Meet the Members of Drexel CCI's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

Photo of Will Ahern in the center holding a young child in a pink shirt on his right and a young child in a blue shirt on his right.  

Will Ahern
Will
he/him/his

I've worked in higher education for almost 10 years and have had the privilege of working with students from a wide variety of backgrounds. This has really expanded my worldview and has strengthened my passion for creating safe spaces and advocating for others. I want every student in CCI to feel like they are important, have something to contribute, and that they belong. I'm excited to work with this group to identify areas for improvement and make changes to meet this end.

Photo of Kerry Boland

Kerry Boland
ker-ree bow-lind
she/her/hers

I'm an associate director serving on CCI's Marketing & Communications team and have been at Drexel since 2011. I am passionate about accessibility and disability awareness, especially around neurodiversity and invisible disabilities. I hope that my service on the Council can contribute to a safe and supportive CCI that truly embraces and champions the full spectrum of our identities and abilities. Building an inclusive community requires a commitment from each member to examine hidden biases, choose radical empathy, practice anti-racism, hold each other accountable, and end inequitable practices, policies and procedures; I am personally committed to doing this work and am honored to serve on the DEI Council.

Photo of Muneera Cadersa

Muneera Cadersa, Undergraduate Student
Muh-nee-ruh
she/her/hers

I am a third-year data science and mathematics major. When I started college, I was the only female in my class pursuing data science as a major. As a Muslim Brown Hijabi and a first-generation female in tech, I noticed how females with the same background as me are underrepresented in the tech industry. I realized that I have to work harder and create my own opportunities so I could thrive in this predominantly male field. Other than the gender bias in tech, there are a plentitude of stereotypes around my culture and that has often been a challenge both academically and professionally. I joined CCI's DEI Council to represent other Muslim Women in Tech who constantly have to fight for their voices to be heard. I feel that there are chances for everyone in tech, regardless of gender, identity, race and color. I hope that through this position I can empower other females in my field to pursue their dreams, and also assist CCI in becoming a safer and more inclusive space for everyone.

Photo of Karen DeVose 

Karen DeVose
Karen DeVose
she/her/hers

I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I grew up in single parent household with my mom and five siblings. I am also a first-generation college student. As a black woman I have experienced many forms of racism and micro-aggressions in society, school, and work. I am joining this Council because it is important to have representation in these types of initiatives. My research is focused on factors and programming that retain and persist historically underrepresented minorities at predominately white institutions (PWIs). I have developed trainings for students’ group, faculty and advisors. Trainings include faculty and advisors recognizing the challenges URM students face at PWIs, micro-aggressions, implicit biases, micro-affirmations and academic advising, and training faculty to create an inclusive learning environment for URM students. I am interested in learning the charge of this committee and how I can use my experience and education in helping with the mission and vision of this committee. Lastly, I want students, specifically historical underrepresented students, to know they are being supported in throughout their student lifecycle in CCI. 

 Photo of Marie Fazio

Marie Fazio
Ma-ree Faa-zio
she/her/hers
 

As a first generation college student in Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to meet people of all different races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. I thought I understood diversity. It was not until I started in my role at Drexel and later received my master's degree that I realized I had so much more to learn about inclusion, diversity, equity and access. The work has been eye opening and rewarding. I am honored and privileged to be a part of this inaugural Council. I have learned so much from the Council members, especially the students, already. Their commitment and passion for making CCI a community of belonging will help to propel our College as a leader within Drexel. We look forward to forming meaningful connections with students, faculty and professional staff across the College. 

 

 

Photograph of Caroline Fritz 

 

Caroline Fritz
kAIR-uh-lin frihts
she/her/hers

I am CCI’s director of finance and administration and have been at the college for over 10 years. Prior to that, I worked for several migration-related think tanks and advocacy groups. My father is from the US, my mother from Ecuador, and I was raised all over Latin America until moving to the US my junior year of high school. Commonly described as a “third culture kid,” I often felt caught between two worlds, not fully belonging in either. This experience has made me value the importance of living in a diverse community and of the constant need to push towards social justice, equity and inclusion. I am excited to serve on the Council and committed to creating a truly supportive environment for our students, faculty and professional staff that embraces, and is strengthened by, the diversity of our experiences.

 

Photograph of Sahil Khanna 

 

Sahil Khanna, Undergraduate Student
Sah-hill Khun-nah
he/him/his

Hi, my name is Sahil Khanna and I am an international undergraduate student studying computer science. Moving frequently and coming to a different country made me realize that there is a lot that brings us together and yet there is a lot that sets us apart. I want to make sure, as a part of the DEI Council, that no matter what sets someone apart, that they don't feel out of place. I want to make sure that each and every person has the ability to get their voice heard and concerns addressed regardless of their gender, sexuality, race or any other identity metric!

