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Kaye Thompson-Rogers, Ph.D.
North Carolina Central State University

Dr. Kaye Thompson-Rogers is an Academic Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). During her tenure at NCCU, Kaye has held numerous positions, which included Administrative Assistant, Academic Advisor, Director of Recruitment and Advisement, Director of Licensure and Data Management, and Visiting Assistant Professor. She has been involved in numerous university committee assignments. Kaye worked on the University Convocation and Commencement committee for six years and Advisor for the University’s Graduate Students Association for three years. Kaye has a love for helping young people and adults reach their potentials. She does some of this by using her technology skills to help students and to help faculty integrate technology in their course preparation and/or teaching curriculum. Motto: "Learning can never be erased." 




President Elect
Nia Cantey, Ph.D.
Tennessee State University

Dr. Cantey is an Associate Professor with the MTC-MSW program in the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Urban Professions, a WRITE Associate with WRITE Program, and the Director for the Center on Aging: Research and Education Services (CARES) at Tennessee State University. With over ten years in social services, Nia is the former director of in-home services with the Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS) in Atlanta, Georgia. Nia is an alumna of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU), graduating cum laude. She completed her Masters of Social Work at The Florida State University and her doctoral degree in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. She studied how marginalized populations with intersecting identities negotiate their space. Nia's research interests include aging across the lifespan, historically Black colleges and universities in the 21st century, qualitative research, gender studies, intersectionality, as well as conflict analysis resolution. Nia is a published author in peer reviewed journals and books. She is also a 2013-2014 Faculty Scholar with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Geriatric Education Center (GEC).

Nia has served on the Leadership Team of SOTA for more than six years. She is a former participant of the Research Boot Camp, and co-chaired the Research Boot Camp 2013 held at Florida State University. Her leadership, dedication, and overall work ethic are great assets she will bring to the position. 

Past President
Felicia Moore Mensah, Ph.D.
Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Felicia Moore Mensah is Professor of Science Education and the Program Coordinator of the Science Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has worked collaboratively and independently in developing as a scholar in the areas of teacher education, teacher professional development, and science education research. Felicia received her doctorate in Science Education at The Florida State University (May 2003). As a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science at Michigan State University (June 2003-July 2005), Felicia focused on developing science curriculum materials that addressed issues of diversity in planning, assessing, and teaching science for understanding.  

At TC, Felicia’s research has been primarily in elementary science teacher education with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and science teacher identity. She has sponsored nearly 30 doctoral student dissertations and served on more than 80 dissertation committees, including graduate students inside and outside her program, department, college, and internationally. Felicia was awarded the 2005 Dean's Summer Grant for Research (Teachers College) and was one of five awardees of the Equity and Ethics Scholarship from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) in 2005, and the Race, Culture and Diversity Research Grant (Teachers College) in 2006 and 2015. She won the AERA Early Career Award, Division K, Teaching and Teacher Education in 2012. Finally, Felicia was one of the first members of SOTA as a graduate student at Florida State.



Takiyah Nur Amin, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she teaches courses in dance history and theory in the liberal studies curriculum, Department of Dance and College of Art and Architecture Honors Program. Her research and teaching interests include Black performance and aesthetics, Black feminist thought and activism, 20th century American concert dance and pedagogical issues in dance studies. Dr. Amin is affiliate faculty at UNC Charlotte in the Department of Africana Studies.

In service to the dance field, Dr. Amin is a member of the Board of Directors for the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD,) co-founder (with Dr. Nyama McCarthy Brown) of CORD's Diversity Working Group and a founding member of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD.) She has served as peer reviewer for both Dance Research Journal and Dance Chronicle and is the host of the New Book Network's Dance Channel. Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin is a proud native of Buffalo, NY and is the eldest daughter of Karima and the late Abdul Jalil Amin.


Dannielle Joy Davis, Ph.D.
Saint Louis University

Dr. Dannielle Joy Davis is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at Saint Louis University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she has studied and conducted research in Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Her interdisciplinary research examines the experiences of marginalized groups in educational settings, the role of organizational policy and practice in the promotion or inhibition of egalitarian academic and occupational outcomes, and spirituality in the workplace and other learning environments.

Dannielle has published over 40 refereed journal articles, book chapters, academic commentaries, volumes, and reviews. She is Co-editor of the books Black Women in Leadership: Their Historical and Contemporary Contributions (Peter Lang Publishing); Social Justice Issues and Race in the College Classroom: Learning from Different Voices (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.); and Intersectionality in Education Research (Stylus Publishing). Dr. Davis has served as an Associate Editor for Learning for Democracy: An International Journal of Thought and Practice and The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society. Currently she serves on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Colorism Studies and is Vice President of Professional Development for the National Girls and Women of Color Council.


