Meet Our Team
HHMI’s Inclusive Learning Group, a division of the Science Education Department, thoughtfully invests in individuals, communities, programs, and initiatives, in ways that:
- reflect our core values,
- capitalize on our unique role within the scientific community,
- set a high standard for excellence and scholarship, and
- maximize our impact on science and science education.
Read our statement on diversity and inclusion »
Meet the ILG Advisory Committee »
HHMI Inclusive Learning Group Advisory Committee
The HHMI Inclusive Learning Group Advisory Committee (ILG-AC) is an important resource as we navigate challenges and opportunities in U.S. science education and work to foster equitable and inclusive learning environments that support all students.
The ILG-AC currently comprises five national leaders with deep experiences in important facets of formal education. Their breadth of backgrounds in science and higher education bring invaluable perspectives, and we appreciate the advice and knowledge they share with us.
HHMI ILG-AC Members
- Sean Decatur, PhD – Chair
Dr. Sean Decatur became the 19th president of Kenyon College on July 1, 2013. He was formerly the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College, where he was also a professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
He earned a bachelor's degree at Swarthmore College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He holds a doctorate in biophysical chemistry from Stanford University. After leaving Stanford, he joined the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, where he was the Marilyn Dawson Sarles Professor of Life Sciences and also served as the associate dean of faculty for science.
- Kimberly Griffin, PhD
Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Faculty Affairs
College of Education
University of Maryland
Dr. Kimberly Griffin is an educator, researcher, and leader who aims to promote access, equity, and justice in higher education. In addition to her appointment at the University of Maryland, she is editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Her scholarship has been funded by the NSF, NIH, and Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and examines diversity within the Black community, mentoring and professional development, and equity and inclusion in graduate and faculty communities, particularly in the sciences.
She has received mentoring and career achievement awards from the Association for the Study of Higher Education and American College Personnel Association, and serves on the advisory boards of multiple funded research projects, organizations, and professional associations.
- David Laude, PhD
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Department of Chemistry
The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. David Laude has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin since 1987. During the first 10 years of his tenure at UT Austin, he ran a large research program in mass spectrometry and then for 17 years held administrative positions in the Dean’s Office of the College of Natural Sciences before serving for six years in the Provost’s Office, charged with improving four-year graduation rates for the campus.
Dr. Laude has been instrumental in the establishment of several programs at UT Austin that are nationally recognized, including the UTeach Teacher Preparation Program, the Freshman Research Initiative, the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan, and the University Leadership Network.
- Mark Melton, PhD
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Saint Augustine’s University
Dr. Mark Melton is a professor of biology and currently serves as Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to that role, he served as dean of the School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Allied Health. Additionally, he has served in several administrative capacities including Department Chair of Biological and Physical Sciences, Honors Program Director, and as Program Director for the NIH-MARC U*STAR Program, a federally funded student research training program.
Dr. Melton received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his master’s degree in developmental biology from North Carolina A&T State University, and his doctorate in developmental neurophysiology from the University of Maryland at College Park. He also conducted postdoctoral research in molecular genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine. He has served as principal investigator and/or director of several grants secured from the NIH, NASA, DOE, and NSF totaling more than $10 million.
- Suzanne Ortega, PhD
Council of Graduate Schools
Dr. Suzanne Ortega became the sixth President of the Council of Graduate Schools on July 1, 2014. Prior to assuming her current position, she served in senior administrative positions at the University of North Carolina, the University of New Mexico, the University of Washington, and the University of Missouri. Her master’s degree and doctoral degrees in sociology were completed at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Ortega is the author of numerous book chapters and articles focused primarily on mental health, social inequalities, and graduate education. She has served as the principal investigator or co-investigator on grants totaling more than $11 million.
The ILG team
Sherrice Allen, Program Officer II
Sherrice Allen serves as a Program Officer II with the Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) initiative focused on building institutional capacity for inclusion of all students in science. She is an experienced educator and researcher, with prior faculty appointments at Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Central University and Campbell University. Prior to joining HHMI, Sherrice held several positions at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where she led institutional initiatives to promote equitable policies and practices to foster a culture of inclusion for all. She served as the director of the NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Project, interim Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Associate Program Director and Lead Applicant for the HHMI Inclusive Excellence (IE3) Learning and Implementation grants, respectively. Sherrice received a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from East Carolina University, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Fayetteville State University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Microbiology from North Carolina State University. She also completed the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellows program at UNC-Chapel Hill. With over 20 years of experience in higher education, Sherrice remains committed to engaging in efforts to diversify the STEM workforce at the undergraduate, graduate and faculty levels.
