Aerial view of Graduate School and Nursing building.

2021 Speakers

Members of the planning committee asked “what can we do to affect change and address issues of racism and inequality in research?” We hope this year’s speakers will spark discussion and change on this exact question. Please find their bios below. 


Dr. Chenelle Jones

Dr. Chenelle Jones

Dr. Chenelle Jones is the Assistant Dean of Community Engagement, and Chair of the Public Safety Programs at Franklin University. She also oversees the Center for Public Safety and Cybersecurity Education (CPSCE), and the Global Center for Healthcare Education (GCHE) at Franklin University. Dr. Jones received her Ph.D. in the Administration of Justice from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. Her research interests include race and crime, policing, and juvenile delinquency. She is particularly interested in issues of police/community relations, disproportionate minority contact (DMC), mass incarceration, and the intersection of race and gender in the criminal justice system. Dr. Jones currently serves as the National Director of Research for the Teen and Police Service (TAPS) Academy, a federally funded program designed to reduce social distance between police officers and youth. As the Director, she is responsible for establishing the research agenda, analyzing data, and serving as a consultant for best practices in improving relations between teens and the police. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on public perceptions of the police, race, and the administration of justice. She is also the co-editor of A Critical Analysis of Race and the Administration of Justice.

Dr. Jones is a highly sought-after speaker, and has conducted several presentations, keynotes, and media appearances on issues of race, police/community relations, and disproportionate minority contact. She is a reviewer for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and several academic journals including the Journal of Juvenile Justice, the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, and Race and Justice. She is a crime analyst for TV One’s hit show “For My Man.” She was appointed by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther to serve on the Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission. She is a member of the Juvenile Detention Facility Assessment Team for Franklin County. She is an ambassador for the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services’ Change Starts Here campaign. She is featured in “An Unfinished Documentary…Change Starts with You” which highlights law enforcement and community-wide efforts to improve police/community relations. Dr. Jones founded Come Together Columbus, which is a loose collective of organizations and individuals committed to racial justice, community empowerment, and police reform in Columbus, Ohio. She is also a member of the Columbus Civilian Review Board. Dr. Jones is the recipient of numerous awards including Wittenberg University’s Professional Achievement Award, Franklin University’s Dean’s Award Recognizing Excellence, Franklin University’s Core Value Award for Respect, the Central Ohio Social Justice Award for Education Advocacy in Higher Education, Columbus CEO’s Future 50 Award, Columbus Business First’s 40 Under 40 Award, the Conley Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Sankofa Award for Education, and the Visionary Award by Columbus City Council and the Create Columbus Commission.

Dr. Jones is the 2018 recipient of the Emerald Literati Award for Most Outstanding Author Contribution for her book chapter The New Jane Crow: Mass Incarceration and the Denied Maternity of Black Women. She serves on the Board of the Grant Foundation for Grant Medical Center, the Columbus Impact and Inclusion Advisory Board for Columbus Young Professionals, and the Advisory Board for the Black Legacy Advancement Coalition (BLAC), which is a national policy think tank organization established to advance and defend African American interests for life and legacy. Dr. Jones is also a member of several community and professional organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the American Society of Criminology, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, and the Racial Democracy and Criminal Justice Network.

Dr. Tanya Maloney

Dr. Tanya Maloney

Dr. Tanya Maloney is an assistant professor of secondary education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Montclair State University (MSU). Dr. Maloney co-directs the Urban Teacher Residency and the Newark Teacher Project programs with Dr. Bree Picower and in partnership with the Newark Board of Education and Orange Public Schools. She also co-coordinates the Critical Urban Education Speaker Series, a bi-annual event open to the public that brings leading educational scholars to MSU in an effort to develop attendees’ racial and political analysis.

Dr. Maloney began her career in education as a high school mathematics teacher at Robeson High School in Chicago, IL. Her qualitative research considers issues of race, racism, and justice in teacher education, leadership education, and mathematics education. Dr. Maloney’s work is published in Cognition and Instruction, Teaching and Teacher Education, the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, and the Journal of Research on Leadership Education.