Anna Green, Ph.D.
Atlanta Public Schools

Dr. Anna L. Green is currently the College Readiness Administrator for Atlanta Public Schools Project GRAD. She has taught Psychology and Education courses Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry, Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College (Tallahassee, Florida), Clark Atlanta University, and Atlanta Metropolitan College (Atlanta, Georgia). Anna’s academic affiliations include the American Educational Research Association- Affirmative Action and Social Justice Chairperson for Learning and Cognition Division. She is the co-editor of Sisters of the Academy: Emergent Black Women Scholars in Higher Education (Stylus, 2001) and Journey to the PhD: How to Navigate the Process as African Americans (Stylus, 2003). Anna was selected as a New Scholar for Public Democracy by the Kettering Foundation (Dayton, Ohio) for 2005-2007.

Anna earned a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology from The Florida State University, a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Clark Atlanta University and bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana. Anna’s research interests are college student learning and motivation and African American women scholars in higher education. Anna’s other research interests include the cultivation and development of students through mentoring, professional development, organizational and management skills, communication skills, and leadership training. She believes such talents are conducive to individual growth and success and are pertinent to teaching and learning. She is also a founding member of SOTA and President-Emerita of Sisters of the Academy Institute, Founding President.

Tamara Bertrand Jones, Ph.D.
Florida State University

Dr. Tamara Bertrand Jones currently serves as an Associate Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies. She teaches courses on Student Services in Higher Education, Outcomes of Higher Education, Institutional Research, and Literature Review and Professional Writing. Her research interests are assessment and evaluation in higher education (student affairs), culturally responsive evaluation, mentoring, Black graduate students, and the transition for graduate students to junior faculty.  


Tamara attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied and received a degree in Journalism. Upon graduation she enrolled in the Higher Education Program at The Florida State University (FSU). After completing the master’s program, she was accepted to doctoral studies in the Research and Program Evaluation program also at FSU.  Tamara remains active in the campus and community by serving on numerous college and university committees and volunteering regularly. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  She serves on the Catholic Charities of Tallahassee Regional Board of Advisors, serves as an advisor to the International Medical Outreach, an organization that journeys to other countries to provide much needed medical care. Tamara was also named the 2009 recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Distinguished Service Award from FSU for exemplifying outstanding service in keeping with the principles of Dr. King. She is also a founding member of SOTA.


Sonja Lanehart, Ph.D.
University of Texas at San Antonio

Dr. Sonja Lanehart is Professor and Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature
and the Humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research includes language and uses of literacy in African American communities, language and identity using Critical Race Theory, and educational implications and applications of sociolinguistic research. Her publications include Sociocultural and Historical Contexts of African American English (2001), Sista, Speak! Black Women Kinfolk Talk about Language and Literacy (2002), African American Women¹s Language: Discourse, Education, and Identity (2009), and Oxford Handbook of African American Language (2015).


LaKerri Mack, Ph.D.
Troy University

Dr. LaKerri Mack is currently an Assistant Professor at Troy University, Troy, AL, where she teaches Political Science and Public Administration courses. She is very actively involved in the Troy and Auburn University communities and other local communities. While at Auburn, where she received her doctoral degree, LaKerri was a Graduate Assistant with the Auburn University Multicultural Center as a liaison for several campus organizations. Her dissertation focused on the state of disenfranchisement tactics within the voting process with a specific examination of the voter photo identification requirement for the State of Georgia. Other research interests include Election Administration and Public Policy, Black Political and Feminist Thought, and Women’s Political Leadership.

LaKerri has won numerous awards including The Most Outstanding Student for the Masters of Public Administration Program in 2007; Public Administration Scholarship from the National Forum of Black Public Administrators (East Alabama Chapter) in 2009; The Women’s Studies Program Graduate Student Award in 2009; and the College of Liberal Arts’ Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for 2009-2010.

Ezella McPherson, Ph.D. 

Wayne State University 

Dr. Ezella McPherson is from Norman, Oklahoma. She earned a doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation centered on the persistence of African American women in STEM fields. It examined why some African American women stayed in or departed from STEM majors. Her current collaborative research projects focus on college student persistence and success for underrepresented populations in STEM fields at PWIs and HBCUs. She has also presented her research and practical experiences at regional, national, and international conferences. 