David Asai, Senior Director for Science Education
David’s work is guided by three beliefs: (1) the dynamic demographics of the U.S. population presents the greatest opportunity and the most compelling challenge for U.S. science; (2) all students—regardless of where they come from and where they’re going—deserve a meaningful, effective, and positive experience through which they can better understand the process of science; and (3) making that experience meaningful, effective, and positive is the responsibility of the faculty, staff, and administrators who define the institution’s culture. David received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Stanford University, a PhD in biology from Caltech, and was a postdoc at Caltech and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a faculty member and Head of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, and then Stuart Mudd Professor and Chair of Biology at Harvey Mudd College. David’s research group, dubbed the “Asailum,” studied the structural and functional diversity of dyneins. For many years, he taught undergraduates introductory cell and molecular biology. After nearly 25 years as a professor, David came to HHMI in 2008.
Shawn Bediako, Senior Science Education Fellow
Shawn joined HHMI in 2022 and assists with several ILG programs and new initiatives. Prior to joining HHMI, Shawn was Director of the Office of Education for the NHLBI, overseeing training and career development activities for fellows in the Division of Intramural Research. He was also a tenured faculty member at UMBC where he conducted research on sickle cell disease, mentored students, and taught interdisciplinary courses in race and science, social/health psychology, and research methods. Shawn earned the BS in psychology from the University of Central Arkansas, the MS in community psychology from Florida A&M University, and the MA and PhD in social/health psychology from Stony Brook University. He was a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow for Faculty Diversity at UNC Chapel Hill and completed an MPA with a focus on nonprofit management from the University of Baltimore.
William "Billy" Biederman, Senior Program Assistant
Billy Biederman has many years of experience working with scientists who express an interest in science education. He supports the Science Education Alliance's professional development efforts, endeavoring to broaden, facilitate, and support the implementation of innovative college-level biology courses. He also supports the planning and conduct of numerous workshops and evaluation projects that inform ongoing program development. Before joining HHMI, Biederman studied computer science and engineering at the University of Maryland. Biederman keeps an eye on the landscape of the life science education community to find additional opportunities to develop new research-based courses.
Josephine Bynum, Senior Program Assistant
Josephine Bynum's background involves twelve years of experience as the liaison of administrative services and human resources systems processing for a diverse group of editorial professionals in the media industry. Serving in this role has developed in her a comprehensive approach to working effectively with all levels of staff and leaders. She now provides support to Inclusive Learning Group (ILG) by assisting in various aspects of grants initiatives and the HHMI Professors Program and Driving Change Initiative's meetings and activities, while providing thought contributions to ILG team's planning discussions of Science Education programs/initiatives. Josephine cares about issues of health, wellness, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is excited about being a part of an organization such as HHMI whose mission aligns with these values through its support of science education and innovation.
Melanie Daub, Program Officer II
Melanie (Mel) Daub has more than 35 years of experience in the administration of HHMI’s fellowship programs for graduate, medical, dental, and veterinary students. As a member of the team managing the Gilliam Fellows Program, she has a strong interest in creating professional development opportunities within the HHMI community for Gilliam trainees. From 2007–2020 she managed the HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program, which aimed to encourage the development of future physician-, dentist-, and veterinarian-scientists. Mel earned an MBA from American University with a concentration in marketing. Prior to joining HHMI, she was an account specialist with a local advertising agency where she developed marketing and public relations campaigns and product development programs. She also served as a sales representative for Bristol Myers Products.
Kaylia Edwards, Research Assistant
Kaylia earned her BS in Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2022. As an undergraduate student researcher, Kaylia investigated cell migration and steroid hormone signaling in Drosophila melanogaster oogenesis. Kaylia also participated in the HHMI Science Education Alliance-PHAGES course, at UMBC, during which she discovered and characterized a novel bacteriophage and experienced first hand the importance of early-career, authentic and accessible research. At HHMI, Kaylia works as a Research Assistant with the Science Education Alliance to support the PHAGES and GENES research projects, helping to provide students across the nation with positive course-based research experiences like her own.
