Meet Our Newest Faculty Cohort 2022/2023
|Tara Foley, Lecturer
Operations and Financial Executive with wide experience in consulting, tax, financial analysis, negotiation, and operations excellence; passionate about creating processes that enhance or evolve current technology and increase productivity.
Strategy leader and solution-oriented manager who strives for continuous process improvement through team collaboration and relationship building, establishing long-term strategies that drive overall organizational performance. Strengthen financial services, optimize use of technology, empower/train employees, and drive cost reductions.
|Ji Yu (Steven), Associate Professor with TENURE
Dr. Stephen (Ji) Yu is an associate professor of accounting at Lehman College, City University of New York. He holds a Ph.D. in Accounting from the Fogelman College of Business & Economics at the University of Memphis. Dr. Yu has been a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) since 2018. Dr.Yu’s research focuses on financial reporting quality and initial public offering. His teaching interests are financial accounting and managerial accounting. He has published his research in the European Journal of Finance, Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Asian Review of Accounting, and the CPA Journal. Dr. Yu is an American Accounting Association (AAA) member and Institute of Management Accountant (IMA) member.
|Africana Studies & Women’s and Gender Studies
|Henry [Hank] Williams, Lecturer
Hank joins Lehman’s Africana Studies Department after many years of teaching in the CUNY system. A second generation CUNY alum (BA, CCNY; MPhil, Graduate Center), he looks forward to teaching courses connected to his areas of research focusing on the Black Arts and Black Power Movements of the 1960s and 70s and African-centered approaches. He has previously taught at the City College of New York, NYU, Hunter, and SUNY Purchase in the areas of writing, literature, Africana Studies, and sociology. He has also taught in Lehman’s English Department for several years as an adjunct faculty member.
|Pratyusha Mandal, Assistant Professor
Dr. Mandal received her B.Tech in Biotechnology (2001-2005) from Haldia Institute of Technology, India. During her bachelor's curriculum, she got deeply interested in studying pathogenic viruses causing disease and pursued her PhD along these lines from Purdue University, Dept of Biological Sciences, USA. For her Doctoral thesis, Dr. Mandal investigated the role of interferons, an essential component of mammalian anti-viral immunity, during herpesviruses infection. Herpesviruses are ubiquitous DNA viruses that have evolved with specific hosts, learning to evade mammalian immunity and often encoding specific suppressors of anti-viral immune mechanisms. All these lead to the establishment of latent viral infection for the life of the host. When immunity is compromised, these viruses reactivate, resume replication and cause disease. Herpes-related diseases due to primary reactivation or reactivation range from mononucleosis, cold-sores to cancers as well as developmental defects. After her PhD, awarded in 2013, Dr. Mandal joined the laboratory of Prof. Edward Mocarski at Emory University, Atlanta GA to continue working on herpesviruses, innate immunity as well as host-pathogen interactions. At Emory University, Dr. Mandal's research focused on programmed cell death signaling, a recently identified component of cell-autonomous immune defense that plays roles during development, homeostasis, immunity against pathogen among many vital processes. Currently, Dr. Mandal has three main research directions in her laboratory: investigating how programmed cell death signaling impact immune responses during infectious diseases with a primary focus on lung inflammatory diseases, how herpes-virus-encoded suppressors of cell death pathways function and development of immunotherapy tools to modulate programmed cell death signaling during disease. Dr. Mandal has published her original work in several well-established journals (including Molecular Cell, Immunity, PloS Pathogen, Viruses) and has secured grants (including but not limited to Pilot Funding from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation). Dr Mandal is currently collaborating with Omios Biologics, a biotech startup working to develop therapeutic applications from Dr. Mandal's work. Dr. Mandal is currently also an editor-in-chief of a book from Elsevier, as well as serves on the Editorial Boards of Frontiers in Cell Death and Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.
|Sebastian Rojas Villa, Lecturer - Doctoral
Sebastian E. Rojas Villa grew up in Lima, Peru. He received his bachelor’s degree at University Claude Bernard, France and his PhD in Biology at the University of Rochester, NY. To pursue his passion for teaching and research he became an NIH IRACDA/K12 Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2019. Through the IRACDA fellowship Dr. Rojas Villa has gained practical experience and formal training in curriculum development and pedagogical research. His research background focuses on using D. melanogaster and C. elegans as models to understand developmentally regulated processes. As an educator he aims to create a collaborative environment that encourages active learning, as well as developing his students’ scientific literacy and critical thinking skills. He will join the faculty at Lehman College in the fall 2022 as a Lecturer.