 

Photograph of Adelaida Medlock 

 

Adelaida Medlock
ah-del-eye-ee-dah
she/her/hers

I am a teaching professor in the Computer Science Department and I am currently serving as the associate department head for undergraduate affairs. I have been at Drexel for almost 22 years. There have been periods when I have been the only female faculty at our department and also times when I have been the only female and Latina in the classroom. So I am very excited to be part of this Council and the opportunity to work towards a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming environment.

 Photo of Kudzai, a Black woman smiling at the camera. She is wearing graduation regalia including a kente cloth.

Kudzai Mushonga-Hande, Graduate Student
K00dz-eye
she/her/hers

 

I am Kudzai, a graduate student in the Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience program. I became involved in community organizing at my undergrad institution and have been involved in DEI work since then and as a Black woman I sit in the middle of a complex Venn diagram of identities and intersectionality is truly at the root of all the work that I do. In my previous role at a tech company, I worked in the Employee Experience department advocating for and creating programs to support the URM employees in the organization. I am so excited to be continuing DEI work with like-minded people on the Council that are committed to a more diverse and inclusive environment at Drexel.

  Photo of Bobby Nguyen

Bobby Nguyen, Graduate Student
Baa-bee Dee Wynn
he/him/his

I am a first-generation, Vietnamese-American, Philly native, part-time PhD student studying organizational knowledge management while working full-time within the healthcare industry. I am passionate about the DEI Council because it provides an opportunity for ALL voices to be heard, not just those in the spotlight or with power. The best ideas are when we come together, struggle together and make informed decisions together as one diverse community – it’s not easy but every battle scar is worth the experiential learning and cultural discovery. I hope to work with fellow members to surface practical opportunities and break down complex challenges into bite-size pieces. What should everyone know? We’re not perfect, we’re just a melting pot of people with insight willing to make a difference through empowerment.

  Photo of Makua Okolo

Makuachukwu Maryann Okolo, DEI Council Coordinator
Maa-kwa
she/her/hers

I am a graduate student studying for a MSIS (Master's in Information Systems) degree. It is an honor to be a part of this amazing council. The importance of a diverse and inclusive environment cannot be over emphasized. An environment that encourages the principles of DEI is one that enables and supports growth. Being able to be a part of a committee that makes it possible and strives ensure that such an environment is created is such a blessing. I hope to contribute to the committee in ways that helps students feel comfortable and excited to be a part of the Drexel community.

  Photo of Alex Poole

Alex H. Poole, PhD
Al-eks Pool

I am an associate professor at the College of Computing & Informatics. Much of my research centers on DEIA work; I am particularly interested in exploring race, ethnicity and gender in the context of information practices. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with my Council colleagues in this vital area.

  Photo of Michelle Rogers

Michelle Rogers, PhD
MI-shell
she/her/hers

I am an associate professor in the information Science Department and I've been at Drexel since 2008. A product of the NYC public schools, I furthered my education in engineering and education. My research uses human factors engineering methods and socio-technical systems theory to study the impact of health information technology (HIT) on clinical workflow and usability of technology with and by medically under-served populations. I am currently collaborating with faculty from industrial design, dance and education to understand how the arts, making, and coding can assist in making the realization of a career in STEM fields achievable for girls in Philadelphia – BlackGirlsSteamingthroughDance (BGSD). I very much look forward to being a part of this Council to work on efforts at seeing the environment in CCI welcoming and supportive for current and future students historically under-represented in careers in technology.

Photo of Charlie Stuart and his dog 

Charlie Stuart, DEI Council Coordinator
char-lee stoo-urt
he/they

As a queer trans man, I've faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I have fought very hard to overcome it. In my time at Drexel and CCI, I've worked informally to provide more resources for LGBTQ+ students so that other students do not have to face the same struggles that I have. I am honored to be able to work in a formal context to be able to continue that work on this committee. I want to continue this work to show that LGBTQ+ students do have a place in STEM and to continue to help CCI in growing to become a safer and more supportive space for all marginalized groups.

Photo of Casey Turner

Casey Turner, PhD
she/her/hers

 

  Photo of Erjia Yan

Erjia Yan, PhD
R-G-ah
he/him/his

I am a faculty member in the Department of Information Science since 2013. I was born and raised in Xi'an, China and went to college in Nanjing, China. I came to the States in 2008 to pursue a Ph.D. in Information Science at Indiana University. My husband and I live in the western suburbs of Philadelphia with our three-year old daughter who was born in New Jersey and joined our family through adoption in 2017. I became a member in the Council because I intend to make our LGBT students feel welcomed and appreciated at CCI. 

  Photo of Deanna Zarillo

Deanna Zarrillo
Dee-ann-uh Zuh-rill-oh
she/her/hers

I am a second-year Information Science PhD student studying at the cross sections of information behavior, policy & ethics and scientometrics. I also work in academic journals publishing at Oxford University Press where I am actively involved in organizational D&I efforts including being a representative on the global LGBTQ+ Committee and helping to develop diversity guidance for editors and editorial offices. I'm very much looking forward to supporting the Council and CCI students, faculty and professional staff in promoting and amplifying the core values of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility not only within CCI, but within all areas of scholarship.