“The Singing Mural” mural, Artworks Cincinnati

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Shaunak Sastry, Director

Email: Shaunak.Sastry@uc.edu
Dr. Shaunak Sastry is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati and an affiliate faculty at the Center for Culture-Centered Research and Evaluation. His areas of interest are global health communication, critical theory and culture-centered approaches to social change with a particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS campaigns in the global south

Leila Rodriguez, Assistant Director

Email: Leila.Rodriguez@uc.edu
Dr. Leila Rodriguez is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, and an affiliate of the Department of Africana Studies, Department of Sociology, and Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies Program. Her areas of interest are the local integration dynamics of immigrants, and the use of culture as judicial evidence in legal conflicts that involve immigrants and refugees. Regionally, she focuses on Central America and the United States.

Littisha A. Bates

Email: Littisha.Bates@uc.edu
Dr. Littisha A. Bates is Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Community Partnerships in the UC College of Arts & Sciences, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, and an affiliate faculty member of Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She is also a co-founder and executive board member Black Faculty Association. Her areas of interests are stratification, education and race. Her current project examines the changes in the magnet school enrollment processes in the City of Cincinnati. This project focuses on the impact of the change from first-some first-serve enrollment to a district wide lottery system on parents and school.

Kimberly H. Conger

Email: Kimberly.Conger@uc.edu
Dr. Kimberly H. Conger is Director of UC's Master of Public Administration - Social Justice program and an associate professor - educator in the School of Public and International Affairs. Her research focuses on the way advocacy makes an impact on American state and local politics. Her current projects include a study of democracy and equity in the Neighborhood Council system in Cincinnati.

Erynn Casanova

Email: Erynn.Casanova@uc.edu
Erynn Masi de Casanova is a Professor of Sociology and Head of the Sociology Department at the University of Cincinnati. Trained as an urban ethnographer, she conducts research on a range of topics related to gender, work, and bodies/embodiment. Her most recent book, Dust and Dignity: Domestic Employment in Contemporary Ecuador (ILR/Cornell University Press, 2019) was based in part on participatory action research with domestic worker activists, received book awards from the American Sociological Association and the Latin American Studies Association, and will be published in a Spanish translation in 2022.

Isaiah Ball - Project Coordinator and Graduate Assistant

Email: ballim@mail.uc.edu

Advisory Board

Emily Houh – University of Cincinnati

Two-time Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence winner Emily Houh is the Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of Law and Contracts at the University Cincinnati College of Law. Since 2003, she has taught the interplay between contract law, commercial law, critical race theory and socioeconomic inequality. Her recent research with UC Law colleague Professor Kristin Kalsem “looks at how participatory action research methods can be used to engage in critical race/feminist praxis, by exploring the raced and gendered nature of the ‘fringe economy’”. Additionally, Houh is Co-Director of the College’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. For more information, please visit Emily Houh’s faculty page here.

Dorothy Smoot – Greater Cincinnati Urban League

Dorothy Smoot is a social service programmer who specializes in entrepreneurship, business development and youth and adult education at Greater Cincinnati Urban League (GCUL). As Chief Program Officer at GCUL, Smoot administers curriculum pertaining to youth academic tutoring, teen and young adult workforce readiness and entry into competitive workforce level positions, alongside leadership programs aimed at young African-American professionals and awareness programs promoting sickle cell disease prevention and education. In addition to her position at GCUL, Smoot serves on the Police Chief’s Advisory Board, City Manager’s Advisory Board and is the Executive Director of the Community Police Partnering Center and the Team Leader for the Community Engagement Team of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence. For more information on Dorothy Smoot, please click here and for more information on the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, please click here.

Guy-Lucien Whembolua – University of Cincinnati

Dr. Whembolua is an Associate professor in the department of Africana Studies and an affiliate in the College of Medicine. He is a health behavior expert with a focus on how socio-cultural factors affects health outcomes in populations from African descent worldwide. He currently serves as the director of the Global Health Studies certificate and the Africana Health Institute.

