Keynote Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth A. Klonoff

Liz KlonoffDr. Elizabeth A. Klonoff is the Vice President for Research and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Central Florida, one of the largest universities in the nation.Klonoff is charged with advancing UCF’s reputation and impact as a 21st-century, metropolitan research university by growing graduate enrollment, specifically for research-focused degrees, and elevating the scale and quality of its research. UCF is classified as a high research activity university, according to the Carnegie Foundation.Since her arrival in 2016, UCF has been ranked one of the top 50 public research universities in the nation. The university has seen its sponsored research increase to $181 million in 2018, and U.S. News & World Report ranked 27 of UCF’s graduate programs in the top 100 in the nation in 2019.Prior to joining UCF, she held an appointment at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego, where she served as the co-director of the joint doctoral program in clinical psychology. She has also worked as the director of the Behavioral Health Institute in California and the director of the Behavior Therapy/Behavioral Medicine Clinic, as well as the co-director of the Chronic Pain Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland.A clinical and health psychologist, Klonoff received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. She was a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. She also has worked as a faculty member in the departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Psychology and Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and in the departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Duke University Medical Center.She has served in multiple roles at various publications and is an Associate Editor for the American Psychologist journal. Klonoff has conducted research in the area of tobacco control, sexism, racism, and physical and mental health. The National Institutes of Health and the California Department of Health Services have funded her work. She has published widely on culture and gender diversity in clinical psychology, behavioral medicine, and preventive medicine and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in multiple divisions.

PRESENTER BIOGRAPHIES

Winifred Akande

Associate Director, Integrated Graduate Student Experience - Georgia State University

Winifred Akande is the Associate Director of Integrated Graduate Student Services in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. She serves graduate accounting and taxation students by helping them navigate the complexities of their program and the University. She serves as the CPA advisor for all accounting students for the University. Lastly, she develops and presents Microsoft Excel workshops for all graduate business students in Robinson. Before joining Georgia State, Ms. Akande worked as a tax accountant at Ernst & Young and Pathstone Federal Street. She is an active CPA in the state of Georgia. She has her Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and Master of Taxation both from Georgia State University.

Amber Amari

Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs - Georgia State University

Amber Amari is the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University. She has dedicated the entirety of her 17-year career to graduate education at GSU. In her current capacity, she leads an engaged team of individuals committed to developing initiatives that foster graduate student success and advancement. She also works with faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences to ensure the college’s programs are innovative, forward-looking, and meeting the varied needs of a diverse graduate population. Amber holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Eckerd College, and a Master of Arts in Anthropology from Binghamton University.

Kori Barham

Graduate Academic Advisor - Georgia State University

Kori is a graduate academic advisor in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. As an advisor, she interprets and implements university policies and procedure in the areas of student enrollment and evaluation, conducts individual academic advisement sessions and tracks student progression to graduation. Kori began advising undergraduate Liberal Studies majors at Georgia Southern University in 2013. She joined the RCB graduate advisement team in 2015, where she serves both international and domestic students majoring in Accountancy, Finance, Taxation, Commercial Real Estate, and Information Systems. Kori holds a Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University.

Gillian Barlow

Assistant Director of Integrated Graduate Student Services - Georgia State University

Gillian Barlow is the Assistant Director of Integrated Graduate Student Services in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. She serves graduate finance and real estate students by helping them navigate the complexities of their program and the University. Before joining Georgia State, Ms. Barlow worked in marketing at Chick-fil-A and finance at Northwestern Mutual. She earned her Bachelor of Science in family financial planning from The University of Georgia and Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University.

Marla Bruner

Director, Graduate Studies - Georgia Institute of Technology

Marla Bruner is the Interim Director of Graduate Studies at Georgia Tech. She has worked in graduate education for eight years and higher education for11 years. Prior to her career in higher education, Bruner worked in marketing, communications, and public relations. She is a candidate in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program at Georgia Southern University and her dissertation research focuses on graduate student stress, burnout, and graduate student advocacy. She has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in English composition, British Literature, and Irish Literature & Culture. She holds a MA in English, a BA in Communication Arts and is a former F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Kuehl Fellow.

Dr. Megan Buning

Assistant Professor of Research - Augusta University

Megan Buning is a soon to be official Associate Professor of Research at Augusta University. She serves in the College of Education and Advanced Studies and Innovation department as the program coordinator for the Ed.D. in Educational Innovation. A former Division I softball athlete and coach, Megan holds a B.S. in exercise science, a M.S. in sport psychology, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration. Megan was involved in building the Ed.D. program, and has redesigned and taught all graduate level research courses in the COE. Her research interests include the intersection of education and sport strategies to facilitate learning and growth for students and practitioners. Megan will sit for her certification exam as a certified mental performance consultant through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology this fall. In her spare time, Megan serves as a color analyst for the University of South Carolina softball team and the SECNetwork+ station.

