007 he was the Group Director of Orthopedics at Smith & Nephew where he managed a $250M product portfolio.  He started his career at Siemens Healthcare where he served as Product Manager for the clinical genotyping and DNA sequencing platform for the infectious disease diagnostic portfolio. Dr. Amato holds an AB in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University, a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology, as well as an MBA in Marketing from Boston College.

Earlene Avalón, PhD, MPH

Lead Faculty and Associate ProfessorHealthcare 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 PhD 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.

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.

Rachel Deleveaux

Student, Doctor of Education program
She, her, hers

Rachel Deleveaux’s doctoral research focuses on the effects of culture at predominantly White schools on Black identity development and how afterschool programs can serve as intermediary for self-efficacy development.   Additionally, Rachel serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Leominster, Fitchburg and Gardner, Massachusetts; she also serves as Adjunct Faculty at North Shore Community College. Ms. Deleveaux has made a significant impact as a leader, consultant, volunteer, and advocate for many organizations and institutions across the United States; she serves on the Executive Committee for Suffolk University College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Board of Directors. Additionally, she serves on the Diversity Council at North Shore Community College. Moreover, Rachel recently served as the Region 1 Representative for the Socioeconomic and Class Issues in Higher Education Knowledge Community for NASPA. Rachel brings a wealth of varied experiences and skills to the Council. Rachel has a passion for helping people actualize their greatness. To that end, she has mentored many students over the years and hopes to impact many more lives.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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?