Speakers & Moderators

Michael Allen

Gaining excellence in any profession requires skill as equally as focus and determination. As the current Associate Director for Research Integrity and Compliance at the University of South Florida, Mr. Allen has centered his talents on rising above expectations and going beyond success in both his personal life and career. A feat attributed to his strong background in sports, and the desire and resolve its gifted him in training for his future triathlon. Mr. Allen started his career as a Research Associate at North Carolina A&T State University. For over three years, he developed numerous compliance programs for the university, including IRB, IACUC, and IBC, and he managed pre and post award processes for various federal agencies. Mr. Allen’s career took him to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he established the research ethics office and revitalized its compliance programs. Serving as the Director for the Office of Research Compliance, Mr. Allen functioned as the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) and the Institutional Official Designee. During his time at the university, he oversaw the IRB, the IACUC, and the IBC. He also created a training curriculum to satisfy both NIH and NSF Responsible Conduct of Research requirements. Later, with the HRP Consulting Group, Mr. Allen worked as a consultant in the global matters of program development, educational activities, accreditation prep, program evaluations and crisis management.

As an avid sportsman, Mr. Allen spends his free time engaging in physical pursuits such as swimming and bicycling. As a child, he began playing basketball and found an instant love for the game. Now, years later, he owes his success in work and life to the disciplines he was taught while playing team sports. The honesty, integrity, and fairness that is attributed to each player is now a part of his work ethics, and it helps him to remain level-minded as he tackles everyday issues. Mr. Allen’s background in research ethics, as well as his expertise in handling compliance issues and serving as faculty for the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), have given him a full career with a diverse portfolio. His work has ventured through various industries, such as animal research, biohazards, and human research. His core beliefs in ethics and equality allow him to see the world through a unique lens, applying his fair view to all forms of research compliance.

Carmen Reyes Cuevas

Carmen Reyes-Cuevas is the Assistant Director of the Educational Opportunity Funds Program (EOF) at Montclair State University, a program whose main goal is to give educational and financial access to NJ residents from low income and underrepresented areas. She assists in the development of the strategic plan, vision and goals for EOF including ongoing review of all EOF programs and services. Carmen has been teaching Gender, Sex & Women Studies for the past 15 years and has a strong passion in trying to find ways to recruit more LatinX students into the major. She has also taught Perspectives on Latin America for the Latin American/Latino Studies Program (LALS) and the GNED 199 New Student Experience Seminar. Carmen previously served on the University Senate, Latin American/Latino Studies Steering Committee, the Women and Gender Studies Advisory Committee, and for five years as President of MSU’s LatinX Caucus. She currently serves as advisor to the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), member of the President’s Commission on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the MSU Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the AFT Local 1904 Scholarship and COPE Committees, Hispanic Student College Institute team, EOFPA Executive Board, and as a HISPA, NJ mentor. Carmen holds a Bachelor’s degree from William Paterson University and a Master’s degree from New York University from the Center of Latin American Studies.
Dr. Dannielle Joy Davis

Dr. Dannielle Joy Davis is a tenured Full Professor of Higher Education at Saint Louis University. She is the first known African American woman (descended from skilled captive Mende, Temne, Fula, and indigenous Sioux and Cherokee people in the United States) to earn tenure and Full rank in the history of the institution’s School of Education. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she studied and conducted research in South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Togo, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Cuba, and Ghana. Dr. Davis is a twice elected Chair of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA’s) Spirituality and Education Special Interest Group (SIG) and served as part of the leadership team for AERA’s Qualitative Research SIG. She is a member of the national Black Lives Matter in Research Working Group and has published over 70 refereed journal articles, book chapters, volumes, academic commentaries, and reviews. Dr. Davis is Series Editor of the Information Age Publishing book series, Contemporary Perspectives on Spirituality in Education, where she coordinates and leads guest editors and authors from around the globe in the development of scholarly volumes.
Dr. Michael Hannon