|Michael Waterson, Lecturer - Doctoral
I completed my BA in Biology at Washington University in St Louis and my PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Michigan where my dissertation centered around the regulation of metabolic physiology and lifespan by sensory inputs. I then spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University uncovering novel neural circuitry between the hypothalamus and the cerebral cortex. I’ve been teaching at the college level since 2016 – most recently at Georgia State University – in both introductory biology and human anatomy and physiology. In my time as an educator, I’ve been involved in promoting undergraduate research opportunities as well as adding active-learning assignments to large-lecture science courses.
|Patricia Gonzalez Periche, Lecturer - Doctoral
Patricia grew up in a small town in the north east of Spain and started her undergraduate studies in Barcelona. In 2011, she received a scholarship to finish her degree at Hunter College (CUNY). After obtaining her B.S. from the Universitat de Barcelona (2012) she returned to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry at The Graduate Center (CUNY). Under the mentorship of Professor Mootoo at Hunter College (CUNY) she synthesized small organic molecules with potential as antitumor agents. Throughout her graduate school, she developed a passion for teaching. She received the Rose K. Rose award for teaching excellence from the Chemistry department at Hunter College in 2013 and 2017. Patricia joined Lehman College as an adjunct in 2018 and taught General and Organic Chemistry courses. After receiving her Ph.D. (2020), she joined Professor Mills and McGregor at Lehman College as a postdoctoral fellow where she conducted research in the field of chemical education.
|Counseling Leadership Literacy and Special Education
|Lingyu Li, Assistant Professor
Lingyu Li earned her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lingyu is a multilingual education researcher and educator whose scholarly interests include inclusive education for dual language learners with disabilities, critical disability studies, and inclusive education in the international context. Lingyu's current research aims to capture the real dilemmas faced by classroom teachers as they implement recommended inclusive practices for students living in the intersection of language and ability differences.
|Meagan Hammerbacher Serrano, Lecturer
Meagan Serrano is a native New Yorker that has attended Public Schools for her entire life. She has 3 young children and continues to foster her belief in public education through them. She has been a special education teacher in the NYC DOE for the last 10 years and has just transitioned into teaching teachers to be the best they can be. She believes that all students can achieve, we just need to work to unlock their potential. She is currently in her 4th year as a PhD student at the CUNY Graduate Center, in the Urban Education program, and her area of interest is around Co-Teaching. She hopes to bring this knowledge into her Lehman classrooms and encourage stronger collaboration amongst teachers.
|Early Childhood and Childhood Education
|Atasi Das, Assistant Professor
Atasi Das is a justice-centered scholar and educator-learner. Her research focuses ondeveloping transdisciplinary approaches to critical numeracy - a framework to build andcreatively practice numeracy as a social and political activity. As an educator with over a decadeof experience, she promotes liberatory praxis – learning and doing for transformative socialchange. Atasi has worked in elementary schools as well as in teacher education programs atBrooklyn College and City College, cultivating insight into justice-centered STEM curriculum,assessment, and pedagogy. She recently earned a doctorate in Urban Education at TheGraduate Center, CUNY. She holds a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders fromJames Madison University, an MA in Intercultural Leadership and Management from The Schoolfor International Training, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Keene State College.Her writing has appeared in academic journals, such as the Journal of Critical Thought andPraxis, and in edited volumes on STEM education. She formerly co-hosted and co-produced apodcast series entitled Abolition Science Radio. She has worked as an educator across ruraland urban settings in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Bengaluru, India. Outside ofacademia, she enjoys tinkering with recipes, biking, walking her dog, and growing plants in herapartment.
|Karen Ellefsen, Lecturer - Doctoral
I was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved to the Midwest when I was a teenager. I was able to finish high school, college, and have five amazing years of teaching before making my way back to New York. This is my 42nd year in education. I have taught preschool up through high school, college, and adult students, also fortunate to be a director and principal at sites throughout New York City. My bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education, with a minor in Kindergarten (as Early Childhood Education was not yet established), Masters and Doctorate in Early Childhood Education. I completed my doctoral studies at Walden University. My dissertation focused on female archetypes as portrayed in children’s literature.
|Steven Herran, Lecturer
Steven Herran is a lecturer in the Department of English at Lehman College. He received his M.A. at Queens College, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY. In research, he focuses on Global and Postcolonial Literatures alongside studies of Modernity, including Secularity and Secularism, Traditionalism, Comparative Religion, Coloniality, and Decolonial Theory. His current study explores “traditions of transcendence” as viable decolonial alternatives, particularly through the works of East African migrant writers. These research interests intersect with his teaching to include Global and Postcolonial Literatures, particularly the African novel; Literatures of Diaspora; Critical Race Theory; and Film Studies.