Dana Casper

Graduate Studies LIbrarian - Middle Georgia State University

Dana Casper is the Graduate Studies Librarian at Middle Georgia State University. She has a bachelor’s degree in Literature from Purchase College, State University of New York, and received her Master of Library and Information Science degree from Valdosta State University. She is currently pursuing an Ed. S degree in Instructional Technology with a Certificate in Online Teaching from Valdosta University. She is a member of the Chancellor’s Learning Scholars Faculty Learning Community on Mindset in Graduate Education. She serves graduates students in all programs. Her research interests are: Instructional design for Distance Education in Higher Education, Educational Games in Higher Education and Project Based Learning in Higher Education.

Jermaine Clarke

Assistant Director, Graduate Student Experience - Georgia State University

Jermaine Clarke currently serves as an Assistant Director of Graduate Student Experience Georgia State University’s J.Mack Robinson College of Business, where he establishes strategic initiatives and direction for the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Student Services in the leadership, management and coordination of programs initiatives. These initiatives shape, engage, develop and provide a supportive learning experience for all graduate students.

Jermaine has also functioned as an Academic Adviser at the J.Mack Robinson College of Business, where he has worked closely with graduate students since 2015. He has advised a variety of domestic and international students from programs such as the Flexible and Professional Master of Business Administration, Master in Global Hospitality Management, Master of Science in Health Administration, Master of Science in Marketing, and Master of Science in Managerial Sciences. With over ten years of higher education and corporate experience, Jermaine has brought a unique perspective to academic advisement.

Dr. Loretta Clayton

Director of Graduate Student Policy & Support - Middle Georgia State University

Loretta Clayton is the Director of Graduate Student Policy & Support at Middle Georgia State University, where she is also a Professor of English and Interdisciplinary Studies and has received the MGA University Award for Outstanding Teaching. Her administrative work includes overseeing graduate assistantships; developing initiatives and partnerships for graduate student services; and serving as administrative liaison to MGA’s graduate student association. Her teaching and scholarly work ranges from British literature and Victorian culture to fashion, aesthetics, and performance studies. She has published in these areas and completed an NEH Fellowship at UCLA’s Oscar Wilde Archive. She is the current Past President of the Georgia Council of Graduate Schools and is a member of the USG Chancellor’s Scholars Faculty Learning Community on graduate studies at her home institution.

Dr. Mikyta Daugherty

Associate Director of Clinical Services - Georgia State University

Dr. Mikyta Daugherty is a licensed psychologist in Georgia. She graduated with her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and completed her clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center. While at UNM, she was awarded training fellowships from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to develop expertise in program development, management and outcomes research focusing on the dissemination of evidenced based interventions within university, hospital and community health settings.

Dr. Daugherty is committed to utilizing her training in evidence-based practice and program development to promote strong foundations in young adults. Dr. Daugherty has provided numerous professional trainings and consultation in overall program design and quality assurance methods within several university settings including UNM, Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University. She has provided direct clinical supervision and didactic seminars for behavioral health graduate students and professionals, in addition to medical residents. Dr. Daugherty has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UNM, Clayton State University, Emory University and Georgia State University.

Dr. Colette Drouillard

Associate Professor - Valdosta State University

Colette Drouillard is an Associate Professor in the Library and Information Studies Program at Valdosta State Universities Dewar College of Education & Human Services. She received her PhD and MLIS from Florida State University and an MEd in Instructional Design from Idaho State University. Before earning her doctorate, she worked as an academic librarian for Florida State University in Tallahassee and London, as a public librarian in Michigan, and in various occupational safety training program design, development and management roles for the State of Florida’s Department of Labor and at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. At VSU her department delivers the American Library Association accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program online to students in Georgia and throughout the United States.

Dr. Jeana Griffith

Associate Director of Psychological and Health Services - Georgia State University

Dr. Jeana Griffith is a licensed psychologist in Georgia. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Cincinnati and her masters and doctorate in clinical psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She completed her internship and postdoctoral studies at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Dr. Griffith has conducted research and has publications in the areas of sickle cell disease, depression and weight, shape and eating in African Americans. She has written a treatment manual for coping with chronic health conditions and has led groups based on this approach. Some of her professional interests include anxiety, depression, diversity, coping with chronic health concerns, sports psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Dr. Griffith’s favorite quote is: "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou

Emily Lakemaker

Director of Graduate Student Experiences - Georgia State University

Emily Lakemaker is the Director of Graduate Student Experiences at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business. She began her career in higher education 12 years ago, starting at the University of Georgia, then moving to Emory University. She has worked in a variety of capacities including admissions, recruitment, advisement, and student life. She holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Columbus State University. Emily lives in Atlanta with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring local restaurants, attempting to keep plants alive, and almost completing crossword puzzles.

