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Diversity and Inclusion Graduate Fellows

The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Antiracism (IDEA) Graduate Fellows at Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health lead and support efforts at the School to promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism. These fellowships were created by the School on the advice of students as part of our ongoing Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism.

IDEA Graduate Fellows are current master’s and doctoral students who share an interest in diversity and social justice programming and education, as well as a desire to encourage dialogue among Dornsife and Drexel University community members.

Fellows work closely with an assistant dean, associate dean, or faculty member to develop, implement, or evaluate Dornsife initiatives based on their chosen area of emphasis. Fellows receive a stipend 10 or 20 hours of work per week for the position, which runs from October 1 to June 30.

Selection of the IDEA Graduate Fellows 

The 2020-21 academic year was Dornsife's first year piloting the IDEA Graduate Fellows program. A total of four graduate fellows were selected as our first cohort of IDEA fellows. Read about their highlights and successes: Reflecting on Dornsife’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism

If you are interested learning more about how to apply for an IDEA fellowship, contact Michelle Quigley, Associate Director of Student & Alumni Services.

2021-22 IDEA Graduate Fellows

Demi Adefarati headshot

Demi Adefarati

Pronoun(s): she/her/hers
Hometown: Collegeville, PA
Program: MPH, Health Management and Policy (minor in Maternal Child Health)

Why I chose Dornsife: I chose Dornsife because it is the best program within the Southeastern, PA, area. Furthermore, I was immediately drawn to the research efforts of many Dornsife faculty members. So far, the decision has been great. I have had the opportunity to engage with staff and faculty members one-on-one despite the proliferation of COVID-19. Furthermore, I have been able to begin attaining my 2020-2021 goals, helping improve the health outcomes of individuals living within Philadelphia and its surrounding communities.

Goals as an IDEA fellow: I want to continue helping support the IDEA work of Dornsife staff and faculty members through student engagement, community involvement, and partnering with specific Drexel Centers. Additionally, I want to expand upon my current ILE work focusing on marginalized populations within maternal child health in Philadelphia. Overall, I look forward to using my Fellowship position to continue sparking necessary conversations focused on racial and ethnic equity within public health and other related disciplines.

Aryana Simpson headshot

Aryana Simpson

Pronoun(s): she/her/hers
Hometown: York, PA
Program: MPH, Epidemiology

Why I chose Dornsife:I chose Dornsife School of Public Health not only due to its notable reputation but because it offers numerous professional, networking, and volunteer opportunities. Throughout the Dornsife school itself, as well as through the Philadelphia community. Dornsife faculty are experienced professionals, who are passionate about public health, and conduct research in my areas of interest including; urban health, mental health, and health disparities.

Goals as an IDEA fellow: My goal as an IDEA Fellow is to create a more inclusive environment for students and faculty of color. This includes continuing the work to increase institutional support measures, representation of the work and achievements of students and faculty of color. In addition to working alongside the other IDEA Fellows to implement all components of the IDEA school-wide action plan.

Cecirahim Sesay headshot

Cecirahim Sesay

Pronoun(s): she/her/hers
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Program: MPH, Epidemiology

Why I chose Dornsife: I chose Dornsife because the mission of the school was aligned with my own. This school has established relationships with local organizations and a strong culture of giving back to its community. Additionally, the vigorous curriculum and noteworthy faculty, along with the abundance of opportunities for career growth, make Dornsife the best school for me to establish my goals as a public health professional.

Goals as an IDEA fellow: My main focus is to improve diversity and inclusion in academia and research. I would like to contribute to the improvement of ethical research practices and transformative approaches that seek to benefit the population being studied. I would also like to help in the diversification of faculty and resources at Dornsife, through involvement in the hiring and vetting process, so that the University’s goal of inclusivity and anti-racism is achieved.


2020-21 IDEA Graduate Fellows

Demi Adefarati headshot

Demi Adefarati

Pronoun(s): she/her/hers
Hometown: Collegeville, PA
Program: MPH, Health Management and Policy

Why I chose Dornsife: I chose Dornsife due to its location within Philadelphia. Growing up in Southeastern PA, I have a vested interest in the health outcomes of individuals living within Philadelphia, and its surrounding communities.

Focus as an IDEA fellow: My areas of focus are centered on increasing institutional support measures for Black students and other students of color within Dornsife. Some of these measures include career building resources & tools, strengthening interpersonal connections through different initiatives, leadership engagement opportunities, and highlighting different research & project efforts conducted by students of color.

Patrice Farquharson headshot

Patrice Farquharson

Pronoun(s): she/her/hers
Hometown: Moorestown, NJ
Program: MPH, Community Health and Prevention

Why I chose Dornsife: While looking at public health programs in the Philadelphia area, it was Dornsife’s reputation that initially caught my attention. I wanted to attend a school that would allow me to learn more about what impacts health outcomes and fuels health disparities. After meeting with the previous director of admissions, I realized Dornsife would be a good place for me to get my degree compared to other programs in the area. Working with faculty, students and staff has only solidified this after I started the program and in recently completing it.

Focus as an IDEA fellow: I am learning that I have a passion for evidence-based research. Entering into this fellowship I was on a team that crafted and disseminated the climate survey at Dornsife. Currently, I am working on the planning and development of the Center on Racism and Health. Also, I am working with the other fellows on the departmental and school-wide efforts around IDEA initiatives.

Maya Stallings headshot

Maya Stallings

Pronoun(s): she/her
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Program: MPH, Epidemiology

Why I chose Dornsife: I chose Dornsife because I wanted to stay in Philadelphia and remain connected to the work I started in AmeriCorps, where I have had the opportunity to build partnerships with many community leaders who have done amazing work in the lives of the students and families in Philadelphia. Dornsife has the unique position of training the next generation of public health leaders while having deep roots in the community.

Focus as an IDEA fellow: My focus during this fellowship will be on course restructuring and curriculum and on the hiring processes of faculty.

Laneisha Sullivan headshot

Laneisha (Laney) Sullivan

Pronoun(s): she/her/hers
Hometown: Paterson, NJ
Program: MPH, Health Management and Policy (Management concentration)

Why I chose Dornsife: As a Drexel alumna, I’m well aware of the opportunities and networking connections this university has to offer. I chose to continue my graduate studies at Drexel with the Dornsife School of Public Health because the program holds national weight. Faculty members are comprised of some of Philadelphia’s most influential professionals with solid backgrounds in my areas of interest such as clinical health, policy, and health management. Furthermore, faculty and administration actively listen and dedicate time and resources to meet the needs of students, hence my position on this IDEA team. For me, it was important for me to choose a program where I felt my voice would be heard as well as my academic needs met.

Focus as an IDEA fellow: For my fellowship, I will focus my efforts on the hiring processes of faculty and providing faculty support/resources. Working alongside my dedicated team, we strive to support its 2020 anti-racism action plan. Our efforts will further expand our school’s endeavors in promoting a strong sense of culture, diversity, inclusion, and equity in all current and future academic/extra-curricular activities.