Lesley Berhan is currently the Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement for the College of Engineering and an Associate Professor in the department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at The University of Toledo. Her research interests are in the areas of composites and fibrous materials and engineering education. She received her B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, her M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She joined the faculty at the University of Toledo in 2004. As the Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement she leads the development and execution of initiatives and programs to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and success of women, students from underrepresented groups and first generation students. These duties are well aligned with her current research interests and external funding in engineering education.
Aaron Adams is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at Alabama A & M University. Before pursuing graduate studies, he worked at the National Academy of Engineering & Ford Motor Company as a product design engineer focusing on Minority STEM education and environmental policies. His research interests include nuclear radiation detection and thermal electric material development. He also works with the Center for Entrepreneurship Innovation and Economic Development to encourage African American students, and underrepresented groups in developing business innovation and ideas.
Willie McKether is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Vice Provost at The University of Toledo. Formerly, he was associate dean in UT’s College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and is an associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. His academic areas of focus include African-American migration and culture, as well as business anthropology and urban anthropology, with a focus on student retention and school culture as well as social network analysis. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Grand Valley State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Saginaw Valley State University, and a Master of Arts degree in labor and industrial relations, as well as a doctoral degree in business anthropology, from Wayne State University. Dr. McKether is a founding member (2011) of Brothers on the Rise, a retention and mentoring program at UT as well as the Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program (MESP) summer bridge program at The University of Toledo. His community involvement includes: advisory board member, Art Tatum African-American Resource Center at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library; founding member (2009), Edrene Cole African-American Oral History Collection in Toledo; member of United Way of Greater Toledo’s African-American Leadership Council; and he is a Board of Trustee member with YMCA. He also is past president of the Central States Anthropological Society.
Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology, University of Michigan. At the graduate level, she teaches courses in Adolescent Development, Motivational Theory and Application, Cultural Perspectives in Learning and Development, and Self and Identity. Her research focuses on social and cultural processes involved in constructing a sense of self and identity among adolescents in culturally diverse societies. Of particular interest are the role of teachers, teacher-education programs, schools, communities, and families in facilitating minority and immigrant adolescents’ development, learning, and motivation. Her work is published in Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Research on Adolescence, Contemporary Educational Psychology, and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. She received a Spencer Foundation Grant in 2007 to examine academic prospects, interpersonal relationships, and social well-being of students in school districts with a high concentration of students of Arab and Chaldean origins. Recently, she received internal grants from the University of Toledo to conduct mindfulness intervention projects with elementary school students and preservice teachers. She is also the recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Fellowship to pursue her interest in culture, mindfulness, and motivation in cross-cultural and international contexts.
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