Spelman Johnson Congratulates the winners of the 2018 Women’s Leadership Institute Scholarship

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Category: News

We would like to congratulate the winners of the 2018 Women’s Leadership Institute Scholarship. We are very pleased to announce this year’s scholarship recipients:

Anne EdwardsAnne Marie Edwards, Acting Director of the Center for Black Studies, Northern Illinois University

Anne Marie Edwards currently serves as the Acting Director of the Center for Black Studies at Northern Illinois University. She has almost a decade in higher education experience in career development and diversity recruiting.  Edwards is dedicated to providing a diverse and inclusive campus environment for faculty, staff, and students. Edwards brings diversified professional experience to the Center for Black Studies team. She has an extensive background in human resources, business management, training and development, and non-for-profit volunteer management. Additionally, Edwards enjoys inspiring students through mentoring relationships and by serving in an advisor to a student organization.

Anne Marie earned a B.S. and a M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Purdue University, an M.B.A. from Valparaiso University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology at Northern Illinois University.


Dr. Shauna Harris, Associate Director for Student Life and Leadership, University of North Carolina

Dr. Shauna Harris serves as the Associate Director for Student Life and Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to this role she held positions at North Carolina Central University and the University of Georgia. Her professional background includes experience with TRIO programs within the community college system, housing and residence life, student leadership development, and graduate student recruitment and retention initiatives.  She attended Clemson University where she earned a B.A. in History; the University of South Carolina where she received a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs and the University of Georgia where she completed her Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Administration.  She has been dedicated to giving back to the profession and has been involved with NASPA in several capacities.  Some of her roles have included serving as a NUFP mentor to students, chairing the 2016 Undergraduate Student Conference, serving as Major Speakers Co-Chair for the 2017 Region III Summer Symposium and Co-Chair for the 2018 Region III Summer Symposium.  She currently serves as member of the NUFP Board.  She is committed to educating and developing individuals leadership potential, mentoring students and serving her community.


Michelle Combs, Director of Student Development, State University of NY at New Paltz

Michelle Combs is the Director of Student Development at the State University of NY at New Paltz. Michelle received her Bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University and her Master’s in Health Education from Penn State. Prior to working at SUNY, Michelle worked at the United States Military Academy and in the local community providing HIV/AIDS education. Michelle has worked at SUNY New Paltz for over 20 years with her primary responsibilities being; new student orientation, alcohol and other drug prevention, assessment for the Division of Student Affairs and adjudicating conduct violations. She previously was an adjunct in the Women’s Studies, Psychology and Sociology departments. Michelle enjoys spending time with her three children (including a set of twins) and her brand new maltipoo puppy named Boomer.


Cynthia DávalosCynthia Dávalos, Chief of Staff to the Vice Chancellor Student Affairs at University of California, San Diego

Cynthia Dávalos serves as the Chief of Staff to the Vice Chancellor Student Affairs at UC San Diego.  In this capacity, Cynthia oversees strategic planning, strategic initiatives, community relations, and strategies that promote collaborations between Student Affairs; Academic Affairs; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the larger campus community. She has over 13 years advising and serving alongside a VCSA and tackling major issues confronting student affairs and higher education. Areas of specialization and interest include: outreach and recruitment of historically underrepresented and first generation college students; student success and retention; and campus life and diversity.  Cynthia has taught at UC San Diego Extension and in the master’s program in post-secondary education at San Diego State University, leading courses in Student Affairs and American Higher Education.  Most recently, Cynthia was a fellow with the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) New Leadership Academy in partnership with the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) at the University of Michigan.

Cynthia Dávalos is a first-generation college graduate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in History from and the University of San Diego. She completed her PhD in Leadership Studies with a focus on higher education leadership from the University of San Diego’s, School of Leadership and Education Sciences.  Her dissertation focused on universities with a chief diversity officer and how they implement and sustain diversity and inclusion efforts campus-wide. She is the recipient of two UC San Diego diversity awards and serves on the scholarship committee of MANA de San Diego, a nonprofit community organization that focuses on the advancement of Latinas in all sectors, including higher education. Cynthia is also an advocate with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and volunteers regularly with nonprofit groups in San Diego County that support soon to be first-generation college students.


Dr. Piya BoseDr. Piya Bose, Dean of Students at California State University, Long Beach

Dr. Piya Bose is the Dean of Students at Cal State Long Beach. Dr. Bose has spent much of her professional career working in college student housing with undergraduates and graduate students at Humboldt State University, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona College, and UCI. In her current role she oversees Student Life & Development, the CARES team, and Basic Needs Initiative. Additionally, she has spent time teaching leadership courses and first year success courses at most of these campuses.

In 2009, Dr. Bose received the Cal Poly Pomona Rookie of the Year award, followed by the Women for Change Award in 2010. In 2010, she also received the Equity & Diversity Awareness Award from WACUHO. Dr. Bose was part of the UCI team that received the 2015 NASPA Innovative Program Award for the New Narratives program series. Most recently, she was recognized as the 2017 Outstanding Woman of WAUCHO.

Dr. Bose completed her bachelor’s degree at Vassar College in New York, studying Science, Technology, & Society, with a minor in French. She holds a masters of arts in education from Humboldt State University. She received her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in Student Affairs and Higher Education Administration.

Dr. Bose’s passion for education stems from knowing that education has the ability to change lives, communities, and ultimately, the world.

Congratulations to all of you!

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.