His work has been published in The Journal of Religion and Culture and Warscapes Magazine.
|Finance, Information Systems & Economics
|Robert Utzinger, Lecturer
Robert Utzinger is currently a lecturer for the School of Business at Lehman College. He previously taught at several other schools in NYC metro area such as Yeshiva, Barnard, and Marymount College. Robert Utzinger primarily teaches Statistics, Economics, and Data Modeling class within the Business School. He received his B.A. from Elizabethtown College and his M.A. from Rutgers University-Newark both in Economics. He is currently a Doctoral candidate in the Economics department at the Graduate Center. His focus is on Health Economics, specifically on drug policies and their impact on death rates across the country. He has worked with a variety of organization across CUNY such as the Mexica studies institute, The Graduate Center’s Office of Institutional Research, ARC (Advance Research Collaboration) , and The Economics Studies Group at The Graduate Center.
|Health Equity, Administration, and Technology
|Cherryle Brown, Lecturer
My name is Cherryle Brown, and I was born and raised in Harlem, New York. I am a current Doctoral student at the University of Bridgeport, where I am completing a Degree in Health Science Education. I most currently worked for the New York State OSHA state plan as a Senior Industrial Hygienist, responding to health complaints of public employees throughout both New York City and the State. I previously worked for New York City as a Public Health Sanitarian, and for Northwell Hospital as a Lactation and Peer counselor. I have taught as a CUNY Adjunct since 2017, and for Mildred Elley College since 2020.
|Tammy Christensen, Lecturer
Tammy Lee Christensen has over 25 years of experience in public health and nutrition. She is presently a student in the Doctor of Business Administration program at Thomas Edison State University. Tammy graduated from Tulane University with a Master of Public Health in International Health Systems Management and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science from Hunter College.
Tammy is dedicated to improving the community's knowledge of science, health, and cultural competence. Tammy enjoys teaching and uses unique techniques to teach science and health systems by making the topics easy to understand and fun to learn. She believes it is essential to continue educating oneself about new information.
Tammy enjoys traveling, rock climbing & hiking, and watching science fiction & superhero & mythology films. Her favorite characters are Doctor Who, Loki, and the Monkey King because they are clever. She loves how they solve and resolves problems.
|Michael Gera, Lecturer
Michael Gera is professionally engaged at the intersection of healthcare administration, information technology and clinical research. He has worked in administrative and technical capacities for community-based hospitals as well as major academic medical centers and healthcare provider practices. He currently provides technical consulting and training seminars to hospitals, clinics, payers and a wide variety of healthcare professional associations. He is a graduate of Montclair State University (BA) and Florida State University (MSW and MS). Mr. Gera has most recently served as an adjunct instructor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Baruch College and Hostos Community College. He lives in the Bronx where he is involved in several community-based volunteer organizations.
|Amy White, Assistant Professor
Prior to being an Asst. Prof, I was a Doctoral and Substitute Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at Lehman, serving as the co-Director of the Health Services Administration Program (2018 – 2022). My role has been to co-lead the program during a period of strong growth (we are the fourth most popular undergraduate major). Before Lehman, I was an adjunct faculty at other local colleges where I gained valuable classroom experience. Prior to teaching, I was in the pharmaceutical industry (Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Pharmacia), studying cost effectiveness and health outcomes and communicating results to our managed market customers. My research contributions in the past focused on the cost effectiveness of novel antidepressant and allergy treatments. My current research focuses on the transition from Medicaid to private health insurance upon college graduation. What contributes to students who were at poverty-level incomes while in college successfully transitioning to private health insurance upon college graduation? I am also interested in studying effective means of engaging commuter students following COVID-19. I have a Bachelor’s in environmental studies from Brown, a Master’s of Science from the Harvard School of Public Health, and an EdD from A.T. Still University.