Dr. Jill Lee-Barber

Senior Director, Psychological and Health Services - Georgia State University

Dr. Jill Lee-Barber is a licensed psychologist in Georgia who is a graduate of Georgia State University with a B.A. in English and an M.S. in counseling. She received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Lee-Barber has previously served as associate director at Georgia Tech and assistant director at University of Georgia. Dr. Lee-Barber is active in the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.), Division 17, Society of Counseling Psychology. She has held several leadership roles including vice-president of professional practice for Division 17 in A.P.A., chair of the Section for College and University Counseling Centers and chair of the Section for LGBT Issues within Division 17. Currently, she serves as co-chair of the Taking Action Against Racism in Media initiative of Division 17.

Dr. Lee-Barber’s clinical interests include multicultural-feminist therapy, working with clients from collective cultures, LGBT issues, conceptualizing intervention both individually and systemically, as well as working with a broad range of the presenting concerns of university students. Dr. Lee-Barber does not have a specific clinical issue that she particularly enjoys treating; she enjoys working with people and borrows a line from Walt Whitman:

Nothing human is alien to me.

~ Walt Whitman

Dr. Monica Miller


Assistant Professor - Middle Georgia State University

Dr. Monica Carol Miller is an assistant professor of English at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. A 2018-2019 Governor's Teaching Fellow and the current president of the Flannery O’Connor Society, her first book, Being Ugly: Southern Women Writers and Social Rebellion, was published by LSU Press. Dr. Miller teaches classes in professional writing, composition, and literature at MGA. She is currently collaborating on an edited collection on the Tacky South as well as writing a monograph on images of abortion in American literature. Her research interests include the intersection of gender and region as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Linda Most

Associate Professor and Dept. Head - Valdosta State University

Linda Most is an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Library and Information Studies in the Dewar College of Education and Human Services at Valdosta State University. She holds the PhD and MSLIS from Florida State University and an MA in History from Florida Atlantic University. At VSU her department delivers the American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program online to students in Georgia and around the United States. Linda is a member of the Association for Library and Information Science Education and the American Library Association. She is a member of VSU’s Graduate Executive Committee, the COEHS Executive Committee, and the university’s Council of Department Heads. She currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the South Georgia Regional Library System in Valdosta and as chairperson of the Georgia State Board for the Certification of Librarians.

Dori Neptune

Project Coordinator - Georgia State University

Dori Neptune joined the Office of the Associate Provost for Graduate Programs in 2014 as Project Coordinator and is responsible for the planning and implementation of professional development workshops, events, and orientation for new graduate students. Working closely with the AP for Graduate Programs, Dori’s mission includes maintaining databases, gathering data for graduate initiatives, and dissemination of graduate programs information. Dori serves as liaison on behalf of the Associate Provost to various colleges, offices, departments, and external constituents. She is also an Adjunct Sociology instructor at Chattahoochee Technical College.

Mariam Qureshi

Manager, Academic & Professional Development - Georgia State University 

Mariam Qureshi manages academic and professional development for the Office of Graduate Services in the College of Arts and Sciences. She organizes workshops and panel discussions in collaboration with various university offices, faculty, and academic departments to help students develop core competencies and transferable skills. Additionally, Mariam serves as a resource for administrators, faculty, and students in matters of academic integrity, appeals, and college policies. Each semester, Mariam and the Office of Graduate Services host new student registration sessions and outreach efforts including online recruitment opportunities. Mariam currently serves on the university’s Admissions Background Review Committee and the Age-Friendly University Initiative Committee. Mariam’s holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia and an M.A. from Georgia State University. She will graduate from Middle Georgia State University with a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Digital Communication in fall 2019.

Dr. Neil Rigole

Assistant Professor - Middle Georgia State University

Dr. Neil Rigole has decades worth of instructional technology, online learning, and information technology experience teaching and leading initiatives and programs in higher-ed, k12, and adult/technical education. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Technology at Middle Georgia State University where he is the Coordinator for the Masters of Science in Information Technology program. He has also been named a USG Chancellor's Learning Scholar for the 2019/2020 academic year.