She has a passion for writing and helping others produce excellent scholarship. Currently, she is an editorial board member for the Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition and the Georgia Journal of College Student Affairs. She is also passionate about working with undergraduate students in to facilitate their college retention, persistence, and graduation. She currently serves undergraduate and graduate students in Wayne State University’s (WSU’s) College of Engineering in Detroit, MI. There she is also a Commissioner on WSU’s President’s Commission on the Status for Women, and a member of university committees. Her motto is “dreams are possible!!!”

Rema Reynolds, Ph.D.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Dr. Rema Reynolds is a former teacher, counselor, administrator, and currently organizes Black parents for the improvement of student achievement in various schools. Having recently earned her doctorate from the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, Rema received the competitive University of California Office of the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship. She will further her research agenda focusing on Black families in the Psychology Department at UC Riverside. Rema is also an Assistant Professor at Azusa Pacific University (APU) teaching aspiring school counselors and school psychologists and offers support and instruction to preservice secondary teachers at UCLA’s teacher education program, Center X.


Rema’s research is centered in urban schools serving culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse students and families. Specifically, Rema examines issues of parent engagement as they relate to Black families and student achievement, instructional strategies educators employ to honor and incorporate literacies students bring to the classroom, cultural competencies counselors and school counselors acquire through their respective preparatory programs, and the role of school administrators in community and civic development. Within the last three years before finishing her doctorate, Rema was recognized with an Emerging Scholar Award at APU, was a UC ACCORD fellow, and has published five articles and presented at numerous conferences. In her spare time, Rema enjoys sleeping.

Virginia Tickles, Ph.D.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 

Dr. Virginia Cook Tickles is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, whose educational pathway has been paved through Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee AL (BS Mechanical Engineering, 1985), Florida Institute of Technology , Redstone Arsenal, AL (MS Systems Engineering Management, 1999), and Jackson State University, Jackson MS (PhD Urban Higher Education, 2006). This dynamic individual’s career encompasses 26 years as an Aerospace Engineer at NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville Alabama and Visiting Professor at both Tennessee State University and Jackson State University Engineering Colleges.  

With a keen interest in African American women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), her dissertation, "The Career Success of African American Women with Doctorates in STEM” documents and frames the attitudes and behaviors needed for successful STEM achievement. Dr. Tickles continues to spread her enthusiasm throughout the STEM environment catering to designing and implementing STEM pre-college programs, STEM grant writing, and curriculum enhancements in STEM courses.  The most impressive legacy Dr. Tickles has cultivated, with her spouse, is the strength she exhibits in encouraging the growth and development of her six daughters to become educated and engaged African American female trailblazers in their own areas of expertise. Virginia was featured on the front cover of the "Black Ph.D., Ed.D. Magazine, 2008 Special Edition as a Trailblazer.

Sonia Toson, J.D., M.B.A.

Southern Polytechnic State University

Dr. Sonia Toson is an Assistant Professor of Law in Business Administration at Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, GA.  She received both her Juris Doctorate and her Master of Business Administration from American University in Washington, DC. She is a licensed attorney in the State of Georgia. Before beginning a career in academia, she spent 8 years in private practice specializing in Corporate, Real Estate and Construction Law. Her research interests include corporate social responsibility, sustainability and its intersection with the law, entrepreneurship, and the scholarship of teaching and learning legal studies.


J. Celeste Wally-Jean, Ph.D.
Clayton State University

Dr. J. Celeste Walley-Jean is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Graduate Coordinator of Clinical Psychology Masters Program at Clayton State University in Georgia. She is an alumna of the University of Southern Mississippi, 2002 and Spelman College, 1995, Celeste’s research interests include African American college students and interpersonal violence, African American women and anger, as well as gender & anger. Celeste is an avid football fan and enjoy
s spending time with her husband, son, and friends.

Montressa L. Washington, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University

Montressa L. Washington is a Senior Managing Consultant with IBM’s Human Capital Management (HCM) Public Sector practice based in Washington, DC. She holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University (MBA) and the University of Maryland, College Park (B.A. English). Ms. Washington, an IBM certified business transformation consultant is a member of the HCM Knowledge and Collaboration (K&C) group which specializing in guiding clients through implementation of collaborative and Web 2.0 tools such as Innovation Jams, wikis, blogs, and collaborative spaces. A 16 year consulting veteran, she has expertise in change management, communication planning, and business transformation.

Montressa is a Management Design Fellow at Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management conducting doctoral level research in the areas of management, social media, technology, innovation, organizational behavior, social networks and collaboration in PhD Management – Designing Sustainable Systems program. Montressa has presented her academic research at the conferences such as the Southern Academy of Management Association and International Association for Computer Information System (IACIS).

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