|Journalism and Media Studies
|Ian Sheinheit, Lecturer
Ian Sheinheit joined the department of Journalism and Media Studies at Lehman College in a visiting role in 2019. He is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University at Albany, SUNY and a faculty fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. His teaching and scholarship focus on how new media technologies have influenced how different media outlets report political events and wars, claim authority, and influence political campaigns as well as how individuals understand and make meaning out of their digitally mediated lives. His work can be found in the journals Mass Communication and Society, Sociological Forum, and PS: Political Science and Politics. Ian teaches a variety of courses in the field of media and communication studies including media and digital culture, communication in society, corporate communications, global cinema, political communication and media, and the media industries.
|Languages and Literatures
|Marjolaine Auclair-Davreux, Lecturer
Marjolaine Auclair-Davreux holds an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and a B.A. in Elementary Education, with specialization in Teaching French as a Foreign Language, both from the University of Granada, Spain. She completed her PhD coursework in Education at University of Montreal focusing on Language Teacher Education. She also recently obtained a graduate certificate in Teaching Medical Spanish from the University of Cantabria, Spain.
She has been teaching Spanish and French at different levels, from elementary education to high school and College. In 2022, Marjolaine is joining the Department of Languages and Literatures at Lehman as a Lecturer.
|Management and Business Innovation
|Jin Seok Pyone, Assistant Professor
Jin Seok Pyone is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Lehman College. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Before coming to Lehman, she was an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Kansas and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tulane University. Her research interests broadly concern consumer behavior and psychology, focusing on consumer well-being and happiness.
|Brian Allen, Assistant Professor
I am a new Assistant Professor in the Mathematics department at Lehman College. I graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2010 with my doctorate in geometric analysis. Previously I have held positions at the United States Military Academy and the University of Hartford. I am excited to now be living and working in the Bronx! In my personal life, I enjoy cooking, listening to podcasts, cycling, traveling, playing sports, and exploring new foods.
|Renee Bell, Assistant Professor
Renee Bell joins Lehman as an assistant professor of mathematics from theUniversity of Pennsylvania, where she was a Hans Rademacher instructor, aswell as working at Universit ́e Paris-Sud as a postdoctoral researcher. She gother Ph.D. at MIT after getting her B.A. from UC Berkeley. Her mathematical interests are in algebraic geometry and number theory. She is also passionateabout teaching in ways that are creative and inclusive. She is excited to live inNew York City with its great cultural diversity.
|Music, Multimedia, Theatre & Dance
|Agustinan Maria Checa, Assistant Professor
Agustina Checa (she/her/ella) is an ethnomusicologist working at the intersection of popular music and media studies. She studies music technologies, material culture, value, and the infrastructures that sustain independent music in South America. Her current work builds on years of multi-sited ethnographic research with independent labels that produce and circulate cassette tapes in Argentina. Checa has been a participant of indie music scenes for a decade, mostly in her capacity as a journalist and music critic for various outlets of indie music and culture in Latin America, such as Indiehoy, Revista Maple and Deodoro magazine. She has worked alongside independent bands and record labels in the US and Argentina.
Checa is passionate about ethnographic research and public-facing scholarship. She is the creator and director of Magnetismo Sónico, a public archive that showcases the work of cassette labels in Latin America and aims to foster connections between tape makers and enthusiasts. Magnetismo Sónico is a project inspired by the pragmatism of digital humanities that prompts new avenues to explore the generative interactions between analog and digital media. It aims to reciprocate to the communities Checa studies. This project received various recognitions, including the “Digital Dissertation Award” (2022) from the New Media Lab at the Graduate Center, and an honorable mention in the Graduate Student Project Award from NYCDH in 2020.
Before joining Lehman College, Checa taught in Brooklyn College (CUNY) for four years, served as a Carnegie Educational Technologist fellow, a tutor at the Center for Writing and Academic Success at Kingsborough Community College, and a fellow for the Teaching and Learning Center at the Graduate Center.
|Jennifer Jolley, Assistant Professor
Jennifer Jolley (b. 1981) is a composer, blogger, and professor person. She is also a cat lover and part-time creative opera producer.
Jennifer’s work draws toward subjects that are political and even provocative. Her collaboration with librettist Kendall A, Prisoner of Conscience, has been described as “the ideal soundtrack and perhaps balm for our current ‘toxic...times’” by Frank J. Oteri of NewMusicBox. Her piece, Blue Glacier Decoy, written as a musical response to the Olympic National Park, depicts the Pacific Northwest’s melting glaciers. Her partnership with writer Scott Woods, You Are Not Alone, evokes the fallout of the #MeToo Movement.