Cleopatra Frazier, Program & Special Project Coordinator
Cleopatra joined HHMI and ILG after four years of successfully managing the HHMI funded SynergIE Program within the College of Sciences and Technology at the University of Houston-Downtown. Before her time at UHD, Cleopatra spent her career working in various nonprofits and grant funded organizations, with and alongside refugees/asylees and other minoritized communities. She is very passionate about social justice and racial inequality, as well as normalizing conversations around mental health. Her hobbies are writing, interior design, furniture restoration, watching sports, traveling internationally and listening to mystery/suspense/thrillers on audiobook.
Joshua Hall, Senior Program Officer
Joshua Hall is a Senior Program Officer and team lead for the Gilliam Fellows Program. Prior to joining HHMI, Josh studied bacterial host-pathogen interactions and received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an NIH-IRACDA postdoctoral fellow before joining the UNC School of Medicine Office of Graduate Education where he served as Director of Admissions for the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP) and Director of the NIH-funded Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). During his time as Director of UNC PREP, the program transitioned over 100 post-baccalaureate scholars from under-represented backgrounds to top biomedical PhD programs across the country. Josh has been active in research on multiple facets of graduate education including factors contributing to trainee success, graduate admissions, trainee career development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences. His primary professional interests are empowering and encouraging students from all backgrounds and at all stages of the training pathway to pursue and succeed in science and research careers. Josh is also creator and co-host of the podcast, Hello PhD, which explores the human side of science training and life in the lab.
Danielle Heller, Program Officer II
Danielle is a microbiologist and geneticist working with the Science Education Alliance to embed authentic scientific research in undergraduate courses nationwide. Danielle earned her PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Harvard University and completed post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. During her training, Danielle dedicated extensive time to science education, working as a teaching assistant for several graduate-level courses and as an adjunct faculty at Emmanuel College. She was also co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a graduate student-run organization that teaches young scientists about science communication and the peer review process. At HHMI, Danielle leads the Gene-function Exploration by a Network of Emerging Scientists, or SEA-GENES project, which engages students and faculty in an exploration of bacteriophage genetics. Danielle believes that research is an important learning experience that should be accessible to all STEM students and is excited to collaborate with an inclusive community of scientists to advance our understanding of the microbial world!
Megan Katz, Program Officer I
Megan Katz began working for the Institute in 2010. Within the Inclusive Learning Group, her current portfolio includes the Driving Change and Inclusive Excellence 1&2 Initiatives, grants to the Advanced Courses Labs (Jackson Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Marine Biological Laboratory) and various sponsorships. Prior to HHMI, she was a press assistant for three years in the communications office of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-12). Megan earned her BA in political science from the University of California, Davis, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has an Masters of Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC, with an emphasis in non-profit management.
Anh-Chi Le, Manager, Science Education Special Projects
Anh-Chi received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon in 1993 and her Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from the Oregon Health and Science University in 2000. After completing her doctoral studies in gap junctional regulation in the developing vertebrate lens, she moved to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in 2001 to undertake an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation (NSF). During her year at the NSF, she worked on a program that supports research, student and educator programs, and information dissemination projects to broaden the participation of women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She also actively participated as a member of the NSF’s committee for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She joined HHMI in October 2002 as a program officer in the Graduate Science Education Division. At HHMI, she has managed individual fellowship programs for medical students and early career physician-scientists and institutional grants to enhance or initiate Ph.D. programs that would provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work at the interface between basic biology and medicine.
Adrielle Munger, Senior Program Assistant
Adrielle is a member of the team managing the Gilliam Fellows Program. A proud HBCU alumna and member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, Inc. She earned a bachelor's in communications-public relations from Bowie State University, a master’s in business administration at the Jack Welch Institute of Management with Strayer University, and professional certificate in Diversity and Inclusion with eCornell University. Adrielle joined HHMI in 2011, initially in the Banking Office as a certified Treasury professional. Passionate about advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in STEM, she transitioned to the Inclusive Learning Group in 2015 as a Program Assistant. During her time in ILG, she has supported multiple programs and initiatives.
Susan Musante, Program Officer II
Susan joined HHMI in 2015 and co-leads the team responsible for the Inclusive Excellence 3 initiative for colleges and universities within the Inclusive Learning Group. Early in her career, Susan worked as an instructor and naturalist at residential environmental and science education centers and as a middle school science teacher. Prior to coming to HHMI, Susan was an education and outreach manager for the Ecological Society of America, the manager of faculty and curriculum programs at the American Society for Microbiology, and was the education director at the American Institute of Biological Sciences where she supported leaders of undergraduate education reform efforts and explored the role of societies and academic leadership in change.
