CSAA-D Ambassadors are current doctoral students who are available to answer your questions about the CSAA-D program and UGA. Please contact any of the students listed below if you are interested in exploring the program from a student’s point of view.

2017-2018 CSAA-D Ambassadors

Lamesha Andrews 
she/her/hers
Full-time student
Current position: Doctoral Intern for Staff Development in University Housing
Prior degrees: B.A. Apparel Merchandising ’08, M.Ed. Educational Leadership ’12
Research interest:
How colorism impacts the college experience of Black women; persistence and retention of low-income, first-generation Black women in doctoral programs; and college access.
Hey everyone! I am a third year in the program. It has been a roller coaster, but all-in-all I love it! I have grown a lot as a result of this journey. Before coming in, know that this journey requires perseverance. There will be some rough times, but there are also some really great times!  Before coming back to school, I was a resident director (Spelman College) and before that I was in graduate school (Valdosta State University). After I complete my degree, I would like to work in college access, working with first-generation, low-income students as they transition to college.  Some of the things I enjoy are: baking, sewing, HGTV, traveling, time alone (for my introverted soul), time with family and friends, and 90s R&B. If you have any questions, let me know!

Matthew J. Smith
he/him/his
Full-time student
Current position: College Student Affairs Administration Master’s Program Graduate Assistant
Prior Degrees: B.A. in History from the University of Utah, M.A. in Medical Sciences from Boston University, M.S. in Counselor Education with an Emphasis in Student Affairs from Mississippi State University
Research interest: Assessment practices in higher education/student affairs, persistence/sense of belonging for students in higher education in the face of all manner of difficulty/struggle, cognitive development of college students outside of the formal classroom setting, and the history of higher education/student affairs.

Hi everyone! I’m currently a second year CSAA doctoral student here at UGA. I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, but have lived several places in the US and abroad over the years. Prior to transitioning to student affairs/higher education, I worked in biomedical research at a variety of institutions. When I’m not busy being a doc student, I love to travel, read for leisure, enjoy trying different restaurants, watching SportsCenter (or sports in general), and playing the occasional card or board game.

TJ Stewart
he/him/his or they/them/theirs
Full-time student
Current positionDoctoral Intern for Assessment & Evaluation in University Housing
Prior Degrees: BA Psych, MA Higher Education Student Affairs, MLHR Master of Labor Human Resources (All from Ohio State University)
Research interest: 
critical theory, student activism, power conscious approaches to research, and Blackness/experiences of Black people in the academy/higher education.

I am a 3-time OSU grad (Go Bucks!) who has spent the majority of my career thus far doing diversity, social justice, and equity related work. I chose CSAA because it just felt right, the community was strong and I liked what the faculty had to offer in terms of research, teaching, and advising. I also chose this program because they were open and supportive about choosing an admin or faculty track which was refreshing. I am a member of ACPA where I also was heavily involved for about 3 years doing equity and inclusion work for the convention planning process, and I have just joined ASHE for the first time! I love to watch television (which I have little time for these days!) and binge watching Netflix and Hulu on breaks. Before starting the program I thought I would be headed straight for an admin role but the program has really supported me in some dynamic ways that have allowed me to potentially see myself as faculty one day!

Jason K. Wallace
he/him/his
Part-time student
Current position: Interim Director, Multicultural Services and Programs at UGA
Prior Degrees: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Advertising and Public Relations, Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration both from Texas Christian University
Research interest: Experiences of Black first-generation doctoral students at PWIs.

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Fort Worth, Texas.  In addition to being a proud Texan, I am a big brother, student affairs practitioner, first-generation college student, social justice advocate, and reality TV junkie.  I am passionate about creating safe and equitable spaces for students of color on college campuses.  In my spare time, I enjoy going to music festivals, spending time with friends, binge watching shows on Netflix, and cheering on the TCU Horned Frog football team.

Melvin Whitehead
he/him/his
Full-time student
Current positionDoctoral Intern for the Center for Leadership and Service
Prior Degrees: Master of Science in Information; Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Research interest: 
How community colleges develop and implement diversity and equity practices; the experiences of LGBTQ community college students; the development, impact, and evaluation of social justice/ally training programs on college campuses.

Hello! I am a second year doctoral student who left his rousing career as an academic librarian in the Midwest to pursue studies in the CSAA-D program. I was drawn to the supportive community of scholars here; the opportunity to further develop skills related to teaching, research, and practice; the critical scholarly work and pedagogy of the CSAA faculty; and the competitive funding offered through my assistantship. Salient identities I hold include Black, gay/queer, trans, and Marylander.

Brittany M. Williams
she/her/hers

Full-time student
Current positionOffice of the Vice President for Instruction Graduate Assistant
Prior Degrees: Teachers College, Columbia University, Sociology of Education—Education Policy Concentration, 2013; Hampshire College, Interdisciplinary Arts: Africana Studies, Pre-Law, and Education Concentration, 2012
Research interest: First Generation College Students (FGCS); career development; college retention and recruitment; Black women’s identities; Queer identity; non-traditional pedagogical practice including game-based education, hip hop as praxis, and experiential learning; community advocacy, activism and social justice; & qualitative research design.

Brittany M. Williams is a third year CSAA doctoral student. Prior to joining CSAA, Brittany served as a career services and residence life practitioner. She is a co-founder of #CiteASista and 1 of 5 founding members of #SisterPhD. When not working on her PhD, you can find Brittany playing in makeup, serving as a freelance career development specialist, actively engaging in social media, fundraising for Hampshire College, or glued to an episode of Scandal, The West Wing, Bones, Gilmore Girls, &/or Grey’s Anatomy. She is the proud product of Atlanta Public Schools and a strong believer in higher & postsecondary education.

Qua’Aisa Williams
she/her/hers
Full-time student
Current position: CSAA-D graduate assistant
Prior Degrees: BS in Family & Child Sciences, MS in Higher Education Administration both from Florida State University 
Research interest:
Identity development of Black first-generation college women at PWIs, college choice of low-income and first-generation college students, persistence and retention for first-generation low-income students; college access for minoritized student populations. 

Hi All! I am a third-year student in the CSAA-D program.  I am a proud first-generation college graduate and Floridian!  Prior to starting the program, I worked in academic advising, academic programming, and college access programs.  As a commuter from Atlanta, I spend my time in Athens as a student/GA and in Atlanta as a parent and partner.  I choose the CSAA-D program after visiting and just feeling at home and supported in my academic life as a student and personal life as a mom and partner. In my spare time, I enjoy exploring festivals and cultural activities with my family, finding new restaurants, and binge watching shows on Netflix and Hulu.

If you general questions about the CSAA-D program, please email csaaphd@uga.edu

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