Cary Powell – Mary Magdalen House

Cary Powell is the Executive Director of Mary Magdalen House. Cary joined the House after serving for many years as Executive Director of Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund. Cary works directly with guests, providing for their needs. In addition, she works to increase awareness of Mary Magdalen House in the Cincinnati community, and ensure that the House has the resources it needs to continue its mission.

Erika Meyer Judd – 84.51°

Erika Meyer Judd is a Director of Analytics at 84.51°. 84.51° is a data analytics firm that studies consumer behavior and spending habits over an extended length of time. Formerly known as dunnhumbyUSA, the company changed its name to 84.51° after it was acquired by The Kroger Co. in 2015. Erika manages the Customer Experience analysis team as well as chairing the company’s charatible arm 84.51° Degrees of Giving and their Corporate Social Responsibility team. Erika also serves on the Board of Trustees for Tender Mercies. She has an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and graduate degree in Geography both from the University of Cincinnati.

Bianca Edwards -AMOS Project

Bianca is a licensed Social Worker and Community Organizer for the AMOS Project, a federation of congregations in Greater Cincinnati dedicated to building a just and equitable city. She is a group facilitator that believes in holding space for community healing, power building and story telling. Bianca holds a Masters in Social Work from UC, is a 2014 YWCA Rising Star Graduate, and serves on Hamilton County’s Elderly Services Program Board.

Suzanne Boys – University of Cincinnati

Dr. Suzanne Boys directs the Public Relations Program in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Communication. Her scholarship focuses on organizational communication and public relations, specifically crisis communication. She currently teaches Organizational Diversity; Organizational Image, Identity, & Issue Management; and Public Relations Campaigns. Her students work with local small businesses and non-profits every semester.

Past TCP Leadership

Jennifer Malat

Jennifer Malat (PhD in Sociology, University of Michigan) co-founded and was the inaugural director of The Cincinnati Project. During her 20 years at the University of Cincinnati, Jennifer was also a sociology faculty member and the inaugural divisional dean for social sciences. In these roles, she worked to create a stronger and more inclusive community on and off campus. In July 2020, Jennifer moved to Virginia Commonwealth University. For two years, she served as the dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. As dean, she guided the college through the first two years of the pandemic and prioritized promoting greater equity for students, faculty, and staff. In July of 2022, Jennifer began applying her experience and expertise as Associate Vice President for Development. In this role, she works with senior leaders and key staff to develop a framework that ensures that the next capital campaign reflects the university’s commitment to equity and inclusion.

Earl Wright, II

Earl Wright II is Professor of Sociology at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned the BA (1994) in History and MA (1997) in Sociology from the University of Memphis. In 2000 Dr. Wright took the doctorate in Sociology at the University of Nebraska, where he founded a chapter of the Black Graduate Student Association. Dr. Wright is currently co-editor of the highly rated journal Social Problems, president of the Southern Sociological Society, and past president of the Association of Black Sociologists and Mid-South Sociological Association. During his tenure at the University of Cincinnati he co-founded The Cincinnati Project with Jennifer Malat.

Tia Sheree Gaynor

Tia Sherèe Gaynor, PhD, is an associate professor in the leadership and management area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is a community-engaged scholar immersed in equity and inclusion. Her work explores the intersection of social justice, local government, and identity. More specifically, focusing on the ways identity-based narratives, negative social constructions, and decision-making lead to inequitable outcomes for people of color, those who identify as LGBTQIA, and people at the intersections of these and other identities. Her most recent work sits at the nexus of mindfulness, intergroup dialogue, and racial healing to explore avenues toward equity and justice. Previously, Gaynor was at the University of Cincinnati, serving as a faculty member in the political science department, founding director of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, and Taft Professor of Social Justice.

Farrah Jacquez

Annula Linders

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