The Johns Hopkins School of Education, as part of the university’s strategic priority to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, has named its first cohort of six DEI Ambassadors to play a pivotal role in initiating and promoting equity issues across the school.
The ambassadors, representing various graduate programs, will be involved in a host of activities including supporting academic programs by helping with recruitment and retention efforts, especially those that target diverse audiences.
“We are delighted to announce our first ambassadors,” says Norma Day-Vines, Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development. “We eagerly anticipate gaining insights from their unique perspectives on the journey to the School of Education and their experiences within their programs.”
The initiative stems from a recommendation by the university’s Roadmap 2020 Task Force, which highlighted the need to reward underrepresented students dedicating significant time to advancing JHU’s diversity goals. The Second JHU Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has since adopted this recommendation, forming a goal to create a Graduate Ambassadors Program.
Under the program, each JHU division receives allocated funds to support up to five Graduate Ambassadors, tasked with engaging in activities contributing to the university’s DEI strategic goals. These activities may include promoting affinity groups, participating in outreach events, attending conferences targeting underrepresented groups, and planning inclusive initiatives for prospective and current students.
MEET THE SOE DEI AMBASSADORS:
Maximo Alfaro is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Education degree. Certified by the Maryland Department of Education as a Spanish teacher, his expertise lies in high school-level language acquisition, emphasizing fluency, cultural immersion, and advocacy. Alfaro is particularly interested in Latinx colonial history, educational policy, immigration, and the dynamics of Latinx communities in the United States.
Rabia Dhanani, pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is dedicated to the decolonization and destigmatization of mental health. Originally from Waldorf, MD, Dhanani earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Language and Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland in 2020. Admitted to the program in Fall 2022, her academic focus extends to social justice advocacy in counseling and counselor education.
Megumi Hine is a Ph.D. candidate, focusing on school, family, and community partnerships. Her research explores the connection between partnership programs and advancing equitable outcomes for schools, families, students, and communities. With previous experience at the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins, Megumi has collaborated extensively with schools, districts, organizations, and state departments of education nationally and internationally to implement partnership programs that foster student success.
Alex Parker, a doctoral candidate in the Mind, Brain, and Teaching program, originates from Chicago, Illinois. With prior degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M.Ed. and B.A.), Alex was admitted to the program in Fall 2021. His academic and research focus involves investigating burnout and emotional labor in educators, showing a particular interest in gender dynamics and restorative justice.
Tenaya Taylor is a distinguished leader and advocate for equity, inclusion, and community upliftment. With a focus on enhancing health and wealth opportunities for underserved groups, she brings extensive experience as a global business partner and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for Fortune 500 companies. As the 15th President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, Lambda Omega Omega Chapter, she led initiatives in economic development, environmental improvement, and social justice. Taylor’s commitment to mental health and global humanitarian work reflects her mission to bridge gaps in wealth, education, and professional advancement, as she continues to lead efforts in equity and inclusion in the corporate sector.
Shayla Dawn Williams is a graduate student pursuing an MS in Education Policy. A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Williams also serves as the School Safety Specialist with the Bureau of Indian Education, where she oversees the well-being of students in 96 Tribally Controlled schools nationwide. In her role as a DEI Ambassador, Williams feels privileged to contribute to the Johns Hopkins community and looks forward to the positive impact the program will have on her fellow students.