Ian Schonberg

Assistant Director of Graduate Advisement - Georgia State University

Ian is currently serving the role of Assistant Director of Graduate Advisement at the Robinson College of Business where he oversees two amazing academic advisers who advise and support nearly 1000 graduate students. He has been in the higher education field for 6 years advising students within the graduate level programs. Prior to coming to Georgia State University, he was a special education in the elementary, middle and high school settings for 8 years. Ian earned his Bachelors in Social Work from Florida State University and his Masters in Education from Georgia State University. He currently resides in Atlanta with his wife and two children.

Kristin Short

Doctoral Student and Graduate Assistant - University of Georgia

Kristin is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Financial Planning at the University of Georgia, where she implements the Graduate Financial Education Program, teaches undergraduate coursework, and has served as a financial counselor at UGA’s ASPIRE Clinic. Kristin engages in financial planning research and has published and presented research in the area of graduate student financial education and stress. In 2018, she was awarded the AFCPE Student Scholarship for her work in student loan repayment planning. Kristin also works on a part-time basis with an Athens-based wealth advisory firm, where she assists with operations and financial plan development. Her passion is to help students, professionals, and families better understand their personal finances and achieve long-term financial well-being.

Daena Spencer

Sr. Graduate Career Coach - Georgia State University

Daena Spencer is a Career Strategist and HR professional who has a passion for coaching,
developing and mentoring others. With 17 years of corporate experience, eight years in Academia and experience working in the non-profit and government sectors, along with earning a Masters of Arts degree in HR Development, she synthesizes and uses all of the skillsets needed to help students reach their highest potential. In 2015, she earned The President’s Award for “transformational coaching and outstanding leadership” from Paradigm 360, a coaching certificate company, and has earned coaching accolades from peers and clients alike. She prides herself on ‘delivering excellence’ and strives to help students realize their strengths, along with developmental areas. Daena is currently a Sr. Graduate Career Coach for the MBA, MIB, MSHA, MGHS and Managerial Science clusters for the Robinson College of Business.

Dr. Lisa Sperling


Senior Director, Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives - University of Georgia

Lisa Sperling, PhD, serves as the Director of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives for the University of Georgia Graduate School. With over 15+ years of professional experience in higher education, Dr. Sperling has worked on both the graduate program and graduate school levels. In her current capacity, she coordinates recruitment, retention, and outreach efforts, including the creation of programs targeting historically under-represented populations and veterans. An advocate for cross-campus collaborations, she and her team actively partner on programming with the Division of Student Affairs, Office of Institutional Diversity, International Student Life, and the Student Veterans Resource Center to name a few. Prior to joining the Graduate School, Dr. Sperling served for over 10 years as the MPA Recruitment and Career Services Coordinator in UGA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy. She holds degrees from Emory University (BA, English) and the University of Georgia (MPA, Public Administration; PhD, Student Affairs).

John Stewart

Manager - Retention & Progression - Georgia State University

John Stewart is the Manager for Retention & Progression in the Office of Graduate Services for the College of Arts & Sciences at Georgia State University. Working with a team of academic advisors, John is responsible for overseeing the progression of the College's graduate students through their degree programs. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Georgia State, and his Masters in Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University.

Lineliz Vassallo

Mind-Body Coordinator - Georgia State University

Lineliz Vassallo is a mindfulness educator, MBSR-qualified instructor and registered yoga teacher. Lineliz (Linnie) received her MBSR teacher training through the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness and is completing an advanced training in mindfulness, emotional intelligence and compassionate leadership through Google’s Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. A graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania and a certified professional educator, Linnie has spent the past five years fiercely committed to bringing mindfulness practices into the world of education. Linnie is thrilled to be a part of student wellness, success, resilience and happiness at Georgia State University’s Mind-Body Clinic.

Charlene Watkins

Assistant Director - Georgia State University

Charlene is the Assistant Director of Student Experiences for graduate students specializing in International Business, Marketing & Business Administration. She joined the Robinson College of Business (RCB) in the spring of 2008. Charlene has over 15 years of professional experience in Higher Education Administration. Her experience range from admissions, recruitment, residential life, academic advising and student services at public and private universities. She truly enjoys working with students and seeing them thrive in their academic journey. In addition, being accessible, visible, resourceful and supportive is Charlene’s main objective for her students.

April Williams

Assistant Director, Student Experience - Georgia State University

April is the Assistant Director of Graduate Student Experiences, working specifically with the Flex MBA program. She joined the Robinson College of Business’ Graduate Recruitment and Student Services team in 2015 as a recruiter after first serving as an admissions counselor for the undergraduate admissions office. Born and raised in southern California, she journeyed her way to Virginia at the age of 18 where she spent time obtaining her BA in History from Hampton University and her masters in higher education from Old Dominion University.