Dr. Michael Hannon is an Associate Professor of Counseling at Montclair State University, a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). His counseling experience includes work as a counselor educator, clinical mental health counselor, school counselor, and student affairs professional. He is also on staff as a counselor at the Center for MARCUS in Trenton, New Jersey. Dr. Hannon’s research about Black men as fathers, other fathers, counselor educators, and community leaders has been featured in a number of peer-reviewed journals and professional conferences. He has been a featured contributor to media outlets such as Autism Speaks, Thrive Global, Fusion, Neurodiversity Experts, and Huffington Post. Dr. Hannon earned a doctoral degree in Counselor Education & Supervision from The Pennsylvania State University, an Educational Specialist degree in School Counseling Services from Rider University, a master’s degree in Student Affairs Practice and a bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Processes from the University of Delaware.
Michael A. Hunt

Rev. Michael A. Hunt, a native of Baltimore, proud alumnus of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (high school), the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) (Bachelors in Applied Mathematics), and Emory University (Masters of Divinity). Michael has served as a university/college administrator, middle & high school math instructor, musical vocalist, as well as a social justice educator, shaping the lives of the leaders of today. His life’s work focuses on radical inclusion through social justice engagement & interfaith/meaning-making partnerships. In addition, Michael has returned to his alma mater as the Director of the UMBC McNair Scholars Program, working to increase underrepresented and underserved, first-generation, and low-income students’ attainment of research-based doctoral degrees. His current research interest focuses on dismantling hierarchical structures that impede the success of underserved populations by examining holistic critical mentoring, a network of power-dynamic-flipped, student-centered, reciprocal relationships. Also, Michael seeks to bridge spirituality and STEM education by providing culturally nuanced resources for increasing self-esteem and promoting holistic critical mentoring. Michael is completing his Ph.D. at UMBC in the Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC) Program. He embraces daily the belief that “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.”
Denise O'Shea

Denise O’Shea is currently the Head of Access Services & Systems at Sprague Library. She is responsible for managing circulation, course reserves, and the library’s integrated online library system, among other duties. Denise has experience working in a wide variety of libraries, including public, academic, medical, and corporate libraries. She also has a background in IT consulting. Denise recently completed a Master’s degree in Public and Organizational Relations at Montclair State University, and a graduate certificate program at Harvard University, titled Library Leadership in a Digital Age. Her service to the campus community includes the Executive Board of the African American Caucus, member of the Institutional Review Board, and she serves as the Librarian Representative and member of the Local Negotiations Team for AFT Local 1904.
Dr. Jazmin Reyes-Portillo

Dr. Jazmin Reyes-Portillo is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Montclair State University. Dr. Reyes-Portillo completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She was a recipient of the Sallie Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Reyes-Portillo graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College. Her research focuses on using digital health technology to improve racial/ethnic minority youth access to mental health treatment for depression and anxiety disorders.
Viviane Saleh-Hanna

Viviane Saleh-Hanna is Professor of Crime and Justice Studies, and an affiliate of Women’s and Gender Studies and Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She serves on the board of the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, the African Journal for Criminology and Justice Studies and Decolonization of Criminology and Justice. Her publications have introduced and developed Black feminist hauntology, penal abolition theories and practices, penal colonialism, transformative justice, structurally abusive relationships, and freedom dreams inspired by Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison and growing scholarships and writings on Afrofuturism.
Dr. Doretha Walker