Jennifer’s works have been performed by ensembles worldwide. She has received commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Quince Ensemble, and many others.
Jennifer deeply values the relationship between composers and the communities in which they collaborate. She has been composer-in-residence at multiple institutions and promotes composer advocacy through her articles for NewMusicBox & I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. Also, she is on the Executive Council of the Institute for Composer Diversity and the New Music USA Program Council.
Jennifer received degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is now an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at CUNY Lehman College, and she has been a composition faculty member at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2015. She previously held positions at Texas Tech University and Ohio Wesleyan University.
|Si (Smee Wong) Wang, Lecturer - Doctoral
Smee Wong started playing the piano at the age of four. In 2003, with top music major scores for the entrance exam, Smee was admitted into the Composition Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music. As a conservatory student, Smee was invited twice as the guest composer to the Beijing Modern Music Festival. Throughout his academic career, Smee has continued scholarship with articles published in top-level journals: Art Review and Journal of Xinghai Conservatory of Music. Smee Wong was awarded in The Symposium 2010 of 4th Annual Meeting of China Music Review Society. In 2014, he completed a Master’s degree in vocal jazz performance at the University of Denver. Smee Wong received his Ph.D. in composition at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. His academic work during graduate school involved translating Norman Lebrecht’s Who killed classical music? from English to Chinese for CITIC Press Group – publication for this translation is pending. He taught at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and served as the general manager at UHM’s radio station KTUH. After his tenure at the Umpqua Community College as a music instructor, Smee currently teaches at Lehman College, CUNY as a lecturer in Music Theory, Music History, and Interdisciplinary Music Studies.
|Darlene Dickson, Clinical Professor
My name is Darlene Dickson, I am a native New Yorker, a graduate of the State University of New York Health Science Center of Brooklyn, Columbia University, and received my doctorate at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2014. I started my career as a licensed practical nurse back in the 80s, then became a registered nurse. Over the years I have held many roles including classroom/clinical nursing instructor, a nurse practitioner, an adjunct professor, a researcher, and now a clinical professor. I have been recognized for my teaching and coaching abilities in both classroom and clinical environments. A flexible, quick learner, who adapts easily to new situations and enjoys a challenge, a self-motivated professional with a commitment to providing quality care.
I have more than 30 years of practical experience in hospital, home health, educational, and primary care environments. I have served as a pediatric health care provider for well and ill children of all ages providing health maintenance care including well child examinations, routine developmental screenings, diagnosing and treating common childhood illnesses, and providing anticipatory guidance at age-appropriate levels. My current clinical practice is working with children from 5 to 21 years old in a residential facility in Westchester, NY.
In addition to my different positions, I have had the honor of being a member of the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board since 1997, I was a National Health Service Corps Scholar/Clinician while at Columbia University and completed three years of service time in two urban health-related shortage areas. I joined the New York City Medical Reserve Corps in 2009. Currently, I am the Research chair for Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing-Delta Zeta Chapter at Lehman College and a recent member of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc a professional service organization for registered professional nurses and student nurses, Lehman College has both a graduate and undergraduate chapters on campus.
|Wanda Johnson, Lecturer
Wanda is a proud graduate of the NYC Public School System: PS 54, JHS 136 and Evander Childs High School, she is also a proud City University of New York graduate - Borough of Manhattan Community College – AAS - Nursing, Lehman College - BSN and MSN degrees.
Chi ETA PHI Sorority INC - Omicron Chapter-Anti Basileus
|Mary O'Connell, Lecturer
Mary O’Connell joins Lehman College Dept of Nursing full-time after serving as an adjunct clinical instructor for eight years. She is a graduate of St Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing (Diploma), Stony Brook University (BSN) and Mercy College (MSN nursing education). Her clinical expertise includes Medical-Surgical, Public Health and Rehabilitation Nursing. Ms O’Connell is committed to preparing future nurses to provide culturally competent and compassionate care for all individuals.
|Carl Brownson, Lecturer - Doctoral
Carl J. Brownson is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Lehman College. He received his Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2017. His primary research is in the philosophy of religion, especially the problem of evil, and in analytic metaphysics. He has taught a wide range of courses at Lehman College, from philosophy of religion to history courses, the philosophy of law, metaphysics, and ethics. He has had a second professional life for many years running a test prep business in Westchester, and lately he has introduced a set of test prep courses to Lehman College.