Angela Peña, Senior Program Assistant
Angie started at HHMI in 2018. Prior to her time at the Institute, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Arizona State University and a Master of Science in Human Paleobiology at George Washington University. Angie became passionate about science communication and visualization, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion work during her time at GW. Following these interests, she began working with the GW medical school in creating educational resources for their Gross Anatomy classes and became a member of her program’s Diversity in Science steering committee. She now serves as a program assistant for the Inclusive Excellence initiative which challenges institutions to build their capacity for inclusion.
Andrew Quon, Senior Program Officer
Andrew primarily works with the ILG team to support the Inclusive Excellence 1&2 Initiative. Andrew also has managed undergraduate science grants to research universities and undergraduate fellowships to support students from diverse backgrounds. Andrew has extensive knowledge, experience, and research in science education and training programs, with an emphasis on programs and initiatives to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. Andrew has a PhD in Education from George Mason University, an MPH from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a BA in Biology from the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining HHMI, Andrew worked at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in the Division of Biomedical and Health Sciences Research.
Nadia Rueda, Operations Coordinator
Nadia Rueda worked at Children’s National Medical Center for 12 years before joining HHMI. During her last 7 years at Children’s she was the Manager, Patient Experience/Ombudsman. In that role, Nadia worked with patients, families, the medical team and the administration to address complaints and grievances as well as mitigate potential risks and lawsuits to the organization. In her role of Operations Coordinator here at HHMI, one of Nadia’s responsibilities will be to serve as the primary contact person for our local grantees. She also provides support for the operations of the Inclusive Excellence initiative and is part of the HHMI Pathway team, which supports all users of the online grants management system. Nadia is excited to be a part of the ILG team and to be an active participant in growing the diversity of scientists in the community.
Sarah Simmons, Director, Grants Management
Within the Inclusive Learning Group in the Center for the Advancement of Science Leadership and Culture at HHMI, Sarah serves as Director of our Grants Management Team. This team supports a wide portfolio of grant initiatives and strategic efforts within the group. Sarah also serves as project lead for the HHMI Professors program and Driving Change. Sarah joined HHMI in 2014 and prior to that held the position of Assistant Dean for Honors, Research and International Study in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin where she administered multiple college initiatives, including honors programs, international science initiatives, and undergraduate research. Additionally, she was Director and Pl of the HHMI- and NSF-funded Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) - a unique, large-scale program that engages undergraduates in research at The University of Texas at Austin.
Viknesh "Vic" Sivanathan, Senior Program Lead
Vic Sivanathan leads the Science Education Alliance (SEA), a community of scientist educators from colleges and universities across the US and beyond who embed research as a fundamental component of the science curriculum for their beginning undergraduate students. By positioning students as contributors to scientific discoveries, the SEA community offers students an engaging science education that promotes their learning and their persistence in science. Trained as a biochemist and microbiologist, Vic also gained teaching experience during this time at Oxford and Harvard, and has leveraged his research as a tool to engage college students in research.
Patricia Soochan, Program Officer II
Patricia Soochan, MS is a member of the multidisciplinary team with primary responsibility for the development and execution of the Inclusive Excellence 1&2 (IE1&2) initiative. In her IE1&2 role, she has become an eager student of organizational development and network building. Previously she had primary responsibility for science education grants to primarily undergraduate institutions, a precursor of IE. She has served as a councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research and is a contributing writer on women leaders in STEM for AWIS (Association for Women in Science) Magazine. Prior to joining HHMI, she was a science assistant at the National Science Foundation, a science writer for a consultant to the National Cancer Institute, and a research and development scientist at Life Technologies.
Bethany Wise, Research Assistant
Bethany Wise joined HHMI in June 2022 as a Research Assistant supporting the Science Education Alliance SEA-PHAGES and SEA-GENES research projects. Prior to joining the Science Education Alliance, she attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina earning her BS in Biology. During her undergraduate studies she participated in Winthrop University’s SEA-PHAGES and SEA-GENES courses. In addition to participating in these course-based research projects, Bethany conducted independent research in a microbiology lab for 4 years, investigating protein-protein interactions between bacterial and phage proteins and the host range of different phages. With this experience, Bethany brings the important insight of a SEA student alum to her work supporting undergraduate students nationwide in their research.