Dr. Walker is an Army veteran who received her PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University, specializing in Public Management and Leadership. She received her Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) from Ball State University while on active duty in the US Army as a maintenance officer and her Bachelors of Science degree in Secondary Education from the University of Alabama. She is an independent scholar who engages in intellectual activism by conducting and designing research. Implements laborative investigation studies as part of an interdisciplinary research team including executing exhaustive literature reviews and producing. written and oral communication of scholarly work research presentations and publications. She has taught undergraduate and graduate-level business classes as well as master’s and doctorate level classes in public and business administration. She is a public speaker, author of Success by Association, Success by Acclamation, The Traits that built African American Women Leaders in the Area of Governance in South Carolina, an academic ebook, a frequent guest columnist in the Moxie section and book reviewer in the Post and Courier, former regular contributor to Living Roots magazine and a guest blogger on several sites.
Dr. Jason Williams

Dr. Williams is a critical criminologist who engages in race and justice research. He is a staunch qualitative researcher, grounded in community-based research. He believes in foregrounding marginalized people’s voices and lived experiences as they matriculate institutions of justice (in formal and informal contexts). Dr. Williams’ research interrogates the power dynamics inherent in mainstream research and power dynamics in social institutions. He has published in many areas: policing, citizen reentry, gender, social control, social justice, and philosophical criminology. Some of his recent work has uncovered Black males and women’s plights as they navigate reintegration after incarceration. He has also analyzed narratives from Ferguson and Baltimore surrounding African Americans’ experiences and perspectives with policing. Moreover, he plans to start a project that would include community-based participatory research that contextualizes the narratives of immigrant Middle Eastern and Asian women’s experiences with domestic violence.
Dr. Breea Willingham

Dr. Breea Willingham is an interdisciplinary scholar and criminal justice professor whose teaching and research examines the intersections of race, gender, higher education, and the criminal injustice system. She is particularly interested in examining Black women’s experiences with higher education in prison, and amplifying the voices of Black women impacted by the injustice system. Influenced by her experiences as a sister and aunt of two men serving life sentences, Dr. Willingham’s research also focuses on the societal ramifications of mass incarceration, especially its impact on families. She has presented her research at academic conferences nationally and internationally, and given lectures at universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. Dr. Willingham is a co-founder of the Jamii Sisterhood, LLC, an organization that offers a safe and innovative space for Black women in higher education in prison. She is also the Managing Editor of the new Journal for Higher Education in Prison, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes solely on the topics and issues in higher education in prison.
Dr. Sean Wilson

Dr. Sean K. Wilson is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department at William Paterson University. As a community-based scholar, Dr. Wilson’s research seeks to foreground the voices and lived experiences of the oppressed and marginalized. Dr. Wilson’s research interests include reentry, critical policing, critical criminology, reentry, critical gang studies, and race and justice. Dr. Wilson sits on the boards of several community organizations that are committed to social justice. Most notably he has served on the Newark community advisory committee at the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, helping to serve the community by ushering change through community organizing and progressive changes in policy. He also serves on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s committee on Diversity Inclusion and Community Engagement for the Passaic Vicinage. In this capacity, he works with professionals within the judiciary and other helping professions to educate primarily marginalized residents about offerings within the court system.
Dr. Mayida Zaal

Dr. Mayida Zaal is an activist-scholar committed to community-based research that centers youth and teachers of color. In her research and in her teaching, Dr. Zaal focuses on disrupting colonial paradigms and making space for epistemic disobedience. An Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning at Montclair State University, she co-leads Red Hawks Rising Dual Enrollment program, a grow-your-own partnership with Newark Public Schools and the American Federation of Teachers. The participatory action research (PAR) collective she co-founded, Reclaiming ME: Muslim Educators, is leading the first national study of K-12 teachers in the U.S. who identify as Muslim. The Spencer Foundation awarded the collective a Large Research Grant on Education in support of this study. Dr. Zaal is the recipient of many honors including awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Ford Foundation, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She serves on the editorial board of the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series and on the AAUW’s International Fellowships Selection Panel. Dr. Zaal earned her B.A. from Rutgers University in Biological Sciences and Spanish, her M.S. in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education, and her Ph.D. in Urban Education from the City University of New York.