|Marjorine Henriquez-Castillo, Lecturer - Doctoral
Marjorine Henriquez-Castillo recently completed her PhD in Developmental Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Psychology from Hunter College, CUNY, and has taught Psychology courses at City College and Lehman College since 2017. Her own experiences as the daughter of Dominican immigrants cultivated a strong desire to pursue research focused on exploring how the changes associated with navigating multiple cultural experiences (acculturation) is related to the psychological health (psychopathology and wellbeing) of parents and their children, particularly among Latinx youth. She has led various projects pertaining to acculturation and mental health while working with the Boricua Youth Study research team in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute for the past 12 years. She enjoys teaching and mentoring the diverse CUNY undergraduate student population through anti-racist and social justice informed approaches to develop their critical thinking skills and empower them to achieve their academic aspirations.
|Karyna Pryiomka, Lecturer
Karyna Pryiomka is a doctoral candidate in Critical Social/Personality Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has been teaching and working at CUNY in various capacities for over 10 years. She has been teaching Statistical Methods in Psychology and Experimental Psychology at Lehman College for 5 years now. While teaching has been the primary focus of her career, she maintains a strong scholarly interest in philosophy of science, social/personality psychology, and higher education policy. Her dissertation research explores the role epistemic, socio-political, and moral values play in how people, particularly policymakers in higher education, interpret and deploy evidence in their decision-making. Karyna is a recipient of the Lehman College’s Adjunct Teacher of the Year award (2022) and the Graduate Center Award for Excellence in Teaching (2022).
Alyssa Lyons, Lecturer
Alyssa Lyons joined Lehman College’s sociology department as a full-time major advisor and lecturer in 2022. But Lehman and CUNY have always been special to her—she’s a Lehman alum and a former S.E.E.K student. Before joining Lehman full-time, Alyssa taught varying courses across CUNY as a graduate student and adjunct. At Lehman, some of those courses have included Education and Society (SOC 235), Education and Inequality (SOC 336), and Global and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Education and Society (SOC 335).
In 2022, Alyssa earned her PhD in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. She also has a Master’s Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Politics and Education. Most of her teaching and research interests revolve around education. In her past non-academic life, she served as a high school advisor in the non-profit college prep and access world.
Alyssa’s current research interests include education, critical theories, race and racisms, and gender and sexuality. Her dissertation explores the construct of parental engagement within a broader paradigm of school abolition and liberatory politics. She has written for both academic and public audiences. You can see some of her work in the Huffington Post or Contexts Magazine. When she’s not teaching or advising, you can catch her listening to music, watching something in the suburban gothic genre, or chatting in a book club somewhere.
Cindy Bautista-Thomas, Lecturer - Doctoral
Dr. Cindy Bautista-Thomas is a Doctoral Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Lehman College, City University of New York. She comes to CUNY from Columbia University School of Social Work where she served as an Associate Director of Field Education for 12 years. Dr. Bautista-Thomas is a licensed clinical social worker, educator, podcast host, yoga instructor, mindfulness facilitator, author, mother, wife, master trainer, and curator of spaces of healing, transformation, and impact.
Dr. Bautista-Thomas’ research interests include School Social Work Practice; Social Work Education; Latinx Populations; Culturally Responsive Practice; Bilingual Social Work, Professional Development, Curriculum Development, and Social Work Burnout Prevention/Sustainability.
Karen Vicente, Lecturer
Karen Vicente, M.A., L.M.S.W., is a social worker with over twenty years’ experience in counseling and facilitating groups for those facing chronic illness and other traumas. She began her work in HIV as a volunteer on Long Island early in the epidemic and moved to NYC to work for the AIDS response organization, Northern Lights Alternatives, directing their Women and Children with HIV/AIDS program. For the past 15 years, Karen has also trained human service workers in evidence-based practices such as risk reduction counseling, motivational interviewing and HIV linkage to care. She was a lead trainer in the NYC Department of Health’s initial rollout of the HIV Care Coordination program initiative, training Dept. of Health leadership, Program Directors and Patient Navigators throughout New York City. Karen was an adjunct lecturer at Hunter (now Silberman) School of Social Work for many years as well as a Mentor in Community and Human Services at SUNY Empire State College. Having been an adjunct lecturer at Lehman College’s Department of Social Work for the past 3 years, she is happy to be joining the faculty as a full-time lecturer.